In a non-election year, much of Tuesday night’s Morristown reorganization was routine, with board appointments and responsibilities for council members remaining mostly as they were in 2012.
Five volunteer firefighters were sworn in, as is the annual custom. With no objections from the other council members in attendance—councilman Kevin Gsell did not arrive until during the regular Town Council meeting—Michelle Dupree Harris was again named council president and Rebecca Feldman was again named council vice president. 2013 will be the pair’s second year’s serving in those roles.
One council member, however, was noticeably absent: longtime member Anthony Cattano Jr., who died in September.
“It was a sad year,” noted Town Clerk Matt Stechauner during his opening remarks.
Cattano’s passing was not the only former member of Morristown municipal government to be lost in 2012, however, as the clerk read off six names, including two former mayors (David Manahan, 87, and Emilio Gervasio, 102), three former Alderman (Henry Hoyt, 97, Thomas Zennick, 88, and J. Robert Tracey, 87) and Cattano, who was the youngest on the list, at 63.
An extended moment of silence followed.
Mayor Tim Dougherty, following his annual reorganization speech, noted he had been thinking a lot about Cattano leading up to Tuesday night’s reorganization meeting.
However, the mayor—who is expected to run for a second term later this year—focused his speech mostly on the positive aspects of Morristown, including its continued growth and status as a desirable place to live and do business. This included references to several businesses that opened in 2012, approvals for the Speedwell Redevelopment Plan—including the CVS Pharmacy, set to be built at Spring and Speedwell on a former used car lot, and construction of new townhouses on Maple Avenue.
After reading from his prepared speech, Dougherty pointed to Superstorm Sandy in October and the work of everyone on the Morristown payroll as well as its volunteers. “My success only comes on the back of what they do,” he said. “It’s a combined effort of all.
“We seem to be doing pretty good here in Morristown,” he said, noting that despite downed trees, power outages and other inconveniences, this area fared much better than others that are still in recovery.
“Try to keep this in perspective and have some humility in your life,” he said. “This is not about politics, R’s, D’s or I’s. The community is working better as a whole.”