Familiar faces returned in familiar roles as the Morris Township Committee met for its reorganizational meeting on Wednesday night.
Committeman Peter Mancuso was again named mayor for 2013, while Bruce Sisler and Scott Rosenbush—entering their fourth and 18th years on the committee, respectively—were sworn in following re-election in November.
Drama was minimal on the Republican-dominated dais with the lone Democrat, Jeff Grayzel providing only a few contrarian moments via telephone while away in Utah.
The most notable came when Sisler was nominated to retain his role as deputy mayor for the committee. Grayzel instead nominated Rosenbush for the role but, when no one seconded his nomination, rescinded and later voted "no" against Sisler's reappointment.
During his new year speech, Sisler hinted at some of what may have caused that opposition during the previous year after thanking his family and friends for their support.
"We've dealt with a lot [in the three years since I joined the committee,]" Sisler said. "A budget deficit in 2010, storms. We all learned where and we learned—I learned what YouTube was."
That last remark referred to a YouTube video released by resident Lee Goldberg, a vocal opponent of the township's process to keep Honeywell here by permitting the international corporation to redevelop a portion of its 142-acre campus.
The video contained audio from a 12-minute phone call Sisler made afterhours to Goldberg in August, and pertains to what Goldberg believes to be a conflict of interest on the part of Sisler voting in favor of the Honeywell redevelopment project. Sisler is employed by state Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr.—a vocal supporter of keeping Honeywell in the township—and at one point was recused from the Honeywell proceedings. He was later reinstated—along with Grayzel, whose wife is a former employee of the corporation—after residents signed a petition calling for a supermajority vote on the issue.
After several months of delay in addressing the matter, the township Board of Ethics has referred it to the state Supreme Court, where Goldberg and another resident—Robert Burke—have another lawsuit filed and pending against the township on the same matter.
Committeeman Daniel Caffrey referred to unnamed naysayers as a "vast minority" and that, "Morris Township is a very special place."
He, too, cited the Honeywell vote as a positive from 2012 but also praised township employees—including police, fire, Department of Public Works and more—for their work during events like Superstorm Sandy.
Caffrey also gave a nod to Grace Campbell, the 16-year-old township resident who, while down in south Jersey over the summer, saved a drowning person's life.
Sisler also praised his runningmate Rosenbush, who has been a member of the Morris Township Committee for almost two decades.
"Bruce is very kind," Rosenbush said. Citing the Hebrew word for 18—l'chaim, which also means "to life—"he said he hoped "2013 will be a year of good life for all of us."
Rosenbush also cited his and Business Administrator Timothy Quinn's involvement in the Rotary International service organization, which carries the motto, "service above self," he said. "It's not about me, it's not about us, it's about the community.
"We have much to do this year. And we will approach it thoughtfully, professionally and in your best interest," he said.
Four firefighters also were sworn in Wednesday night: battalion chiefs Robert Duffy and Fred Meyer, and captains David Mayer and Matthew Steenberg.