Holding elected office oftentimes is not an easy job, and the three outgoing members of town council drew praise for their four years of service at their final meeting Monday.
Just as they ran as a team four years ago, Mayor John Button, Deputy Mayor Greg Gallo and Councilman Mike Testa will leave council together at the end of this year. Though their tenure was occasionally marked by controversy, their colleagues, including fellow council members Stacey Jordan and Chris Chiacchio, lauded their service.
“I challenge anyone who thinks it’s easy to come down and give it a shot,” said Chiacchio. “It’s called a political arena; it’s not called a political day at the park. So you have to have respect and admiration for anyone who comes down here and gives it a shot.”
Township manager Scott Carew presented all three departing councilmen with proclamations honoring their service, and echoed Chiacchio’s remarks, lauding them for their service. Carew said he hoped the three incoming council members——would take a cue from their predecessors, in the sense of adopting their stick-to-it-iveness.
“If there’s one thing I want them to take as a lesson from your four years, it’s your unmoving stance to do what you think is right,” said Carew. “It takes a lot of courage to do what you guys have done, and especially if you’re making a decision that you feel is right, but you know might not be popular … And you did it all, from my perspective, with the goal of what you thought was best for the township.”
For their part, Button, Gallo and Testa said they were honored to have served and heaped praise on their families and township staff.
"It's truly a great honor," said Gallo. "I implore everyone to get involved in their own way, and to encourage others to … It really is a great privilege and I feel blessed to be able to work with all of you."
All three councilmen remarked that, due to their hard work and that of their colleagues and staff, the township is in a much better position today than when they started.
“We all in this room collectively agree on what’s best 90 percent of the time, and 10 percent of the time we may disagree on how to implement certain things,” said Testa. “But at the end of the day, we’re in a better place than we were four years ago.”
Council will hold its reorganization meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, in the IT room at Moorestown High School. The three council member-elect will be sworn in at that meeting and a new mayor and deputy mayor will be selected.