The Mayor's Column
Mayor Tamburro Recognizes Retiring LeadersDecember 29, 2016
A lot can change in a year’s time. As I look back on my first year as Mayor, I am pleased on what has been accomplished including a reduction in the open space tax; miles of pavement and concrete repairs on local and county roads; completion of construction projects at Veteran’s Park, Dey Farm and the Community Garden; expansion of the Monroe Township Memorial Tree Park; and the installation of the generator at the Senior Center for use as an emergency shelter. We have also broken ground for a new traffic signal at the Federal and Perrineville Road intersection and provided the funding for the construction of a signal at Matchaponix, Pergola and Spotswood Gravel Hill Roads (it is under design now).
However, one of the most significant changes in 2016 has occurred in the municipal government with the retirement of several key Department Heads and staff members. Earlier this year, Municipal Clerk Sharon Doerfler retired after more than 30 years of service to the Monroe Township community, expertly handling everything from elections and Council Meetings to marriage, food, alcohol beverage and dog licenses.
The end of the year brings the retirement of two, long serving department heads-Director of Recreation Anthony Wilcenski and Director of Planning and Environmental Protection John Riggs.
Under Tony Wilcenski, the Department of Recreation began almost 30 years ago in a small office in Townhall with just three employees. Over the years it has grown to a staff of 17, serving almost 5,000 Monroe Township residents in our soccer, baseball, softball, football, cheer, basketball, lacrosse, and adult sport leagues. Additionally, Recreation hosts almost 1,500 children in summer camp and hosts thousands of residents for special events including the 4th of July Fireworks, Mayor’s Cup, Octoberfest and Grandparents Day. Tony has been instrumental in the development and expansion of the Monroe Township Community Center, parks and recreation fields throughout the township.
John Riggs has worn many hats over the years. He has served the residents of Monroe as Director of Planning and Environmental Protection, Tree Conservation Officer, Chairman of the Environmental Commission, Cultural Arts Commissioner, Open Space and Farmland Preservation Commissioner, Municipal Housing Liaison for Affordable Housing, and a member of the Planning Board. John has been an outstanding steward for the environment. He has aggressively pursued open space acquisitions, adding to the 6,500 acres of protected open space and another 1,300 acres of preserved farmland.
Riggs has been a proponent of spreading environmental awareness throughout the community by planting trees with students at our elementary schools and hosting river clean ups in the spring and fall. He also has a “green” thumb-launching the annual Green Fair in 2010, working to make Monroe a Certified Sustainable Jersey community and providing outstanding leadership in the development of the Community Garden.
John Riggs has done an outstanding job organizing volunteers and resources to push our environmental programs and initiatives forward. We will miss his leadership and enthusiasm. Monroe has also seen retirements in our Police Department and Senior Center. Judy Kalman, long-time Social Worker will be sorely missed. I appreciate the service of each of these Directors and employees and wish them well in their retirement.