January 11, 2012

Township Elects Goerner, Lempert As It Reorganizes for the Last Time

Chad Goerner was reelected Mayor and Liz Lempert took Sue Nemeth’s place as Deputy Mayor at Township Committee’s reorganization last week.

In her nomination, Ms. Lempert observed that, given how much was accomplished in recent months, it was hard to believe that Mr. Goerner has been mayor for only one year. She described him as a “great colleague,” “inclusive” in his work and a “great communicator”

Ms. Nemeth, who hopes to run for a seat on the Mercer County Board of Freeholders later this year, nominated Ms. Lempert. Ms. Nemeth spoke of Ms. Lempert’s history of engagement in preservation efforts; her work with the citizens finance advisory committee; her role as an advocate for the Human Services Department; and her influence in the recruitment of bilingual volunteers Township offices.

Describing her as “an excellent leader” over the past year, Mr. Goerner noted that Ms. Nemeth has his full support as she looks ahead to working at the county level.

Mr. Goerner, who sported a blue bow tie that evening, was sworn in by former governor Jim Florio. “I worked on his campaign while in I was in college and his ability to stand by his principles and make difficult decisions–but the right decisions–even when they weren’t always the most popular, inspired me to become involved in politics,” said Mr. Goerner in thanking Mr. Florio.

Ms. Lempert was sworn in by attorney and former School Board member Walter Bliss.

Both Ms. Nemeth and Bernie Miller, who were returned to Township Committee in the November election, were sworn in as well at the Tuesday evening meeting. Ms. Nemeth was sworn in by Township Attorney Ed Schmierer. Noting that he had done this a number of times before, Simon Miller did the honors for his father, whom he thanked for the “lesson he’s given me and my children: the value of public service.” Mr. Miller announced that he would not run for office in 20012.

Congressman Rush Holt (D-12); Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes; and former Township May Michelle-Tuck Ponder were among the dignitaries present for the Township’s last reorganization meeting as a separate entity.

Dog Tax

With that in mind, Mr. Goerner said, he and Deputy Clerk, Kathy Brzezynski paid a visit to the Township’s archives that morning. Princeton was incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 9, 1838, and the hand-written budget for that year, Mr. Goerner reported, included $500 for the repair of roads; $500 to support the poor; $50 for bridge repairs; and $400 for schools. Incoming revenue included a $1 tax on every dog. “From our humble beginnings to a budget today of approximately $36 million ($61m if we include Princeton Borough), we have grown into a vibrant, diverse and desirable community,” observed Mr. Goerner. “Reunited once again, the future for our community looks very bright.”

At last year’s reorganization meeting, Mr. Goerner reminded the audience, he paraphrased David Bowie, observing that “we won’t always know where we’re going, but I promise you it won’t be boring.” This time he channelled the Moody Blues as he promised that “we will ‘keep as cool as we can and face piles of trials with smiles.’”