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Perth Amboy Council Members Swearing In Ceremony 1/2/15

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PERTH AMBOY – Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Lissette Martinez welcomed those in attendance to the Inauguration Ceremony of the Swearing in of the Council Members. The Presentation of Colors and Pledge of Allegiance were presented by the PAPD Color Guard. After the Invocation by PAPD Police Chaplain Msgr. John Gordon, City Clerk Elaine Jasko read the election results which were as follows: Joel Pabon – 2593, William Petrick – 2383, Fernando Gonzalez – 2297, Sergio Diaz – 2288, Jelmin Caba – 2269, Ana Mascenik – 2111 and Miguel Nunez – 1393.

Jasko presented each newly elected Councilman their certificates of the election in alphabetical order.

Fernando Gonzalez was sworn in first by Judge Peter Jimenez, Jr. who stood in for Judge Mathias Rodriguez who was not present. Jimenez then proceeded to swear in Joel Pabon. William Petrick was sworn in by Judge George Boyd.

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez who is serving a second term after deciding to not seek reelection in 2012 was the first to make remarks. He started out by thanking everyone for being here on this beautiful day that we should all enjoy. He thanked his wife and children and all the people who voted in the election. He noted that this was the lowest voter election turnout in the history of the United States and this does not bode well. “I’ve been here before. I have been on boards and involved in elections since 1974. This election was a lot harder than 2008. There was an effort to suppress 530 votes. It’s a sad commentary that some people do not want others to vote. In spite of this, there are a great number of people I have worked with before that are good. In spite of the election being over, there are still people being harassed. On January 12, 2015 I will be in court defending the rights of people to vote.”

Councilman Joel Pabon was next. He thanked the Mayor and other politicians present, his family and friends and those who voted in the election, whether they voted for him or not. “Moving the City forward is not going to be easy. I’m inviting all to attend the Council Meetings whether or not you have something good or bad to say. And I want to thank those who do attend the meetings.”

He mentioned two business owners: one from Cibao Express and the Don Manuel Restaurant who talked to him how to improve the downtown business district. He congratulated his fellow newly elected Council Members and told those who gathered, “We are working for you.”

“I want to thank my wife and kids for putting up with me in the past and there’s just a few more years to go. The City’s credit ratings are going up and the Waterfront never looked better. The basketball and tennis courts are being refurbished. There is a recreation building that will be in use, which is temporarily housing the library. Things started happening with the library (renovations) through this administration. We haven’t been perfect, but I’m hoping that 2015 will be better and I’m looking forward to working with this Council and for you.”
Councilman Bill Petrick thanked every single person that had anything to do with helping their campaign. He acknowledged that the Freeholders brought Perth Amboy its first County Park. He thanked his wife, children and parents for their understanding for the time that he needed to run for reelection and to serve the community. “I want to thank the community for your faith in me. Our credit rating is up which is great for a community like ours. We went from looking at bankruptcy to positive bond ratings. I want to thank the City employees for what they do. They are sometimes under appreciated.”
Mayor Wilda Diaz then made her remarks, “I’m thankful to God for this wonderful day. I want to acknowledge the Council, the Clergy and our Local and State Representatives that are here.” She congratulated the Council and welcomed them back. “You again have an opportunity to work for the community.” She acknowledged that the  City had most recently been named “One of the most Caring Small Cities in New Jersey.”

“Together we have improved recreational facilities and have recovered from Sandy. There is still much to do and we are learning every day how we can improve community relationships. Our MOODY ratings improved.” She reiterated Bill Petrick’s statement about how the City was facing bankruptcy six years ago. “I want to thank Council Members Nanton, Irizarry and former Councilman Kenneth Gonzalez for the work they’ve done. I want to thank the family members of the newly sworn in Council.  On behalf of the Council, I want to thank the department heads for their dedication. I am not afraid to let anyone know about my faith in God and I have to think about the 50,000 residents.” She ended her remarks by thanking the clergy and non-profits that provide services for the City’s residents.

The Benediction was given by Rabbi Ari Saks.

Lissette Martinez welcomed those in attendance to stay for the Reorganization Meeting.

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