23
Thu, Mar

Hopatcong Special Meeting -- Without Notice?

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The Hopatcong Borough Council will hold a special meeting tonight, that to the best of our knowledge was not announced ahead of schedule to select a mayor and approve the contract of a new business administrator.

Ex-Vernon Mayor Victor Marotta is slated to become the borough's business administrator pending approval by the council. His employment with the borough will begin effective Dec. 12.

"I'm excited about the opportunity," Marotta said on Wednesday. "The governing body in Hopatcong has done a fine job and I look forward to joining the team."

Marotta was selected from a pool of 10 applicants. Details of Marotta's contract will be available after the council approves his appointment.

For the open mayor's seat, the Borough Council will be choosing among three of their own. Council President Frank Padula, Councilman Michael Francis and Councilman Richard Schindelar were the three names selected by the Hopatcong Republican Committee to fill the position that was vacated by county Freeholder-elect Sylvia Petillo on Nov. 17.

See updated article on the new Mayor

Petillo was elected to the freeholder board on Nov. 8, along with incumbent Freeholder Director George Graham.

The council member selected to serve as mayor will fill an unexpired term until the end of 2017. A primary and a general election will take place next year and the appointed mayor can file a petition in April to be on the June ballot.

The vacated council seat will be filled in a similar fashion; the municipal Republican committee will select three names for the council's consideration and the appointed candidate will fill an unexpired term.

Padula and Francis won unopposed re-election bids on Nov. 8. Padula was appointed to the council in May 2014, to fill the seat vacated by Richie Hoer and won election to a two-year, unexpired term that November. Francis has been on the council since 2008. Schindelar won election to the council in November 2014.

Hopatcong's mayor serves a four-year term. Borough Council members are elected to three-year terms.

Marotta was Vernon's first directly-elected mayor. He took office in 2011 after voters changed the form of government and empowered the mayor, previously chosen among council members, with executive authority. He lost to Harry Shortway in November 2015 which was a rematch of their 2011 showdown.

In May, Marotta registered his candidacy for the Vernon Township Council in 2017 with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) but he declined comment in June about his prospects for returning to elected office.

Former Business Administrator Robert Elia reached a retirement agreement with the borough in September. Elia's retirement is not effective until Jan. 6, but he has not been in the municipal office full-time since August.

Elia will receive his current salary and benefits through Jan. 6. His salary for 2016 is $142,212.25, according to borough records.

The retirement agreement also stated Elia must use all of his available benefit time and that no new benefit time will accrue in 2017. Elia will not be entitled to any financial compensation for benefit days as of the date of his retirement, the agreement states. Elia had been the borough administrator since 2011.

Tonight's meeting is open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building on River Styx Road.

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