Outgoing Officials Recognized for Service


January 1st, 2011

by Erik Weber


SOUTH TOMS RIVER – With the new year approaching and a new administration set to govern this mid-county borough of about 3,600 residents, Borough Clerk Elizabeth “Betty” Silvestri borrowed a bit of the spotlight during the December 20th council meeting to recognize three officials whose terms were set to expire.


Mrs. Silvestri first called upon Councilman Oscar Cradle to step away from the dais to receive a plaque recognizing his nearly two decades of service for the borough.


“I go back years with Oscar,” she noted before handing him the plaque which she said was from the residents and council for his “dedication to the borough.”


“I’d like to thank Betty and my fellow council members – it has been a pleasure service South Toms River these past 15 years,” said Mr. Cradle. “Although I will not be on council in the coming year, I will still be on South Toms River.”


Mr. Cradle chose not to run for re-election this November, but previously stated he was looking forward to serving the borough in other volunteer capacities.


Next, the borough clerk called upon longtime serving borough official, Council President George J. Greitz, Jr. to step away from the dais to receive his plaque.


“I’ve been with George many, many, many years,” Mrs. Silvestri started.


“As the clerk!” quipped Mr. Greitz before she could finish.


Mrs. Silvestri then presented Mr. Greitz with his plaque, which she said was also from the residents and council for his “many, many years dedicated to our town.”


Mr. Greitz, who has served as both councilman and mayor of the borough at alternate times since the late 1970s, lost his bid for mayor in November’s election to fellow Councilman Joseph Champagne, who became the first voter-elected black mayor in Ocean County as a result.


“I’d like to thank the mayor and council – I’ve been doing this about 32 years now and I want to thank everyone very much,” he said. “I live in town, I will still live in town and I will still be involved even if it’s just for the kids.”


“Something that people seem to forget is that we all live in this town, so let’s all root for the winners to do a good job for all in this town,” the council president continued. “Good luck.”


Lastly, Mrs. Silvestri called upon first-time official and Mayor Michael Keene to step down and receive his plaque.


Mayor Keene chose not to run for re-election this past November.


Starting by thanking Mrs. Silvestri for her own service to the borough, he noted that without her own hard work the borough would hardly run at all.


The mayor then stated that while he was gracious for the experience in his position, he didn’t think he would “ever, ever try it again.”


“I want to thank everybody – the residents, council, clerk, Jennifer [Carr] – for all the hard work you’ve done,” Mayor Keene said.


Before continuing with the rest of the meeting, Mrs. Silvestri added thanks to the other volunteers in the borough, including the police department, public works department, Linda Petty, Jennifer Carr, Councilman Sanford Ross, Jr., the Shore Vineyard Church of Beachwood for singing at their tree lighting event every year, Andrew Howard and his children for decorating the tree, the first aid squad, the Manitou Park Volunteer Fire Company, and Luigi’s Deli for regularly donating to borough events.


The next meeting of the borough council will be a caucus session held on Monday, January 10th at 7 pm in borough hall on Mill Street.