After last night’s Hopewell Township Committee Special Meeting ended, the municipal building auditorium was filled with friends, family, and representatives of the County, State Senate, and U.S. Congress to thank Committee member Vanessa Sandom and Township Administrator/Engineer Paul Pogorzelski for their many years of public service.
During Sandom’s 17-year tenure with the Township Committee, she served as mayor four times and deputy mayor once. In those positions, and as a member of countless committees, her legacy includes bringing Capital Health to Hopewell, protecting Hopewell Township’s stream corridors, open space and farmlands, supporting affordable housing initiatives like Project Freedom and Hopewell Gardens, and lowering taxes, to name a few.
After serving as the Township’s consulting engineer for 20 years, Pogorzelski became its Administrator and Engineer in 2007. Among the many tasks in those roles, he managed 150 full and part-time employees, reviewed all planning, zoning and building permit applications, and managed the municipal stormwater program, public water and sewer system operations, public water contracts, consultant contracts, and public works department.
Hopewell Township proclamations that lauded Sandom and Pogorzelski were read by Mayor Kevin Kuchinski, followed by proclamations read by County Executive Brian M. Hughes from Mercer County and N.J. Legislators Reed Gusciora, Elizabeth Muoio, Steve Sweeney, and Senator Shirley Turner. Proclamations were also read by representatives of Congressperson Bonnie Watson-Coleman for both Sandom and Pogorzelski.
The ability to never give up in the face adversity, to work tirelessly on behalf of their community, and to inspire others to do the same were common threads echoed not only in the many proclamations, but in personal reflections made by community leaders, co-workers, and residents as well.
And, most poignantly, Sandom’s husband Carl Seiden shared, “Through your example you’ve taught (our sons) and me the importance of public service, fighting for what you believe is right, giving credit instead of taking credit, finding solutions through respectful collaboration, and protecting people who might not always be able to protect themselves.”
In the new year, Michael Ruger will take over Sandom’s seat on the Committee, Elaine Borges will become the Township Administrator while continuing on as Chief Financial Officer, and Mark Kataryniak will serve as Township Engineer in addition to heading the Community Development department.