Home » Pennington Council elects new member: life-long Pennington resident John Valenza

Pennington Council elects new member: life-long Pennington resident John Valenza

by Colleen Murphy-DePaolo

Pennington Borough Council began the new year by recognizing one member for his many contributions to the town’s business over the years and by choosing his replacement on the Council. Mayor Jim Davy read a proclamation during the reorganization meeting honoring former member Ken Gross. 

Gross served on the Council using his experience as a data scientist to make “well-informed, rational, and operational policy decisions with respect to budgeting and program planning,” according to Davy. He additionally served as chair of the finance and technology committee, the public works and pub safety committees, and liaison to the board of health, according to Davy.

Three individuals were nominated by the Pennington Democratic Committee as possible replacements for Gross’s Council seat. Mark Blackwell, Jen Tracy, and John Valenza all appeared at the Zoom meeting to make a statement and answer questions posed by Council members.

Blackwell, a life-long Pennington resident, spoke first and discussed his experience with the Board of Fire Commissioners for more than 22 years, where he served as chairman for 20 of those years. Council President Kit Chandler spoke of Blackwell’s long experience as a volunteer in Pennington.

Tracy spoke next and stated that she has lived in Pennington for the last 17 years and hoped to join Council to become more involved in the town she loves so much. 

Valenza spoke last, and stated that as a life-long resident of Pennington he has been focused on contributing to Pennington in a positive way. His resume included experience in engineering, which ultimately swayed the Borough Council’s decision. 

“I think any of the candidates would do an outstanding job but we have an opportunity here to bring in a specific skill set that we need,” said Chandler. “One of our biggest focuses is our aging infrastructure and the demands from the State. We have an engineer asking to be on Council and personally, I would like to take advantage of that.”

“This does not diminish in any way, the skill set of the other candidates,” said Chandler.

Chandler made a motion for the nomination of Valenza. Deborah Gnatt seconded that motion. Katie Angerone and Nadine Stern voted no on Valenza. Chandler, Gnatt, Marciante all voted yes. Valenza took his oath of office to join council as its newest member.

Borough Clerk Betty Sterling also recognized that Charles “Chico” Marciante and Angarone each had been re-elected to a three year term through December 31, 2025. Valenza’s election was to fill the unexpired term left by Gross, ending December 31, 2023.

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