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Winters Sworn in as Newest Council Member

Michelle Winters gets an assist from the woman she replaces on Gloucester Township Council in taking her oath of office.

Gloucester Township's newest Council member was sworn in during the governing body's meeting Monday night.

Michelle Winters' oath of office was administered by the woman whose seat she's taking on Township Council—Camden County Freeholder Michelle Gentek.

Winters has extensive background as a volunteer in Gloucester Township, but has never held public office. She vowed to not let her inexperience in government hold her back as she completes the final 10 months of Gentek's term.

"I'm kind of just going to learn as I go and make an impact where I can," Winters, a nurse who lives in the township's Blenheim section, said following Monday's meeting.

Council unanimously selected Winters, a 1985 Triton Regional High School graduate, to replace Gentek at its Feb. 11 meeting from among four candidates put forth by the Gloucester Township Democrat Committee.

"It's an honor to have been chosen," she said.

Gentek took county office on Jan. 4.

Mayor David Mayer and other officials welcomed Winters to Council during Monday's meeting.

"First, let me congratulate Michelle on your swearing in. We certainly look forward to working with you and for your vision and ideas for Gloucester Township," Mayer said.

While she may not have experience in terms of public office, Winters has held many leadership positions over the years. She is manager of invasive cardiology at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, in Camden, and served as Gloucester Township Hockey Alliance Booster Club president for two years and secretary for three years. 

Winters also was Triton field hockey's booster club vice president for two years.

 

Check back with Gloucester Township Patch later today and throughout the week for more from the Feb. 25 Council meeting.

Michelle Wolfson February 28, 2013 at 04:45 AM
I believe I was the "Mrs Green" to which Mr. Gladden was referring. A reference to my 'Going Green' column. Mr. Gladden ran into me in the grocery store the other day. He is in no way stalking me (that I know of) ;-).
Michelle Wolfson February 28, 2013 at 04:49 AM
Sorry Paul, my mistake. Maybe the wrong choice of wording. Perhaps you were not "judging" but rather making assumptions? Like to assume that she will vote lock-step with the sitting council? I mean, I don't know Mrs. Winters. I don't know if you're right or wrong. I just feel like she should be given a chance to actually perform before we form our opinion of her performance.
Darren Gladden February 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM
They will be over today to see if you will look to press stalking charges , but on a real note we should charge you Mrs. Green for a poor voting record ....;-) Just care , I do ...PS Mrs Wolfson welcome to silly season
Michelle Wolfson February 28, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Ahhh if only charges could be pressed for poor voting records. You'd have millions incarcerated for the Bush years. ;-)
Mayor Blackberry February 28, 2013 at 02:45 PM
If the Republicans file a lawsuit and win, it is not them being petty and obstructionist. It is the failure of Gloucester Township Solicitor David Carlamere to understand and follow New Jersey laws regarding the appointment of council members following a resignation. He has been an attorney / elected official for over 30 years. He should know the laws by now. Since the Democrats did not submit their list in 15 days, Council had until Jan 30th to make the appointment. If Mrs. Winters is forcably unseated, this will be because of David Carlamere's failure to properly advise Council.
True Dat February 28, 2013 at 03:28 PM
It would be both. It would be Carlamere's failure. It would be another instance of the opposition bringing nothing constructive, nothing substantive, nothing worth getting behind that would bring change for the better.
Andre Bademos February 28, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Sean I am curious about something, you refer to Tom Crone is a CCGOP spokesman? Is he a self appointed spokesman or was he appointed to the CCGOP? I do not see his name on the official list of Republican County Committee people, nor do I see his name even on the Gloucester Township county Committee people. Please explain why you give him credibility as a CCGOP member? Also correct me if I am wrong but there were no council meeting between the time of the names being due and the time they were made public. Do you or Mr. Crone have documentation proving the names were not turned over prior to the disclosure at the next public meeting? Also exactly what rule under Faulkner states if the committee does not submit names timely that the seat would remain vacant for the rest of the term? I do see a rule that says if the controlling committee does not submit names that council has the right to fill the seat with someone of its choosing but nothing states the seat shall remain vacant for the remainder of the unexpired term. Please clarify. Seems this Crone character along with his ally Mr. Berry have a long history of harassing Mr. Carlamere and his wife. Is this another unnecessary baseless political stunt the tax payers of Gloucester Township will be forced to pay for?
Darren Gladden February 28, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Listen up HEAD......GMAB people do try to speak up and get things done . Now what do you bullies try and do beat them down into the ground that what people see ..SMH......Must be nice HEAD to sit behind a wall of lies ........SMH ......Get a clue....Just care , I do http://youtu.be/WpYeekQkAdc
Mayor Blackberry February 28, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Mr. Gladden. I do not see Head as beating any one up just giving his opinion of the GOP correcting the failures of Council's legal advisor. He sees it as them just blocking and others see it as the GOP finally doing something to make it clear how inept their lack of state law and process is. That is Heads opinion and he is completely entitled to it just as I am entitled to mine. I respect him for saying it and not attacking people personally. Open debate is a good thing.
Andre Bademos February 28, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Yes darren don't interfere with your nonsence on this one leave HEAD ALONE in case you failed to read the memo there are bigger things going on here and we don't need your gibberish to confuse anyone. Listen to the Blackberry stay out of it and back off the Head
True Dat February 28, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Mayor Blackberry: Do you know what the process is for filling the vacant seat after the Council's time period expires? Like what happened with Assemblywomen Mosquera, does the local Party Committee make the appointment?
Sean McCullen (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Tom Crone is a CCGOP spokesman, and, in fact, their political director. Mr. Crone has provided a copy of an email he obtained, from GT Democrat Committee chairman Kevin Piccolo to Council President Bianchini, dated Feb. 8 that has the list of four recommendations. As for your final question: That's up to you and others to decide. I'm just reporting that the GOP thinks rules weren't followed in Michelle Winters' appointment. If you disagree, well, you're going to have to take that up with them. I'm not sure what you meant by "documentation proving the names were not turned over prior to the disclosure at the next public meeting." I don't think Mr. Crone has contended the names weren't disclosed in a timely manner. I think the contention is the four names weren't provided by Mr. Piccolo to Council in a timely fashion.
Sean McCullen (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 05:47 PM
40A:16-11. Appointment to fill vacancy where incumbent was nominee of a political party; time to fill vacancy. If the incumbent whose office has become vacant was elected to office as the nominee of a political party, the municipal committee of the political party of which the incumbent was the nominee shall, no later than 15 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, present to the governing body the names of three nominees for the selection of a successor to fill the vacancy. The governing body shall, within 30 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, appoint one of the nominees as the successor to fill the vacancy. If the governing body fails to appoint one of the nominees within the time prescribed herein, the municipal committee that named the three nominees shall, within the next 15 days, appoint one of the nominees as the successor to fill the vacancy, and such person shall be sworn in immediately. If the municipal committee which nominated the incumbent fails to submit the names of the nominees within the time prescribed herein, the governing body may, within the next 15 days, fill the vacancy by the appointment of a successor from the same political party which had nominated the incumbent whose office has become vacant.
Sean McCullen (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 05:47 PM
If, on the effective date of this act, the governing body had previously received from the municipal committee the names of three nominees to fill any such vacancy and had not filled the vacancy, the governing body, within 30 days after the effective date of this act, shall appoint one of the nominees as the successor to fill the vacancy.
Sean McCullen (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 05:48 PM
That's the statute Mr. Crone pointed to the night Council approved Mrs. Winters as Michelle Gentek's replacement. Sorry it had to be chopped up. Even I'm bound by character limits when leaving a comment on Patch. Good day.
Mayor Blackberry February 28, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Head: this is completly different from what happened with Assemblywoman Mosquera. In that case she was rules not elidgible until a certain date. That date fell within a time period for the party to nominate her. When the original article came out mentioning a possible problem, I did a quick google and found the NJ laws within a matter of minutes. Here is a summary of the process for a town with partisan council elections: - From the date of the resignation, the party of the vacated seat has 15 calendar days to submit three names to council. - Council has then until 30 days past the resignation to choose - If the party fails to send three names in 15 days, council then can appoint anyone from the same party but still within 30 days. - If Council fails to appoint anyone, and if the party has submitted their names within the first 15 day window the party then has 15 days to appoint the person (days 31 - 45 from the vacancy). If the party fails to appoint then the seat is open. - If Council fails to appoint anyone within 30 days and the party did not send the list within 15 days the seat is vacant. Note: this is to appoint, not swear in. Going by the dates mentioned here, Freeholder Gentek resigned effective Jan 1st. Mrs. Winters name was sent Feb 8th. This date is outside of the party's and the council's time lines. Council had a meeting Jan 28th where they should have appointed her or they could have held a special session Jan 30th. Once
Sean McCullen (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 05:59 PM
40A:16-13. Failure of governing body to fill vacancy in membership of governing body. If a governing body shall fail or decline to fill a vacancy in the membership of the governing body by appointment as provided in N.J.S.40A:16-4 or 40A:16-5 within the time prescribed by N.J.S.40A:16-12, the office shall remain vacant for the remainder of the term or until the election and qualification of a successor, as the case may be.
Mayor Blackberry February 28, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Just saw Sean gave details above. I added the statute for the seat being vacant. If the party needs more than 15 days they can take it as long as council then appoints within 30 days. What is surprising here is that Mrs. Genteks resignation was no surprise. They knew she won in early November and could have started interviewing then. Or they could have started interviewing in mid 2012 when they announced her candidacy to the County Freeholder Board. Head, maybe you see this as being obstructionist and maybe it is. Others see it as a wake up call to our elected officials that they need to start following the law because the Republicans will start to hold them accountable for it. Either way, thank you for a good dialogue on this.
Darren Gladden February 28, 2013 at 06:04 PM
""""""""'REALLLLLLLYYYYYY """"""' wannbe make me laugh ,,,,,,,I will not never back up ...I always move forward .....Now do we have a problem
Darren Gladden February 28, 2013 at 06:20 PM
This song for you http://youtu.be/9jK-NcRmVcw Enjoy your next Journey .....JCID
Andre Bademos February 28, 2013 at 06:56 PM
No Darren I was trying to make you laugh
Andre Bademos February 28, 2013 at 07:11 PM
So at best case scenario if we are to believe these timelines as accurate and I have no reason to doubt them. Then the appointment would have reverted back to the Gloucester Township Democrats and as the appointment date was officially ceremonially achieved on Feb 11, 2013. The Democratic Party would have still appointed Ms Winters and would have had the appointment power since council failed to act timely. Again this is all semantics as either was Ms Winters was officially appointed without dispute on 2/11/13. She was chosen by the democrats and able to be appointed by them at that time which she was. The mayor of the town is the De Facto chairman of the Democratic Party by virtue of being Mayor elected as a democrat. The council is all democrats and De Facto members of the Democratic Party by virtue of being elected as democrats. Either way you look at it she was appointed by democrats, chosen by democrats and instilled by democrats within the 45 days if all your 15 day periods are correct. Let’s not cost the tax payers money on a goose chase in semantics.
True Dat February 28, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Blackberry, Sean, thank you for your responses on the process. Blackberry, I think that you and I are much closer to being on the same page than my earlier comments might indicate. My reaction was from the appearance that, all to often, politics seems to have denigrated to a game of trickery and one-upsmanship (and fund raising); instead of ideas and problem solving. However, I do agree that our Township government has become too unaccountable and opaque, and even sometimes arrogant.
Mayor Blackberry February 28, 2013 at 07:38 PM
That argument would have held true if the GT Democrats had submitted their list to Council by January 16th. If they had and Council failed to appoint one of them by January 31st then the party would have had until Feb 15th to make the appointment. The argument fails on two fronts: 1) the party failed to submit the names by Jan 16th (the facts here are Feb 8th), and 2) assuming the party sent the list in on time the party would have had to appoint someone by Feb 15th. According to all available information all they did was send a list of 4 people on Feb 8th. That is not an appointment. The Council chose Mrs. Winters on the 11th, not the party. The party would have had to formally notify council by Feb. 15 of their sole appointment. To be best of my knowledge this did not happen. Even if it did, it was irrelevant because the Democrat party did not meet the 15 day deadline. In addition they sent 4 names, not the required 3. Either way you and I bickering over legal details is academic. While I know Council members will read this they are not going to take any kind of action until forced by the courts. As entertaining as going back and forth with on this may be I am not going to keep arguing. I'll let the commentors here weigh in on their opinions.
Andre Bademos February 28, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Stashes minion I agree lets let the courts handle it, lets let the tax payers pay for it, and for what? If you win, one seat is left open until the next election the panel will still be 6 democrats 0 republicans. Does that make you feel better that the poeple have 1 less voice to express an opinion, seriously? Yep the republican way less voices less people to object to their radical agenda.
Darren Gladden February 28, 2013 at 07:49 PM
okay , what type of laugh ...hahaha, haha, ha or a lol maybe a lmao or lmfao
Andre Bademos February 28, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Maybe you should start finding people with positive outlooks to run on your Republican ticket. Give the people a real choice instead of guy who can't talk or write a complete sentence or that the same retread rejected Realtor you put on the ticket year after year. What is this 4 elections she got slammed in now? Wanna go for 5?
Darren Gladden February 28, 2013 at 08:07 PM
what Arrogant ..........naming a Team after you ......WOW ......Talk about an EGO issue we have here ......... Just care , I do ..Team Dave must be replace in 13 .......;-)
Debbie Shinn February 28, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Head: Well said, don't want to just vent and complaint here, What does one do besides show up at the council meetings and get on the "roll your eyes, here we go again list". Really, I want to affect some change but don't know how. Also, everyone here seems to think this is a repub against the demos project. It's not that way for me at all, just want to direct the proper energy. How do I do that!
Great Job Gt February 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Congrads Mrs Winters. There are thousands of gt residents who will support you on Election Day.

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