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Elections

Commissioner Kasko will seek new term

Commissioner Jeff Kasko has filed paperwork to run in the May 11, 2021 Board of Commissioners election. The filing deadline for candidates’ petitions was yesterday (Monday, March 8).

A 20-year resident of Haddonfield, Kasko is seeking re-election after serving two terms as Deputy Mayor and one term as Mayor and Commissioner of Revenue and Finance.

He released the following statement today:

“After discussions with residents throughout town, I’ve decided to run one more time for Haddonfield Borough Commissioner, so that we can complete the work that is underway to both preserve and improve Haddonfield for current and future residents,” Kasko stated.

Kasko intends to focus on the experience he brings as an elected official, long-term resident, dedicated community volunteer, and father of five, as well as his accomplishments and initiatives as a member of the Board of Commissioners.

“I look forward to discussing important issues and projects over the next two months, including public health and safety during a pandemic, municipal spending and taxes, infrastructure and storm water improvements, Bancroft redevelopment, affordable housing, and welcoming families, seniors and diversity in our town,” said Kasko.     

Prior to serving as Commissioner, Kasko served on the town’s Zoning Board, as well as a board member of the Haddonfield Civic Association and Haddonfield Lions Club.  He has volunteered many hours as a Lion, Haddonfield Little League coach, Youth Basketball coach and Christ The King parishioner, and has served as the Commissioner’s representative on the Library Board, Human Relations Commission, Planning Board, Municipal Alliance, and the Partnership for Haddonfield.

Kasko is raising five sons, all attending or graduating from Haddonfield public schools.  He is employed as a senior licensing and regulatory analyst with the N.J. Department of Health.  Kasko is a graduate of Purdue University (B.A.) and Rutgers University (M.P.A.).

Eight will vie for three Commission seats

Eight Haddonfield residents have filed petitions to run in the Board of Commissioners election scheduled for Tuesday, May 11.

They are:

  • Colleen Bianco Bezich
  • Jeff Kasko
  • Adam Puff
  • Kathryn Raiczyk
  • Kevin Roche
  • Mark Rusc
  • Frank Troy
  • Daniel Zhang

Mayor Neal Rochford announced yesterday (March 7) that he will not be a candidate.

Two of the candidates — Colleen Bianco Bezich and Jeff Kasko — are incumbent commissioners; only one of the other six — Kathryn Raiczyk — has run for public office in Haddonfield before, at the Board of Commissioners special election in 2019.

Mayor Rochford to retire at end of term, in May

Haddonfield Mayor Neal Rochford has announced that he will not seek re-election to the Board of Commissioners. The election, for three commissioners serving concurrent four-year terms, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11.

Mayor Rochford posted the following message on his “Haddonfield Mayor Neal Rochford” Facebook page today:

“Dear Friends,

“I am announcing that I will not be running for another term on the Haddonfield Board of Commissioners. As I look forward to embarking on my next chapter, I leave proud that I was able to serve three portfolios: Finance, Public Safety and Public Works during my time in office.

“It is our engaged community that makes Haddonfield truly a special place. Without a doubt, the appeal of Haddonfield is due to the contributions of countless residents who volunteer on boards and committees around town. I leave with a sense of pride, knowing that Haddonfield has continued to be the go-to town in the region for visitors and residents alike.

“One of the best aspects of Haddonfield’s elections is that they are nonpartisan. I hope that this tradition is not diminished by the strongly polarized political environment we are currently living in. I wish the future commissioners all the best as they continue to work together on the issues that will define Haddonfield for generations.

“While there are many people I would like to recognize, I want to give a special thank you to the borough employees who are the backbone of the municipal workings. Working alongside you all has been a wonderful experience.

“Lastly, I give a heartfelt thank you to the community for allowing me to serve as your commissioner and mayor. It has been my honor to serve my community and I have wonderful memories of my time as commissioner and mayor.”

  • * * * *

Neal Rochford first ran for the Board of Commissioners in 2001, placing fifth in a field of eight. (Tish Colombi, John Reisner, and Jack Tarditi were elected that year. Having received the highest number of votes, Tish Colombi became the mayor.)

Neal entered the fray again in 2005, and placed third in a field of five. (Colombi and Ed Borden served with him for the next four years.) He took on the Revenue & Finance portfolio.

He came fourth in a field of six in 2009 — Colombi, Borden, and newcomer Jeff Kasko formed the Board of Commissioners at that time — then returned to the board in 2013 with Kasko and newcomer John Moscatelli. Rochford took on the Public Affairs & Public Safety portfilio.

At the 2017 election, Kasko, Moscatelli, and Rochford ran unopposed. As the recipient of the largest number of votes, Rochford became the mayor. He continued as Director for Public Affairs & Public Safety until a special election was held in November 2019 to fill the unexpired term of John Moscatelli, who had resigned that summer. (Rochford and Kasko appointed Robert Marshall to serve as interim Commissioner until the election.) When Colleen Bianco Bezich was elected in November 2019, she took on the Public Affairs & Public Safety portfolio, and Rochford picked up Public Works, Parks and Public Buildings.

Neal Rochford was active in many community matters before he first ran for office, involvement that was recognized publicly when he was named Citizen of the Year in 2003. He was a key member of the committee that established First Night (the New Year’s Eve celebration) in the late 1990s, was treasurer for the HATCH (dinosaur sculpture) Committee, and served as president of the Rotary Club of Haddonfield.

Bezich to seek new term as commissioner

Colleen Bianco Bezich, who was elected to fill the unexpired term of Commissioner John Moscatelli in 2019, and currently serves as the Borough’s Director of Public Affairs & Public Safety, has announced that she will be a candidate in the municipal election on May 11.

She released the following statement to Haddonfield[dot]Today on February 22.

“In early 2019, a surgical procedure left me bed & couch-bound for several weeks,” Bianco Bezich said when explaining the genesis of her first run for office. “Shortly thereafter, Commissioner Moscatelli resigned, and former Mayor Tish Colombi’s call-to-action for young women to get off our backsides and run for office immediately came to mind. It was if she was speaking directly to me – because getting off my own backside quite literally presented more challenges than most could comprehend.”

Bianco Bezich received 1730 votes in that election, defeating appointed incumbent Robert Marshall, who was supported by Colombi, by over 350 votes.

“In 2019, I worked tirelessly to become the second female Commissioner in our Borough’s history – and I could not have done it alone. I had active, engaged, & committed volunteers supporting me” Bianco Bezich said. “Importantly, I was received with open arms by many lifelong Haddonfield residents, but newer residents also felt they were deserving of a seat at the table, and my candidacy resonated with them.”

Bianco Bezich has one (1) son, Luca, who will eventually attend Tatem Elementary. She works full-time as a lawyer, counting land use, local government law, real estate & small business representation among her practice areas. She also serves as general counsel of Be Films, LLC and Five Story Media, the video production companies that she and her husband Anthony Bezich operate from their Tanner Street studio.

“I’ve spent almost two (2) decades working in local government, from helping to create the Partnership for Haddonfield nearly 20 years ago, to drafting & negotiating redevelopment agreements, to arguing the legality of local land use ordinances in court,” Bianco Bezich stated. “I was the most experienced & qualified candidate in 2019, and that remains true in this cycle, too.”

In addition to her volunteer service as a Borough Commissioner, Bianco Bezich is a member of the Haddonfield Celebrations Association, a Board member of LUCY Camden, a member of the Supreme Court of New Jersey District IV Ethics Committee, and an active member of the Haddonfield Lions Club. She also serves as a pro bono attorney for Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Assoc. Delaware Valley Chapter, as well as the South Jersey Perinatal Cooperative. Before joining Board of Commissioners, she was a member of the Haddonfield Zoning Board of Adjustment.

When addressing her first year in office, Bianco Bezich acknowledged that the pandemic impacted many of her plans. 

“I had to adjust my expectations & shift my priorities, because we entered a time of great uncertainty, and confronted very real risks to health & safety,” she said. “But I am really proud of what I was able to accomplish and set into motion, despite the pandemic. Even in this incredibly challenging climate, I worked diligently on behalf of our residents & business owners, and I hope they’ll support me this May so that I can continue to do so.” 

In her launch video, Bianco Bezich identified some of her most significant accomplishments of 2020 as new & improved public safety initiatives, obtaining grant funding for stormwater management, developing a new affordable housing policy that utilizes existing housing stock, and creating a micro grant program for the Borough’s small business community.

“I truly love where I live, and live where I love,” she said.

The Borough of Haddonfield is a Walsh Act municipality, which functions as a non-partisan commission form of government. The three (3) Commissioners serve concurrent four-year terms.  As such, all three (3) Commissioner seats are up this year. The Commissioner with the highest vote count traditionally serves as mayor.  The municipal election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11. 2021.

Those interested in learning more about Colleen Bianco Bezich’s campaign can connect here:

May 11 election to be in-person, not by mail

NJ Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday (February 8) that this year’s May municipal elections would be held in person, rather than by mail, as was the case for the 2020 general election last November.

During his daily news conference, he said:

“Today we are announcing that … the municipal nonpartisan elections scheduled for May 11th will be conducted in person. As always, voters will have the ability to request a vote-by-mail ballot for any reason. We will ensure that all in-person polling places adhere to proper health and safety protocols including face coverings, social distancing, and frequent sanitation.

“We are able to take this step as our COVID numbers are headed — I emphasize headed — in the right direction and we are optimistic that these trends will continue, especially as more residents get vaccinated and the weather also becomes warmer. This is very different than the situation we confronted last summer, when we had to make a decision on the November election, knowing that our models showed a huge surge of COVID cases in the fall, which unfortunately, came to pass. While we are not making a decision on the June primary elections at this point, we are optimistic that we’ll be able to conduct in-person voting in June as well.”

Kevin Roche submits petitions for Commission election

A corporate investment professional who has lived in Haddonfield since 2013 filed petitions today to be a candidate in the Haddonfield Board of Commissioners election to be held on May 11.

In a statement released after delivering his petitions to the Borough Clerk, Kevin Roche said he has decided that now is the time to get involved in a deeper way and approach the issues of Haddonfield with “a fresh perspective.”

Roche said he and his family were drawn to Haddonfield because of its sense of community, schools, and the diverse activities available for families. 

“I love this town,” he said, “and want to do everything I can to ensure that the decisions made today benefit the town twenty years from now. Living in Haddonfield has given my family so much, now it is time to pay it forward.”

According to his website – kevinroche.org – Roche will focus on working to develop solutions for issues such as housing, open space, and aging infrastructure.

He believes he is uniquely qualified to address the financial decisions that need to be made pertaining to Bancroft as well as finding and creating alternative revenue opportunities for the Borough.

Roche is founder and CEO of LHT Consultants, which provides creative financial solutions for families, private businesses, and foundations. He is also a professor at Drexel University and an advisor to the Drexel University Venture Capital Club.

He volunteers with the Community Foundation of South Jersey and Haddonfield Crew. When his son was younger, he was actively involved with Haddonfield Youth Basketball.

Roche is the fourth resident to submit petitions with the Borough Clerk or file forms with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission, or both. None of the incumbent Commissioners has publicly revealed their plans with respect to the election.

Mark Rusc files election forms with State of NJ

Mark Rusc, a Haddonfield resident who serves as chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, filed forms with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission on Wednesday (February 10), documenting the formation of a campaign committee for the Haddonfield Board of Commissioners election on May 11.

He has not yet submitted petitions to the Borough Clerk.

Rusc’s forms note that Jonathan Prebich will serve as campaign chair, and Luis A Hoz de Vila will serve as treasurer.

Rusc is the third resident to submit petitions with the Borough Clerk or file forms with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission, or both. None of the incumbent Commissioners has publicly revealed their plans with respect to the election.

Second candidate files for Commission election

A five-year resident of Haddonfield has become the second person to enter this year’s race for the board of commissioners, scheduled for May 11.

Francis T. Troy joins Adam V. Puff, who submitted petitions to the borough clerk on January 25, having filed a certificate of organization for his campaign committee with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission on January 4. Troy filed his certificate on January 28.

On his website – votefranktroy.com – Troy notes that after “years of military deployments and corporate relocations, I jumped at the chance to move to Haddonfield back in 2016.”

He says his focus — “sustainable policies for our future” — serves two purposes. “The first is seizing opportunities to make needed changes to our Borough, without forgoing our rich history and culture. The second element is doing this in an environmentally-sound way so that our children inherit a better world.”

Troy asserts that with “nearly 3 decades of private and public experience leading large organizations focused on energy-efficient design,” he is “uniquely qualified to do this.” He is a vice president at Albireo Energy, which provides building automation and energy services for commercial and institutional buildings.

Troy served as an officer in the US Navy for six years. His overseas deployments included the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf.

He is a volunteer member of the Haddonfield Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Lifelong resident is first to file for Commission election

Haddonfield Board of Commissioners candidate Adam Puff delivers his nominating petitions to the Borough Clerk, Deanna Bennett.

A lifelong resident of Haddonfield is the first candidate to file petitions for this year’s Board of Commissioners election. 

Adam Puff said he hopes to be the voice, resource, and problem solver for every resident and local business owner who has ever asked, ‘Why isn’t it getting done?”

In particular, he plans to focus on a prompt resolution to the future of the Bancroft property; addressing residents’ concerns about stormwater, streets, and trees; encouraging innovative approaches to supporting and promoting the business district; improving borough communications, and ensuring transparency in decision making. 

Puff sums up his focus in three words: “Pride. Progress. Partnership.” 

A 2000 graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, Puff and his wife Jessica are raising their three children just a few blocks from where he grew up, and where his parents still live. An accredited investment fiduciary, he is the founder and CEO of Haddonfield Financial Planning, located at 205 N. Haddon Avenue.  

Puff is an active member of the Lions Club, serves as president of the Haddonfield Educational Trust (a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the excellence of Haddonfield’s public schools), and is a board member of both the Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust and the Partnership for Haddonfield (which manages the downtown business district).

“For 39 years, I’ve benefited from many wonderful things this community has provided,” Puff said. “Volunteering with these organizations is one way I’ve been able to give back. But now I’d like to put my interests and ideas to work at the municipal level.”

Haddonfield’s Board of Commissioners has three elected members who serve concurrent four-year terms. The next election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11. 2021. Traditionally, the candidate who receives the most votes becomes the mayor. 

Puff said that his campaign slogan, “Let’s Go, Haddonfield!” is designed to reflect the energy and enthusiasm he will bring to the board of commissioners. 

“Haddonfield needs those qualities right now,” Puff says, “to help develop innovative solutions for the new realities posed by the pandemic and the economy.” 

“I’m ready, willing, and able to serve,” he said, “and I hope the voters of Haddonfield will give me the chance.”

The campaign’s web address is AdamPuff.com. The Facebook page is @AdamPuff2021.