Old Bridge Township Council reorganizes with familiar faces, new council member


OLD BRIDGE – The Old Bridge Township Council reorganized with familiar faces and a new council member.

On New Year’s Day in front of dignitaries including Donald T. DiFrancesco, former governor of New Jersey, Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R-Middlesex) and former Old Bridge Mayor Barbara Cannon, family and friends, Mayor Owen Henry was sworn in for his third, four-year term, and Councilwomen Anita Greenberg-Belli, Eleanor “Debbie” Walker and Mary Rita Sohor were sworn in for the three, four-year term council-at-large seats inside council chambers.

Sohor vacated her Ward 2 seat, which expires on Dec. 31, 2021, after she was sworn in for the council-at-large seat. The Old Bridge Republican GOP offered three names and the council selected Erik DePalma to fill her unexpired seat until the November election.

DePalma is a longtime Old Bridge resident who is currently a commissioner on the Old Bridge Redevelopment Agency Board, having served for two years.

Henry said he is “honored, humbled, thankful and blessed” for the opportunity to serve as the Old Bridge mayor. He said he is lucky to have a great team and ran with three running mates Greenberg-Belli, Walker and Sohor, also known as the “mayor’s angels.”

“Eight years ago we all agreed the challenges in front of us were daunting and would require change, change that is not easy, tough decisions would be required,” he said. “We set goals, we prioritized. Four years ago, I stated promises were kept, goals were achieved, finances were going in the right direction, money was being invested back into our town, municipal taxes were stable, and departments were delivering better services for our residents.”

Henry said the implementation of a strong management team, hard work and long hours have all yielded positive results.

“Today, eight years later, those trends continue,” he said. “We continue to improve and build upon the success of our past years. Our department heads continue to adjust and enhance our services, we are a safe community, recognized nationally. We continue to provide a stable environment to live work and raise a family. We allow for the opportunity to succeed now and in the future. New businesses continue to open in Old Bridge, real economic development is occurring. We continue to grow our programs such as Camp Robin and support organizations who provide adult services for those who need them most.”

Henry said his goals as mayor continue to be simple ones: guide the town through the present and near future and make certain he guides it in a direction so it has a positive impact on the next generation.

“Hopefully I can encourage, I can motivate and inspire others to do the same,” he said. “I know the next four years will have its own set of challenges – personal, professional and political challenges lie ahead – but with the people I surrounded myself with and the people in this room leave no doubt our ability to meet with anything that comes our way.”

Henry said his administration will remain approachable, transparent and professional at all times.

Greenberg-Belli said she is honored to serve the community.

“We will always try to be fair, reasonable, responsive and respectful. … I will always make your concern my concerns,” she said.

Walker said she is proud of how far the township has come since taking office eight years ago.

“We will always do things with the best interest of Old Bridge in mind,” she said.

At the township reorganization meeting, Sohor was nominated to continue to serve as council president for another two-year term. Walker was nominated to serve as council vice president.

Ward 1 Councilman David Merwin and Ward 3 Councilwoman Edina Brown were not present at the meeting.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.