JACKSON – Martin Flemming and Andrew Kern were elected to serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the Jackson Township Council during the Jan. 4 reorganization meeting of the governing body.
Flemming was appointed to the council in January 2020 to fill an open seat. In November 2020, he was elected to serve a three-year term that will end on Dec. 31, 2023. He served as the council vice president in 2021.
Kern served as the council president in 2021.
There was no municipal election in Jackson in November 2021 so the membership of the council has not changed.
As the reorganization meeting began, Kern nominated Flemming for the position of council president in 2022. The nomination was seconded by Councilman Alexander Sauickie. Kern, Sauickie, Councilman Nino Borrelli and Councilman Stephen Chisholm voted “yes” on the motion. Flemming abstained on the vote.
During his remarks, Flemming said, in part, “Together, I think your council, our mayor, our administration, our clerk’s office and our legal group are going to make a formidable cohesive team, and I think we are going to keep Jackson going in the right direction.
“As a township, we have challenges ahead of us, we all know it. We have heard (residents’) common concerns; we have overcrowding, we have traffic, we have lost that old town feel. I get it, I understand it, I have been here a long time …
“What we can do is manage our growth as best we can, use our land use boards, use our master plan; do whatever we can within the law to keep our town Jackson as long as we can,” Flemming said.
In his remarks, Kern said, “I am very proud of how hard each of the people on this dais worked last year to make meaningful progress on the legal issues that have taken far too long to be resolved.
“We were able to address a number of quality of life issues and consistently supported community events throughout the town. We are all looking forward to working together this year, as we did last year, to keep Jackson the idyllic beautiful town we love so much,” he said.
Borrelli congratulated Flemming upon his election as the council president and said he looks forward to working with him at the helm in 2022. Borrelli said the council “built a solid foundation last year despite many challenges like COVID.”
“I am looking forward to more that we can accomplish this year, like continuing to maintain a stable tax rate, a good quality of life, protecting our environment and natural resources, and taking good care of our town’s first responders, the roads, parks and recreational areas,” Borrelli said.
Sauickie said Flemming and Kern have “the best interests of the town in mind; that is why they are up here.”
Mayor Michael Reina thanked each member of the Township Council, “not only for your time, but for how you speak not only to each other, but to the residents of Jackson. We truly are blessed to have a group of people who work together seamlessly and they don’t stop. Questions are (asked) and the answers are provided constantly.
“If any of you think 2022 is going to be easy, just look at what is going on around us. Every month there is a new (COVID) variant … While some say I try to make light over a flu, I am not making light over a flu, but people are in fear of their lives because the government can’t control what is out there.
“So it is not any easier for us with the restrictions and mandates, and executive orders handed down by a bunch of people who I don’t think they even know what is going on anymore, on a federal level.
“How does that affect you? When they do these mandates and executive orders it hamstrings us, but all during COVID this government never shut down. We worked every day,” Reina said.
The mayor said Township Administrator Terence Wall and Assistant Administrator Samantha Novak “held everything together like glue.”
“We have no idea what 2022 is going to bounce off us this year. I can tell you, all of Jackson, that not only are we going to be ready, we are well prepared, financially, mentally and physically with the strongest police department, fire companies and first aid the township has ever had.
“Again, looking at the council and thanking the members for allowing me to make it that strength. We are doing more with less employees and we are saving you (residents) money each and every day,” Reina said.