‘There is no doubt’

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Former Commissioner and Deputy mayor Heather Cheesman will once again serve on the Board of Commissioners after she was appointed to fill the vacant seat of Commissioner James E. Lynch Jr. which came into effect on March 1.

Lynch submitted his resignation the week of Feb. 22. He had served on the board of commissioners since 1989.

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“Commissioner Lynch has made many contributions to the City during his 35 years in
office and we all wish him well in his future endeavors,” Mayor Jennifer Sciortino and Deputy Mayor Joe Myers said in a statement.

Under state statute, Sciortino and Myers, as the remaining members of the governing body, were given 30 days to reach a mutual agreement on appointing a successor to temporarily fill the position until a special election can be held during the November general election. In November, voters will have the opportunity to fill this position for the remainder of the current term, which runs until May 2025, when all three seats will be up for election to a full four-year term.

“We have taken the responsibility assigned to us by state statute very seriously, understanding that our decision will serve as a proxy for the will of the voters until they have the opportunity to weigh in during the November special election,” Sciortino and Myers said. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve had many discussions with members of the community. During this time, our objective has been to listen to the community and consider individuals who have leadership qualifications, experience working in government, and a commitment to public service.

“Earlier this week, we started the interviewing process and it became abundantly clear that Heather Cheesman is well respected for the many contributions she has made to our community over the years. There is no doubt she has the right combination of professional experience, record of public service, and knowledge of our city to hit the ground running for the next eight months. We welcome her to the governing body and look forward to working with her for the benefit of everyone who calls Bordentown home.”

Cheesman was administered the oath of office at the monthly Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, March 11, at the Carslake Community Center. She will assume the role of director of Public Safety and Affairs, previously held by Lynch.

“I want to thank the commissioners, as well as the residents who supported me, for their faith in my ability to rise to this occasion,” said Cheesman. “I’m looking forward to serving the city once again and working with Jen and Joe to ensure a smooth transition.”

Cheesman is a lifelong Bordentown resident who previously served on the Board of Commissioners as deputy mayor and director of Revenue and Finance from 2009-2013. She is also a former member of the Bordentown Board of Education, and currently serves as a member of the Bordentown Sewerage Authority, as well as Bordentown City’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, and Planning Board.

With her new position, she will no longer sit on the Planning Board.

Until recently, she spent nearly the entirety of her professional career in public service. She started out teaching in the public education system and serving youths in the state’s juvenile justice system, and for the last 15 years she had served the Burlington County Clerk’s Office as chief of staff and later deputy county clerk. In December she stepped down from public service to take a position with Capital Health System as director of payroll.

Petitions to run in November’s special election will be available later this summer through the city clerk at Bordentown’s Municipal Building. Signed petitions will be due no later than the end of August, 64 days before the Nov. 5 election. The City is in the process of soliciting formal guidance from the County Clerk’s office on protocol and timing for the special election and will keep residents informed as soon as additional guidance is available.

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