Borough Appoints New Municipal Attorney [VIDEO]

Councilman James Collander will take Harris' place on the Planning Board.

After serving three terms on the , Bruce Harris was sworn in as the borough's mayor Tuesday evening.

Harris, a 30-year resident of the borough, won the November election with 1,211 votes to 889. He is believed by The Victory Fund, which endorsed Harris in this and past elections, to be the first openly gay, African American Republican mayor in the country.

The council also approved James Lott from the law firm of Riker Danzig in Morristown to serve as the Borough Attorney. The position is appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, and was held for the past four years by Joseph Bell.

"We advertised for the position on the League of Municipalities website," Harris said, and added that Bell "chose not to be among" those interviewed for the position.

Harris said he has known Lott for "many years."

Lott's rate will be $150 per hour. Bell received $145.

In his first address as mayor, Harris cited difficult economic times for the borough.

"We will continue to face financial challenges in 2012. The council's Finance and Budget Committee has already started working on the [new budget and] will be examining new opportunities for shared services and other savings."

Harris also asked residents to volunteer their time on various committees in town and the "events that celebrate the community." Harris specifically mentioned the Green Initiatives Committee and the Pool Advisory Committee as needing volunteers for the current year.

The council adopted a temporary 2012 budget until the formal budget is introduced and adopted later this year.

Councilman James Lonergan was the sole nominee for Council President for the second straight year. Lonergan was sworn in Tuesday for his second term on the council. Borough Clerk Susan Caljean held the Bible for him during his oath, since, in Lonergan's words, his wife was at a basketball game. The Bible was Harris', a gift from his father, and was published, he estimates, in the 1880s.

Gerald Helfrich was also sworn in Tuesday for his first term on the council. His wife Beth held the Bible for him, while Harris' partner, Marc Boisclair, a volunteer on the Traffic Safety Committee, held the Bible for his swearing-in.

Helfrich will serve on the Budget and Finance Committee, the Public Safety & Emergency Services Committee, the 9/11 Memorial Advisory Committee and the Operating Committee. He will also serve as the liaison to the Board of Education and the Historic Preservation Commission.

Two new probationary officers were also sworn in to the Chatham Borough Police Department and given their badges. Wayne William Shivers, Jr. and Andrew Louis Pereira will serve a probationary term of one year at a salary of $49,440.38, effective Wednesday.


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