New Galloway Township Councilman John Mooney didn't waste any time.
He was sworn in as the seventh member of Galloway Council Thursday afternoon, Aug. 2, one day after he was named by the Republican Committee to assume the seat vacated by Dennis Kleiner on June 25.
According to Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, Township Clerk Thalia C. Kay swore Mooney in upon his request Thursday afternoon. Coppola was in attendance, as were Mooney's wife and son. The swearing-in took place in Township Manager Arch Liston's office.
"He called and said he wanted to do it this afternoon," Coppola said.
From here, Township Solicitor Mike Fitzgerald will sit down with Mooney and bring him up to speed on council's activities, as well as any pending litigation, Coppola said.
"I don't think he'll need too much acclimation," Coppola said. "He's been paying attention anyway."
Coppola said he expects Mooney will bring a unique perspective to the position.
"He has a different set of life experiences," Coppola said. "We're seven individuals charged with representing the people. We have to make the decisions that the people would make. ... I think he'll treat Galloway like it's his hime."
Mooney's quick swearing-in process is a microcosm of what he'll need to do in the first few months of his tenure. He was appointed to fill the seat through the end of the year, and will be running against Democrat Jim McElwee in a special election in November.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Mooney on his appointment to Council,” McElwee said via email Thursday morning. “I will be interested to see how John interacts with the other members to achieve some positive results for Galloway Township because that is what we need. I will campaign to show my passion and spirit for our community and to let people know what my plans and visions are moving Galloway forward.”
“I don’t need to get acclimated to Galloway because I’ve been a resident of the township for years,” Mooney said on Wednesday night. “I spent 35 years as a policeman in Atlantic City and I’m well grounded with respect to the common problems Galloway and Atlantic City share.”
Mooney is in a unique situation. Not only will he have to run for the seat this year, but whoever wins will have to run for re-election next year, as the seat expires at the end of 2013.
Coppola went through a similar process when he first became a councilman. In 2010, Coppola filled a seat left vacant by Bill Ackerman from March through the end of that year. In November, he won a special election to hold onto the seat for another year, until the term expired in 2011. He was the top vote getter among the six candidates in 2011’s general election.
"Some people we approached were reluctant to take the seat because of that," Coppola said. "Some of them showed some reservations."
Both candidates in this year’s election have run for council in the past. Mooney finished fourth in the 1999 race for three open seats, while McElwee finished fifth in the 2011 race.