WESTFIELD — Town officials wished a fond farewell to four members of the Westfield Council on Tuesday as part of the governing body’s last scheduled meeting of the year.
Councilwoman Emily Root and Councilman Scott Katz, both of whom lost their bids for re-election in November, and Mark Parmelee and Mark LoGrippo, who both opted not to run for new terms during this year’s election cycle, were each recognized for their continued contributions by Mayor Shelley Brindle, their peers on the dais and local residents alike.
“It’s amazing to think about how much time our elected officials put into serving their communities,” Mayor Brindle said. “Everyone up here is a volunteer, and I think that’s really important. Westfield is the largest municipality in the state that doesn’t offer a salary or any other form of compensation to its elected officials, and that tells you how committed this council is to this town.”
In addition to thanking each of the outgoing council members with individual honorary proclamations, Mayor Brindle recognized the group for its collective efforts to see the community through recent challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida and thanked them for helping to maintain low tax rates, advance the town’s affordable-housing obligations and protect the local environment.
“It has been a privilege,” Mr. LoGrippo, who has served on the council for the past 12 years, said.
The council also voted to approve a new set of salary ranges that represent increases of approximately 2 percent for all town employees, including the town engineer (who will be paid between $142,193 and $168,061 in 2024), the town planner ($125,675 to $144,109), the chief financial officer ($144,512 to $175,211) and the town administrator ($182,919 to $216,927), as well as numerous custodians, library employees, department heads and officials.
In addition to recognizing the efforts of the Westfield High School Boys Cross-Country team (the winners of this year’s state championships) and the Westfield Historic Preservation Commission (which recently received Honorable Mention at this year’s Preservation New Jersey awards ceremony for its work to restore the town’s train station kiosk), the council heard from the fifth-grade members of Girl Scout Troop 40099 during the agenda-setting portion of Tuesday night’s proceedings. The girls, who are seeking to earn their Bronze Award, plan to install portable orange flags at various crosswalks throughout the community to promote better visibility for pedestrians. The flags, which will be paid for through the troop’s annual fund-raising efforts, will be installed early next year.
The Westfield Town Council will hold its annual reorganization meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, at Town Hall.