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Tish Colombi Announces Retirement After 28 Years as a Commissioner

Colombi made the announcement today at the 41st annual Haddonfield Mayor's Breakfast.

Mayor Tish Colombi surprised a capacity crowd of about 200 at the 41st Annual Haddonfield Mayor's Breakfast today by announcing she will not seek another term as a borough commissioner after 28 years.

"I've been thinking about it for the last few months and this is the designated time for elected officials to make an announcement," said Colombi, 67, after the breakfast. "If I was going to make a decision based on how I felt today, I'd say 'go for it.' But I have to think about how I'm going to feel two years from now or three. I have to think about if I can do the job the way I'm used to doing it, all out."

Colombi has been the mayor for 12 years and a commissioner for 28. She remains the only woman ever elected to the borough Board of Commissioners. The three commissioners' terms expire in May. Candidates must declare for the four-year terms by March 15.

In addition to Colombi, the terms for commissioners Ed Borden and Jeff Kasko also expire in May. Borden and Kasko, who both delivered their state of the borough reports at the Mayor's Breakfast, declined to say earlier this week if they will run for re-election.

On Monday, Colombi was coy about her announcement.

"Can't abandon the ship," she said when asked if she planned to run for re-election. Colombi said Saturday her comment was directed at Borden and Kasko when they declined to say if they were running for re-election. She did not clarify the statement when she made it on Monday.

Colombi choked up several times during her announcement Saturday. She kept a tissue in hand and wiped away tears as she spoke.

"Tish is a role model and she has set the bar high for civic-minded women," said Judy Greenberg, 53, a homemaker and PTA member from Chestnut Street. "I was just telling her she can drive through town and pat herself on the back and say 'I did that, and that, and that.'"

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David Siedell January 21, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Um, last I looked Tish is only 1 of 5 mayors in all of South Jersey who is Republican. She doesn't owe spit to the "Camden Machine." As for the Regional Police Force Ed Borden spoke loud and clear, NO. What more does he need to say to satisfy you? Open the books... where have you been? Jeff Kasko, on his first week in office opened the books to any citizen who wanted to do forensics. A Citizen's Board was formed and they listed a whole host of options for savings, many that have been followed through on. Our solicitor, well he just won another low bid as he does all the time and our legal expenses are LOWER than the year before. You blame Washington, the Freeholders, Tish and Ed. How about joining the Citizen Budget Advisory team, you obviously can gleen millions of savings in a quick glance of the budget. You say, someone should do this, someone should look at that, how about YOU do it and then you can be criticized when your analysis is not believed by others.
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I challenge you to find a post of mine where I blamed Washington. You don't seem to read well,. That may have been someone else. I unfortunately have a lot of other things to do and don't bring any accounting expertese but maybe I should consider joining the Citizen Budget Advisory team. Maybe they and you can explain to me the importance of maintaining this as a dry town when we could get additional revenue and the kids are getting drunk in their own homes, probably with liquor supplied by their parents, not in restaurants anyway. This is 2013 and the Temperance movement died a long time ago.
Pro-Haddonfield January 21, 2013 at 03:17 AM
We got offf track here. Appears someone is angry at Haddinfield youth...or just angry. Thanks Tish for your many years of service. Wish you well.
David Siedell January 21, 2013 at 03:29 AM
Susan, below is but one example. I will refrain from speaking to you directly going forward. We see different sides on many, many issues and I feel neither will sway the other. The back and forth gets boring for the rest of the readers. And it is a shame because on one issue, how our children in America will be educated in the future, is actually my career and my passion. On your posts on that topic we are generally in agreement. In How will you vote for the Bancroft Referendum thread: "Susan Hoch MD 9:48 am on Friday, January 18, 2013 Rer unfunded - that is shorthand for unfunded out of present income. That means we have to borrow to pay from it (and a lot of our borrowing has been from China). That is why George Bush ran up such as deficit. He borrowed to pay for two wars and the Medicare D drug plan."
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 05:47 AM
Actually I am not angry at Haddonfield youth but I feel there is a lot of bad parenting in this town. In 1988 when we were living in Brookline Mass, our then 15 year old son went with a friend to a party for another boy's 16th birthday. This boy's father was a pathologist at Harvard, his mother a social worker with an inherited trust fund. The party was at 8 pm. My son was at the door at about 9 pm. How was the party, I asked? My 15 year old son said, "It's a bad scene. His parents aren't there and it's not just the high school kids; there are townies and everyone is drinking. The next morning we read in the paper about the police busting this party and how the kids had trashed the apartment. My child was raised with moral standards and knew what was right and wrong. I haven't seen the Haddonfield alcohol problem discussed as a failure of parenting by affluent individuals. We are not talking about inner city kids here but kids who have been coddled all their life.. Tish's response was to get the police involved with her 24-7 policy. In this, for example, I felt she was a big disappointment but understood she had to protect the affluent country club types who supported her campaign.
PJ January 21, 2013 at 03:12 PM
"Our solicitor, well he just won another low bid as he does all the time and our legal expenses are LOWER than the year before." I must have missed something because patch said in November that our solicitor raised his bid by $5,000 from the year before and his bid was $15,000 higher than any competing bid but it was accepted nevertheless: As far has her "owing spit" one has to wonder why, in the absence of "owing spit" she has repeatedly paid homage to the machine. Examples: Voting to appoint Iavicoli, a democrat. Voting to appoint Remington & Vernick, heavy democrat contributors She was a democrat in republican clothing. She was not fiscally conservative. Socially, the previous comment addressed 24-7 which was typical nanny state stuff. We need another fiscal conservative in office regardless of party to outvote Ed.
Joe Murphy January 21, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Congratulations to Tish for her many years of contributions to this wonderful town. Cheers, Joe
James F. Conway January 21, 2013 at 05:18 PM
First the disclaimer: I have known both Tish Columbi and Ed Borden for many years. Ed and I are personal friends which gives me insight to his private thoughts on public matters. When viewing the actions of public figures with regard to making decisions they believe are in the best interest of taxpayers, I always take the cynical "what's in it for them ?" approach. In both cases the answer is - nothing. The amount of time Ed contributes on behalf of our town is staggering to me. There is only about 16% of the Borough budget that is discretionary so there is not a lot of wiggle room. The amount paid for employee benefits is majoritively mandated by state law. Dr. Hoch seems to think the commissioners control the downtown real estate market and juvenile behavior - they don't. They have set up a program to assist businesses relocate to Haddonfield with subsidies. They tried via the 24/7 program to bring consequences for teenage drinking but were thwarted by parents. Our commissioners were squarely against the formation of the county police force. Mario Iavicoli was the lowest responsive ("responsive" being the key to transparent contract awards) bidder - you need to read the entire story to glean that in contradiction to the headline. Last, but certainly not least, all of us get ot exercise our opinion every four years and for the last 28 years the majority have voted for Tish Columbi. I suggest we can't all be that stupid for that long. Tish - thanks for the years of service.
James F. Conway January 21, 2013 at 05:44 PM
I would like to have you site examples of our Commissioners being beholden to the Freeholders. You seem to think there is some sinister motive behind their decisions but fail to provide any proof. The borough's books are open to the public. If you really beleive there is something unethical happening with the tax money, you can hire an accountant to examine them. Regarding your consistent call to have liquor in town: state law would permit only one license which would add revenue one time at the point of sale. There has never been a groundswell of support on the issue because it is not really significant.
Joe Taxpayer January 21, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Jim Conway, NJ liquor laws allow for 1 consumption license per every 3k citizens. That would give us almost 4 not the 1 you referenced above. Package goods are limited to 1 per 7500.
James F. Conway January 21, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Joe - I stand corrected, good liquor license knowledge by you. Whether it's one or four the economic impact would not be that significant.
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 09:06 PM
You are missing the point. Our downtown area is in trouble. Probably by a combination of the recession and the growth of the Cherry Hill supermalls, many of our merchants are struggling. We need a creative approach to this. Most of our stores are aimed at people from outside of the town, rather than stores offering necessities. I personally think this was not a good idea but that is for another time. So we are trying to get people to come into Haddonfield and shop. Obviously there is a limit to how many wedding gowns you are likely to buy. So imagine some of our nice restaurants with a liquor license. Wouldn't you want to get a Hurricane at Melange or sake at the Sushi Bar or British ale or Guiness stout along with your mashers and bangers? And how about a wine bar? That's four licenses right there. If the restaurants were able to increase business, then that's more taxes. I'd also like to see one liquor store or maybe we could interest Dave Moore, who is after all a citizen of Haddonfield, to move his wonderful store here. All of these are creative solutions which might bring in a little more money and bring people into the downtown area. I don't worry about the student athlete drunks getting drunk on sake and sushi - they seem like the beer type. Plus they can be carded.
Joe Taxpayer January 21, 2013 at 09:12 PM
How much is a license worth $500k or more? Is that insignificant in these cash strapped times if they provide revenues, jobs and activity? They sure seem to have saved the Cherry Hill Mall
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 09:17 PM
You will notice that no one can quite figure out how much Mario Iavicoli is paid. That is not transparent government. Several of us who go to the TAPS meetings have been trying to figure out how much Todd Day is paid and how he is paid and also that does not seem to be transparent. We have opaque government of the in group in this town. Regarding the 24/7 program, I think they completely missed the ball on this. They chose to try to punish teenage drinking by limiting the kids involvement in extracurricular activities. What they failed to recognize was that these kids who were getting wasted at ages 14,15,16,17 were at high risk for the disease of alcoholism. They and their parents should have been mandated to attend alcohol counselling. Keeping them from sports was Tish's obvious response in this football crazy environment. I should note that it was hardly the Captain of the Chess team who was getting plowed.
James F. Conway January 21, 2013 at 09:53 PM
To Susan Hoch - This is in answer to both of your replies.I don't understand this idea that stores are aimed at people from outside as if it precludes residents of town. What does that mean ? Aside from grocery stores and clothing stores, what kind of stores sell necessities ? I beleive the market is a better decision maker for winners and losers than government. Therefore if designer dress sellers think it is a good place for business time will tell. If a restaurant increases sales it does not increase tax revenue for the town - only the state. We can BYOB to any place in town. Is Kress or the myriad of other liquor stores bordering town not close enough ? According to the news account Iavicoli bid $75k and the town countered at $70, so apparently something in that range. You seem to have a genuine bias against atheletes. Having raised four children thru all grades in Haddonfield and coached numerous sports teams, I can tell you that 1) a majority of the kids are involved in some sport & 2) the chess team is just as likely to drink as the soccer team. The 24/7 ban would have applied to all activities not just sports. If the schools could not suspend kids from activities how in the world could they mandate counseling ?
Pat walsh January 21, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Susan, Did you leave Brookline, Mass voluntarily or did they ask you to leave? Sheesh, just saying....
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Reply to James Conway. The question is are the merchants selling to the residents of the town or primarily to tourists from outside. Here is a list of stores that I go on a regular basis to outside of Haddonfield - bakeries, dry cleaners, AT and T store, computer store - Apple and Cam-tec, Westmont Hardward, Conroys Paint and Atlas Paint, Arnie's Gourmet Butcher, Haddon Avenue Cheese Shop, bagel shop, alterations lady - Neile in Westmont. Sure I bought a designer dress for my son's wedding at Jay West. But I bet you would find that a lot of money flows out of Haddonfield for the regular purchases we all make. If that's what the town wants, I guess that is what they want but I would like to open a debate on what the idea of the downtown is. Is it to be a glitzy shopping district for the "Chatchkes" that affluent people can't live without or is it a functional town>
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 11:24 PM
I find your comment offensive. You obviously are not used to reconsidering any of your tightly held opinions. I'm actually from Baltimore and we moved to be closer to my aging mother and where we could both get jobs.
Susan Hoch MD January 21, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Comment to James Conway. What is funny about your comment about athletes is that I played high school and college tennis (before Title IX). My husband ran track. My older son played soccer and in high school was on the sailing team (not crew, sailing). My younger son played baseball and soccer all through elementary school and junior high but frankly was turned off by the attitudes here at the high school when we moved here. Both of them got into good colleges because of their grades, scores and extracurricular interests; they didn't need the athletics for that. I have found myself totally disgusted by the alcohol fueled behavior in this town. I recognize that perhaps they could not have mandated that the drunk kids and their parents go for alcohol counselling but I am very very surprised that did not come up in any of the discussions the town had, that we were looking at kids at high risk for a chronic illness, alcoholism.
PJ January 21, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Susan, ignore him, he is a Stepford Husband.
Shana Marshall January 21, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Dr. Hoch, I'm not sure where "coddling" or "protecting" are mentioned in the 24/7 Policy. Perhaps you'd like to attend the next Haddonfield Municipal Alliance meeting. Please visit HMA on facebook at www.facebook.com/haddonfieldmunicipalalliance
Shana Marshall January 22, 2013 at 12:11 AM
The 24/7 Policy did include substance abuse counseling (encouraged for first offense; required for subsequent offenses).
Susan Hoch MD January 22, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Reply to Shana Marshall. I did go to Web site and signed up. However a cursory look does not seem to include the concept that alcoholism is a progressive disease with a 50 to 60% genetic component. one of the things I objected to about the 24/7 policy is that no one was addressing that in many of the kids, this is a disease and likely a disease that one of both parents may have as well. I don't think you should punish people for having a disease - you should get them into treatment.
Jim January 22, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Having successful restaurants is town brings shoppers and support all the shops
Jim January 22, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Higher taxes has caught up to the town Real Estate price have fallen .Teachers and public employees need to pay more into health benefits and pensions.This is not a hard ship but a fair shared costs .
John Drake January 22, 2013 at 06:54 PM
It's about time. She was about to break Castro's record.
John Drake January 22, 2013 at 07:00 PM
What we really need in this town is an astro turf field and a parking lot for the High School. That will really improve our kids education.
Pro-Haddonfield January 22, 2013 at 07:15 PM
That is such a broad statement that " there is a lot of bad parenting in this town". It amazes me that someone of your apparent eduction level would make such a statement. There is no doubt that there have been instances of bad behavior ( a couple were the talk of the town no doubt), but does that make your statement true? I think not. I am heavily involved with youth activities in this town and am proud of how our parents approach parenting. Please think before you speak.
Susan Hoch MD January 22, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Reply to Pro-Haddonfield. Re bad parenting - I was thinking about this incident: "Imagine having your house ravaged by hard-drinking teenagers who doused your clothes with urine, pooped on your piano, and played catch with 10 pounds of homemade meatballs while you were away for the day. Imagine watching the kids who got caught get off without so much as an hour of community service, a mandatory essay, or an AA meeting. Not one of the 10 Haddonfield teens who struck plea deals last week apologized in court unprompted. Only after being nudged by a judge did two boys and one parent say, uh, sorry." Or, on my street, we have had problems with one young man with alcohol issues for which the neighbors have had to call the police many times. These are not the kinds of problems you see in a less affluent area. Those kids might rob a house but they are not going to defecate in a piano. Something is wrong with this community's parenting and the parents lack of an apology to Collen Fallasca whose house their kids trashed spoke to me about the quality of their parenting and guidance in moral values. These kids and their parents didn't know right from wrong.
Citizenman January 22, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Tish, Thank you for all of your years of service to our community. I'm proud that you represented Haddonfield and best of luck and good health in the coming years.

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