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Who's In, Who's Out of Commissioners Race, So Far

The filing deadline is on March 15 for a pivotal Haddonfield Board of Commissioners race.

Editor's note: This story was last updated 12:08 a.m., Feb. 28.

Haddonfield will officially have a contested race for board of commissioners as four candidates have now declared their intention to run.

There are three commissioner seats on the ballot, all for four-year terms. Voters go to the polls on May 14 for the nonpartisan election.

Incumbent Commissioner Ed Borden was the latest to throw his hat into the ring, announcing he intends to seek another term in office. Borden was elected to the board in 2005 and is completing his second term.

Incumbent Commissioner Jeff Kasko is seeking re-election for another four-year term on the board, the borough's highest elected officials. Kasko was first elected in 2009.

, declared her intention to run in an email to supporters. She planned to formally kick off her campaign on March 3.

after losing in 2009 by eight votes to the third-place candidate, Kasko. Rochford served on the board from 2005 to 2009.

The biggest surprise so far was the decision of Letitia "Tish" Colombi to not run for re-election after 28 years as a commissioner. Colombi, 67, a retired homemaker and the only woman ever elected to borough government, has been the mayor for the past 12 years.

Colombi made a tearful announcement last month about her retirement from borough government.

Grassroots activist Brian Kelly, 57, a massage therapist has also announced he will not run. Kelly and his Haddonfield United group spearheaded a successful campaign last month to defeat a $12.5 million bond referendum for a public purchase of the 19.2-acre Bancroft property.

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Mrs. Silance Nogud February 23, 2013 at 07:41 PM
To Bill's point. Long on jingoism, short on actual details.
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Actually, it is to be anticipated that the school levy will increase this year by at least 1.66% and likely to be 1.98%. At that level, there is no way for input from the community on the recommendations from the school superintendant and the Board of E. We actually have no say-so on that additional spending whatsoever.
Bill Tourtellotte February 24, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Come on Susan, that is an increase at or less than inflation so what is your beef? Really. Run for the BOE and show them where the savings are. Sorry to call you out on this but are you really complaining about an increase of less than 2%, especially when it was even less than that last year as I recall? Seriously. These are your fellow residents doing their very best with their free time to serve us and you appear to be relentlessly giving them crap without any realistic justification.
Bill Tourtellotte February 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM
My previous comments about the public having control relate to the requirement that capital spending bonds must be approved by referendum.
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Bill, as usual your facts are incorrect. The inflation rate was 1.7% in 2012. So the probable 1.98% increase is higher than inflation. Yes, I am complaining about this increase. For someone paying property taxes of $10,000, a 1.98% increase is $198 for this year. Perhaps for you and your friends, that isn't anything. However, there are people in this town, for whom that represents a significant increase. Seniors on Social Security did not receive any cost of living increases in 2010 and 2011 and will receive a 1.7% increase this year, which may be largely taken by associated increases in Medicare B premiums. I would be glad to point out savings by the Board of E although I am sure they would not be politically acceptable. To begin with, I would not spend money on artificial turf fields. Second, when the teachers contract comes up next, I would ask teachers to pay more of their own health insurance costs just like everyone else has to and I would consider switching to 401K pensions rather than defined pensions that fewer and fewer people in our country have. That's just for a start.
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Leadership is standing up when no one else is standing. By that definition, Brian Kelly showed that he is a leader. Our current leaders lead by following what their clique wants. If a minority of the voters with some money want turf fields, then they go for it. That's not leadership and that's not what this town needs.
Bill Tourtellotte February 24, 2013 at 04:15 PM
You are joking about how 1.7% is materially different that 1.98%, I hope. If not, you might want to stick to the MD thing. As for suggesting that union givebacks and benefit contributions should increase, most folks would agree with that and have said the same thing. That is not a new suggestion but you might recall the point to which these negotiations were pushed last time around. Getting those concessions is no small task and while we should always be shrewd to get the right contract, I am not sure that this town is ready for a teacher strike. I do not recall that our compensation packages are any better than the average. In fact we have lost many good administrators to better paying gigs in other districts. Lastly, while I am neutral and see both sides of the turf issue, even an extremist anti person would have to agree at least partially that the massive private donor subsidy makes the financial aspects of the project reasonably attractive.
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 04:36 PM
I wasn't joking about the school tax levy increase. Apparently you don't know people who are having difficulty paying their current tax bills in this town due to being on fixed incomes. If you are on the edge, a small increase is not small. But I understand that Haddonfield is not a town with much diversity, either economically, racially or in religious background. So people are used to talking with people from the same background and circumstance. One of the things I did learn from my over 35 years as a practicing MD is that there are people who are not as fortunate as I have been. It sounds like you never learned that. If the private donors want to pay for the yearly maintenance and field replacement every 8 to 10 years, that would be fine with me. But I haven't seen them offer to pay these fees as well. They have left this to the B of E, the same B of E that is short 220 computers for the state mandated tests. I just don't think that the taxpayers should be on the hook for this want, not need, in these economic times. On the other hand, if there are private donors with money to use on artificial fields, I would hope that they would find other things in our community to contribute to - the Food Bank of South Jersey, Habitat for Humanity - there are needs in our community much more important than artificial turf fields. This is a question of values and what you think is important.
Jeremiah Wright February 24, 2013 at 05:29 PM
"But coming out of nowhere and being outspokenly negative and against something as a one trick pony so far, hardly qualifies them as a realistic or qualified candidate in a town like this with that has a multitude of highly credible potential candidates." Don't you just love how Bill T has been trying to act like this wasn't a criticism of Brian Kelly? Brian Kelly obviously represented the will of the people and should be applauded for his valiant grass roots effort on behalf of sane governance and fiscal responsibility. Truly democracy in action. Well done Mr Kelly!
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Leadership in action. To reiterate, leadership is standing up when no one else is standing. Leadership is not taking a stand in order to get a higher position or a good paying job as a payback. Leadership is not to get your name on a building or an athletic complex. Just leadership becauseyou sincerely believe in your values and principles. Honest forthright leadership. No wonder Bill T doesn't recognize true leadership. He has not been exposed to it previously very much in either Haddonfield or Camden County politics.
Jim February 24, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Lower health cost for public employees convert all pension to 401 K plans Freeze merit raises step up raises is one way to reduce future costs .The Real Estate taxes have gone up for year over 5-7% not just 2% so the the average taxes have double in the last 10-12 years for the last two decades we have seek very large taxes increases .So where does the person who is paying the Haddonfield average tax of $12000 expect their taxes to be in 10-20 years $24-36000 in a annual tax bill .The public employees costs have to change drastically so to keep the tax increase of the past to go up the future at a smaller rate of the past 20 years .The values are not going to continue to go up to support these higher taxes so net worth will be effected to, not just the higher cost to support these taxes and high public employees costs.The reductions have to happen on the Local County State and school level The State has to stop using union wages scale for every public works project in the State It cost 3-10 times for most costs to redo road and bridges and other capital improvements The average cost to redo a mile of Road in a Sun State is $200,000, and the cost in NJ is 10 times that cost or 2 million a mile Over time you can see what NJ is 2nd highest tax State In the USA and Haddonfield is in the Top 1% of that number. Of Course there is benefits for these costs of living in Haddonfield ,Camden County and NJ which you have to weigh when you live here.Bill T how would lower costs .
Jim February 24, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Leadership has to be on every Level ,BOE ,Unions leaders ,Public employees have to be part of the solution not just part of the out of control spending of the last 20 + years.Bill T can you come with more ways to slow the out of control spending that we can not afford in the future .Higher Real Estate value approach is how many teachers, BOE and supporters used as a device to increase costs of salaries, health and pension costs .That excuse or argument stopped in 2007 and many towns Real Estate price have rolled back to 2003 prices.
Bill Tourtellotte February 24, 2013 at 07:56 PM
I don't think I said anything to indicate that holding the line on tax increases is something I'm not in favor of. That would be silly not to want to save money. Wage,benefit and union issues are a big part of that obviously. Susan's attempts to cast me as an elitist does not advance her argument particularly while Continually reminding everyone that she practices medicine, which is entirely irrelevant. Advanced degrees are a dime a dozen in these parts. Having said that, I do not need to rely on any of mine to realize how absurd it is to continue to argue that the 1.98 percent proposed budget increase is not materially in line with inflation and consequently similar to a zero increase. The difference being argued here is roughly $1.50 per month. If being able to do that math and realizing that this is inconsequential makes me an insensitive snob, then so be it. :-)
Bill Tourtellotte February 24, 2013 at 08:08 PM
I do not claim to have all of the answers. My central point in all of these posts is as follows. If folks don't like the job the BOE or Commission is doing, then dig in and volunteer to help them to do a better job. Generally, I do think that they would appreciate well intentioned and respectful help. Dissent is one thing and an important part of our democracy. But what bothers me though is the continual lambasting and relentless complaining that I so often see. These are our neighbors on these groups and we are a small town. A certain amount of heat comes with these positions but let's at least be reasonable in our discussion. We are in a great, but also pretty screwed up state of NJ. Many of the issues we are grappling with, particularly when it comes to taxation are brought on by forces well beyond our town borders. Abusing our elected local volunteers for issues mostly beyond their control is misguided in my opinion. So when I jump in to these conversations, that's what is largely behind my comments. Lets please just be fair.
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 08:55 PM
I view our elected officials as public SERVANTS. Who do they serve? They serve us. We are their employers. Perhaps I am not used to having a servant, unlike others in this town. I think you fire a servant if they do not perform to your satisfaction. We have the power to do this and I hope the citizens will realize this.
Susan Hoch MD February 24, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I would point out that an increase of 1.98% per year over twenty years comes out to a respectable 39.6% increase. In fact, the school levy has increased considerably faster than that. My property taxes have doubled in the last 20 years, mostly accounted for by rising school tax levies. . Again, perhaps Bill T is not personally impacted by rising prices for gasoline and oil, food, health care insurance and other costs, but many of us are and we have limited control. One can try to drive less or eat less meat to save money. One can shop around for cheaper health insurance. The citizens would like to have some input on how much they are taxed and they would like to see their hard earned money put to good use. That is why I think it is wrong in this economic climate to tax the majority of the citizens for a luxury - the artificial turf - that only a minority of the tax payers of the town will benefit from. Let the turf people pay for the turf and let's try to cut the school tax or at least maintain it unchanged from last year.
Eric Johnson February 25, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Our teachers make 1% LESS THAN the State AVERAGE. Our teens are in the 94th & 98th percentile in Math and Literacy... with one of the highest college readiness rates of 50% at graduation. Oh.. and the kids are being put through the system at an annual cost 10% below the state AVERAGE. A computer for every child isn’t getting our district NCLB (state mandated testing) funding. This money is for underperforming schools(hence the name No Child Left Behind), not the top 6%. Our elected BOE is doing a damn good job with what they have.The great plan above is to reduce the teachers checks by each paying more in benefits and also reducing pensions. Really? That’ll keep them here. Sounds like a plan from adults w/ kids OUT of the system and no need for the schools and top teachers/admin. I don't hear Senior monies($60M) or the Shade tree’s($200M) being an excessive cost in the budget. They NEED this. So they go after turf fields. It's not an environmental issue or a cost issue to these individuals. Any "athletic field", caring for 5 new grass fields or just 1 Turf Field used 5 X MORE than grass is something some WON’T EVER USE and will never agree to being in place. Once initial funding of the field was addressed... it moved to the environment... now to future funding. Look hard at the Boro and BOE budgets and always rising operating costs. Anyone for NO MORE TAX INCREASES really means LET'S CUT JOBS & MORE from the BOE- WE DON'T CARE FOR OR USE THE SCHOOLS ANYMORE.
James F. Conway February 25, 2013 at 05:29 PM
A couple of points of information : Jeff Kaskco voted in favor on both the artificial turf and Bancroft issues. We cannot just switch teachers and public employees to a 401k system - as attractive as that may be. They are in the state pension and benefit system. Who in their right mind would leave that ? It has been my pleasure to know Ed Borden and Neil Rochford for many years. Neither one is aspiring to grander office, using the position for personal reward or seeking to have buildings named for them. They put in a lot of work on the behalf of the town and make decisions based on what they perceive to be the best interest. I would suggest that evaluating commissioners based on one or two issues rather than the whole body of work is shortsighted. As an example, I voted against Bancroft but overall beleive the town and schools are very well run, particularly given the financial constraints imposed by the state.
Jim February 26, 2013 at 01:13 AM
You can not afford the teacher pension and health cost thru out the state. All Public employees need to adjust their thinking about pension and health benefits since the costs can not be paid by higher Real Estate Taxes going forward. The Union wage requirement has to removed from all public sector contracts so to make the public sector more competitive with the private sector. We can remove over 50% of many public service jobs and out source the work to private sector and save billion of dollars per year NJ has to compete for future jobs and the high Real Estate taxes, Estate Taxes and union wage requirement will drive employers to other States. The Beach & Shore home owners that receive millions of NJ Tax payers dollars should help pay by some of costs to reduce the NJ tax payers contribution to install more dunes and sand for beach replenishment. Tax and spend policies need to change thru out the State .If NJ does not change the SUN states will take more future new jobs to the new States like Florida, North and South Carolina, Texas and others.
Brian Kelly February 26, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Commissioner Borden and Neil Rochford were major supporters of the Bancroft/turf referendum, believed in the merits of it and worked very hard for a cause they believed in. I respect them for their dedication. I agree with James that people should be evaluated for their whole body of work. Commissioner Kasko also voted with the above gentlemen. What I personally liked with Kasko is that he asked about the problems and possible costs overruns at many of the meetings I attended. I thought that common sense, as there are many serious issues with the high school area. There's a lot of old kings highway and many other early 1900's building projects buried under those fields. Read the 3/2012 Geotech survey report on Haddonfield United, especially on Anniversary field. Eric, You're off base in your interpretation of the No Tax Increase philosophy. It's more like no tax increases on projects without solid details on future spending and not a penny of it going to education. We have excellent schools and will gladly pay for educational programs that raise the bar of excellence for the children of our town. A sports campus does not make an excellent school. Teachers and people dedicated to education do. The desire to see our students receive the best education possible seems the most caring thing one can do but I would never say you don't care just as much, just because we have different opinions. '
Jim February 26, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Lower taxes, better weather, friendly State incentives for Employers will make NJ easy to move to other states,NJ has to wake up !
Eric Johnson February 27, 2013 at 03:18 AM
If I am off base, you may be in left field. My only note on turf was that even if this fieldturf is free or reduces the total future costs of fields; those with no use for it will always find the installation and any costs associated an issue. My oldest is 7. She won't be using the fieldturf for 7 years, maybe not at all. getting more organized activities away from school zones and city parks is a fantastic idea. i am okay paying my part.Many speak of home fields(Radnor?) being unkept. Less usage allows fields like Radnor, Lizzy, tatem, others to grow and require less forced maintenance. Every additional practice or game on the new field turf allows for more family use and not organized use at these home fields. grass won't hold up to the high use. As for taxes, talk of any new 1-2 percent boro/boe tax as driving out seniors is a scare tactic and it's getting tiring. As annual operating costs go up, so will taxes. No ONE or THREE are forcing seniors or anyone out as these costs rise. It seems every tax cut idea posted by HU seems to involve axing the BOE costs to fix potholes. The BOE receives 7% for state aid in education. The lowest in the state. Surounding BOE's are getting 2-3-4 times more in aid. parents give daily to classrooms so children have the same tools other districts purchase with state aid dollars. Without these parents contributions for class needs ALL our annual taxes would be higher. They should pay for all the fields as well? Pay for one or the other.
Roland W February 27, 2013 at 04:09 AM
Hey Eric, Anyone for no more tax increases means lets cut jobs and more from the BOE We don't care for or use the schools anymore? That what it means? If they put your brain inside a bird the bird would fly backwards
Susan Hoch MD February 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM
The issue is what do we choose to pay for out of limited funds - teachers, computers, or turf fields. I would prefer paying for teaching and updated technology. I would have supported the building of a new science-technology building for the students on Bancroft but not a turf field. It is just about what your values are. Some people value education more than athletics. Having said that, I think there is a possible compromise. I suggested to the Commissioners last night and will bring this up at the B of E meeting that they follow the example of Irvington, NJ and get the turf field for FREE, funded by Energy in the Bank, a solar company out of Stroudsburg PA. This is a win-win situation for all. The turfheads get their turf, Energy in the Bank gets a new venue for their solar panels and reaps the energy and the taxpayers are off the hook for this luxury expenditure. The Turf Foundation can fund maintenance and replacement. We can use the school taxes for true educational needs. It is a win-win . My former colleagues in rheumatology and orthopedics will be pleased to get more business with more anterior cruciate ligament tears, particular in the young women at risk playing field hockey, lacrosse and soccer on turf. Why no one has brought this up to date duisturbs me since Irvington got a 2 milllion dollar renovation entirely funded by Energy in the Bank in 2011 including a football field and new track as well. We should look into this.
Eric Johnson February 27, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Susan. Good job on the Field Turf issue with this idea. I have no say whatsoever.. but feel your thoughts of selling naming rights and panel advertisement to offset the costs are a fantastic idea and on target. Maybe better said without the TURFHEADS comment and probably the ACL issues comment either. I do hope you don't pray for this to occur to children at night- and ACL issues are less on Fieldturf than grass- proven results if you need them. Abrasions, strains/muscle pulls and infections are up on Fieldturf. And any current annual cost excess in the budgets would probably go to help better the other fields- so don't expect a tax decrease of a few pennies. HS playing fields may never become a profit center unless we are in TX, but I am all for advertising and sponsorships to offset costs of fields and programs. Many in this town are proud of their companies and would love to get advertising at some of these Fieldturf events. I would assume many are embarressed to advertise with our current fields. Hey..eventually Haddonfield can have a LED scoreboard for more advertsing(Just kidding).
Scott February 27, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Eric, Good points. I think your daughter should see use before high school. My kids have been playing at the high school for many youth sports and I imagine that many girls activities will be held there when not in use by the high school. Now that we have girls field hockey coming and lacrosse starting this year, maybe she will find an interest there.
Joe Taxpayer February 27, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Sue, that is a false narrative. We all voted for the Open Space tax and it is dedicated for this exact use ie improvements of ball fields specifically artificial turf. using the Open space money doesn't affect your taxes one bit. It's the best use of the money right now.
Scott February 27, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Brian, A sports complex does not make an education any more than the school building does. However, sports programs and other offerings such as newspaper, band, choir, student counsel, environmental club ( I could list 50-100) help to develop well rounded students. If all they did was sit in front of a book or computer then they would only be getting a partial education. Being that athletics are a key component for those that chose these activities, we need basic facilities to accommodate them just as the band requires facilities, instruments etc. Our fields need help and now they are being addressed. Our auditorium needed help and "Lights Camera Action" stepped up and with the help of the BOE or borough made something happen. Some of the most important aspects of education happen outside of the classroom itself. We can't forget that or minimize the role of sports in that equation.
Eric Johnson February 27, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Really Roland W.? That's what you step up to the table with?(see how i used the "s" on that one!) A better response would be just calling me STUPID like you do others. Loyal Haddonfield United member I suppose?
Scott February 28, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Brian, Take a look at this article. Just further illustration that learning is more than books and in fact benefits from activities out of the classroom. http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/02/28/17121027-smart-jocks-fit-kids-do-better-on-math-reading-tests?lite

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