Kuncken and council members say goodbye

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:44

    Stanhope — After eight years of serving as Stanhope Borough’s mayor, Diana Kuncken presided over her final council meeting on Dec. 13. “This might be a tough night for me,” said Kuncken, as she received a gift from the council members. “I’m much better at giving than receiving.” Kuncken has been active in borough government for well over two decades, having served on the council as the land use board representative from 1997 through 2003, the recreation commission from 1986 through 1996, and the board of health from 1990 through 2003. “Community service and volunteerism runs strong in their family,” said councilman Edward Schwartz, whose term also expires on Dec. 31. “We’ve been very fortunate to have Diana.” Kuncken’s husband Rich is captain of the Stanhope-Netcong American Legion Ambulance Corps and her son Rob is the chief of the Allamuchy Fire Department. “It was a difficult decision,” said Kuncken of not serving another term. “I wasn’t sure I could make the level of commitment for another four years and I wanted to be sure I could finish what I started.” Kuncken said she has enjoyed serving as mayor over the past eight years. She also offered to help again if the borough needed her. Kuncken thanked her family, members of the council, employees, and other volunteers for their help. “There are many people behind the community, I have served with many good people,” Kuncken said. “I will miss being the face and voice of Stanhope.” On Jan. 1, Stanhope Councilwoman Rosemarie Maio, the current council president, will be sworn in as mayor. Councilman James Benson will be sworn back in for another term on the council as well. Schwartz stepped in to finish out councilwoman Staci Santucci’s term after Santucci resigned due to a move out of the area. Schwartz retired at the end of 2008 after twenty years of service on the council. Michael Depew will be returning to the council after his retirement in 2009. Depew won the November election and will be filling the vacancy left by the Santucci/Schwartz term. Maio’s vacancy will be filled by the end of Jan. 2012 when Stanhope’s Republican Committee nominates three candidates, after which one will appointed by the council. In other business Borough administrator Brian McNeilly called for patience with the township's efforts on cleaning up the brush and debris following Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and October’s nor’easter. “We’re working our way through town,” said McNeilly. McNeilly and CFO Dana Mooney have begun preparations for the 2012 fiscal year budget. Water and sewer bills will be mailed to property owners directly and no longer to tenants residing at the properties in Stanhope. Sussex County Fire Marshal Joe Inga will meet with the council at the end of January regarding a possible shared service agreement between the county and borough. The council accepted the resignation of borough employee Margaret Driscoll, who will be retiring Dec. 31. “We understand Margaret has reached the point to move on, we’ll miss her,” said Kuncken.