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HAMMONTON - Hammonton Mayor Steve DiDonato and several Town Council members made it clear that they want to retain Business Administrator Jerry Barberio in his many roles for years to come.

At its meeting on Jan. 25 at Town Hall, council approved an ordinance by a 5-2 vote to revise Barberio’s employment contract in order to keep him in Hammonton through 2021.

The new six-year contract will officially add recreation director to his responsibilities to go along with public works manager, airport administrator and emergency management. Barberio had two years remaining on his old contract. According to the ordinance, the minimum annual salary is $130,000 with a maximum of $140.700.

DiDonato made the motion to extend the contract because he said a higher education institution was interested in hiring Barberio.

“I told them I would do everything in my power to keep him in Hammonton,” DiDonato said. “I need this, the town needs it and it is the right thing for the 15,000 residents.”

Along with DiDonato, Councilmen Sam Rodio, Thomas Gribbin, Mickey Pullia and Michael Torrissi also gave spoke highly of the job Barberio has done and voted in favor of the contract.

“He has proven himself in the years he has been here,” Pullia said.

Councilmen Steve Furgione and Joe Giralo voted against the contract with Giralo implying that Barberio is asked to do too much.

“I’m not supporting the measure because there are so many hours in the day and only so many things he can do,” Giralo said. “I have no problem adding to the contract he has for the next two years. I have a problem going forward for a six-year contract.”

After the vote was made, DiDonato said, “This is the happiest I ever banged this gavel. Motion approved.”

Hammonton Town Council also approved the first reading of an ordinance that would establish a special improvement district. The district will be made up of three properties, including the nonprofit Eagle Theater, a town-owned parking lot, and a residential apartment building.

“The hope is to attract no interest loan and grant money to improve these parcels or expand on them,” said Jim Donio from the Eagle Theater.

Other properties could be included in the zone in the future. If that is the case, a new ordinance will have to be passed in order to increase the special improvement district.

Town Council also has held three special presentations, honoring Hammonton High School senior Mitchell McDaniels, retired Superior Court Judge Michael Donio, and St. Joseph High School football coach Paul Sacco.

McDaniels became an Eagle Scout, something only 4-percent of Boys Scouts ever achieve. He received his final badge by restoring a nursery at his church in Sicklerville.

Donio, the first Hammonton native to be named a Superior Court judge, retired after 20 years on the bench, He asked that his plaque he hung somewhere in Town Hall because of all the support he was given by the Hammonton residents over the years.

Sacco led the Wildcats to their seventh straight state title this past season and 25th overall. The longtime coach has amassed 298 wins, and is 46-9 in the playoffs. The town honored him for his commitment to the school and the community.

The next Town Council monthly meeting will be 7 p.m. on Feb. 22.

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