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Bellmawr Meet your 2014 Mayoral Candidates


LogoMark Matthews

Next Tuesday (11/4) is election day, and this year offers several candidates for the Mayoral seat.  Its the most competition I remember seeing!  Of course it's awesome to see so many people want to get involved, but a lot of choices brings tougher decisions.

My simple idea is to utilize the widely read Cleary's Notebook website as a means to get a short candidate bio and/or platform out.

So with short notice I reached out to the candidates to have them send me their write up.  The general theme being "Why residents should vote for me?".  What I present here is completely unedited by me, except for simple formatting (to fit the site layout best)

I contacted:

  • Frank Filipek (incumbent  Facebook)
  • Paul DeAngelis (independent on ballot  Facebook)
  • Bill Groff (independent on ballot   Facebook  Web)
  • Len Landi  (independent on ballot)
  • Brighid Skamarakas (write-in  Facebook)

If you aren't clear on Bellmawr's form of government or the powers of the Mayor, I suggest checking out the Bellmawr twiki page and read the "Local Government" section.  A short and understandable read.

Lastly...  people are encouraged to comment, but keep all comments civil, constructive, no rumors.  Cleary's Notebook reserves the right to not publish any comments that do not meet its guidelines.

Without further ado, here is the unedited text from each candidate.

Frank Filipek

As your mayor, I have been fighting hard to make sure Bellmawr is on the map as a leader in commerce, efficiency and protecting our unique quality of life for all its residents.  I’m proud to work with the many borough workers who provide essential services that make your lives easier every day. We all work together to do more with less so you can keep more of what you earn.

Our shared services program is well regarded as a model to follow across the state.  The services we provide to other towns, like Runnemede, Lawnside and Mount Ephraim, produce revenue and reduce cost. We will continue using this service plan to bring more towns and more income into our borough.

We will also continue to attract new businesses, which provide jobs for residents and tax revenue to help keep your taxes under control.  Recently we have added well known businesses such as W.B. Mason, a Goodwill regional store, Singer Equipment, and coming soon Amoroso Baking Company to our industrial park.  This has added hundreds of local jobs and it’s just the beginning.

Although we have faced challenges by way of the highway construction, my administration has significantly decreased the potential nuisance and harm of this project through constant contact and negotiation with the State of New Jersey.  Bellmawr residents have the right to a peaceful environment in the enjoyment of their homes. Businesses in town should also not be negatively impacted during this process. I will continue to fight for that right, and for our town’s future.

Bellmawr has been home for me and my family for over 35 years.  I’m proud to serve as your Mayor.  I love our town and I’m asking for your support to let me finish all the wonderful work we started.  It took us a long time to clean up the old landfill dump to make it safe for our environment and a beacon of prosperity for our kid’s future.  I want the opportunity to make sure it gets redeveloped properly and becomes a thriving revenue base for our entire community.

On November 4th, my running mates and I need your vote so our town’s interests will continue to be protected, that we will continue to expand and develop our influence and fiscal reach in the region and ultimately make sure Progress Never Stops.

Additional Credentials:

  • Elected Mayor of Bellmawr in November 2000
  • Member of Council
  • Served on Borough of Bellmawr Planning Board
  • Served on Borough of Bellmawr Zoning Board
  • Former Volunteer Member of Bellmawr Youth Athletic Programs including Bellmawr Little League, Basketball and Football
  • Director of Consumer Services, Health Department, County of Camden for 34 years, retired in 2008
  • Honored as Employee of the Month by Camden County Board of Freeholders 1977
  • Former President of St. Joseph’s Polish Church Council, City of Camden
  • Honored Man of the Year by the Polish American Congress of South Jersey 1980
  • Honored Man of the Year by the Polish Heritage Society 1977
  • Married with 4 children and 7 grandchildren

Bill Groff

Being raised in Bellmawr, I attended Bellmawr Park and Bell Oaks Elementary School and graduated from Triton High School Class of 1982.  I furthered my education at Widener University and obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering.  I was raised in a blue collar household where I learned my work ethic and values.  Currently I am the Executive Director of Engineering and Facilities for Auxilium Pharmaceuticals.

I look around our wonderful community and I see empty promises, personal political agendas, disregard for the future and a deteriorating tax base which results in higher rates for our residents.  The problems are evident but the solutions, up until now, have been nonexistent.

True, there is no magic wand to solve our issues in a day but there should be a plan.  I have that plan and will begin implementing that plan immediately when I become Mayor.

The days of tax and spend will be over.  Fiscal responsibility will be on the forefront. My plan includes reducing costs, revamping contracts on municipal leased spaces, expanding services with other municipalities and having industrial businesses pay their fair share.  Unlike the current administration, the solution to every revenue shortfall will not come in the form of raising taxes.

As Mayor, I will meet constantly with Developers and will hold public forums to discuss how geographically and demographically Bellmawr is ideal for numerous businesses.  No back room deals. 

Traffic control is a huge problem in Bellmawr.  My plan includes empowering Bellmawr Police to shut down local streets during key hours to discourage traffic from exiting Route 295 and cutting through to Route 42.  Included with that, I will work with the Police Department to formulate a strategy as to provide emergency services to the west side of Town during the reconstruction of the Creek Road Bridge.  In such situations, seconds can mean a life.

Having an open door policy to everyone in the community, not just a chosen few will be a priority when I am Mayor.  As a TRUE INDEPENDENT, not a party-liner acting like an Independent for votes, I will not bow down to the County Power Brokers and will fight tirelessly for Bellmawr's fair share of County assistance.

The safety of our children should never be in question.  I support one governing body encompassing all the youth sports organizations in Bellmawr.  This would alleviate the coordination of fundraising efforts, increase the ability to achieve larger equipment/uniform discounts, eliminate conflicts concerning field usage/scheduling, and strengthen safety for our youth (back ground checks, concussion awareness training, etc.)

The "clean-up" of the landfill from the current administration has been a disaster.  Areas were not cleaned up nor were any materials removed as some would lead to believe.  The toxins were just buried deeper and will create a problem in the future.  As a Chemical Engineer who works with Federal/State Agencies every day, when I am Mayor, rest assured that the people of Bellmawr will be protected and those Agencies will know that they will not be able to "pull the wool over" Bellmawr's eyes anymore...our future depends on it.

On November 4, I respectfully ask for your vote.  It is time to finally have a Mayor that has a plan for the future, not one that has been spinning his wheels for 14 years, not one that will be the "new boss, same as the old boss", not one with the same old tired ideas but a TRUE INDEPENDENT with no political agenda other than to give back to the community that I love.

Len Landi
A Vote For Len Landi Is A Vote For A Better Bellmawr 
Vote Len Landi Column 3 Position 3

Why now? …What will change? …How can my vote shape the future? …If you find yourself asking these questions look no further to find the answers.

Len Landi is dedicated to the future of Bellmawr as a community, as a workplace, and most importantly as a home. He prides himself as a community leader though no specific title encompasses what he has attributed to our town.  Len works tirelessly on many committees and organizations to promote joint efforts and town cohesion. Len plans to continue to bring the community together and work for a common good through creating diligently delegated committees to oversee town programs.

Len is looking to promote the growth of our town by exploring new opportunities and addressing current downfalls. Items topping his list are those which directly affect the prosperity of our community including but not limited to:

  • Alternative Energy Sources
  • Construction Projects current and future
  • Community Unity and Development
  • Senior Citizen Assistance
  • Tax and Revenue allotment and allocations

We are at a critical point and faced with big decisions. Decisions that will affect our future and generations to come. When it comes time for you to cast your vote, decide if you are ready to take the steps to change course and redirect the current path our leaders are paving for us. If you need a well-deserved change vote Len Landi and watch positive progress in action.  

Paul Deangelis

Thank you for the interest in my campaign. I have been part of the Democratic club in town for 15 years. I have bided my time and waited my chance to step forward and lead our town as your mayor. Early this year, Frank Filipek had announced that he would not be running for another term. At that time I had asked several people from the club if they would back me if I ran. They said yes. After I had announced my campaign, Frank decided to run again. He had more people at the club that I knew would vote for him, so I stepped out of the club to run as a independent.  Other candidates have been making false accusations about myself and my campaign. I was born and raised in Bellmawr, where I attended both Ethel Burke School and Bell Oaks. I am a graduate of Triton Regional High School in the year 1978. I have since raised my family in Bellmawr while starting my business here in 1985. This year will be my 30th year in business.

One of the things that I would like to see are registration fees for the apartment houses to enroll each person, also becoming aware of the ages and the number of children that live in the apartments. Nearly every apartment dwelling in town is owned by a corporation that does not live here. These fees would create new jobs and provide vital statistics for the municipality. Also the fees would provide our fire departments with the same opportunity to charge fees to check each apartment, hotel and motel in town. This would make them stronger and more self-sufficient by saving the tax payers money. Our neighboring town of Gloucester City has been doing this for years and it has proven to be a very effective system there.

Also, I would work hard on cleaning up the Black Horse pike, attracting the types of businesses that I feel will make our town more appealing.

Recently, I had spoken with some of our police officers about the county-wide forces that the county wants to form; I am against this! I want our Police Department to remain ours, and not let the county come in and change that.

Lastly, if I become your mayor, I will fight hard to impose term limits that would put restriction on the length of one's tenure in office.

If you give me the opportunity, I feel that my goals to improve Bellmawr can be obtained in a reasonable amount of time. These are just a few of my ideas that I have to make our town better and stronger.

Sincerely, Paul

Brighid Skamarakas

I just want to start by saying I applaud any resident getting involved by learning about the candidates and voting, regardless of who they decide is best for them. I am running because I am tired of elected officials in Bellmawr who are so comfortable in their positions that they think they can get away with being reactive rather than proactive and pushing the same policies while hoping for new results. As someone who is at the beginning of my career and looking to start a family soon, I stand to lose a lot by standing idle while businesses are driven away from our town, property values fall, and our district’s test scores remain low.  I am the kind of person that identifies a problem and I do what I have to do to fix it. I strongly believe in accountability and open communication. Since deciding to run, I have had meetings with elected officials and business development specialists to get an idea of what has been done in similar towns to improve them, and what can be done here. Our industrial park is half empty and the Black Horse Pike is tired and run-down, and there is no good reason for it. There is no good reason for our students' test scores to be so low. And there is no good reason for our town to be run by elected officials who have become lazy and complacent, who don't feel like they need to work hard for the people who elect them. If things in Bellmawr continue on their current trajectory, young families will be forced to establish their roots elsewhere. I for one would love to work and raise my kids right here, where my parents raised my sisters and me. We need a mayor that will be an effective and energetic leader, and that is exactly the kind of mayor I would be if elected.