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New Era Begins in Wildwood

Wildwood City Council members

By Rachel Rogish

WILDWOOD – “The greatest success is being yourself,” Mayor Peter Byron said Jan. 3, reflecting on the Reorganization Meeting Jan. 2. 
A crowd gathered to watch Byron, Commissioner Krista Fitzsimons, and Commissioner Steve Mikulski take their oaths of office, administered by New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. 
City taxpayers, business representatives, and neighboring dignitaries made it standing room only. 
Fitzsimons will serve as commissioner of Revenue and Finance, while Mikulski will preside over Public Safety. Byron was unanimously chosen for the mayor’s position. 
“Change is coming for the city,” Mikulski said, adding that 2020 is a “historic” year for Wildwood. 
“I could never do this without my husband and children,” Fitzsimons said, thanking residents who were “brutally honest” during the campaign season. 
As a commissioner, Fitzsimons is determined to “open all the books” regarding city finances and practices. She made the promise repeatedly during the 2019 election. 
Byron vowed to “show Trenton that South Jersey doesn’t end at Atlantic City.” The mayor expressed excitement for Wildwood’s future and new initiatives. 
“This election was won by reaching out to the community,” Byron said after taking the oath. “You (residents) don’t want to hear words, you want to see results. We need your patience and your support.” 
Change rarely comes easily, and Byron admits to challenges in the New Year, including funding for the city Boardwalk and balancing the budget. However, he is confident in the integrity and resolve of his fellow commissioners. Teamwork, said Byron, will win in the end. 
According to Byron, Sweeney will help the administration and is committed to helping secure funding for the Boardwalk and other projects.
Changes in the administration also include filling the solicitor’s seat, lately held by Mary D’Arcy Bittner; however, Byron did not comment on who would fill the position. 
Professional service contracts cannot be voted upon until the commissioners take office. Upcoming meetings will reveal further details, according to the mayor. 
Byron thanked local leaders who attended the reorganization meeting, including North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello and Wildwood Crest Mayor Don Cabrera. Crest Commissioner Joyce Gould and North Wildwood City Administrator Ronald Simone were also in attendance. 
After the meeting, Cabrera wished the new administration well. 
“It’s a new beginning,” Cabrera said, adding he is willing to “roll his sleeves up” and work with the commissioners. 
Rosenello concurred with Cabrera. He said he looks forward to working with the new administration. 
Consolidating services across the Wildwoods comprises a large component of the administration’s initiatives. Byron said the process includes “informal” meetings with Rosenello and Cabrera. Building strong relationships with North Wildwood and the Crest is paramount, he said.
Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto, who served under former Commissioner Anthony Leonetti, said he anticipates learning Mikulski’s expectations for the department.  
“We are ready to get to work,” Fitzsimons said. 
Former Mayor Ernie Troiano could not attend the reorganization meeting due to his mother’s (Joan Ann Troiano) funeral.
To contact Rachel Rogish, email rrogish@cmcherald.com.

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