Newcomers elected to Vernon posts

Van Tassel, Murphy, Auberger elected to council; Annunziata, Buccieri, Peek to join school board


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  • Poll workers check in citizens to vote at the Vernon Township High School.




  • PHOTOS BY MARK LICHTENWALNER Nick DiCarlo, 19, votes at the Glenwood Baptist Church.




  • Poll workers check in citizens to vote at the Vernon Township High School.



It was a bad night for Vernon's incumbents as two of three Township Council members and both Board of Education members seeking re-election were voted out of office during Tuesday's General Election.

Mark Van Tassel had the highest number of votes (3,144) among the seven candidates for Township Council, according to unofficial results posted by the Sussex County Clerk's office.

I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to all those who supported my campaign," Van Tassel said in a statement. "We had some very passionate and diligent people working with us – this victory is theirs as well. I also want to thank those who came to the polls and voted. All sides were very passionate, and regardless of how you voted, I appreciate the fact that you took the time to let your voice be heard."

Council President Jean Murphy was the only incumbent in the township to win re-election as she finished with 2,579 votes for her second term.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Vernon Township voters," Murphy said in a statement. "The support I received from both friends and strangers was humbling. I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving the residents of Vernon and welcome Council members-elect Mark Van Tassel and John Auberger, as we work towards bringing our community together."

Auberger finished third with 2,365 votes.

"Thank you, everyone, for your support," Auberger posted on his Facebook page after the results were posted. "I will do my best to do what's best for our town."

Van Tassel, Murphy and Auberger all were supported publicly by Mayor Harry Shortway.

Richard Wetzel (2,322), Patrick Rizzuto (2,214), Victor Marotta (2,162) and Sally Rinker (2,012) also were in the race.

Van Tassel said he is eager to get started.

"When people ask what I want for this town, I simply tell them, I want thoughtful progress," Van Tassel said. "I hope our council can work together as a team, understand the issues, ask questions, and make good decisions for our town as a whole. People should know, regardless of who you supported, or what you believe in, there is a council open to hearing different sides. We all deserve a fresh start."

It was an even rougher night for incumbents on the Vernon Township Board of Education as three new faces were elected to the board.

Justin Annunziata, 21, had the highest number of votes among school board candidates with 2,620. Natalie A. Buccieri (2,288) and Michael S. Peek (1,950) also were elected.

Thanks to all the Vernon voters who came out to support me and congratulations to both Justin Annunziata and Mike Peek," Buccieri said in a statement. "I truly appreciate your vote and I promise to work hard, with integrity and honesty for our school district. I am looking forward to January when I will begin working with my fellow board members."

Mark Vincent Cilli (1,926), 24 votes short of Peek's total.

Incumbent Cynthia Auberger (1,715), Jennifer Pellet (1,433), Tammy L. Witters (1,383), incumbent Incarnato (1,156), David McQullain (809) and Ed Brown (653) also ran in the election.

Countywide, Republican Herbert Yardley defeated Democrat Daniel Perez for a three-year term on the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Yardley will replace Freeholder Phil Crabb.


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