NJ Pen 2019 Election Coverage: Meet the Candidates for Haddonfield Borough Commissioner


We invited candidates for the unexpired term on the borough government to tell voters a little about themselves ahead of Election Day. Here’s how they responded.

By Matt Skoufalos | October 16, 2019

On November 5, Haddonfield voters will choose from among four balloted candidates to fill an unexpired term created by the departure of John Moscatelli, Commissioner of Public Works, Park and Public Property.

Robert “Bob” Marshall was appointed to the governing body in July, and will defend his seat against balloted challengers Colleen Bianco Bezich, Gregory Peltz, and Kathryn Raiczyk.

We invited each candidate to respond to the same set of prompts, telling voters about themselves, their priorities, and their views of the current state of the community. Here’s how they responded; answers were edited for clarity and length.


Colleen Bianco Bezich. Credit: Colleen Bianco Bezich.

Colleen Bianco Bezich, 37

Attorney Colleen Bianco Bezich has 15 years of local government experience, including a decade in land use and municipal affairs, and graduate degrees in law and public administration from Rutgers University-Camden.

She has written grants and managed projects for the Borough of Haddonfield in addition to serving on the local zoning board.

Bianco Bezich has also volunteered on the Haddonfield Celebrations Association, Haddonfield Lions Club, Supreme Court of New Jersey District IV Ethics Committee, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, the Alzheimer’s Association (Delaware Valley Chapter), and Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative.

She is also a member of the LUCY Outreach Board of Directors.


What is your philosophy of local government?

Local government is at the heart of our democracy. I spent years researching the concept of municipalities as laboratories of democracy, and learned first-hand that the beauty of being a local elected official is the ability to interact with your constituents daily, and respond in meaningful ways that impact their lives.

I believe in proactive and responsive governance, and will champion transparency and accountability in all areas of our municipal government if elected.

Why would you like to serve on the borough commission?

Since volunteering on the zoning board and the Celebrations Association, I have paid close attention to everything from board vacancies and permitting to public contract awards and employee contract negotiations. And I’ve noticed a lot of problems.

I possess the knowledge and experience to solve these problems. Because I don’t believe in criticizing from the sidelines, I want to put my 15-plus years of local government experience to use. I’m the only candidate to have managed an entire municipality and to have served as a municipal attorney and redevelopment counsel, and that experience is needed now more than ever.

I am also running because I’m a 37-year-old wife and mother, and a small business owner. That makes me different from all those currently in office, and that matters. Studies show that diversity improves outcomes for organizations. Local government is no different. By electing the most qualified candidate who also happens to bring diversity to our Board of Commissioners, all residents stand to benefit.

What are the biggest challenges you foresee the town facing in the next three years?

One of the most talked-about challenges is the Bancroft redevelopment plan. I will support a plan that is beneficial to taxpayers, balancing considerations for our seniors, schoolchildren, and community as a whole. I will also prioritize limiting debt service and litigation costs, and minimizing negative impacts to infrastructure, municipal services, and open space.

Other challenges, which I consider to be more far-reaching and long-standing, include the need for more transparency and accountability on the part of leadership, as well as proper legal oversight so as to minimize risks and the likelihood of litigation (which, in turn, helps to prevent tax increases).

How do you propose to address them?

As for Bancroft, I have successfully negotiated and managed redevelopment projects in other municipalities, and my experience will fill a void in the current borough leadership. I know how to engage in the process efficiently, and will work diligently on behalf of taxpayers from the moment I take office.

The number of housing units and any restrictions associated therewith (whether age-restricted and/or for affordable housing), the amount of open space and/or community facilities to be contributed by the developer, and numerous other considerations will play into any calculation of financial incentives that I undertake.

As Commissioner, I will welcome the guidance of our land use boards and other public bodies, because I value them. I will also work collaboratively with our Board of Education, and will act in good faith to achieve appropriate funding for our schools, as well as contributions for municipal services and infrastructure.

As Commissioner of Public Works, Park and Public Property, I will prioritize terms (whether for the redevelopment of the Bancroft site or any other development) that take into consideration our increasing waste management costs, stormwater management issues, traffic and accessibility concerns, as well as open space and housing diversity goals.

In sum, it’s not enough to tout a tax-neutral plan; I will strive to reach a holistic resolution that maximizes investment in our community for the benefit of all, and serves our long-term interests. Bancroft is far from over. I see great opportunity at this moment in borough history, but it is necessary to have someone with my experience at the negotiating table and in communication with residents to ensure the best possible outcome.

What are Haddonfield’s biggest strengths?

Our family loves Haddonfield. Having both grown up nearby, my husband and I made an informed choice to move here, and we are committed to staying for many years to come.

This is a community rich in history and tradition. Aside from being ranked consistently as one of the best places to live, with one of the best school districts, it offers walkability, public transit access, and a vibrant business community. In recent decades, the Borough has also become more diverse, thereby enriching our entire community.

I am incredibly proud to call Haddonfield my home. I hope to utilize and expand upon all of these strengths as we confront the challenges of the future.

If elected, what can voters expect from your term of service?

I will commit to the following at the outset of my term:

  • Prevent conflicts of interest, improper approvals, and unlawful, unethical practices;
  • Provide oversight for our boards and commissions so that they function properly, and are representative of our capable and knowledgeable constituency;
  • Increase transparency via townhall meetings and digital communication tools;
  • Strengthen relationships with county, state, and federal officials so as to increase grant funding and expand resources to address issues like affordable housing, stormwater management, and sustainability;
  • Improve accessibility and pedestrian safety by addressing issues like a lack of curb cuts at crosswalks;
  • Serve as liaison to the Haddonfield Board of Education to achieve better communication and collaboration with our district;
  • Address diversity, equity, and inclusivity in meaningful, substantive ways; and
  • Represent ALL taxpayers, whether here for generations or a few years, as all matter equally and deserve the same level of attention, compassion, respect, and service.


Robert Marshall. Credit: Robert Marshall.

Robert (“Bob”) A. Marshall, 64

Attorney Bob Marshall retired from a career in service to the state of New Jersey in 2018.

In July 2019, he was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Borough Commission left by the departure of John Moscatelli.

Throughout his career, Marshall has been a Deputy New Jersey Attorney General, worked in the Bureau of Southern Compliance and Enforcement in the Department of Environmental Protection in Camden, and was Counsel to the Governor through four administrations.

He was also an Assistant Commissioner for Sustainability and Green Energy.

Marshall, an avid gardener, also has a lengthy record of volunteerism in Haddonfield, including working to preserve the building and grounds at the borough Historical Society and helping to fundraise for its new archive center.

He’s presided over the trustee board for Haddonfield Friends of the Library and for the Historical Society, has served on the Civic Association board of governors, the borough budget advisory committee, and helped spearhead design changes to the Maple Avenue bridge reconstruction.

Marshall maintains an interest in U.S. history, spurred on in part by his U.S. Supreme Court trial experience in which New Jersey defeated New York in a jurisdictional dispute over Ellis Island.

What is your philosophy of local government?

As Commissioner, listen to others, root out private and political agendas, and strive for transparency, objectivity (know what you don’t know, and find out), fiscal responsibility, and make decisions that work in the interests of the greater community.

Why would you like to serve on the borough commission?

A number of dedicated community activists, leaders, and four former mayors encouraged me to seek election to serve as Commissioner. I love this community. I have a desire to continue my decades of devotion to continuing its excellence, working with other like-minded residents, and building upon and enhancing its honored past.

What are the biggest challenges you foresee the town facing in the next three years?

While there are numerous day-to-day matters that must be addressed, the standouts include:

  • a fiscally responsible Bancroft redevelopment that adheres to the extent practical to our redevelopment plan;
  • a focus on aging infrastructure improvement, particularly stormwater systems for flood control and roadwork maintenance;
  • protecting housing diversity and the character of existing neighborhoods from inappropriate redevelopment;
  • continued efforts to support a thriving downtown business district.


How do you propose to address them?

The Bancroft redevelopment will be a challenge as we evaluate the practicalities of achieving goals and objectives in our redevelopment plan for a development that respects our interest in open space and historic preservation, affordability for seniors, and land-use design requirements.

We will achieve this through close work with our planning board and community stakeholders as current plans for age-targeted housing are negotiated with the redeveloper.

Our aging infrastructure has been tested by extreme weather events this past summer. We will work directly with affected neighborhoods, engineers, and the county government to identify improvements and solutions. Roadwork improvements are on a solid path, and we must continue our commitment to devoting the required financial resources on an annual basis, without waiver.

Protecting our housing diversity and the character of our neighbors took a major step with the adoption of mass and scale and zoning and lot compatibility requirements. Unfortunately, we still witness the adverse impacts from grandfathered projects and development interests that evade past efforts. As noted with the adoption of new ordinances, we must continue our vigilance and prepare amendments to building ordinances as circumstances require.

Supporting a thriving downtown business district has been a constant focus of the borough for decades, and this will continue. Market trends are difficult to predict or control, but as we see the decline of shopping malls throughout the nation as online shopping increases, we also see a renewed interest in the small-town experience and changing directions for entrepreneurial investments.

The success of the King’s Road Brewery is one of them, with the sensitive redevelopment of an older storefront enhancing Mechanic Street and surrounding commercial tenants, attracting creative development of second-story residential apartments and enhancement of existing residential units.

We need to build on such successes where we find them, and assist long-time and new commercial establishments through the Partnership for Haddonfield.

What are Haddonfield’s biggest strengths?

Serving two terms as the president of the Historical Society and presently co-chair of the successful Archive Center fundraising committee, I recognize the importance of preserving Haddonfield history, which parallels that of Philadelphia, once our nation’s capitol.

Not many municipalities share such a distinction, and it serves as a magnet for like-minded individuals, enhancing home values and a cohesive sense of community spirit.

Complementing our community history is our school system that excels in many ways, with a distinction of excellence in academics, sports, and the arts. We see continued improvement as years go by, in no small measure to the enthusiasm of parents. Our community spirit will continue to strengthen with our foundation of history and commitment to common values over time.

If elected, what can voters expect from your term of service?

I welcome comparison to other candidates. My commitment to Haddonfield is demonstrated through continuing leadership roles that produced results:

  • creating The Gardens of Greenfield Hall, an asset for the Society and a community focal point for special events
  • spearheading the reconstruction of the Maple Avenue Bridge, a design respecting history, complementing neighborhood surroundings, and rejecting the initial design for an off-the-shelf federal highway project
  • working on behalf of our library, serving as the foundation for annual book sales that contribute more than $200,000 to children’s library programs, and improving a building that has served our community since 1919
  • co-chairing the Historical Society Archive Center fundraising and building committee, which raised more than $950,000.


Coupled with my work on the Civic Association and borough budget advisory committee, I was honored by the Lions as Haddonfield’s Citizen of the Year. And I was especially proud of my appointment as borough Commissioner over 24 other candidates.

I attribute my drive and commitment to wonderful residents welcoming my young family, as well as my educational and employment background where, as a young attorney, I made the decision to dedicate myself to public service.

My leadership skills at the community level have been documented through decades of committed service in numerous organizations, rolling up my sleeves, and working well with like-minded folks in town. And my work experience is clearly transferable to the issues I now face daily as Commissioner for Public Works, Parks & Property: stormwater management, transportation planning, infrastructure improvements and maintenance, waste handling, shade tree care and plantings, historic preservation, and land use issues.

Voters can expect me to continue my long-standing service to this community: to be fiscally responsible with a tax-neutral Bancroft redevelopment plan that best serves the borough, BOE, and open space and historic preservation; to be transparent on stormwater and roadwork improvement planning with priority for infrastructure maintenance; to protect housing diversity and minimize teardowns that disrupts the character of our community; to support a thriving downtown business district.


Haddonfield Commission Candidate Gregory Peltz. Credit: Gregory Peltz.

Gregory D. Peltz, 60

Sales manager Gregory Peltz is a Haddonfield lifer and longtime volunteer, dedicating his time to the borough little league, supporting its wrestling programs, and coaching soccer.

Peltz also formerly served on the beautification committee for Sloatsburg Elementary School in New York, which oversaw a volunteer effort to design and landscape its grounds.






What is your philosophy of local government?

My belief is local government should be made up by the citizens it has always governed. Haddonfield has done a great job in doing so. As a growing community, Haddonfield keeps its charm.

I have gone door to door to talk to our townspeople to introduce myself. If you are to represent our citizens as a commissioner, it is your responsibility to go out and meet with the residents to hear their concerns. I have done that and will continue to do so. It is not about political gain or career advancement. It is about the concerns of all citizens, which I believe have been ignored.

Why would you like to serve on the borough commission?

I specifically want to serve as borough commissioner of public works, parks, and public property. My education and background allow me to think more intricately into public works.

I believe we need to be more proactive with the maintenance and planting of our trees. In addition, we need to be more proactive with our road maintenance. For example, there is much about the leaf law that has yet to be addressed: the health concerns of unmasked leaf collectors, the proper recycling and reprocessing of the leaves, and the interpretation of fines concerning leaf violations.

The commissioner of public works, parks, and public property oversees many workers, and with my education and experience I feel confident being responsible for those said workers.

What are the biggest challenges you foresee the town facing in the next three years?

I believe our biggest challenges are the negotiating of a fair and adequate PILOT agreement with the Bancroft developer, stormwater management, and road and tree maintenance. It is my understanding that the current commissioners and borough solicitor have had the best interests of the Borough of Haddonfield in the negotiations with the Bancroft developer.

As a concerned Haddonfield resident, it would be my intention to work alongside the current commissioners and borough solicitor to structure a PILOT agreement that is fair and adequate. If elected commissioner, I intend to negotiate in earnest for a speedy, beneficial outcome for the Haddonfield residents.

What are Haddonfield’s biggest strengths?

Having grown up in the town, I believe the town’s biggest strengths are the people who live here and the community that has formed over the years.

The essence of Haddonfield has developed over centuries. Many of my friends’ parents still live in town. Many of my high school friends who moved away have returned to town. Many friends also never left town and have a family of their own. Collectively, these folks together with our newcomers, teachers, borough administrators and workers, small business owners and emergency responders make Haddonfield a unique, enriching community.

If elected, what can voters expect from your term of service?

I promise to work for the citizens to the best of my ability to:

    • Make our streets and sidewalks safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
    • Ensure a quick response from Public Works for downed branches, trees, etc.
    • Work on storm water drainage issues on Concord Drive, Barberry Avenue and any other locations
    • Be proactive for drainage issues prior to forecasted weather events
    • Communicate directly with residents
    • Strengthen relationships with neighboring towns, county and state
    • Improve communication and collaboration with the Board of Education
    • Work on safety issues with the Bancroft property (decaying buildings and parking lots, unkempt plant material)
    • Provide property tax relief for seniors
    • Finalize the Bancroft redevelopment


Kathryn Raiczyk. Credit: Kathryn Raiczyk.

Kathryn M. Raiczyk, 66

Kathryn Raiczyk is an active mother and grandmother with an interest in child development, reading, and volunteerism.

She is the treasurer and financial chair of the Haddon Fortnightly, a lector and children’s religious education teacher at Christ the King, and a former treasurer of the Rutgers University–Camden Alumni Association.

Raiczyk participates in three book clubs in the borough, works in seasonal retail, and loves spending time with her family: her father, her children and their spouses, her grandchildren, and grand-dogs.


What is your philosophy of local government?

My philosophy of local government is that it does not need to be administered by people of specific degrees, genders, ages, industries, religions (or lack thereof), or ethnicities. All these facets of society, combined with experience, are the most valuable asset a local government or any government can possess.

Experience alone is not enough if a candidate has proven untrustworthy. Voting for a specific gender can be dangerous if one overlooks other aspects of a candidate. A local government must represent the diversity of its population in order to move forward, not only with what decisions are most urgent, but how to solve them.

Government will become fractured and antagonistic if not all constituents are represented. Residents of Haddonfield need to vote to express diversity.

Why would you like to serve on the borough commission?

I would like to serve on the Borough Commission to bring about change. What a cliché! Change for the sake of change is negative. Specific change based on strategic factors such as economics and history is positive change.

My suggestion for specific, positive change is more transparency and less behind-the-scenes decision-making. Politics does not have to have a negative connotation. Collaboration among board and commission chairs, municipal employees, and borough vendors is a necessity. Also, good examples need to be followed. No one is always right. If a solution isn’t accepted, review and adjust. That is dedication.

What are the biggest challenges you foresee the town facing in the next three years?

The biggest challenges that I foresee for the Borough of Haddonfield over the next three years is finalization of the PILOT (also known as an annual service charge as per state redevelopment law) pertaining to the Bancroft property, an integrated COAH plan, and stormwater management.

A commission composed of interested and knowledgeable residents should be convened for every major challenge. The number of experienced residents who are willing to volunteer is one of Haddonfield’s biggest strengths.

If elected, what can voters expect from your term of service?

If elected, the voters can expect a dedicated, loyal, and trustworthy commissioner whom they can count on, and who has their backs. I have proven this in the information I have shared and will continue to share. We will share, we will collaborate, we will decide.

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