New City Council President Cory Storch said Monday his goal is an "atmosphere of respect and civility" at council meetings in 2016.
"I'm not under any illusion that we are going to start hugging each other and have a kumbaya," he said, noting another goal is to improve communication between the legislative and administrative branches of government.
Storch's pledges gave a hopeful tone to the annual reorganization meeting. Residents have been complaining that contentious meetings aired on local television channels are embarrassing and are driving away developers and investors.
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp administered the oath of office to Storch as well as to Barry N. Goode, who won the First & Fourth Ward at-large council seat in his first run for elective office.
He urged constituents to contact him with their concerns, saying, "I am approachable and I am not invisible."
Storch and Goode will serve four-year terms on the council. The council president's term is one year.
The annual reorganization also included numerous appointments, adoption of a 2016 meeting calendar, approval of temporary budget appropriations through March and establishment of guidelines for public comment at council meetings.
In 2014 and 2015, Mapp gave his "State of the City" address at the annual reorganization, but it was not on the agenda this year. In answer to Plaintalker's query about it, Mapp said he will deliver the address later this month.
The next council meeting is an agenda-fixing session at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 11. The regular meeting will be at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Both meetings will be held in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.