New mayors in Mount Laurel and Moorestown - both women

Stacey Jordan, Moorestown's first female mayor: "It's pretty neat. . . ."
Stacey Jordan, Moorestown's first female mayor: "It's pretty neat. . . ."
Posted: January 08, 2013

The suffragist Alice Paul - who was born in Mount Laurel, died in Moorestown, and helped American women win the right to vote - would likely approve of those two towns' latest choice of mayors.

On Monday, the Moorestown council chose Stacey Jordan as the township's first female mayor. Last week, on Wednesday, Mount Laurel Township's council selected Linda Bobo as its new mayor.

"It's pretty neat - a piece of history," Jordan, 42, a mother and business owner, said of her selection. "It's weird that it took this long."

A former Burlington County freeholder who also served for nine years on Moorestown's zoning board, Jordan was elected to the council in 2010.

Her affluent town of nearly 23,000 residents is "in a good position," she said Monday. She predicted that the council would maintain services this year with no need to raise taxes.

Bobo, 45, is not Mount Laurel's first female mayor. That honor went to Geraldine Nardello in 1993. She served two one-year terms.

Like Jordan, Bobo is a mother and a business owner, and has lived for 20 years in the town she now leads. Both are Republicans.

"Budget is always a challenge," said Bobo. "Mount Laurel's expenses continue to rise while revenues decrease." The latter is because of a "record number" of successful commercial tax appeals in recent years, she said.

She succeeded Jim Keenan, who served four years as mayor and will continue on the council. He was defeated in November in a bid for an Assembly seat.

Keenan was forced during his tenure to cope with what Bobo called the town's worst financial crisis in years, during which the 42,000-resident township was obliged to lay off and furlough employees and renegotiate contracts to stay solvent.

"It wasn't easy," she said, "but I'm proud to say our bond rating actually increased during those years, when most towns continued to struggle."

Bobo is owner of Kinderlanguage of Mount Laurel, a company that teaches second languages to young children. She and her husband have three children in the public schools.

Her chief goal as mayor, she said, is to "work on improvements to the township," with particular attention to parks and recreation and quality-of-life issues. She expects the town to also approve plans this year for a new bike path.

Jordan is co-owner with her brother, Brian Farias, of Farias Surf & Sport, a chain of six shops along the Jersey Shore that sell surfboards and beach wear.

Five of the stores were "under water" after Hurricane Sandy, she said. "The surfboards float," she said, "but the clothing doesn't."

The chain was started in 1970 by her father, Vincent Farias, who later served as director of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders.

Jordan was named to fill a vacancy on the freeholder board in January 2008, but did not win reelection. She succeeds John Button, who served two terms as mayor.

She and her husband, Andrew "A.J." Jordan, a partner in the management consultant firm Ernst & Young, live in a large brick house on Main Street that was an inspiration for the home in Thornton Wilder's classic play, Our Town. They have three children in Moorestown schools and a daughter in college.

Jordan said she thought the two issues that had most divided the Moorestown council in recent years - how best to use open-space lands, and the choice of a new town hall and library - were now "behind us."

She said she had taken some credit with her fellow councilman, Chris Chiacchio - named deputy mayor Monday - for helping to lead the council toward choosing a design and to budget for the new town hall and library, plans for which it approved late last year.

Revenue to the long-dry town from controversial new restaurant liquor licenses, in the amount of $5 million, have helped defray the costs of that project and open-space improvements, she said.

"Open space is still a big issue," said Jordan. "People still want us to preserve it."

Contact David O'Reilly

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