FAIR HAVEN ADDS FEMALE VOICE IN YEAR 100

Mayor Mike Halfacre swore in new Councilwoman Susan Sorensen, below, at the freshly refurbished Bicentennial Hall, also known as Fisk Chapel. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE and CORRECTION: After this story was published, borough Clerk Allyson Cinquegrana sent us a list of all council members through Fair Haven’s history, which confirms Mayor Mike Halfacre’s comment that two women served on the council after Alison Dale. The most recent was Wendy Jones, in 2004.]

It’s been nearly 14 years, but Fair Haven again has a woman on its governing body – just in time for its second century.

Susan Sorensen, who was elected in November, was sworn in as a member of the borough council Sunday. And the event occurred as the town kicked off one of her pet projects: celebrating its first century as an independent entity.

“Councilwoman Sorensen,” Sorensen corrected Mayor Mike Halfacre, after he introduced her as “councilman.”

“And so it begins,” Halfacre replied, generating laughter throughout a crowded Bicentennial Hall, a newly remodeled and once-relocated former church on Cedar Avenue that will serve as the centerpiece of a year of celebrations.

Sorensen has lived in town since about 1998, works in telecom industry sales and has four children and a husband, Peter Maher.

She tells redbankgreen that she’s “trying to work some women in” as vacancies open on various boards and committees.

“I do think the flavor of the council has been missing the woman’s point of view,” she said.

Her opportunity to run arose when members of the local Republican Committee, including herself, set out in an effort to correct the gender tilt on the all-male, all-GOP council.

“Somebody said, ‘So, what about you?'” she recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, no…. oh, OK.’ I’d been going to the meetings anyway.”

Sorensen had already been active in parks and recreation issues as well as planning for the centennial, work that will continue in her official role, she said.

According to borough Clerk Allyson Cinquegrana, the last woman to serve on the council was Alison Dale, who concluded a six-plus-year run in March, 1997.

The borough has had one female mayor in its history: Nancy Kern, who served eight years, beginning in 1983, and had previously served on the council. She died in September, 2010.

The town, a former section of once-sprawling Shrewsbury Township, was incorporated as a borough on March 28, 1912. Here’s the official history of the borough.