By CAROL COMEGNO
The nonprofit group that operates the Battleship New Jersey Memorial and Museum has added four trustees as part of an expansion of its board.
Home Port Alliance co-chairwoman Patricia Jones announced the members last week, saying the board wants to diversify by adding members who live in the central and northern parts of the state.
The new members were appointed at a private meeting of the alliance this month. The organization is a private nonprofit and not subject to the state sunshine law.
Still, several public officials and board members had called for public meetings. Millions of dollars in public funds have helped pay for the battleship project.
The new members will be seated in April, although no date has been set for that meeting, Jones said. The appointees are Michael Carbone of Sewell, senior vice president of Commerce Bank; William Walsh of Hamilton Township, director of corporate affairs for Public Service Electric & Gas; retired Brig. Gen. Preston Taylor, mayor of Lumberton and former business administrator in Camden; and Joseph Pelliccio of Bayonne, director of police and deputy public safety director for West New York, Hudson County.
Pelliccio served on the New Jersey and and its sister ship, the Iowa, in World War II and Korea.
"When I served on the New Jersey, it was the cleanest, most beautiful thing in the world," he said.
"Today she looks wonderful, too. I think the group down there (in Camden) did a really great job restoring her and I'm looking forward so much to being a part of it," he said.
The board has authorized its own expansion from 15 to up to 25 seats. Because only 14 of its seats had been filled, the addition of four brings the total to 18.
Alliance Vice Chairman Donald Norcross said the board is reserving some seats because it hopes it will be able to seat some members of the state battleship foundation and the battleship commission.
Many members of those two groups had originally supported a Bayonne location in a competition for the ship, but the Navy decided to put it in Camden.
"We want this to be all-inclusive - one battleship, one board, one state," said Norcross.