Letter: Vote Lines 3A, 4A, 6A

By on May 5, 2017

mailTo The Editor:

I have had the honor of serving Verona as Councilman for the past two years and am very proud of the progress we have made in such a short time. At the time I ran for office, we were embroiled in scandal over the failure to provide usable technology to our Police Department, council members were kept in the dark about financial information, and residents who dared question the town could count on an angry tirade from the former Town Manager.

What a difference two years can make. We have taken major steps to reorganize our government. We successfully hired a new Town Manager who is a breath of fresh air to the public and have reduced day-to-day operating expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars through a new health plan, careful control of staffing and overtime, and review of every expense large and small. We have done this while maintaining and improving our public services. And most importantly, we have changed the tone. A council meeting is no longer a shouting match. We work together as a team to resolve important issues. Citizen input is heard and welcomed.

Overhauling a government organization is a marathon, not a sprint, and I would like us to continue making Verona a better place to live every day. To do this we need to strengthen the council with members who have the knowledge base and willingness to put in the time and work that this position requires.

Mayor Kevin Ryan has gone above and beyond in his duties to serve the town. He devotes much time during the day to work with the township administration to provide oversight and advice. Mayor Ryan personally reviews the bill list before payments go out and asks questions to maintain a watchful eye on expenses. He is present at numerous board and committee meetings and works with his counterparts in nearby towns to strengthen our relationships with them. His work experience in the federal government gives him the skills to improve our administrative practice which was sorely lacking. I am pleased that Mayor Ryan is willing to devote another four years to serving the community and encourage you to vote for his re-election.

Jack McEvoy has been a constant presence at almost every Town Council meeting for years, along with the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, and other entities. He has the knowledge of how our government works and the issues facing our town. He has worked hard to prevent overdevelopment and maintain the quality of life in our town. He has innovative ideas about public safety, traffic and parking, downtown development, and environmental stewardship. Jack is a small businessman who understands what it takes to make Verona a vibrant destination. He is a lifelong Verona resident with deep ties to the community. He will be a strong addition to the council and deserves our support.

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Through this election cycle I had the opportunity to meet Chris Piccuirro. He is intelligent and forward-thinking and represents a new generation of leadership. He and his wife have young children and can provide a fresh perspective to support the needs of families in Verona. He is a software engineer and wants to improve our use of technology and gain efficiency and reduce costs. Chris has run a positive campaign and listens and researches before he acts. I would welcome the opportunity to work with another technology professional to move our government forward and continue to improve the quality of life in our town. I also encourage you to vote for Chris.

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The choices are clear. Kevin Ryan, Jack McEvoy, and Chris Piccuirro will serve this town well. Please vote lines 3A, 4A, and 6A on May 9th.

Sincerely,
Alex Roman

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5 Comments

  1. John LoCrasto

    May 5, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Good evening councilman Roman, thank you for a great job the last two years. Endorsement of candidates as a sitting councilman tells me we are going back to our old ways. Hmmm! Mayor at forum says he’s has to raise taxes next year to meet some of our obligations. Hmmm! Confused. Check how long I’ve been a tax payer in [email protected]

  2. Virginia Citrano

    May 6, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Bob Manley, who like Alex Roman is a sitting councilman, recorded a phone message in support of Donna Cannizzaro that went out to many Verona voters last week.

  3. Jess McGrath

    May 6, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Virginia, there’s a difference. Bob Manley is not running for re-election. Alex Roman has two more years to go on council. So does Mike Nochimson, who has sent out multiple emails (including one I received as a print-out shoved into the crack of my house door) endorsing the same three candidates.

    I personally am very bothered by this “team” concept. I would like some diversity of thought on council.

  4. Alex Roman

    May 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Mr. LoCrasto:

    I appreciate your support of my work on the Council.

    The driving force behind a potential tax increase next year is debt service from past projects. We currently have $11.1 Million in outstanding short-term notes that must be converted to long-term bonds which carry a significantly higher interest rate. About $6 Million of this is debt from the construction of the Hilltop fields. We have been reducing expenses or holding them flat in all other areas, with the exception of increased payroll cost due to union contract mandated salary increases.

    We are looking for other ways to reduce costs to offset the debt service increase but do not want to cut services or implement layoffs. It is better to be honest with the public and let them know this is likely than to pretend it isn’t. In the past the town played accounting tricks to “kick the can down the road” on cost increases and we’ve been trying to resolve some of those legacy issues and stop those practices as they make things worse in the long run.

    Mr. McGrath:

    There is a healthy amount of diversity in thought and discussion among the council. There are times where we have diverged in voting. For example, Deputy Mayor Nochimson was the only vote against the budget this year. He and I disagreed rather strongly about changes he wanted to make to the budget that I felt were poor financial practice and sparred over it in public session. I was the sole “no” vote on the OPEIU salary ordinance my first year because I disagreed with some personnel changes. We all have different priorities and projects or operational changes we want to push forward in routine business.

    In the last election, Jay Sniatkowski distributed a letter throughout town entitled “Don’t Be Misled” in which he challenged both me and Michael Nochimson when we were running. He signed it as the Deputy Mayor. He was mid-term at that point as well and not running in the election but felt compelled to comment, and he had the right to do so. Regardless, he and I have built what I consider to be a good working relationship over the past two years.

    I think we are lucky to have such a large field of candidates this year for these positions and will be glad to work with whoever is elected to find common ground for the benefit of everyone in Verona.

  5. Bob Manley

    May 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    That is absolutely accurate reporting Virgina. I did record a robo call in support of Donna Cannizzaro. You got that one right. Well done.

    Councilman Bob Manley

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