Full Name: Gregory B. Elbin
Office Seeking: Town Council Seat
Party lines: Democrat
Campaign website: parsippanydems.org
Facebook Page: Parsippany Democratic Committee
What community do you live in? We reside at 29 Farmstead Drive, District 38, close to Parsippany High School.
How long have you lived there? 20 years.
How old are you? 62
Provide family information: Married 38 years to Dr. Susan Elbin. We have one daughter, Rachel, 28 years old.
What is your education background? BA, German and Religion, Dickinson College; MA German, PSU; I taught high school German for 30 years.
Why do you think you are qualified for this position? I’m a skilled negotiator, having worked on four teacher-board contracts. Although emotions can run high, I’m confident I will be able to help gain consensus in the face of tough issues.
Why are you running for this elected office? Although I’m active in many volunteer organizations that support our community, I need to be able to represent Parsippany on Town Council. I have observed how our Council has spent two years virtually deadlocked on issues. We have an opportunity to end this stagnation and ensure an independent Council that can truly represent the interests of all citizens. We need to end the partisan politics that prevail in our community.
What are the three issues that most concern you?
a. Transparency: One of the Council’s major responsibilities is oversight of budgeting and spending. Under the present administration, budgets have been late, and copies have not been readily available to the public. Council members have been prevented from reviewing legal and other bills.
b. Development: Some on Council have voted “yes” on every developer’s proposal on the Waterview tract, which borders the Lake Intervale residential area. The Council needs my vote to ensure that we ask the right questions and make the right choices, not only on Waterview, but also on other open space issues, rezoning, and the Council on Affordable Housing.
c. Escalating Legal Costs: We have one million dollars in litigation and legal bills for the Town Attorney. Indeed, legal fees have increased 45% since 2010. A good portion of the litigation expense is dedicated to a politically motivated lawsuit. These fees are footed by the taxpayer.
Explain your proposed approach to managing these issues.
a. Transparency: The local “pay to play” ordinance was eviscerated and open space decisions were taken away, for example, from the Open Space Committee. I would ask the standing committees to make regular presentations at council meetings about issues under their purview, empowering members of said committees to share their expertise. Their advice should be weighed heavily. I would also ensure that Township budgets are accessible to the public in a timely manner.
b. Development: The present administration has ushered in an era of unrestrained development in the town, by virtue of the “areas in need of redevelopment” designation. Some of the “areas” are areas that have never been developed. We need to be true to the Master Plan in terms of new development projects. If changes in zoning are necessary, they need to be effected through mindful reexamination of the Master Plan, and not slipped in through the back door by means of capricious spot zoning.
c. Escalating Legal Costs: One of the major jobs of our Council is to review
invoices. As a councilman, I would insist that Council be able to review all billing. We can no longer accept the highly redacted versions of attorney bills. The rising cost of politically motivated lawsuits is a burden on our taxpayers that is intolerable.
Have you held elected office before? Vice President of Morris Hills Regional District Education Association, four years; Treasurer, Northern Chapter of AATG, six years; President-Elect of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany-Troy Hills, 2016-2017.
What organizations do you belong to? Lay Member at Parsippany United Methodist; Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany, AATG, NJEA, Lodge 700, Free & Accepted Masons.