Friday, May 17, 2024
HomeCandidatesFrank Neglia - Candidate for Township Council

Frank Neglia – Candidate for Township Council

Debate Questions for Council Candidates:

  1. Pride in Parsippany is an important part of why many choose our Township as their home. Why did you decide to settle in Parsippany, and what makes you proud to be a resident?

I moved to Parsippany when I was nine years old, and I’ve chosen to remain here ever since because of how deeply I care about this Township that embraced me when I was a child.  With our great schools and sense of community, I was proud to raise my family here.  I believe in Parsippany, and want to ensure that our residents always know that their Council is fighting hard to make their Township the best it can be.

  1. Tell us about your family life and what living in Parsippany means to you.

I’ve been fortunate to live in Parsippany for 55 years. I’ve raised my family of 5 here with my wife and I am proud to call Parsippany home. To me, our Township has always been about people working hard, supporting each other, and trying to make our community the best it can be for our families. Living in a place that instilled that spirit in my kids has always been important to me, and Parsippany has never let me down. I am happy that my children had the chance to participate in our sports leagues and develop the comradery with their friends that were so important to me when I was growing up – I still have many close friends in town who I played ball with our youth. I’m glad that my family can enjoy the impressive array of amenities and restaurants that make Parsippany a regional destination.  I feel fortunate to have grown up here and to live in a place with so much to offer my family

  1. What is your primary motivation to serve the residents of Parsippany as a Councilmember?

I’ve been proud to serve as the Parsippany Board of Education President.  One of the main reasons Parsippany is such a great place to live and raise children is because of the schools, its teachers, and the structures we have in place to support our students. Despite our great schools, the Township as a whole would greatly benefit from our governing bodies – the Township Council and Board of Education – working more closely together.  Both bodies work for the betterment of the community, but together, they can work on tackling the budget issues that drive property taxes, while still ensuring our schools and our community needs are protected.   With my experience and close relationships on the Board of Education, I know that, if elected, I can bridge our governments and ensure efficient, effective government for all the citizens of Parsippany.

Tackling overdevelopment is an imperative that must be addressed. The problems with overdevelopment extend beyond the strain on traffic, utilities, and other infrastructure.  These high-density projects have s significant effect on our schools, many of which are already at capacity.  If something is not done, we face overcrowding, program cuts to non-mandated programs, such as music, arts, sports, and kindergarten. It’s just a matter of time.  While we can’t stop development, we can certainly be much smarter about the projects that we approve and their impact on our school districts.

In addition, I am running to restore fiscal responsibility to our Township. Taxes have gone up dramatically over the last 3 years, and I will demand to know why. The current mayor engaged in a spending spree, adding unnecessary positions, failed to protect our sewer and water rates and has not or cannot explain what happened to the sewer and water fund.  Our surplus has been depleted and this administration needs to explain why.

I fear that other important government funds, such as the Open space trust fund, could be next to be depleted.  Shared services with the Board of Education, such as the SRO’s and school security could face elimination.  We need to put a stop to this.  We need to streamline government, eliminate newly created patronage jobs, and ensure that our resources are allocated where they are truly needed.  It’s time for Parsippany to stand up and demand good government and fiscal responsibility.

  1. What qualities and platform positions set you apart from your opponents?

My professional experience includes project management for the Weichert Family of Companies’ construction-related activities and most recently as the Director of Operations and Facilities Management for The Connection for Women and Families, a New Jersey non-profit organization.  Coupled with my tenure on the Board of Education, including my service as Board President, I’ve developed budgeting and organizational skills that I would deploy as a member of the Township Council to ensure that all Council expenditures contemplate what is in the best interest of our Township, both from a policy and fiscal standpoint.  My career and public service have also honed my ability to work effectively with groups, organize and evaluate projects, and streamline and cut out wasteful spending.

With our current administration seems determined to not just squander our surplus, but to saddle our residents with severe tax increases, these skills are more important now than ever to ensure our taxpayers are protected from an administration known for runaway spending.  I will also use my leadership skills to build coalitions against overdevelopment and in favor of ensuring that our utility funds are secured.

  1. The Township Council has an important role in acting as a check on the executive branch, how would you continue to ensure proper governance in your role as a Councilmember and prevent executive overreach?

My entire career, both professional and civic, has required that I work with others toward achieving what is in the best interest of either my employer or my fellow citizens.  I will work tirelessly to build consensus with my fellow Councilmembers, even those with whom I may disagree, to ensure we are working to do what is in the best interest of Parsippany and our residents.  I may not always agree with our executive or my fellow legislatures, and I will not shy away from making my disagreements known and understood.  Disagreements are inevitable, but any disagreements will always be expressed with respect for my colleagues and in a way that values differences of opinion.

  1. As a Councilmember, how would you ensure that the financial position of the Township improves and what would you do to keep residential tax rates reasonable?

The irresponsibility of this current administration has damaged our Township’s previous reputation for strong fiscal management.  Until the current Mayor is voted out of office it will be difficult to know the true extent of the fiscal crisis we face, as there are questions of transparency, including an honest accounting of legal fees that our residents are being charged by outside counsel.  Right from the start, I will seek to eliminate patronage positions created by our current mayor, I will work with my colleagues to ensure we build back our utility surplus, and I will ensure that we pass budgets with an eye toward protecting our residents from exorbitant tax increases.  Hard decisions, like budget cuts, may be required – I have made such hard choices in my professional career – but I will always make sure that any such decisions are made responsibly and with the thoughtful care that such decisions deserve and require.

  1. Recently, a disagreement between the bipartisan Township Council and the current administration on a proposed $5M bond to balance the budget has been made public. Where do you stand on using bonds to balance the budget and how would you vote on this proposal with current information made to the public?

Our current Mayor should have been working on behalf of the people to protect our financial interests for the last three years.  Instead, he has hoisted massive tax increases on our residents’ backs.  We need to ask, where has our surplus gone?  Why have taxes and utility rates gone up?  The current Town Council has its hands tied because of this administration’s recklessness and inability to offer a balanced budget.  The council just approved a $2.3 million bond to help balance the budget.  Their hands were tied, as they had no choice but to pass the bonding or see our citizens suffer even more severe increases.  Now they have taken a 2.3 million dollar loan to try and achieve a balanced budget.   Again, because this Mayor cannot pass a balanced budget, the Council’s hands are tied.  They must protect their residents.  But what will this administration do to them next year and moving forward?  How much worse can we as taxpayers allow this administration’s spending problems to grow?  Once elected, my team will immediately get to work trying to correct the reckless spending being forced upon us by the current administration, and we will restore sound fiscal management to Parsippany.

  1. Since 2018, the Township Council has become a legislative chamber where respect between members is encouraged regardless of party affiliation or political position. How will you continue to contribute to this positive atmosphere and assure that this continues?

I have served on the Parsippany Board of Education for 15 years, including the last 5 ½ years as President.  My colleagues and I have always fostered a collegial atmosphere and have respected each other’s decisions, votes, and motions, even if we did not always agree with each other.  Working as a cohesive unit is certainly desirable and may be beneficial to achieving one’s goals.  But so, too is healthy, rigorous debate and disagreement beneficial to policymaking and governance.  I will always respect and be respectful toward my colleagues, even if our passions for our positions try to get the better of us.  I will always do my best to foster a culture of respect, and I have every intention of bringing the collegiality that served me well on the Board of Education with me to the Town Council.

  1. Do you believe the Township Council should take an expanded role in engaging Town Hall on behalf of residents and advocating for their concerns? Would you support office hours during the week for Council members to meet with residents and address their concerns? Specifically, address poor follow-up by the Township in relation to constituency services.

Under Parsippany’s strong-mayor form of government, the executive is the most appropriate individual to hold office hours.  However, outside of my professional duties, I am always available to our constituents, and as an elected official, I recognize the important role Councilmembers play in ensuring that our citizens feel heard and see their needs addressed.  While formal office hours may be inappropriate, Councilmembers are always on duty, ready to assist the executive and our government professionals with the responsibility of serving our constituents.

  1. Tell us about your work experience and how it will assist you in being a member of the Township Council in Parsippany.

As an Operations, Security, and Facilities Director for over 30 years, my professional experience has required that I develop and strictly adhere to budgets, many of a scale significantly larger than our own Township’s budget.  Much of my time is spent preparing, organizing, and executing group projects.  I’ve worked with people of different skill sets, ideas, and backgrounds, and have always managed to ensure that my employers’ goals have been met, while, at the same time, ensuring a safe, secure, and respectful atmosphere for my colleagues.  I will take those skills to the Township Council and work with my colleagues to restore Parsippany to fiscal health, protect our residents from overdevelopment, and replenish our utility surpluses.

  1. There are five candidates running for the two available council seats.  What sets you apart from the other candidates and why should Republican voters support you on June 8?

My family moved to Parsippany in 1966, and I chose to live here ever since.  This is where I grew up, this is my home, and this is where my heart is and will remain. I am proud to have raised all my children here and to have sent them to our great Parsippany schools.  I care about the community, and I have been proud to serve it as a School Board Member over the last fifteen years, The Recreation Advisory Chairmen since 2001, and the Par-Troy West President for the last 25 years.  I care about the people and issues facing all of us.  I am a fighter, and I will work tirelessly to do what is right for Parsippany and our residents.  My record shows I’m not a quitter and I do things for the right reasons, which is to benefit the town, our children.

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