Debate Questions for Mayoral Candidates:
We are running under the banner “RESTORING PRIDE IN PARSIPPANY”
- 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?
My parents moved to Parsippany in 1964 and I was fortunate to be raised in Parsippany. I have been in Parsippany for 57 years and it’s who I am and where I’m from. I attended our great schools and am a proud graduate of Parsippany Hills High School. My experiences and the people I grew up with taught me about decency, community pride, and made me the person I am today. The people of Parsippany are the reason why I love this town so much. When I reached the point in life where I had to choose where I would live, I chose Parsippany, and I am glad I did. Parsippany has many wonderful aspects, but its best asset is its people. Parsippany is my home, but its residents are my family. I will always live in Parsippany, and I will always care for it with all my heart. The people of this town make me so proud to be a resident.
- What is your primary motivation to serve the residents of Parsippany as Mayor?
My motivation has always been to make Parsippany the best it can be for our residents. I have proven that! As Mayor, I fought to keep taxes low, fill vacant office space, bring in businesses, support our local sports teams, etc. The people deserve a mayor who will serve with integrity and always put the public’s needs before their own. Whenever confronted by the choice of doing the right thing or the politically expedient thing, I chose our residents every time. I will always fight for our community, and our residents will know that their interests come first.
2. What qualities and platform positions set you apart from your opponent?
The two qualities that set me apart from my opponents are competency (which comes from experience and my past record) and honesty. The residents of Parsippany will always be able to rely on my integrity and ability to govern. My experiences and proven track record as mayor demonstrated my commitment to the township and ability to responsibly manage our township’s finances while completing important projects that advanced our community interests. I have always been and will always be honest with our residents.
Example of my experience.
Low Taxes/ Great services. Parsippany had one of the lowest tax rates in Morris County when I was Mayor. At the same time, I dramatically increased the scope and quality of municipal services.
Bringing business to Parsippany to fill vacant space and increase our tax base. My administration helped fill over 5 million square feet of vacant commercial space over the eight years I served as Mayor. This enabled me to create new sources of revenue from commercial businesses to keep taxes low for our residents.
Luring new businesses to Parsippany to increase ratables. My administration persuaded UPS to build a new 200,000 square foot facility in Parsippany. This facility is generating millions of dollars for our town.
Enhancing public safety. During my tenure as Mayor, Parsippany was ranked the second safest town in America according to FBI statistics. That is a tribute to the great work of our police department. Crime is up under Mayor Soriano. I will make Parsippany safe for our residents.
Preserving open space/Protecting our Environment. My administration preserved over 140 acres of open space, including 11 acres at the Waterview site. We will continue to preserve and maintain as much open space as we can for future generations.
Enhancing Recreation Services. My administration invested in upgrading our recreational facilities, including adding more capacity at Smith Field. I understand the importance of our recreation programs and will continue to make sure they are the very best they can be.
3. What is the first action you will take as Mayor should you be elected?
I will order the new Township Administrator to undertake a thorough review of the Township budget to fully comprehend how the current administration, after just four years in office, squandered the $16 Million surpluses that my administration left Parsippany. The current mayor’s incompetence and irresponsibility have resulted in unacceptable water rates and tax increases.
4. Allegations of nepotism have marked a shadow on past Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to the last century, will you make a commitment to stop this practice in the future?
My administration will be devoid of nepotism.
5. Public confidence in our police department has been shaken over the past ten years as a result of multiple whistleblower lawsuits and allegations of impropriety at the top, how would you address this and bring back trust in our local law enforcement?
I disagree with the notion that public confidence in the police department has been shaken. Anyone can file a lawsuit, and as we have seen in Parsippany, that does not mean the lawsuit has any merit. I appreciate the work of our fine police officers and their leadership, and I respect the difficult job they do every day. I believe our community has the same sense of respect and pride in our force that I feel.
6. Parsippany has earned a reputation for poor fiscal management coupled with short-term budgetary thinking, which steps would you take to change this and bring Parsippany back into financial maturity? Specifically, address recent increases in utility rates and higher than expected tax increases over the past few years.
“Recent” means during the Soriano administration. The fact of the matter is that Mayor Soriano squandered the $16 Million surpluses that my administration left him. How did this happen? The record is clear. My administration built and replenished surpluses in our utilities. I held the line on taxes and had a strong bond rating, clear proof that my budgets were fiscally responsible. Soriano’s incompetence is hurting Parsippany taxpayers. I am the only candidate in this race who can fix Parsippany’s finances. I did it before and I will do it again.
7. Overdevelopment has been a staple of campaigns on both sides of the aisle with truly little in the way of tangible action being taken by Town Hall. How would you ensure that any new development meets the needs of the township while balancing the needs of current residents? Specifically, address the use of PILOT programs and their benefits/costs to residents.
Michael Soriano promised to stop development and failed. His administration approved more residential development than any Mayor in Parsippany’s history, which will strain our schools and infrastructure. While we cannot halt development, my administration will take the responsible approach, hold developers to account, and always ensure that new projects receive rigorous scrutiny and minimize strain on our resources.
With respect to PILOTS, our continuing challenge in Parsippany is to find a way to address the problem of an abundance of antiquated office space. PILOTS can be useful in combatting this challenge but must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The only PILOT my administration approved, for example, was for UPS. That PILOT resulted in millions of dollars for Parsippany and was unquestionably a great deal for our town and helped generate a budget surplus. I would require that any PILOTs approved by my administration would adhere to the standards we set for the UPS agreement.
8. In the past, relations between Town Hall and the Township Council have been less than desirable, what actions will take to ensure this improves in your administration?
There is always healthy friction between the legislative and executive branches in our form of government because the legislative branch serves as a check and balance. Despite any differences or disagreements my administration had with the Township Council, we always came together to pass fiscally responsible budgets and to put the interests of our constituents first. I will never allow partisanship or political bickering to interfere with the people’s business.
9. In the 2017 election, Township Attorney John Inglesino played a major role in the voter’s decision. The Township experienced unusually high legal bills and lawsuits. Do you have any intention of bringing Mr. Inglesino, Justin Marchetta, or other members of the firm Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor, to Parsippany as Town Attorney?
The fact is that Republicans across New Jersey suffered more losses in 2017 than in any year since Watergate. The Inglesino Law Firm advises that it has no interest in applying and being the Township Attorney. If elected I will initiate a search committee that will solicit qualifications and select the best-qualified candidate. I will emphasize again that my administration will fight every day to restore fiscal sanity to our township and hold the current administration to account for failing to protect our financial interests.
10. If you fail to win the support of residents and lose the election, what advice would you give to the victor?
Be honest, be transparent, and do the right thing for Parsippany.
Click here to return to the main page.