Debate Questions for Council Candidates:
- 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?
Like many of us, I moved to Parsippany because it was a remarkable, special place with residents who were proud to call this Township our home. We were blessed with some of the best municipal services in the county coupled with relatively low taxes and an atmosphere that made living here truly a pleasure. Residents have always been proud to voice their support for fellow residents no matter the crisis or situation. We are truly blessed to live in this community of caring, wonderful individuals, and settling here was the single best decision my wife and I ever made.
- Tell us about your family life and what living in Parsippany means to you.
Elyse and I have been proud residents of Parsippany for over 40 years, happily enjoying the atmosphere that our local community provides. Parsippany was a perfect place to raise my son, Corey, with many of the positive values that residents stand for being imprinted on him making him the man he is today. I can say without a doubt, Parsippany is one of the kindest, peaceful, and welcoming Townships in all the state. For this, I am eternally grateful.
- What is your primary motivation to serve the residents of Parsippany as a Councilmember?
Unfortunately, the current administration has embarked on policies and behavior that have been a substantial threat to much of what makes Parsippany, Parsippany. Higher taxes, reduced services, political cronyism and nepotism, utility mismanagement, and Township employees facing a record-low morale problem are just to name a few. On the Board of Education, we made some tough decisions, but I always voted for what I believed was right ensuring that residents were getting the best for their money. With the right management in Town Hall, I believe that we can get ourselves back to a position where for every tax dollar in revenue we receive, residents will get back at least a dollars’ worth of value in return.
- What qualities and platform positions set you apart from your opponents?
I have served our country in one way or another for the better part of my life, I understand that service to your county, community, and family, is about making sacrifices and putting others before yourself. The only two candidates with military and law enforcement experience running for municipal office in Parsippany are me and Lou Valori, and with Justin Musella and his experience in the private sector, our team has the experience and vision to bring Parsippany into financial maturity.
- 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?
As a Board of Education member, I always voted my conscience. If something didn’t seem right, I made sure to ask questions and investigate whether that proposed action would benefit our students. I want to bring this same mindset to the Township Council, providing an independent voice for residents. I will put a stop to the mocking attitude of the current administration toward constituent concerns as we have seen from some recent Township Council videos. Working with my colleagues, we will act in our capacity as a check on the administration and make sure that each action taken will benefit those in our communities rather than campaign donors or political allies.
- 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?
My first action as a Councilmember would be to empower the Finance Committee to assess whether efficiencies are being made at the department level. This task won’t be easy but will give the Council an overview of how exactly taxpayer money is being spent, without the Administration obscuring information through the shadowed lens of the budget process. Our team would also push to have a review done of all legal billing in the future to prevent the Township from being overcharged. I would also have an open-door policy at any time for all department heads to voice concerns or to give insight on operations. Information has historically been blocked from the Administration to the Council and I believe this practice should end.
- 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?
I do not believe that it is in the best interest of our residents to go down the slippery slope of borrowing to balance the budget, especially when the Township has made little to no effort to curb expenditures. Rising costs are affecting all residents, and while I can understand Mayor Soriano’s desire to mitigate a large tax increase in an election year to preserve his future political career, it ultimately will cause a spike in the tax rate in the years to come. We all know we cannot indefinitely spend money that the Township isn’t collecting and pass loans off as revenue to cover the gaps. Parsippany has exhausted its utility surplus and led to massive rate increases that taxpayers just cannot afford at this moment – a return to fiscal stability is sorely needed. With the available information, I would vote no and work with the Administration and other council members to find an acceptable and reasonable solution to the crisis.
- 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?
Whether you are a resident, an elected official, or somebody who works in our town, I believe you should be treated with the respect you deserve. I will listen to my colleagues, I will take advice from those willing to give it, and I will act in the best interest of all who live here – my goal is to do the right thing and I am happy to work with all who are looking to do the same.
- 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.
Follow-up is everything, without it all that results are broken promises and disappointment. I would support the overhaul of the Mayor’s Action Center, working with the administration to ensure residential concerns and constituent requests are answered and resolved in a timely fashion. Office hours for Councilmembers would further this, giving another avenue for residents to request help – this time with the support of their elected representatives. All over town, stories of calls unanswered and issues unresolved have spread – residents deserve better. Our team will put the taxpayers first.
- Tell us about your work experience and how it will assist you in being a member of the Township Council in Parsippany.
My time on the Board of Education was marked by strong cooperative action that may not have always resulted in the most popular decisions made, but always the right ones, at least in my opinion. Our schools today are a big reason many new families pick Parsippany as the place to raise their children and make a new life. I intend on bringing that vision of forward-thinking and compromise to a Township council that will surely be missing it should our opponents be elected. In my Naval career, dealing with high-pressure situations without breaking and ensuring that things were “ship-shape” was no small order. Following this, my time as a police officer was served with distinction, as I worked my way through the ranks to achieve the role of Police Captain while also earning the Police Medal of Honor. Putting other people before myself was a hallmark of my service to the nation, both in the United States Navy and as a police officer, and I intend on continuing doing exactly that in the Township Council. My whole life has been dedicated to public service in one way or another, and this experience making sure the right decisions are made regardless of outside pressure are exactly the qualities we require in our local government.
- 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?
Justin Musella and I, along with Lou Valori running for Mayor, have spent the past few months going door to door all over town, listening to concerns, and answering questions from residents. Hearing about neighbors all around town struggling to deal with massive rate hikes and tax increases without an accompanying increase in the quality of our services is heartbreaking. My opponents in the GOP primary mean well and I’m sure want the best for the town, but our team is laser-focused with experience and ideas that will do well to fix the township. After the primary, we all need to come together, Republicans and Democrats, and prevent the current Administration from continuing to push its damaging policies to the Township we all love.
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