Debate Questions for Mayoral Candidates:
We are running under the banner “PARSIPPANY FIRST”
- 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?
Parsippany is a remarkable place to residents, a thriving community of residents from many different backgrounds where nobody is made to feel out of place. With so much to offer, it was a no-brainer in choosing to raise my family here in Parsippany, with a strong school system and the charming character of all the different neighborhoods in town. Even in a time of crisis like during Hurricane Sandy, our residents came together to support those in need. When there is a house fire or another family crisis in town, we all band together and work to make sure those affected are alright. It is exactly this kind of atmosphere that makes me proud to be a Parsippany resident, something that I am thankful for every single day.
- What is your primary motivation to serve the residents of Parsippany as Mayor?
In one form or another, much of my life has been spent representing and protecting our community. As a Parsippany Detective Sergeant, I heard firsthand many of the struggles residents faced day to day and worked to keep our community safe. In my role as a member of the Board of Education, I worked diligently to ensure that our children are safe in schools while continuing the world-class education that they receive here in our Township. As Council President, I fought to keep our taxes low while keeping the administration at the time honest on the concerns of our residents. In collaboration with the Board of Education, my leadership was instrumental in placing police officers in our school districts to protect our children. I want to continue this service as Mayor, putting our residents first and keeping my promise to fix the disastrous tenure of Mayor Soriano.
- What qualities and platform positions set you apart from your opponent?
While I believe my opponent is a decent man, an important distinction between us is our approach to leadership and problem-solving. Our differing emphasis on getting Parsippany back into financial maturity and cleaning up the mismanagement from the Soriano administration is apparent in our proposals. Reenergizing our municipal utilities and making them more attractive to nearby towns for potentially shared service agreements will help keep future rate hikes low. To prevent overbilling, all legal bills should be thoroughly examined, just like other contractual obligations. Keeping tax hikes to a minimum during this crisis will require budgetary discipline and new ideas that have not been implemented in Parsippany before.
- What is the first action you will take as Mayor should you be elected?
Eliminating the mayor’s personal use of a Township car and reducing my salary to show solidarity with residents affected by unreasonable tax increases will be the first action I take. While the Township must make efficiencies, I believe that budget cuts should begin with those at the top of leadership for real change to be made in keeping expenses reasonable. There is no reason why the Mayor of Parsippany should be making more than the Mayor of Jersey City.
- 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?
Nepotism as a practice should end regardless of the party affiliation of the administration that pursues it. Employee morale is lowered, budgets are negatively affected, and is flat-out unethical no matter how you frame it. My administration will end this expensive practice while also ensuring that our government continues to provide some of the most skilled municipal employees for residential services anywhere in the state.
- 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?
In my time as a Parsippany police sergeant, I was assigned to the department of internal affairs where I investigated allegations of misconduct by officers and civilians. In addition to this, I was also responsible for the development and analysis of information affecting the integrity and internal security of the department. This gives me a unique perspective on how to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future while keeping our police effective and free from corruption. If any improprieties were to occur in the future, I would make sure that all parties are treated with respect and in a manner to be prescribed by the law. Whistleblowers should not be mistreated, especially if they are acting in the best interest of the Township and its residents.
- 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.
Ensuring the budget is well-spent is a top priority, especially with the unacceptable increases in utility rates and municipal taxes burdening our residents. COVID has resulted in considerable difficulties for many taxpayers and our administration should be doing all that it can to lessen this. Instead of wasting Township resources giving out contracts to political donors or fighting to borrow money to cover the deficit made worse over the past three years, my administration will work to modernize the way our government works with cost-effective solutions. With the support of the Township Council, serious efforts must be taken in finding acceptable resolutions in reducing expenditures with minimal impact to residential services.
- 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.
It seems every election year, promises are made to reduce development with little to no action taken once the election ends. While this has been a staple of Parsippany campaigning over recent history, this administration has been the most egregious in doing this. Running an entire campaign on preventing overdevelopment, Soriano has presided over some of the heaviest redevelopment this township has ever seen. This is bad enough, not to mention the PILOT programs that prevent our schools from being fully funded to keep the developers happy. Not only will my administration hold the line on unnecessary new developments, but we will work to eliminate the use of PILOT programs where possible.
- 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?
While I am disappointed to see the Soriano administration pick unnecessary fights with the Township Council, including some with his own former running mates, it does not come to me as a surprise. As Mayor, I would individually meet with council members on a regular basis to take advice and work towards solving pressing residential issues in a collaborative fashion.
- 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?
I will not hire Mr. Inglesino, Justin Marchetta, or any other members of the firm Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor, as Parsippany Town Attorney.
- If you fail to win the support of residents and lose the election, what advice would you give to the victor?
My advice to him would be to try and approach his old seat with a new perspective and place residents first. Our taxpayers are struggling under the burden of the past three years of mismanagement, tough decisions will need to be made. Not all of them will be popular in the short term, but if done right residents will thank you.
Click here to return to the main page.