Editor's note: This continues the Meet The Leaders profile series on the Summit Alternative Press. The objective is to provide our readers the opportunity to hear from Summit's leaders in government, public safety, commerce and other areas, regarding Summit's present and future outlook, their background and what they enjoy doing in their private life. In order to keep the format consistent, The Alternative Press presents each individual with the same five questions. We publish their answers unedited.
Today - Summit Common Council Member Patrick Hurley
Background / Biography
A native of western Massachusetts. I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987 with a B.S. in Political Science specializing in National Security Policy. I also obtained an M.S. in Management & Operations from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. I served eight years on active duty in the U.S. Navy as a pilot flying attack helicopters including service in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm. I moved to Summit in 1995, my wife's hometown, and, in addition to my day job, I have served as Chairman of Summit Environmental Commission and Housing Authority as well as coached a total of 22 seasons of youth sports in town including soccer, baseball & basketball. We have four children, two of whom have completed Summit public schools beginning in first grade, one currently in high school and one in the middle school.
What inspired you to pursue a role in public office?
I’ve been around public service and politics my entire life, and can remember going to political events throughout Massachusetts with my father when I was as young as three years old. This instilled a life-long interest in politics and led, in part, to me wanting to serve my country as a pilot in the U.S. Navy (which I did for eight years before moving to Summit). A few years ago, it was clear Summit needed new leadership as we were starting to tear each other apart and destroy our community. I resolved not be part of the problem, but rather help lead the solution, so I decided to run for council.
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing Summit today?
Summit is an inspiring community with a remarkable history. It is well positioned to be a model city for not just New Jersey, but the entire nation as well. It’s amazing to think we’ll soon be the global headquarters for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, hosting a major national office for another, while also being home for thousands of New York City commuters and successful local small business owners.
But, we face many challenges most immediately from property taxes. We’re at ground zero in the extreme left’s war on prosperity and liberty that hurts the middle class, the large majority of our population, more than anyone else. The primary weapon used against Summit is county government and it’s becoming very effective. If we don’t act soon, it will be lethal. We’re stating to see alarming trends in Summit such as families beginning to move after their children complete high school, along with fewer people retiring here, dramatically shifting the balance of our tax levy and demand for services. Unless things change, we’re going to hit a tipping point making living here impossible for all but the ultra-wealthy on one end of the spectrum and those receiving public assistance on the other. The path we’ve been forced to go down is simply unsustainable.
What are the top priorities on your "to do list" as a City Council member?
My top three, and equally important, priorities are: First, continuing the trend of responsible city spending, including identifying economies of scale offered by shared services within all city departments, we began two years ago while keeping taxes as low as possible with the hope, despite increasing federal and state mandates, of a tax cut for at least the city portion of our levy. Second, bringing the county government and resulting unbalanced tax burden under control through a fundamental restructuring of the charter at the state level along with a rewrite of the equalization formula and, if necessary, pursuing secession as some of our neighboring communities have. Third, have the best, most effective and state of the art public safety and emergency management infrastructure and operations possible. This starts with well-equipped and fully staffed police and fire departments and extends to leveraging the latest technologies and opportunities such as those offered by our upcoming new joint dispatch center.
When you are not being a City Council member, what do you do in your spare time?
I work for a bank in global security helping to manage risk management and asset protection programs including crisis management, people protection, life safety, physical security and security technology globally. We also have four children between ages 13 and 23 and we’ve learned while the demands change, the time requirements don’t seem to. Finally, as a veteran, I spend a lot of time working with programs supporting veterans of the Global War on Terror.
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