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 President Dr. Robert Rubino
Biography / Background
A second example would simply be gratitude. I am grateful for having been raised in a country that requires hard work as your only obstacle to success, in my view, it is a happy duty to serve my community.
What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing Summit today?
The Merck departure is both a challenge and an opportunity. Change is inevitable, as community, we have to be able to pivot, be optimistic, and let the world know we are open for business. I spoke to the Governor recently about this very issue, he pointed out that the new " NJ Economic Opportunity Act" passed in September, should help. Fostering a business friendly environment is the best way local government can convert the Merck loss into a gain, the private market should take care of the rest.
Union county taxes continue to present a big challenge. I traveled to Elizabeth and invited the County Manager and the freeholders to a meeting with us in the finance committee to see how we have been able to keep our municipal tax rate 0.4 and 0.25% for the past two years.
One of our best opportunities our citizens. We have to be energetic in recruiting positive, enthusiastic volunteers to dedicate their time. We are lucky to have a tremendous, diverse talent pool residing right here in our community, getting them involved to volunteer for city boards and committees is what makes this city thrive.
Our entire city is an opportunity. We already have great events that attract non-residents and the physical setting is beautiful. I would like to see diverse events added to our annual list, perhaps a statewide youth baseball or lacrosse tournament. We are a biotech and pharma state, an industry conference in town could be a great opportunity for local business interests. Events like these can help showcase Summit to potential new residents and businesses to keep us thriving in the future.
What are the top priorities on your "to do list" as a city council member?
Active engagement of the freeholders- this is our best hope in getting better representation of Summit's interests at the county level, and I will continue my visits to the county.
Getting the message out to potential corporate tenants at the Merck site about the "NJ Economic Opportunity Act" tax incentives to help bring their business to Summit.
When you are not being a City Council member, what do you do in your spare time?
We have three children so not surprisingly, my spare time is dedicated to my wife Susan and my kids. I work locally, which allows me to be very involved with my kids. I enjoy dropping them off or picking them up from school, whenever possible.
Athletics are a big part of our family - I enjoy coaching my son Anthony's baseball team, watching my daughter Abigail compete in gymnastics, and simply playing with my youngest daughter Danielle . The leftover “me time” is for the occasional tennis game, running, and reading, and I am ever vigilant for opportunities to steal a private dinner or lunch out alone with Susan.
Five words that describe Summit are...