Cynthia Santomauro and John Chiaia, Republican candidates for Borough Council seats in North Caldwell, have been serving their town government and engaging in civic causes for many years. This election cycle, they are making fiscal responsibility and green space preservation key issues in their campaign as they run on the North Caldwell First platform.
“John and I have been successful in helping avoid tax increases for nearly all of the past 10 budget years, and we worked on the borough’s purchase of Walker’s Pond to save it from development,” said Santomauro. “We will continue to fight for preserving green space in North Caldwell, which includes saving Green Brook Country Club from being redeveloped into a primarily senior-based community.”
The North Caldwell First platform
Working to improve the already great quality of life for all residents of North Caldwell, Santomauro and Chiaia are championing several new initiatives while continuing to advocate for ongoing matters within the town. Among their top campaign issues are:
- Restore Walker’s Pond – They successfully advocated for the purchase and restoration of Walker’s Pond; plans are to offer this open space as a public park with ice skating, fishing, and walking/jogging paths for passive recreation around the pond and across Mountain Avenue to connect to Liberty Park.
- Improved cell phone service – They are working to contract with new cell phone service providers so all sections of town will have strong, uninterrupted service.
- Save Green Brook Country Club – They feel strongly that every effort must be made to maintain the rural/suburban character of North Caldwell; this includes saving Green Brook Country Club from development and preserving it as a golf course, using State & County open space resources. A developer plans to build a senior assisted living facility, a 55+ "four seasons" neighborhood, and a town house neighborhood.
- Eliminate power outages – Institute and require an improved PSE&G tree pruning standard around power lines for the dual purpose of well-shaped trees that pose no risk to the supply of power during future storms.
- No tax increases – A commitment to continuing their multi-year track record of no municipal tax increases, following good government practices to maintain the quantity and quality of town employees and services without raising municipal taxes.
- Traffic and public safety – Santomauro and Chiaia were instrumental in having a traffic light installed at West Essex High School and a left turn lane created at the busy Route 23 intersection; they are pushing for more safety measures at the Greenbrook triangle, speed humps to control speeding on local roads, and installation of security cameras and emergency phone poles at recreation fields.
- Technology upgrades – To improve resident convenience, the candidates support upgrading online bill pay opportunities for all borough fees.
- Recreation for all residents – Santomauro and Chiaia brought major upgrades to North Caldwell with the new Liberty Park turf field and walking track, the new dog park off Mountain Field, a new splash park at the town pool, improved senior recreation programs and the acquisition of Magnussen Field for $1.
Santomauro and Chiaia are running for re-election in a contested election; Democrats Matthew Atlas and Anthony Floria-Callori were write-ins during the July Democratic primary election. Chiaia noted, “Local politics is non-partisan, it is about putting North Caldwell First. Our voting record, commitment to low taxes, proven accomplishments and vision for our town demonstrate our dedication to preserving an excellent quality of life for all North Caldwell residents. Cindy and I seek re-election and three more years to keep improving the town we love.”
The candidates have been serving on the Borough Council for 18 and 15 years, respectively. Both are attorneys with their own law practices. Their full bios and campaign platform are on the re-election website, www.NorthCaldwellFirst.com.
About the candidates
Santomauro and her husband have resided in North Caldwell for over 30 years, where they raised their two sons and have been active in township and volunteer activities. She has been Borough Council President since 2013—the first woman to hold that position in the municipality’s 125-year history—and chairs the Legal and Ordinance Committee. She is a former municipal prosecutor. Recently, she has co-chaired and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility & Unlawful Practice Committee and the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law. She has been a member of the Essex County Planning Board and a commissioner on the Essex County Improvement Authority. At Cooke & Santomauro, PC, she specializes in a broad range of commercial/corporate transactions and litigation and is a court-appointed mediator and arbitrator.
Chiaia and his wife Michele were both raised in North Caldwell and returned there to raise their sons, Frank (a member of the West Essex First Aid Squad) and Johnny. They have been active in township activities and committees and other organizations. Michele formerly served on the North Caldwell School Board and Municipal Alliance and Chaia is a former member of the North Caldwell Planning Board; he serves presently on the Essex County Planning Board. He has chaired the Borough Council’s Public Safety Committee, Finance Committee and Recreation Committee, and has served on the Public Works, Public Safety and Personnel committees. He has also been the council representative to the Camp Wyanokie Commission and chairs the Walker's Pond Conservancy. His law firm, Chiaia & Associates, LLC in Fairfield, covers several practice areas including corporate legal services, real estate, and civil/equity litigation.