I am pleased and honored to join Jeanne Kingsley this fall on the ballot for the two open positions on the Berkeley Heights Township Council. When I learned that Marc Faecher was going to withdraw his name for the upcoming election to the township council due to new work obligations, my first reaction was that this was a real loss for the citizens of Berkeley Heights. I did not know Marc prior to his campaign three years ago, but since his election, I have been extremely impressed by his dedication, knowledge, and wise decisions as a member of our local governing body. I knew he would be a hard person to replace.
In my estimation, the present Council has worked hard with our residents; listening and soliciting input so that they could do their best in representing all of us. I am pleased with those who currently hold Council positions and what they are doing and advocating. I publicly supported Marc and Jeanne Kingsley in the primary election because I felt they were best suited to represent our interests in municipal affairs. I have been a township resident for 29 years. I have been involved in a variety of local activities, including Rec and PAL coaching, traveling soccer coach, and for four terms, a member of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, including service as President and Vice President. I am a regular attendee at most township council meetings.
My professional career was in public education, first as a classroom teacher, and then as a School Business Administrator for more than 20 years. I even briefly served as an acting superintendent of schools. As a business official, preparing budgets was one of my major tasks, including listening and gathering public input and helping explain the budget and accompanying school tax levy to the public. Transparency is essential, but so is educating the public as to process and procedures. Both are critical to public trust and governing effectiveness. Of the 21 budgets I developed in three different communities, 19 of them were approved by the voters. I had responsibility for all purchasing, payroll administration, facility management, a number of other areas, and heavy involvement in labor relations. While these tasks were for school systems, the responsibilities all had to do with the management and administration of public funds. I believe that experience will be beneficial as a member of the council.
I support what our Council is doing and has done with respect to the municipal redevelopment. We have helped craft a reasonable response and solution to our affordable housing obligations. Like our current Council and most of our residents, I do not want to see the basic character of our town changed. Large development is not what we need, but unfortunately, the mandate of the NJ Supreme Court does not allow us to simply say no. It is our responsibility to effectively manage redevelopment, complying with the law while advocating for our community’s best interests.
The plan for the municipal complex is something that has evolved over several years. There is no doubt that the current facilities for police, municipal services, library, and senior citizen activities are highly inadequate. Thanks in part to citizen input, the plan to provide these services at the present municipal complex represents a project that will serve Berkeley Heights for many decades to come.
I am humbled by the confidence that the Berkeley Heights Republican Municipal Committee has in endorsing me as a candidate for township council. I am ready, willing and able to step up and represent a community that has been a great place for my family and I to have resided here these past 29 years. I look forward to working with all residents and getting to know you in the months ahead.