BRIDGEWATER, NJ - He has always wanted to help people and give back, and now Gregg Mele is doing that for his local community.
Mele is running for mayor in Bridgewater on the Libertarian ticket.
“Most people can tell, just from talking to me, that I am about as sincere as they come and I always put the people I am helping ahead of myself to make sure everyone is taken care of and happy before I can rest,” he said. “I have been called ‘Mr. Responsibility’ by many because I will work 16 to 20 hours per day, seven days most of the time, to make sure there are no loose ends that negatively affect anyone.”
Mele holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Montclair State College, a Master of Science degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Baruch College. He also has a J.D. from New York Law School and is an L.L.M. from the NYU School of Law.
Since 2002, Mele has been the managing member of Mele & Associates, LLC, in Clark, and has also worked as a program director and professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Before moving to Bridgewater about three years ago, he served on the New Providence Committee on Open Space Preservation and Committee on Economic Development/Long Range Planning.
Mele said he has been involved in Chinese community affairs since moving to Bridgewater more than three years ago when he married his wife, Jenny, who already lived in town.
“Ever since I have been here, I truly find it to be the most welcoming town I have ever lived in,” he said. “It is a tight-knit community, and we have enjoyed nothing but caring and support from our neighbors, so I would like the opportunity to use my expertise to return the favor and make this an even better town to live in, as well as raise a family.”
And the key to continuing to make the town better, Mele said, is through handling development, roadwork and more.
In terms of development, Mele said the key is to maintain separate neighborhoods for commercial and industrial, versus residential and green space.
“(The key is) to make sure there are sustainable businesses for the next generation that will pay their fair corporate share of property taxes, as well as utilize any offsets that will minimize requirements and allow the free market to have a bigger hand in determining the level of development that makes sense,” he said.
In terms of the budget, Mele said, it is important to increase tax revenue generation through the businesses that come to town, while also continuing to contain spending.
“One area is to look at the administrative portion of the school budget,” he said. “Control should be more in the classroom, and the layers of red tape should be eliminated. States’ rights also demand that control be localized, so responsibility in the administrative budget should be paramount. Also, privatization, in combination with more competitive bidding processes in a number of areas, should be implemented, as well as shared services proposals with neighboring communities.”
Mele said that road construction and work is a primary area for the competitive bidding process. Keeping the costs down will allow the town to get more work done more quickly by qualified and high-quality contractors.
“Planning needs the coordination of the town and the contractors, where proposals for scheduling and logistics must be worked out prior to the beginning of construction, but this cannot delay all the road problems for a long period either,” he said.
Mele said they need a comprehensive plan of attack for taking care of the roads on a cyclical schedule throughout the town, with an ability to respond to urgent matters that come to the attention of residents and the municipality.
With a new mayor set to be chosen in Bridgewater, Mele said he believes he is perfectly positioned as an outsider third-party candidate to bridge the gap between the major parties, mend fences and get things done.
“I have made a specialty of listening to varying opinions and finding compromise that works, from an analytical, logical standpoint,” he said. “At the local level, in particular, ideologies have less business running things than a practical approach. I have been involved in countless projects over the years, gaining consensus to get things done to improve various situations generally, where buy-in from all stakeholders is so important.”