Despite what others may suggest, you don’t need a degree or two from a prestigious college or university to be a successful elected municipal official. It’s not rocket science after all. Empathy, common sense, a desire to help your community, and a willingness to listen to others and share ideas for the common good will get you most of the way there.
Mr. Kobylarz, the Democratic candidate for Mayor, has spent 18 months working on his “vision” for the Borough’s future and not much else, except for the creation of a couple new advisory committees. Mr. Kobylarz is of the opinion that the Borough’s future success lies in attracting technology and innovation firms to town. He crows over the creation of “The Station” – a single floor of a small office building offering mostly temporary “rent as you need it” coworking space. He also touts the fact that Box Car has relocated its offices to Chatham and has taken up residence in the building. What he neglects to tell everyone is that you can just about count the number of Box Car employees on one hand. While “The Station” may benefit the building’s owner, it hasn’t done much for the residents of the Borough.
While Mr. Kobylarz was busy defining his “vision,” the Finance Committee which he chairs, and which is controlled by a Democratic majority, failed to update the Borough’s 10-year Strategic Financial Management Plan for 2019. This failure to act directly contradicts his “Our Ideas” flier declaring that the Democrats “will implement fiscally prudent long-term financial planning.” The Borough’s Strategic Financial Management Plan was initially developed by a Republican-led municipal government back in 2014 and has served as an effective financial planning tool. The plan is an essential component of the budgeting process and key to maintaining the Borough’s Triple A bond rating. It is imperative that this document be updated every year so it can be used to guide the Borough’s long-term financial success. In July of this year I had to initiate the effort to get the plan updated, even though I am not a member of the Finance Committee.
As Mr. Kobylarz was busy defining his “vision,” I was busy pursuing practical, common sense solutions to real problems. Some of these initiatives included the following:
- convinced the Council to pass a resolution urging the NJ Legislature to oppose the legalization of marijuana;
- argued for the hiring of a Class III Special Police Officer to patrol the Borough’s schools;
- led the effort to save the Vine Street-to-Tallmadge Ave pathway;
- advocated for the creation of a mini-cul-de-sac at the end of Tallmadge Ave to make it easier for vehicles to turnaround, including a handicap transport bus;
- secured an additional handicap parking space at Borough Hall; and
- worked with Council Member Vicki Fife to create an off-leash dog area at Shepard Kollock Park.
If elected Mayor, I will continue to work for consensus-based, common sense solutions for issues facing the Borough. Furthermore, I will use my skills to guide the municipal government as it seeks to better serve the residents of the Borough.