ELIZABETH, NJ - John Laezza was named "Business Administrator of the Year" at the 28th Annual Mayor’s Dinner hosted by the Gateway Chamber of Commerce Thursday night. Laezza has been the business administrator in Clark for 17 years.
“I feel great, this is very rewarding," Laezza said. "You work hard and when you have the cooperation of the council you can make it happen. I wish the mayor could have been here. He should be sharing this honor.”
Mayor Sal Bonaccorso and several council members remained in Clark for an important planning board meeting that included a public hearing on Clark’s pending affordable housing settlement. Although he could not be present, Bonaccorso had much to say about Laezza’s win.
“I tell you the truth, John is the best BA in the state and more important, a best friend to me," Bonaccorso said. "I couldn’t have done it without him all these years. He is an asset to this community, he works like he lives here, he guards the spending and works in the best interest of the community and taxpayers always. He is tough but fair, and his department heads will tell you so. He wants them to work hard, but he wants them to succeed and he makes sure everyone has what they need.”
Laezza has served in government for over 60 years years in various capacities. According to his wife, Laezza tried retirement for about a year and a half once. Deciding it wasn’t for him, Laezza came back to work with Bonaccorso in Clark when the mayor first took office 17 years ago.
“I am proud to have him," Bonaccorso said. "We came in together and we’ll end it together because he is irreplaceable. I will never let him retire; he is stuck with me for life.”
Clark Chief of Police Pedro Matos attended the dinner on Thursday and was one of the first to his feet for a standing ovation when Laezza's name was announced.
“Mr. Laezza deserves this award," Matos said. "After 65 years in government he could be training everyone in this room. He has been mentoring me in my time with him. I’m very proud of him."
Laezza’s award was just one of several distributed at this annual event. The other winners were:
- Mayor of the Year - Adrian O. Mapp, Plainfield
- Economic Development Director of the Year - Richard Puschel, Linden
- Public Safety Official of the Year - Sheriff Joe Cryan
- Best Speaker of the Night- Adrian O. Mapp, Plainfield
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