EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Ribbon-cutter, climate-raiser, respect-getter, and eleven-month mayor Kevin McEvoy left his office at 10:00 this morning as his term ended, and another door in life opened.
McEvoy took office 11 months ago, completing the term of Mayor David Stahl who had taken a municipal judgeship in Middlesex County. During that time, Mayor Mac could be seen at numerous township events, openings of new businesses, and education and community service programs. To McEvoy, though, his most important role was to elevate the climate of dignity and respect in the "work culture" in East Brunswick.
In an effort to create a "spirit of togetherness" among those who spend their days strengthening the quality of life in the township, McEvoy made sure that "all workers were valuable and that their work was respected." McEvoy noted that "after a while, people got the vibe that I was genuine and sincere." As a result, McEvoy witnessed a change of climate in the township offices among employees and a greater sense of common purpose.
McEvoy stated that the two most important accomplishments of his tenure were the negotiation of a ten-year contract with the Middlesex County Utility Authority for a contract that paid $4.1 million dollars annually to East Brunswick for hosting the landfill off Edgeboro Road. In the next decade, this agreement will bring over $40 million of revenue to the township.
The Mayor was additionally gratified by the recent successful negotiation with Comcast for improved cable coverage in East Brunswick. Revenue from this new framework will provide greater support for EBTV which would include new cameras and an upgrade to the current broadcast location. The broadcast capability from the courtroom on EBTV, which include the township council meetings, would also be improved.
By his account, McEvoy cited ribbon-cuttings or groundbreakings at more than 20 locations for local businesses. "Hopefully they continue," said McEvoy, who anticipated the success of Aldi's, Burlington, Super Cuts, 5 Guys, and Starbucks who are all scheduled to open in 2017 on Route 18 South. He looked forward to the opening of Arooga's Route 18 Grille House and Sports Bar which is also planned for the upcoming year. Another major project has been the "retweaking" of a location on Cotter's Lane to accommodate the Eatontown-based Heritage Pharmaceuticals, whose products cover a number of therapeutic categories, including cardiovascular, metabolic disease, anti-infective and pain management.
The Mayor also credited township departments for focused improvement work at Crystal Springs which had a new slide this year and which will offer improved restroom and dining facilities next summer. "East Brunswick's tennis community" should be pleased with the improvements made to the courts at Lenape and BiCentennial Parks, including lights for evening play.
Offering advice to the incoming Mayor Brad Cohen, McEvoy quoted former mayor David Stahl, who spoke at the recent unveiling of his mayoral portrait. "Mayors come and go, "said Stahl, " But department heads remain in control for a long time. Listen, respect, and work with them to fulfill your vision." "EB is solid. People work together," affirmed McEvoy.
McEvoy said that he noticed an increase in the number of construction and maintenance vehicles in front of people's homes in East Brunswick, seeing property upgrades as signs of both the desire of people to stay in town and their ability to care for their homes properly.
On a personal and professional note, McEvoy thanked Township Administrator Jack Layne; Police Chief James Conroy; Executive of the East Brunswick Community Housing Corporation Linda Rubenstein; Zoning Officer and Planner Deborah Rainwater; and Gregory Potkulski, Head of the Zoning Department. "They were all part of a cultural change, " said McEvoy, "They all made things happen for the township and were a pleasure to work with."
Following his terms as Mayor of East Brunswick, a member of the Town Council, and teacher at East Brunswick High School, McEvoy had planned to work on the campaign of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop New Jersey Governor. However, Fulop, who attended McEvoy's swearing-in as Mayor of East Brunswick, withdrew himself as a candidate on September 27. "Now, " says McEvoy, "I will enter the retirement phase of life and read books on Long Beach Island."
Despite the obvious appeal of languid days of reading while seated in folding furniture, it would be out of character for Kevin McEvoy to stay inactive for long. He has saved copious notes which he may review for a volume called The 11-Month Mayor.
11 Months? Lots can happen in less than a year, as Kevin McEvoy has shown the residents of East Brunswick. He leaves behind a pile of cut ribbons in front of new businesses; a gaggle of backhoes opening up some promise on the Route 18 corridor; an increased sense of worth and value among those with whom he worked most closely; and a new definition of the ability of one person to direct positive change.