LIVINGSTON, NJ — In addition to nominating Shawn Klein as mayor and Ed Meinhardt as deputy mayor of Livingston for 2021 during the first Livingston Township Council meeting of the year, council members Al Anthony and Michael Vieira were also sworn into new four-year terms in their respective positions after running for re-election unopposed in November.
Anthony begins his third term on the Livingston Township Council in 2021, while Vieira begins his first full term after serving on the council for 22 months.
“For the last 22 months, it has been my honor to serve this community,” said Vieira, who joked that he is the only Livingston council member to be sworn into office three times in two years. “I’m excited to start my first full four-year term, and I thank the residents of Livingston who voted in historic numbers to return both Councilman Anthony and myself to a position of serving our community—a position that we really love to do.”
As he expressed hope for a better year after the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Vieira also expressed gratitude toward his wife, Gabriela, and children, Samantha and Michael, for supporting his desire to be active in and serve the Livingston community.
“Along with my fellow council members, we know that without the support of our spouses and our children we would have a much harder time juggling family, home and township,” said Vieira, who also acknowledged his mother, sisters, nephews, niece and aunt for logging on to the virtual reorganization meeting. “Their faces may not be out in front like ours, but their sacrifices while taking care of our families and homes are much greater and it allows us time to serve this township.”
Anthony, who also thanked his wife, Lori, and four children, Luke, Sammy, Joe and Bella, for their support, expressed pride in the council’s accomplishments in the face of the pandemic and ability to come together in a time of crisis.
In addition to adopting a municipal budget in 2020 with a zero-percent tax increase to the average Livingston home, Anthony also cited the completion of long-awaited projects like the Wardell Road walking bridge, the acquisition of more than 20 acres of open space and progress made toward the relocation of the Livingston Department of Public Works as successes over the last year
He added that the “most challenging and rewarding” aspect of his service in 2020 was being the council liaison to the Livingston Business Improvement District (BID).
“We met over 50 times this year, and I may be underestimating it because we had a BID committee and a ‘plan forward’ committee,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the members that are trying to keep up businesses going and all of the brainstorming for gift card program, the PPE grants and the contests we held to keep our businesses going during these trying times. It was a tremendous job by that group, and I’m looking forward to continuing this role in 2021.”
Additionally, Anthony took a moment to extend his condolences to all who have been affected by COVID-19—including those who have lost family members as well as jobs or businesses as a result of the pandemic.
“Personally, we lost my father-in-law this year to COVID—a father of seven, Korean War vet, a grandfather to our kids, and a great man loved by all,” he said. “It’s been difficult, [but] thank you so much to Livingston for the handwritten sympathy cards, for the messages, for the calls from everyone. So many residents reached out, and [my family] and I really appreciate that.”
Both re-elected council members said it has been an honor to work alongside Livingston’s many public servants, including their fellow council members as well as township employees, county freeholders and more.
“I want to thank all of our township and public safety employees,” said Vieira. “You make us look good. You are all the faces of the Township of Livingston, and we are so proud of you.”
Vieira added that Livingston residents are “so fortunate to have such professionals working for them,” such as outgoing township attorney Shari Weiner and many others. He also said the list of the volunteer committees and community boards mentioned on the agenda for Friday’s reorganization meeting is what makes Livingston so special along with the many activities available to local youth, parents, adults, veterans, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“I’m not sure if there is any other town that can boast about the volume of volunteerism on town committees as well as on outside organizations, such as the Livingston Kiwanis, Rotary, UNICO, Lions, AARP, BID, Sanskriti and other community organizations and groups,” said Vieira, who also recognized the many volunteers who make up Livingston’s auxiliary police, fire department and first aid squad. “Thank you to all our committee and public safety volunteers…Together, we are all Livingston.”
Also sworn into new positions during Friday's meeting were Shawn Klein, who has been named mayor for 2021, and Ed Meinhardt, who will become deputy mayor. Outgoing mayor Rudy Fernandez also communicated his final remarks to the community. Click on the headlines below to read more:
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