MONTVILLE, NJ - Montville Township Deputy Mayor Scott Gallopo is a man who immerses himself into whatever he does whether it is a foreign exchange trader on Wall Street, a Township Committeeman, a volunteer, an avid reader, or a gardener. Gallopo does not know the word mediocre. When he commits himself to something, he gives 200 percent of his time and effort. He also has a natural ability to develop catch phrases that perfectly describe what he is trying to convey. You will see examples of this throughout the story and hear it when he is speaking at any Township Committee meeting.
Gallopo was encouraged to run for the Township Committee in 2010 by Christina Renfer, a local business woman. He decided to run in the primary election against Tim Braden and Gary Lewis, two prominent Republicans who had lived in Montville a lot longer than Gallopo and who had been volunteers in many organizations. Because of his lack of involvement in politics, Gallopo was not the “favorite child” of the local Republican Club and was not a household name, but he was known because of his involvement in the township’s sports programs and the Montville High School marching band boosters organization.
Being who he is, he spent a lot of time and effort getting people to know him. “I rang a lot of doorbells and had to climb a vertical learning curve to get my arms around issues,” said Gallopo. He learned everything he could about the township committee and met a lot of people. It paid off because after winning the primary election, Gallopo and Braden were on the ballot in November for the two positions available for the Township Committee, and he and Braden won. Gallopo had a lot of catching up to do, and he did everything he could to learn about the issues facing Montville, issues of the past, the present, and the future in order to make well informed decisions on the Township Committee. He proved himself worthy of the position because he was re-elected for a second term in 2013.
Gallopo said that he feels strongly that all residents should be encouraged to participate in the community regardless of prior volunteer history or number of years of residency. He believes that with this welcoming attitude new, energetic people will come forth with new and creative ideas and will volunteer their time and talent making Montville Township a stronger community. He said, “Volunteers are the life blood of a community, and we never can have enough of them.”
Gallopo believes in government transparency. This is why he worked to have the Township Committee agree to attach pertinent information and documents to the online meeting agendas along with audio recordings. Going paperless has helped the public stay informed and has added to productive debates. He says, “Now there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.” Everything is out in the open. Gallopo continued to say, “This transparency initiative has helped the public develop informed opinions on issues which keep elected officials in check. It also has helped the public become a part of the decision making process because now the public can challenge our decisions with the same facts and information we have in our meeting packets. It has led to increase the breath of participation and a more rigorous public debate of the issues.”
Gallopo said, “Looking back over the last four years, the Township Committee has spent a lot of time fixing problems that were created by prior Township Committees. I am looking forward to the day that we can put all that behind us and focus 100 percent of our time on planning for the future.”
Gallopo sees the future of Montville as “bright.” He said that fiscally the township is very strong. “The Township Committee is keeping the tax levy increases very low and still is providing high quality services. We are always looking for ways for the township to deliver a high level of service in a cost effective fashion through shared services and resource reviews. It is also critical that we focus on the maintenance of our open space properties, roads, and infrastructure,” said Gallopo. He also stated, “We should never forget where we came from and what makes Montville ‘Montville’. It is a beautiful place to live, and we want to make sure it stays more green than concrete. Nothing ever stays the same, so we must evolve wisely.”
Gallopo grew up in Paramus and went to Bergen Catholic High School and Lehigh University. He got his Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Lehigh in 1985 and took his first job shortly thereafter with American Express. He worked there less than a year when he got a job with Union Bank of Switzerland on their foreign exchange trading desk where he worked from 1986-89. In 1989, he then went to Chemical Bank as a foreign exchange trader. Through a series of mergers, Chemical Bank ultimately became JPMorgan, which is where he spent the bulk of his career. He became a managing director in 1992 and had numerous roles including head of foreign exchange trading and global head of hedge fund sales from 1989 through 2006. In 2006, he left JPMorgan and “retired” from Wall Street. He realized that his “work/life balance was way out of order.” He said the foreign exchange is a 24 hour market. He was not only managing risk in a 24 hour market but also was responsible for managing people who trade in a 24 hour market from multiple global locations. The introduction of the Blackberry made the administrative part of his role a 24 hour job. He also did quite a bit of international travel during the last four years with JPMorgan. He said, “Time is a commodity that is not in abundance. You won’t get those family moments back.” He also said that during the first few years that he lived in Montville, he would refer to his home in town as “the Montville hotel” because all he did was sleep there. That’s when he realized it was time for him to “hang up his cleats.”
Gallopo married his wife Michele in 1988. When asked how Michele handled his work schedule, he said that they lived in Clifton for ten years, and in Clifton, they had great neighbors who were a big help. His in-laws also lived close by and provided a support system for his wife and his two children Scott, Jr. and Matthew.
Gallopo met his wife down the Jersey shore. When he was in college, he and a group of friends rented a beach house for the summer. He met some of Michele’s friends, and they said to him, “We have the perfect girl for you.” And Gallopo said, “They were right.”
Needing more space in their Clifton home, the Gallopos decided that they needed to move. His sister-in-law Joanne Hynes lived in Montville since the 1980s, and they knew Montville had a “blue ribbon school system.” The Gallopos fell in love with the township and decided that they needed to “live with more green and less concrete,” so in August 2001, they moved to Montville. However, within a few weeks, Sept. 11 came, a day that touched Gallopo’s life forever. A day that is hard for him to talk about. It was a day when a number of his friends and colleagues died in the World Trade Center. Gallopo was lucky that day when he decided he would remain on the trading desk and not attend a seminar that was scheduled at Windows of the World, the famous World Trade Center restaurant.
One of Gallopo’s fond memories of his early days in the township was when his oldest son Scott, Jr. signed up to play youth lacrosse in 2002. He said he did not expect to see 150 kids and all their coaches at Michelle Sullivan field. “I was impressed. I watched the coaches and saw such dedication,” he said.
Some things a person might not know about Gallopo is that he loves to fish. He enjoys fishing for tarpon in Key West, FL. “Any chance I get I go fishing,” he said. He loves just being outdoors. He enjoys gardening and can be found planting perennials and “fighting a constant battle with the deer and rabbits.”
Gallopo enjoys reading. Over the summer, he was able to read thirteen books. The books were about history and the military involving real people and heroism. Two of his favorites are Brothers Forever: The Enduring Bond between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice by Tom Sileo and Col. Tom Manion and Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm. He said, after reading these books, he realized how much these men sacrificed, and he had a better awareness of what the military is really going through. He said it is important to be thankful for our way of life and to put our little problems into perspective. “It’s important to check that perspective every now and then,” he added.
He also is a science fiction fan and a gadget geek. While he says he isn’t mechanically inclined, he loves classic cars. In particular, he was fond of his 1967 Austin Healy, which he no longer owns, and his current 1974 Ford Bronco, which is currently in the shop.
A few years ago, Gallopo started to research his family name. He said that his father and uncles have maintained that Gallopo is not the true family surname. According to them, their real name was changed to Gallopo at Ellis Island, when his great grandparents immigrated in the late 1800s. The mystery surrounding his name intrigued him, and he spent 18 months researching public records and building a family tree on Ancestry.com. He was able to trace his family back to the mid-1700s. His real family name is Garoppolo, and it was not changed at Ellis Island. It was changed by his great grandfather in the 1920s. He is not sure why his great grandfather did this, but it is speculated that Gallopo was easier to pronounce and spell. Gallopo most likely will be heading over to Sicily to visit the town of Mezzojuso, where his family is from, to do more research and review church records. He said there is a strong possibility that their family is Greek since Greek and Albanian nobility were granted land in Sicily by the King of Italy in the 1400s and again in the 1500s.
His wife Michele went to Clifton High School and Montclair State. His son Scott, Jr. graduated from Montville High School and then went to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He majored in film and television. He now lives in Los Angeles and works for Creative Artists Agency. Matthew, his youngest son, is a sophomore at Montville Township High School. Matthew plays lacrosse and is in the marching band of which his father is president of the band boosters.
Gallopo has a Facebook page that he updates regularly with articles from a variety of local news agencies about Montville and Morris County. It is found at https://www.facebook.com/Committeeman.Scott.Gallopo.