UNION COUNTY, NJ - TAPinto has contacted the candidates for Union County Freeholder and offered the opportunity to be profiled in advance of Election Day. Our "Five Questions with..." series is a platform for candidates of both parties to express their views.
"Five Questions With..."
Name: Alexander Mirabella
Current Occupation: Township Manager, Scotch Plains
Education: Graduate of Roselle Park High School, Bachelor of Arts in Economics at Hobart College,
Family: Proud husband of Phyllis L. Mirabella and Father of Alex and Micayla. Alex and Micayla both attended Brunner Elementary School, Park Middle School and the Academy or Information Technology.
Years lived in Union County. I have spent all 51 years as a resident of Union County (Elizabeth, Roselle Park and Fanwood)
1.) Why are you running?
As a lifelong resident of Union County, I am proud of my community and County. I am running to continue the progress my Democratic Freeholder colleagues on Column B and I have made in working to make Union County one of the best places to live and raise a family. Poll after poll in publications such as Forbes Magazine, NJ Monthly, and also a survey from Monmouth University ranks our communities at the top of the list in the best places to live in NJ, with one of the best performing local and county-run school systems.
In contrast to our opponents who lay blame and lack a solid plan to improve Union County at all, this Democratic Freeholder board has made solid progress in working with our private partners to create hundreds of new jobs for our residents, while working with our private sectors in making the County’s wage growth one of the highest in the nation.
We also plan to continue investments in affordable educational opportunities for our residents at all levels of life, Preserved over 300 acres of Open Space, increased shared services opportunities such as EMS and our dispatch services, while exercising responsible fiscal stewardship and maintaining one of the highest bond ratings available for a governmental agency in NJ.
2.) What do you believe are the most important issues in Union County right now? What changes….if you become a freeholder?
Governing in these times requires discipline and common sense. Through prudent fiscal management, the Freeholder Board has worked to maintain fiscal stability and one of the highest credit ratings possible. The state’s finances, under Governor Christie, has fared terribly, and suffered nine straight credit ratings under his reign. Our opponents seem to echo his policies and have no plan or credibility on fiscal issues. My colleagues and I have also made a sustained push for shared services.
Over the past decade, the Union County Freeholder Board has worked to create invaluable shared services through departments like Public Works, Public Safety, and Human Services that have saved taxpayers—and municipalities millions of dollars. Life-saving innovations such as the Countywide EMS and County Police Dispatch Service are two great examples. The EMS was created to fill in Countywide gaps in service and saved live. The program is not only self-sustaining, but received a statewide award from the Department of Health as New Jersey’s “Outstanding EMS program.” The Union County Police Dispatch program currently serves 11 governmental agencies and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. The Dispatch service has the only accredited training program in the state and only the seventh in the nation to receive such distinction.
This year, the choice comes down to a simple question: who has the best plan for our future? Only one team—the Democratic team on Column B has a solid plan in place and if re-elected, we will continue to pursue this plan.
3.) What are your thoughts on rush hour NJT "one-seat" trains? How likely is it that we'll ever see it?
I believe the one seat ride is an excellent idea and something that I will continue to aggressively support in my next term. I believe this is important for the residents of Union County, especially those along the Raritan Valley line that commute to New York City. I used to work in New York and remember the inconvenience of changing trains in Newark and the time associated with that change. In addition to helping Union County’s commuters, history has shown us that a one seat ride also provides a significant boon to property values for residents. Towns along the rail line, Plainfield, Fanwood, Westfield, Garwood, Roselle Park and Union will all benefit. I appreciate the bipartisan coalition that has formed to push the one seat ride and I have been proud to attend and participate in meetings to make this happen. We’ve seen a one seat ride offered at non–peak times and believe the one seat ride on the Raritan Valley line will happen.
4. What's your position on the proposed sports stadium for Rahway River Park? What is your response to the opposition that has formed?
I am supportive of the improvements at Rahway River Park. I believe they are a result of an ongoing effort on the part of this Democratic Freeholder Board to provide top notch facilities for our children, seniors and everyone in between. We’ve made significant improvements in all our parks over many years, whether it is the Glenside Road field in Summit, Phil Rizzuto Park in Hillside / Union / Elizabeth or planned improvements to the skating facility at Warinanco Park. It’s unfortunate that there has been misinformation regarding this project and I’m aware that residents in the area have protested this improvement. I respect the opinion of these residents. I do not believe there is an environmental impact to the planned improvements. I do believe improving this park is in the best interest of the residents of Union County.
5. Tell us about your non-government career.
The bulk of my non-governmental work career has been spent working at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. I was interviewed on the Hobart College campus and began my career in Operations and continued with Information Technology in various management capacities. I travelled across the United States and Internationally to support projects and manage staff. After my 28 year Chubb Career, I assumed the position of Town Manager in Scotch Plains. I am enjoying the position and while working closely with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Council, have implemented improvements in communication, public safety and quality of life issues while delivering a zero tax impact for the residents of Scotch Plains. It is a joy to work closely with the Township employees and the people of Scotch Plains
I also have great love for my family, my wife Phyllis and my children and spend whatever free time I have with them. I feel fortunate and value their support as I perform my public service. Phyllis, Alex and Micayla inspire me to work hard for a better community.
I’m proud to have had the opportunity to represent the residents of Union County. I’m honored in the trust that has been placed in me over the years. I will work hard to continue the progress and provide vital services every day.