On November 5th citizens of New Providence will vote to fill two of the six seats for Borough Council. For the first time in thirteen years I will not be a member of or candidate for Council. Although it has truly been an honor to serve the residents of New Providence as a member of Council, this is my chance to repay that honor by recognizing that it is time to clear the slate for the next generation to assume the reins of government. My greatest hope when I decided not to run for reelection was that I would leave our municipal government in the hands of people who believe that doing the right thing is more important than being reelected, and who were intelligent and honest enough to understand what the right thing is and act accordingly. I cannot think of two better people to meet these goals than Michele Matsikoudis and Rob Munoz.
Michele is a long-time Borough resident who has raised a family in this community. She has given generously of her time having served as President of the Salt Brook and Middle School PTAs, a Board member of the New Providence Education Foundation and a member of the Board of Health and Economic Development Committee. She also has financial experience as a Vice President of Morgan Stanley. Further, she is no stranger to politics, having served as manager for the successful Council campaign of Dr. Bob Robinson and Nadine Geoffroy. She knows the issues and will hit the ground running upon being elected. Michele is a person that demonstrates integrity, honesty and diligence in everything she does. I am proud to endorse her and am thankful that she is running.
Rob and I have run together through three election cycles. He has a gift for interacting respectfully and productively with the public. Rob and his wife Teresa are raising their family in New Providence. His ancestry as an American of Mexican heritage brings an element of diversity to Council that has been invaluable in providing alternate points of view. Other towns talk about diversity. With Rob on Council, New Providence lives it. Rob has served in leadership roles for every Council Committee and served as Council President. He has the knowledge, talent, integrity and experience to serve this community now and in the future. He has had an important voice in every major decision the Borough has faced over the last eight-plus years and has more than earned the opportunity to continue to serve our Borough through his hard work and diligence.
During my tenure on Council, I was fortunate enough to have my fellow Council members elect me a number of times as Council President. In New Providence, the Council President nominates fellow members to serve on various committees where the hard work is done to set our budgets, run our recreation programs, develop our public works programs, prioritize our capital spending, guide our efforts toward elevating diversity, plus many other functions. As a Council we have strived to rotate these assignments so that every member of Council is exposed to each of these different roles in order to make each member as well rounded and informed as possible. I can state with great confidence that every member of Council is capable of stepping into a leadership role on any of these Committees. In fact, some of our newer members were appointed as chairs of Finance and other key committees so that the Council would not lose a step as some of its more senior members move on. Finance is one area in particular where we are blessed with several Council members who bring real life experience to bear on municipal issues.
This effort did not stop with existing members of Council. Myself and a number of others have consistently taken the time to educate candidates for Council during election cycles so that they could hit the ground running and contribute to Council business immediately upon being sworn in. I am most proud of the way that members of Council such as Nadine Geoffroy, Peter DeSarno and Matt Cumiskey took the time to understand the issues facing New Providence before they were elected. From day one of their terms they have brought fresh ideas and management styles to solve new and existing problems.
Michele Matsikoudis fits the same mold as Nadine, Pete and Matt. Her connection to the community, personal integrity, business experience, long history of involvement in Borough volunteer activities and hard work to learn the details concerning issues facing the Borough make her an ideal candidate to fill the Council seat I am leaving. I could not feel more confident that our residents will be best served by electing Michele to this open Council seat. By reelecting Rob Munoz to another term, New Providence will benefit from someone who has the experience, integrity and connection to Borough life to insure that this Council will function at the highest possible level.
Continuous improvement should be something we all strive for in how our municipal government is run. I have every confidence that Rob Munoz and Michele Matsikoudis will not merely keep our Borough Council functioning at a high level, but improve the way it serves our residents. Please join me in voting for Rob and Michele on November 5th.
Michael M. Gennaro