NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Monday, Dec. 16 marked the last meeting as a member of the Borough Council for Michael Gennaro. He conducted the business with his customary keen eyes for details as he again pointed out typos and discrepancies in borough documents that went unnoticed by the other council members.
Gennaro, known for his expertise in legal, financial and engineering matters, was touted by his fellow council members as being one of a kind. For borough residents he has been the person who takes time to explain the complex issues at hand in layman’s terms. He has been a vital member of the borough’s financial committee for many years.
Mayor Al Morgan noted that Gennaro took the borough through the toughest economic times during 2006-2010 when the recession wreaked havoc with municipal budgets. You helped us get through that magnificently, Morgan said. Morgan attributed the borough’s economic success to Gennaro’s diligence. “You will be missed,” he said.
Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy thanked Gennaro for his guidance and mentorship as she took over the Finance Committee chair. The committee would not have been in as good of a shape as it is now without Gennaro’s input, she said.
I am saddened that I can’t work with you any more, but I am happy that you get to spend more time with your wife and family, Councilman Matthew Cumiskey said. He recalled the first time he came to the council to discuss fixing the borough parks and fields. “Mike was very nice, he thanked me for coming to the council. He made me feel welcome. Then he basically told me I was wrong,” he joked. At that meeting Gennaro had suggested creating a Capital Improvement Committee and a few years later Cumiskey ended up chairing that committee.
Councilman Peter DeSarno complemented Gennaro’s level of focus, which he called “unparalleled” setting a bar for the rest of the council. I am forever grateful for the generosity of your time, he said.
“Ladies and Gentlemen – Council President Michael Gennaro is a goat,” Councilman Robert Robinson announced and explained that “GOAT” means greatest of all time, and is often used to describe athletes. I have served with many great council members, but Mike is the best of all time. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you, he stated.
The council members were joined by a couple of residents who came to the meeting to express their gratitude to the long serving council president.
Gennaro in turn thanked all council members for their kind words but noted that he represents only one vote. He noted that the kind words should be directed to everybody who serves on the council, because everybody deserves those accolades. “It is a team effort,” he said. He pointed out the many hours it takes for the council members to prepare for the meetings, with some documents, such as ordinances, sometimes exceeding 50 pages. He noted that the council members have to read through them all in order to make a correct decision for the borough. We do it right more often than not thanks to the great borough employees, council members and residents, he said.
“It is easy for me to leave, and it is easy for me to leave with a smile on my face” because when I look around, I see such qualified, capable people. I am leaving this town in very good hands, and I know you all will do a great job going forward, he stated. He also took time to compliment Michele Matsikoudis who will be occupying his council seat starting in January. I give her a lot of credit for running for the office, he said.
In addition to the mayor and council Gennaro thanked the borough employees who “do all the work”. He also thanked all the residents of New Providence who have allowed him to serve for 13 years and who placed their trust on him. “I hope you feel that the service has been honorable,” he said. Furthermore, he commended all those who run for office which is not an easy thing to do. Everybody who puts their name out there deserves credit whether they win or lose, he said. He also thanked the volunteers, “the unsung heroes of this town,” who do so much for the borough. Lastly, he thanked the press for its coverage of borough events and keeping residents informed.
Gennaro also encouraged everyone to take a look at what happens at the state and national levels, where there is a lot of angst, antagonism, and politics in its worst sense when people make decisions to advance their own interests and not those of the community. “I am proud to say that I don’t believe that to be the case in the governing body of New Providence,” he said. Remember you are serving the people and people are not being served by you serving your own interests, he advised. “They are served by you doing what is necessary to keep this town running, and to keep them safe and secure,” he concluded.