LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Local resident Chris Vancheri was appointed to take over the council seat vacated by Mayor James Damiano at last night's Little Falls Council meeting.
A resident of the township since 2004, Vancheri was granted the seat remaining of a four-year term, out of two other candidates vying for the same seat. He will seek to run to keep his seat this November.
Born in Paterson, Vancheri is a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School and received his bachelor's degree from William Paterson University in communications with a minor in journalism. He spent 17 years working in public relations for various pharmaceutical companies. He also enjoyed writing for various newspapers of North Jersey Media Group.
"I started early with public relations," he said. "I currently work with Coyne Public Relations as the vice president of healthcare. I also enjoyed writing by being a sports correspondent, watching a lot of high sports games that I covered in Wayne and the Passaic Valley areas."
Vancheri said his involvement in politics, which has spanned many years, is a family affair, with his own parents, who were former elected officials with the Paterson Board of Education.
"They also both served on the Passaic County Democrat Committee," he explained. "My siblings and I spent a lot of time supporting mayors, congress members, freeholders and assembly members. We did a little of everything, such as making phone calls, placing fliers on door knobs, etc."
Vancheri said he was eager to join the council when he realized there would be a vacancy once Damiano won the recent mayoral election.
"I was eager to share my insights with the council and how I can help," he said. "I knew this was going to be a great time to jump in and see what I could do for the residents of Little Falls."
He plans to roll up his sleeves and get to work by asking what is need for the town.
"Whether it's local flooding, property taxes, or bringing in new businesses for the town, they are all important issues that need equal attention," he said. "Helping Little Falls families is a priority. This town is a mix of families representing generations that have grown up in houses that their grandparents grew up in. It's a new town that's also newer to some who wanted to settle here because they realized it's a good, small town to raise a family. I've lived for 13 years here and I love it. My wife also first fell in love with it when we first started dating."
Vancheri and his wife are parents to a 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. He has served with the Little Falls Athletic Club for the past two years, first as recording secretary and then as vice president. He has also coached pre-K fundamentals for kids age 3 to 5 at the Little Falls Recreation Center and coached softball for first and second grade girls.
"What better way to get involved in the town than being a council member to be smack in the middle of everything going on than on the sideline," he said. "That's how I got involved with the Athletic Club. I wanted to implement new ideas and that's the same approach I'll have being on the council.
"I look at this opportunity as a great honor - being selected to fill this vacancy on the council."