SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Scotch Plains Council once again clashed along party lines when the governing body passed Resolution 2020-46 appointing former Councilman John Del Sordi, the Scotch Plains Democratic chair, as the Township’s representative to the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority (RVSA).
The five-year term, which once had a $100/month stipend but now includes only an allowance for Internet access, commences on Feb. 1, 2020, and ends on Feb. 1, 2025.
“We’ve had a representative on this board for over 10 years now, who is very, very knowledgeable. He knows the ins and outs,” said Councilman Ted Spera, a Republican, who voted against the resolution. "Mr. Del Sordi is a great guy, but I think the current representative (Township Building Official Bob Lacosta) -- when you look at experience, when you look at a person who has the best interests of the town, I think he (Lacosta) is more than suitable for the position."
Bob LaCosta was appointed to the RVSA in February 2011 by the Township of Scotch Plains and served as the RVSA chairman in 2017. He also is a commissioner on the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority (PARSA) and currently serves as its vice chair. LaCosta is a member of NJ Planning Officials, NJ Zoning Officials, NJ League of Municipalities, NJBOA and sits on its Executive Board. He is also the President of New Jersey Building Officials and the Union County Building Officials. As the Scotch Plains Building and Zoning Official for nearly four decades, he has direct oversight and responsibility for the Engineering, Health, Zoning and Planning Departments in the Township.
Deputy Mayor Josh Losardo outlined his reasoning for the change.
"Bob Lacosta is an asset to the town and has been a fine representative. This is nothing more than giving someone new a chance," Losardo said. "John Del Sordi is very qualified and was interested in the position a number of years ago. I know he’ll do a fine job."
John Del Sordi is senior regional director of the Eastern Millwright Regional Council and supervises local unions in 12 states. He assists in implementing strategic goals for the Council and negotiates and enforces collective bargaining agreements. Del Sordi provides contractors with skilled professional labor and maintains harmonious working relationships with those contractors. Additionally, he was elected vice chair of the Union County Planning Board in 2018 and was appointed trustee of the Northeast Carpenters Funds in 2017.
Mayor Smith sided with his fellow Republican, Spera.
"I don't think we will get the same representation. I don't know why we would want to change at this point. We appointed him a few years ago, on a bipartisan basis. Others were interested who had fine backgrounds. I thought the current rep was the best for us then (and now)."
"There is more than one person who can do this job," Losardo responded. "The commissioners have a variety of skills, not all the same as Bob's. I'm certain it will be a seamless transition."
"From my perspective, in this particular case, we are putting someone in place who doesn't have the same skill set. I'd prepare to stay with the same one," Mayor Smith said.
The resolution passed on a 3-2 vote along party lines with Losardo, Councilwoman Elizabeth Stamler and Councilman Roshan "Roc" White voting for it, and Mayor Smith and Councilman Spera voting against it.
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