SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – During the 2020 election, residents put their trust in Derryck White and Christine Faustini, returning the Republican incumbents to their fourth and second consecutive terms, respectively, on the South Plainfield Borough Council. The councilmembers were sworn in on Jan. 2 and, at that time, White was named president of the governing body for 2021.
As president, White is responsible for facilitating a fluid function of the six-member council as well as assisting his elected colleagues with their overall initiatives when needed. White told TAPinto that he is looking forward to continuing to work closely with the team and serving the community in 2021.
"We've heard it said over and over that last year was like none other. Which leads me to look forward to 2021 with optimism believing that it will be like none other in terms of recovery and for our community, as well as maintaining and building that small town feel for which we are known," White said.
During the reorganization meeting, White, in his first act of business as council president, announced committee assignments for the year, stating they will remain the same for 2021. "This will enable us to maintain continuity as we transition from the challenges of 2020 into the new year," White said. "In addition, several council members have initiatives and projects which were either scaled back or halted all together this past year. There are things they are passionate about and this allows them the time to bring the necessary structure to initiate them. Furthermore, they can build in the processes needed to make them sustainable long-term."
According to White, sustainable practice and structure will be important in 2021 to ensure that the borough recovers and overcomes from the previous year's setbacks and continues its long-term prosperity. Throughout the coming year, the borough, he said, will implement a credit/debit card payment option for services such as building permits and application fees and, based on resident feedback, the building department is looking to implement a late night to better meet residents' needs.
Additionally, said the councilman, the borough's zoning officer, construction official, and IT department are currently looking into the addition of a user-friendly electronic application and forms system. Doing so, said White, will provide those residents who may be still somewhat reluctant to conduct business in person due to COVID-19 a convenient and safe online option.
As current council president and chair of the borough's economic development committee for the past eight years, White is also continuing to work to bring new businesses into the borough and told TAPinto that he has initiated conversations with landlords, property owners and businesses to collaborate in an effort to fill vacancies and support retention efforts.
"2020 was a challenging time for businesses and property owners alike, but I am very proud of the support we, as a community, showed in an effort to help." White said.
Additionally, said White, he is looking forward to seeing Phase 3 of the borough's Hometown Heroes Banner Program, which was met with overwhelming participation and quickly reached capacity. "We look forward to seeing the new Phase 3 banners – along with the Phase 2 banners – displayed for July 4th," he said, noting that the committee will be discussing the 'appropriate accommodation of additional banners in the future.'
White told TAPinto he would be 'remiss' not to thank all the residents who put their confidence in him as well as those who are looking to him to earn their trust and confidence. He is also thankful to all the volunteers who 'diligently and tirelessly' dedicated their time to the campaign, despite dealing with personal challenges due to of COVID-19, and his children, Alexx and Noah, for their support.
"I remember the early years as a councilman when they would attend many events with me and not complain. I truly believe most people anticipated seeing them more than me," White said, reflecting on the past. "I am grateful they are still willing to attend occasionally, however, most of all, I remember Noah at one point telling his sister that now they 'have to share Dad with the entire town.' I'm glad they think I'm worth sharing and are still willing to share me."
Council President White said he is often reminded of the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who once said that life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?’ "I try to live my life with that at the forefront and look forward to continuing to work closely with my council colleagues serving our hometown," he said. "May God continue to protect and show His favor to our community."
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