“If I could point to one change we made that had the biggest positive effect on people’s lives, it would be the way we retooled our Department of Public Works (DPW),” said Council President Ray Rusnak when asked about his team’s accomplishments.
“The prior two administrations neglected that department, and the town was using expensive contractors to do things that could be done less expensively in-house,” Rusnak explained. “That’s no longer the case.”
Rusnak pointed to the department’s Superstorm Sandy response as an example of what he meant: “South Plainfield was up and running before all the neighboring towns. In fact, a month after we were done cleaning up there were still mounds of storm debris in Edison, Piscataway, and Plainfield.”
But according to Rusnak, the storm work actually began over a year before it hit. “Our DPW head recognized the problems caused by low-hanging branches and had his crew cutting them long before anyone even thought about a hurricane.”
The council also hired someone with tree experience when a DPW employee retired. Rusnak said this made a huge difference: “When other towns were scrambling for contractors, we had someone available immediately.”
Rusnak said having someone with tree experience also helped when trying to restore power. “We worked with PSE&G to identify the biggest problem areas and then sent our tree team out to meet the line workers as they arrived in town.”
“Having two pre-owned garbage trucks also made a huge difference,” added Mayor Matt Anesh. “We saved a tremendous amount of money by using our own people and our own trucks. The trucks have paid for themselves.”
“Because of the trucks, we also had people out picking up debris within an hour after the storm ended,” the mayor added. “We even had the council on the back of trucks helping.”
Council candidate Robert Richkus said he’s glad the Democrats did not get their way when they attacked the DPW changes last year: “In the newspaper they criticized purchasing the garbage trucks, and two weeks later the trucks were the backbone of the cleanup.”
“The Democratic Party just isn’t in tune with what South Plainfield needs,” Anesh explained. “Our retooled DPW is getting it done for residents, and things are going in the right direction. Electing Ray Rusnak and Robert Richkus will keep it going that way.”
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