SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Around this time in 2016, residents Jon Dean and Gary Vesce were eagerly waiting to be sworn in to their freshmen terms on the South Plainfield Borough Council. While the Democratic councilmen will not be returning when the borough officially reorganizes on Jan. 4, both recently reflected on their tenure, sharing their thoughts and thanks.

“Serving on the council has certainly been a unique and rewarding experience. I love the town and had the opportunity to fulfill one of my goals of being a councilman,” Vesce, who earlier this year made the decision not to seek re-election to a second term, said. “For me, the best interest of the town was always first and foremost and I never made a decision without that being the focus…” 

“As my three-year term is coming to an end, I just want to let all the residents know it was a great honor to serve the borough…I was raised in…” Dean, who, back in November, lost his re-election bid, stated in a letter to the editor. “I had a great time working with all our councilmembers. I didn’t play sides of D[emocrat] or R[epublican]. I did what was right for the town…”

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Dean is a lifelong resident and principal owner of A-Tech Landscaping and, as a member of the council, served as chair of the borough’s health, welfare & environment committee for three years and was a member of the recreation, economic development, and public works committees. 

As a councilman, Dean said his job was to 'serve the resident' and answer questions and concerns. He is proud that, during his tenure, the council worked to hire close to a dozen new police officers as well as secure new vehicles for the police department, fire department, rescue squad, and department of public works. 

“Also, we can’t leave out the community pool and spray park, a borough facility that has been completely neglected over the past years to be completed in 2020,” said Dean.

For over 46 years, Vesce has been employed with the Middlesex County Department of Infrastructure Management and, since 2016, has served as director of public works. As a member of the council, Vesce served as chair of the borough’s public works committee for three years and, during his tenure, also served on the health, welfare & environment and recreation committees.

During his tenure, Vesce said issues he and Dean campaigned on, such as signage to provide clarity for the truck route along Hamilton Boulevard and St. Nicholas Avenue, have come to fruition and others, such as the traffic light/beacon on Maple Avenue, will be complete in 2020. Additionally, as a member of the council, Vesce worked toward creating a stricter hiring policy for the borough’s department of public works. 

While he will no longer be sitting at the dais, Vesce said he still plans to remain active and involved and hopes to attend council meetings. “I will miss getting together and discussing the issues that come up before the town,” he said. “It is very rewarding when someone comes to you and you can actually help them and guide them in the right direction. You don’t need to be a Democrat or a Republican to do that; you just have to be a resident who cares.”

Dean, in his letter to the editor, stated that he doesn’t yet know what his future plans are and that ‘only time will tell.' He added that is thankful to ‘all the residents’ that gave him and Vesce ‘the chance to serve as councilmen.’

Vesce said he is thankful to Dean for being his running mate in 2016 and told TAPinto that ‘he is appreciative of all the input’ provided by all those on the council over the past three years. He is also thankful to the residents of South Plainfield and to his family for all their support over the past three years. 

“I want to thank everyone who did support me, who voted for me, and who put their trust in me to make decisions for the town,” said Vesce. “I would also like to thank my family and my wife, Laura, who has supported me in every decision I ever made, whether it was running for council or deciding not to seek re-election.”

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