Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of three profiles that TAPinto Summit will be publishing on candidates vying for local office in the upcoming November 8 Election.
The candidates each were sent, and responded to, identical questions and their answers are being published verbatim.
Mike McTernan - Summit Common Council, Ward I - running unopposed for re-election
Biography / Background
Valedictorian of Ridge High School in Basking Ridge. Subsequently graduated from Dartmouth cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and history. Had a 26-year career in finance with a few major investment banks, spending time in New York and London, working in and managing various fixed income distribution businesses.
President of the Summit PAL Board in 2011 and coached basketball, soccer and baseball for many years in Summit youth sports. District enrollment director for Union County for his alma mater, Dartmouth College, ran my class’ 30th reunion this year, and was recently elected as President of my alumni class. Also a team leader with ProVetus, an organization dedicated to mentoring veterans.
Elected from Ward 1 to the Summit Common Council in 2013 and currently serve as the Common Council President. Sit on the Finance and Personnel Committee, the Safety Committee and the Parking Advisory Committee.
In my first two years on council, was chairman of the Finance and Personnel Committee, a member of the Public Works Committee and served on the board of the Joint Meeting of Union and Essex County as Treasurer. Also served for two years on the Board of School Estimates while being council liaison to the Historical Preservation Committee, the Summit Public Arts Committee and the Field Users Committee.
Currently work in Summit as a private investor. My wife Julie and I moved to Summit 14 years ago, and we have three sons and a daughter, ages 18, 16, 14 and 10.
What inspired you to pursue a role in public office?
Simple – to give back to the community that has been such a wonderful place to live and raise a family in.
What are the three biggest challenges facing Summit?
Affordability – it is expensive to live in Summit and taxes are a large part of that. Keeping municipal taxes low takes a lot of diligence.
Parking – our vibrant downtown attracts a lot of commuters, workers and shoppers. We need to stay focused on parking to help keep the downtown flourishing. Continuing to think outside the box like the Uber pilot is critical.
Balancing development with keeping Summit “Summit” - Development is necessary to help fund the services that Summit residents expect. But it has to be balanced with a healthy amount of input from residents as to what is acceptable. The Master Plan will lay out the blueprint, but it will be up to an inclusive process of the planning board and council to see it implemented correctly.
How would you / would you continue to -- in your role as an elected official -- effectuate progress and positive change relative to those challenges?
People in Summit are not shy about telling you what is going well and what isn’t. But that means you need to listen to what is being said – it is humbling to realize that some ideas you’ve held are not right for the community. But by doing that, you can make informed decisions as how best to be a “change agent” to the betterment of the community. Experience, in my opinion, matters too. It is not easy balancing many worthy competing goals with the scarce resources available to carry them out. I draw on my professional experience and personal life to work well with colleagues, adjudicate differences of opinion, and then being effective in implementing decisions once they are made.
You May Also Be Interested In