Meet the Leaders: Township Committeewoman Michele Delisfort


UNION, NJ – Each week, Tapinto Union will be running a series called “Meet the Leaders”.  The objective is to provide our readers an opportunity to hear from Township leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Union’s present and future outlook.  

Each ‘leader’ was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life.  Additional questions varied by job title.  The answers will be published unedited. 

Today, Township Committeewoman Michele Delisfort is featured:

Sign Up for E-News

Tapinto Union:  Tell us a little about your background.

Committeewoman Delisfort:  I am 46 years old and a Haitian-American. My husband George and I have two children, Ahmael (age16) and Chase (age 16).  I am a licensed Professional Planner with over 20 years of experience.  I received a BA in Political Science from Rutgers University and a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University. 

My parents moved to Vauxhall when I was a month old.  After college, I lived in Middlesex County (New Brunswick, Edison, Woodbridge) and Essex County (West Orange).  My hobbies include weight training, jogging, reading and traveling.  My favorite sport is tennis.  I’m very happy with Serina Williams’ successes (especially at the recent Australian Open!!)

I am an active member of my church.  Family is a major priority in my life.  I am a small business owner of a Planning consulting firm and I am interested in real estate development and international planning.  I am a former Adjunct Professor at the Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University and authored the NJ American Planning Association (APA-NJ) Chapter Redevelopment Policy Guide (a guide that articulates recommendations to improve upon key redevelopment concepts and legislative regulations throughout the State).  I am a Class IV Member of the Union Planning Board for 10 years.  I have a love of learning and am solution-oriented.  I enjoy using professional and personal skill-sets to help others.

Tapinto Union:  How long have you been on the Committee?  What other positions have you held?  Why did you run for office?

Committeewoman Delisfort:  I have been on the Township Committee for one year (January 2016-present).  I have held the position of Police Commissioner and have overseen the Traffic, Parking & Transportation Departments.  I am currently the Fire Commissioner and I oversee the Economic Development Advisory Committee, American with Disabilities Act Committee and continue to serve as a member of the Townships Planning Board. 

The reason I ran for office was because I am very proud of the Township of Union and wanted to assist in furthering its accomplishments by offering my knowledge, professional experience and skill-sets to the Township in order to promote sound planning practices through enhanced & equitable policy decisions.  My intentions are to be strategic about development initiatives, responsive to residents and the business community and thoughtful and proactive about addressing quality of life issues in Union Township.

Tapinto Union:  What have you learned during your tenure as a Committee person?

Committeewoman Delisfort:  I’d say that I have gained a genuine and deep appreciation for the dedication of both the municipal workers and the governing body. The passion for my hometown is matched by my colleagues on the Committee and the men and women that report to work every day to serve the citizens of this great community.  I’ve learned that Union Township truly operates as a Team.

Tapinto Union:  Can you outline the departments you oversee and the responsibilities therein?

Committeewoman Delisfort: I oversee the Fire, Purchasing and Building departments. In this capacity I am the liaison between the aforementioned departments and the Township Committee and am also responsible for informing the residents, stakeholders and the general public about the current initiatives and policy decisions undertaken within the respective departments.

More specifically:

Fire Department:  Inform the public about fire prevention, operation and inspection activities.  Oversee the initiatives of the 106-member fire department and its Special Operations training team (i.e. Confined space rescue).

Building Department: Report to the Township Committee and residents on programs and activities such as the new credit card payment policy that allows contractors, vendors and homeowners to pay for service via credit card in addition to check and money orders. Other notable services offered by the department include the Homeowner Renovation  & Inspection service and the Rental Property inspection program.  

Purchasing Department: Report to Township Committee and residents about major purchases related to Capital Improvement projects, such as the purchases related to the programs articulated in the Mayor’s Capital Project Initiatives (which was announced at the 2017 Reorganization Meeting).  Some of these projects, include but are not limited to:

  • Springfield Avenue and Union Center Streetscape Projects
  • Former Vauxhall Library Community Project
  • Redevelopment initiatives
  • Road improvement projects 
  • Union Center Wi-Fi
  • The Main library Renovation project

Tapinto Union:  What do you see as challenge(s) for Committee members?

Committeewoman Delisfort:  Community Outreach. As you are aware, the Township of Union is 9.09 square miles with a population of 58,128 residents.  While the Township has a small town feeling, its growing population makes it difficult for the Committee members to consistently communicate with ALL of its residents.  The Township Committee members are very committed to ensuring that the concerns of our residents and stakeholders are heard and addressed in a sufficient and timely matter.  We encourage all members of the Township to attend the bi-monthly Township meetings and conference sessions and remain very transparent via social media, township website, etc. We are also consistently identifying ways to increase our personal connections with community members because nothing takes the place of face to face contact.

Tapinto Union:  What do you see as challenge(s) for Union?

Committeewoman Delisfort:  Maintaining our quality of life.  We are so fortunate to have a diverse community with great services.  Arguably, we are the envy of so many other communities.  Our challenge has establish innovative ways to: (a) maintain the excellent caliber of municipal services (b) maintain the diversity and sense of community (c) develop/grow responsibly and without detracting from the character that has made Union so attractive to residents, businesses, and visitors.

Tapinto Union:  Are there any new programs/events/initiatives you'd like to discuss?

Committeewoman Delisfort:

  • Springfield Avenue & Union Center Streetscape Project(s):

As a Professional Planner, I recognize that streets are not just places for motor vehicle travel but are also areas where people engage in various activities.  Streetscapes are an important component of the public realm.  They help define a community’s aesthetic quality, identity, economic activity, health, social cohesion and opportunity, not just its mobility.  This is evident in the various activities, programs and events that occur in our Township on an annual basis.  I’m fortunate to be part of a Township Committee that was very receptive to this streetscaping concept and felt it appropriate to apply to the Springfield Avenue and Stuyvesant Avenue corridor(s). The project will include changes to select road cross sections, traffic management, sidewalk conditions, landscaping and street furniture (utility poles, benches, garbage cans, etc.). It also involves improving signage. It is my expectation that Union Center and Springfield Avenue Streetscape improvements expectation that Union Center and Springfield Avenue Streetscape improvements can provide a variety of economic, social and environmental benefits to residents and patrons of our Township.

  • Redevelopment Projects:

I am very excited about the upcoming and existing redevelopment initiatives such as Seabra, Stowe Street, former Merk site and DRA. The aforementioned development activity is expected to generate increased economic and pedestrian activity in Union Center and in the area surrounding the train station. It is also anticipated that these projects can attract retailors that respond to consumer interests.  The positive effects of redevelopment that extend outside the project areas include:

  • More job opportunities (retail, service, office jobs);
  • Construction jobs created by the development of new buildings and new infrastructure and the remodeling of existing buildings;
  • New shopping, and recreation opportunities within the community;
  • Modern dollars flowing into the Townships budget as a result of redevelopment activities in order to provide greater public safety and services;
  • Improvement of the area without increasing an individual's property taxes;
  • Improving the safety and environment of adjacent areas; and
  • The restoration of community pride.

The Township will be sponsoring a host of events throughout 2017. Throughout the month of February, in celebration of Black History Month, the Township will host a film festival showcasing great African American movies like Hidden Figures, Southside with You, Journey of Henry “Box” Brown and more.  The movies will be shown at various locations throughout the town (i.e.  Jefferson School, Vauxhall Public Library, Union Public Library and Union Theater).  Furthermore, there is an MLK Jr. Essay Contest underway! Submissions are due on 2/14 and the contest winner(s) announcement will be made during the 2/28 Township Committee meeting at Town Hall at 7:30PM. Also, throughout the month of March, the Township will host a series of events to honor Women’s History Month! For more details about upcoming events, please visit the Township website at


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


The Week Ahead in Union

June 18, 2018

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 6/18

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Adult Coloring, 1:15 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Read to Waldi, 4:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Connect, Explore & Discover Digital Resources, 7:00 p.m., Union Public Library

Tuesday, ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 6/11

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Adult Prize Bingo, 1:15 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Donuts with Your Dude,6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library

Tuesday, 6/12

Senior Citizens ...

Friends of the Union Public Library Book Sales

UNION, NJ - The Friends of the Union Public Library are holding a book sale on Saturday, June 16.

The all-day book sale will be held at the Main Library.  Books, CDs, DVDs and more will be available.  Fill up a bag with items for $10.00.


The Friends of the Union Public Library  support the Library in its effort to encourage the community to connect, explore and ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, June 20, 10:15 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Chair Yoga in the Library


Wed, June 27, 10:15 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Chair Yoga in the Library


Wed, July 4, 10:00 AM

Stuyvesant Ave, Union

Annual All-American Soapbox Derby

Arts & Entertainment

Union Residents Make Dean's List at the University of Delaware

June 18, 2018

NEWARK, DE - Students from Union have been named to the University of Delaware Dean's List for the Spring 2018 semester:

Natalie Caggiano 

Julia Hayes 

Steven Medina 

Maria Rocha 

To meet eligibility requirements for the Dean's List, a student must be enrolled full-time and earn a GPA of 3.33 or above (on a 4.0 scale) for the semester.


Kayla Douberley Graduates Elmira College

ELMIRA, NY - Kayla Douberley of Union was among the graduates celebrated at the 160th Elmira College Commencement on Saturday, June 2. The exercises, held at the Murray Athletic Center, Pine Valley, included 270 undergraduate and 27 graduate students.

Members of the 2018 Elmira College graduating class were recognized with multiple honors and prizes, including induction into Phi Beta Kappa, ...

Rashaunda Beasley of Union Earns a Bachelor's Degree from Georgia State University

ATLANTA, GA - Rashaunda Beasley of Union earned a bachelor's degree from Georgia State University during May 2018. More than 2,000 students earned bachelor's degrees from the university this spring, with more than 4,000 students earning degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral levels.

Georgia State University, an enterprising urban public ...

Video: Union County Celebrates Pride Month with CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic

June 18, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ - Parents, children, friends, and all family members came out on Saturday afternoon to Rahway River Park for the Union County CommUNITY PRIDE Day Picnic.

The family-friendly celebration hosted by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, was a day of fun activities of arts and crafts, family lawn games, inflatable bounce houses, playground fun and more, along with music by the ...

Honey Bees Found in Dumpster Relocated

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The County found themselves in a sticky situation last week when a swarm of honey bees were discovered at a construction dumpster at the County Administration building.

A social media post by the County said a pair of beekeepers from the nonprofit organization Groundwork Elizabeth came to the scene on Friday, and the bees were relocated to the Elmora Public Library, as ...

Union Catholic Grad, Olympian Sydney McLaughlin Wins NCAA Title, Announces She's Going Pro

EUGENE, OREGON — College freshman phenom Sydney McLaughlin, who graduated from Union Catholic last year, won the women's 400-meter hurdles for the University of Kentucky at the NCAA Championships on Saturday at Hayward Field, and then announced after the meet that she's turning pro.

McLaughlin, a U.S. Olympian in the 400 hurdles in 2016, completed one of the ...

Boundless Talent on Display at Hannah Caldwell School

June 15, 2018

UNION, NJ –Talent was on full display last week as over 40 students participated in Hannah Caldwell School’s Talent Show, with singing, dancing, musical instrument performances, and even a comedian.

“This is a special performance because the children are in control.  All of the acts in the show were prepared outside of school by the students,” said music teacher ...

Battle Hill and Hannah Caldwell Students Celebrate Reading Accomplishments

UNION, NJ – Young readers in Hannah Caldwell and Battle Hill Elementary Schools enjoyed the fruits of their labor on Wednesday when they celebrated their accomplishments in this year's Olympic Reading Programs.

Librarian Karen Franciosa said, “I couldn't be more proud of the students who worked diligently throughout the year to accomplish their personal reading ...

Red Carpet Moment for Union High Seniors

UNION, NJ – Prom night for Union High School seniors means red carpet glamour.  

And glamour was on full display at the annual red carpet walk Thursday evening, as Union High students walked the red carpet, alone or with their date(s), to a cheering crowd. 

Sponsored by the Union Township Community Action Organization, Inc., the event showcased beautiful gowns ...

Mountainside Officials: We Knew Nothing About Allegations Until Lawsuit was Filed

June 9, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The mayor and council of Mountainside have gone on record stating they had no knowledge of the incidents alleged in the lawsuit filed on May 11 against the borough “until the filing of the lawsuit.”

The borough has also “retained former New Jersey State Police Superintendent Joseph Santiago” to help restore public trust in the department, ...

Union’s Barbara Whitaker Sworn in as Advocate for Foster Youth

June 18, 2018

Elizabeth, NJ  — Union’s Barbara Whitaker is among the latest class of community volunteers to complete child advocacy training and take their oath from Superior Court Judge James Hely to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County.

Volunteers with CASA serve as extra eyes and ears for family law judges hearing cases involving the county’s abused, ...

Beatles Lecture @ Union Public Library

The Union Public Library will be hosting an interactive lecture about the early years of the Beatles on Monday, July 9th at 6:30 p.m as part of its “Libraries Rock!” summer series.  Presenter Paul Groom, who lived the first 17 years of his life in Liverpool, England and went to some of the same schools as the Beatles, will discuss the lesser known Beatles story about their days ...

Union County College Hires New Dean of Humanities

CRANFORD – Dr. Melissa R. Sande is the new Dean of Humanities for Union County College. Dr. Sande joined Union in the fall of 2013 as a full-time instructor of English. She has more than ten years of teaching experience and has previously served as a program coordinator, writing tutor, and an adjunct instructor.

As the Dean of Humanities, Dr. Sande will be responsible for the supervision ...

Help Is Available for Suicide Prevention

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that trained counselors at NJ Hopeline will provide confidential, anonymous guidance for people who may be having suicidal thoughts, or who know someone at risk.

NJHopeline may be contacted 24/7 by phone at 855-654-6735 or by live chat at

In addition, Union County residents can contact the County’s ...



AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)


A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

What Union is Reading: Month ending May 2018

June 6, 2018

Some great new books have topped the list in May; how many have you read? The top circulating print books in six categories for the Union Public Library in May 2018 follows. The top circulated digital books from RBdigital make up the seventh category; download the app today and start borrowing books from home to read or listen on your phone or tablet!

For suggestions for similar reads, stop by ...

Could Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational Be on Justify's Agenda?

June 13, 2018

ELMONT, NY — Triple Crown winner Justify came out of his stall to meet the media bright and bouncing on the morning after his gate-to-wire win in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes.

When asked to assess his colt's win, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported, “We were watching replays of the race. He could have gone around again.”

The brilliantly colored ...

Letters to the Editor

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...