UNION, NJ – The township’s new Business Administrator has always considered Union a second home, and now that he’s here, plans to keep it a leader in public safety, fiscal stability, with vibrant parks and programs, and efficient and effective direction of services.
“I was born and raised in Elizabeth, right on the Union border and lived there my entire life until I got married,” said Union’s Business Administrator Don Travisano, 43. He said when the opportunity to come to Union arose, he didn’t hesitate. “For me, coming to Union was akin to coming home." Travisano said he spent part of his youth in Union, from enjoying the ‘kitchen sink’ at Jahn’s, to swimming at the Union Elks, or from riding his bike at Kean College (before it was the University), to having a ‘complete’ at Galloping Hill Inn or catching a movie at Union Center. “The opportunity to serve the residents of my second hometown was too good to pass up and it is not a responsibility that I take lightly,” said Travisano.
“My father still lives in the house in which we grew up,” said Travisano. He is the middle of three children. “My parents instilled the values of hard work, family and education in all of us. We didn’t always get what we wanted, but we usually got what we needed,” he added.
“Union is a wonderfully diverse town with a reputation for top-notch services and inclusive programs,” said Travisano. “I consider it one of the true gems in New Jersey.” He said Union’s emergency services (police, fire and EMS) are “second to none” and the town’s proximity to New York City an asset. “It is situate to a wealth of transportation options: international airport, train station, major highways and busing. Yet, there is a feel of a small community.” Travisano believes Union remains one of the great values in New Jersey. “If you’re buying a house and raising a family in Northern New Jersey, Union is a must on many target lists. The Township is safe and clean, the housing stock is of high quality, municipal taxes are stable and low compared to municipalities of like size, services are increasing, and recreation opportunities are diverse and plentiful.”
“As Township Administrator, I intend to continue Union’s tradition of innovative leadership, and I pledge to be a professional, transparent, humble, inclusive, ethical, tireless leader,” said Travisano. He said he hopes to assist Mayor Delisfort and the Township Committee in their initiative to foster community engagement. “Accordingly, I hope to enhance communication initiatives and institute a renewed orientation towards customer service,” said Travisano.
Travisano added, “in recent times, local governments have become customer service organizations that provide municipal services. This is especially true with our Department of Public Works – the often unsung heroes of our town.” He said Union has great programs, but they can only be as successful as the number of people who know about them and who participate. Additionally, he said, “no resident should have a phone call or a reported concern unanswered.” Long term, Travisano intends to continue to keep Union on the cutting edge of all New Jersey’s municipalities. “We will remain a leader in public safety, fiscal stability, vibrant parks and programs, and efficient and effective direction of services,” he said.
Travisano attended Seton Hall Prep and Seton Hall University, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. After graduating, he said he started down the path toward a career in Law. “After several years, I began to realize that my true passion wasn’t the law, but a public service calling and more specifically, local government administration,” said Travisano.
Travisano worked for the City of Elizabeth for seventeen years in various roles. “There is, perhaps, no better opportunity to help improve the quality of people’s lives than at the local government level,” he said. Travisano left Elizabeth as Assistant Administrator and moved to Dover in Morris County, where he served as Town Administrator for nearly six years. There, he said he served as the chief administrative officer, appointing authority, appropriate authority of the police department, human resources/personnel officer and purchasing agent in a very diverse municipality.
“Wearing many hats in a smaller town gave me a unique appreciation for the role of Business Administrator,” he said. He said he is proud of the multitude of capital improvements (roadways, parks and public buildings), financial stability, redevelopment efforts, inclusionary initiatives, and town wide beautification efforts that the organization he led brought to the town as a whole. “It takes a strong leader to effectuate lasting change, and I am proud of the beneficial lasting change that I brought to Dover,” added Travisano.
In all, he has nearly 24 years of public service experience at the local government level. He has a Master of Public Administration Degree from Villanova University and possesses multiple certifications and licenses from the State of New Jersey.
Travisano resides in Morris County with his wife, Patti and children Donny, 7, Amelia, 5, and Maddie, 2 months. When not working or volunteering, Travisano said he enjoys travelling, “all things Yankees”, playing the guitar, reading, and fly fishing.