I have had the honor of serving Verona as Councilman for the past two years and am very proud of the progress we have made in such a short time. At the time I ran for office, we were embroiled in scandal over the failure to provide usable technology to our Police Department, council members were kept in the dark about financial information, and residents who dared question the town could count on an angry tirade from the former Town Manager.
What a difference two years can make. We have taken major steps to reorganize our government. We successfully hired a new Town Manager who is a breath of fresh air to the public and have reduced day-to-day operating expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars through a new health plan, careful control of staffing and overtime, and review of every expense large and small. We have done this while maintaining and improving our public services. And most importantly, we have changed the tone. A council meeting is no longer a shouting match. We work together as a team to resolve important issues. Citizen input is heard and welcomed.
Overhauling a government organization is a marathon, not a sprint, and I would like us to continue making Verona a better place to live every day. To do this we need to strengthen the council with members who have the knowledge base and willingness to put in the time and work that this position requires.
Mayor Kevin Ryan has gone above and beyond in his duties to serve the town. He devotes much time during the day to work with the township administration to provide oversight and advice. Mayor Ryan personally reviews the bill list before payments go out and asks questions to maintain a watchful eye on expenses. He is present at numerous board and committee meetings and works with his counterparts in nearby towns to strengthen our relationships with them. His work experience in the federal government gives him the skills to improve our administrative practice which was sorely lacking. I am pleased that Mayor Ryan is willing to devote another four years to serving the community and encourage you to vote for his re-election.
Jack McEvoy has been a constant presence at almost every Town Council meeting for years, along with the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, and other entities. He has the knowledge of how our government works and the issues facing our town. He has worked hard to prevent overdevelopment and maintain the quality of life in our town. He has innovative ideas about public safety, traffic and parking, downtown development, and environmental stewardship. Jack is a small businessman who understands what it takes to make Verona a vibrant destination. He is a lifelong Verona resident with deep ties to the community. He will be a strong addition to the council and deserves our support.
Through this election cycle I had the opportunity to meet Chris Piccuirro. He is intelligent and forward-thinking and represents a new generation of leadership. He and his wife have young children and can provide a fresh perspective to support the needs of families in Verona. He is a software engineer and wants to improve our use of technology and gain efficiency and reduce costs. Chris has run a positive campaign and listens and researches before he acts. I would welcome the opportunity to work with another technology professional to move our government forward and continue to improve the quality of life in our town. I also encourage you to vote for Chris.
The choices are clear. Kevin Ryan, Jack McEvoy, and Chris Piccuirro will serve this town well. Please vote lines 3A, 4A, and 6A on May 9th.