WAYNE, NJ — The Wayne Democratic Club (WDC) has released their candidates for the upcoming Wayne elections for Mayor and At-Large Town Council seats for the 2021 elections. Although there are three seats on the council up for election this year, the Democratic Club have only put forth two names to run for those three seats.

Currently there is only one elected Democrat serving in the Wayne municipal government: Fifth Ward Councilwoman, Fran Ritter. WDC Chairman, Clark Okun is hoping this year, Ritter will gain some company on the dais. 

Mayor: Former Town Council candidate, Arlene Sullivan has been given the nod as the Democratic Club's choice for Mayor. She will face-off against three-term incumbent Mayor Chris Vergano in the November general election.

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In 2019, Sullivan was the Democratic selection for the Wayne First Ward Council seat and narrowly lost the race by just 36 votes. The challenge for Sullivan is larger this year, with control of the Wayne Township administration at stake.

Artist, author, educator and parent, Sullivan is a long-term Wayne resident with experience serving her communities.

She was born and raised in Wayne, attended the Wayne schools and William Paterson University, then moved to Montville after her marriage. She teaches art and graphic arts teacher at Morris Catholic High School in Denville and is a former President of the Montville PTO and the Montville Board of Education.

According to a statement released by the WDC, Sullivan’s vision as Mayor is to:

  • Protect open space, by preserving undeveloped land and supporting conservation and water quality in our lake communities
  • Control development with a real master plan based on community input, that treats “quality of life” as essential
  • Support the small businesses that are the backbone of our town’s economy
  • Make sure COVID relief reaches the seniors, students, and families that need it most
  • Provide transparent, accountable government that puts politics aside for the good of Wayne

There are three At-Large Town Council seats up for election this year, but the WDC have put forth only two names to run for these seats, both of whom have never run for elected office before.

Dr. Linda Nardone, PhD is the immediate past president of the WDC and a 32-year Wayne resident.

According to her bio, she has had a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, having founded two bio-technical start-up companies and held high-ranking executive positions (Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, General Manager, and Chief Operating Officer) of start-up, small, mid, and large sized companies.

Nardone has been actively serving Wayne for decades, according to the WDC. She has been a founder/leader of four not-for-profit entities in the animal care field and is currently the President of the Board of People for Animals, a large not-for profit entity for affordable animal care. She has also served on the Wayne Environmental Commission from 2019 to 2020 and is an active member of her church.

“I want a welcoming and vibrant Wayne community, good governance and effective planning for Wayne’s short and long-term future,” said Nardone as to why she is running.

The WDC shared additional information on Nardone’s goals as a Wayne Town Councilwoman.

  • As to Wayne’s current challenges, she has been a strong proponent and has actively promoted the development of a sorely needed new Master Plan to provide effective tools for proper zoning, planning and development. The lack of a current Master Plan has put the township at a considerable disadvantage.
  • She has also been critical of Wayne’s approach to mandated affordable housing. Runaway development would change the nature of our township and would have a major impact on our quality and life.

Cathy Pariser has lived in Wayne for most of her life, has raised her family here and is a “highly active member” of the Packanack Lake community.

She is a Certified Public Accountant and has earned her MBA from Rutgers University. For the past 25 years, Pariser has worked for Hoffmann-La Roche, a global pharmaceutical company, where she developed financial analyses for major business decisions, conducted strategic planning and led brand marketing, according to her bio.

Pariser continued her education, completing the Rutgers Environmental Steward and Green Infrastructure Champion programs, where she “gained a deep perspective on opportunities for managing stormwater runoff pollution and flooding.”

As a volunteer, she has used her environmental education to oversee the Preakness Healthcare Center pollinator garden. She participated in horticultural therapy for seniors and volunteered at Laurelwood Arboretum and Garret Mountain Reservation as a Rutgers Master Gardener. Over the past three years, she has served as the Packanack Lake Water Quality Governor, helping to improve the lake’s “biological health,” and educating community members on best practices to manage stormwater runoff.

“I want to raise awareness and enhance the focus on the environment, infrastructure, and policies necessary to grow our local economy,” said Pariser as to why she is running for office. “As a councilwoman, I would increase citizen involvement to build a stronger and more resilient Wayne."

According to the WDC, Pariser specifically supports:

  • The development of a new comprehensive Master Plan to better prepare for future planning, zoning, and infrastructure. The township has failed to maintain a current Master Plan and we have suffered as a result.
  • The revitalization the Economic Development Commission to concentrate on evaluating incentives and other ideas for attracting corporate business should be a priority.
  • Making sure that boards and commissions, the backbone of a successful township, are active and effective while reflecting constituents' views. With her wealth of leadership experience, business acumen, and environmental interests, she has pledged to work across party lines to tackle our challenges ahead.