Al Sadowski was not born in Wayne, but he was raised here, moving to the township when the Republican Councilman from Ward Two was ten years old. He attended Randall Carter school, the original Anthony Wayne, then George Washington and attended Wayne Valley High School, graduating in 1988.
From there, Sadowski went to Bryant University in Rhode Island for his bachelor’s degree and finished his education at Steven’s Institute of Technology where he earned his master’s degree in technology management. “Currently, I work for a market research company that focuses on the data center and tech space,” said Sadowski. “I do product management and consulting.”
Sadowski has been married to his wife Jennifer for nineteen years and has two teen-aged boys, one is an eighth grader at Anthony Wayne and the other is a Junior at Don Bosco Prep. “I have coached both of my boys, pretty much since they started, whether it was at the Boys and Girls Club or Little League or the Wayne PAL,” said the councilman. “I coached basketball, I coached soccer, I coached baseball, indoor soccer, floor hockey, a little bit of everything.”
He also was a den leader in cub scouts at Our Lady of the Valley church; his eldest son is an Eagle Scout and his younger one is on the same path.
The Ward Two Councilman’s political career began when he ran for the Board of Education. He didn’t win the election; however, his message had been heard by the leadership of the Republican Party and they liked what they heard. When Councilman Joe DiDonato passed away, Sadowski was appointed to his unexpired term in 2008 and has kept his seat by winning three elections since.
How did he get involved in politics?
“My interest was pretty simple,” said Sadowski. “I grew up here and I enjoy living in Wayne and I want to ensure that my kids, one day, have the opportunity to decide whether or not they live in Wayne. I don’t want high taxes, deteriorating infrastructure, and poorer services be a reason why they don’t want to live here. So, I got involved and was very focused on property taxes, and the safety of our community.”
Why should people vote for you?
“I’ve lowered multi-million-dollar budgets as part of my ongoing responsibilities. I’m fiscally astute. I know where to look when finding areas to reduce budgets. I also have a lot of experience in project management, so when I help residents with their problems, I tunr it into a project plan: Here’s the problem, here is the timeline, here are the stakeholders that need to be involved in trying to get to a resolution and treating things like a project and getting them done on time.”
Sadowski has run on a platform of lowering taxes during each of his campaigns and has been a consistent ‘no’ vote on township budget increases. “And, I’ve come up with a few ideas that have turned into millions of dollars in savings for the Township,” he said. “I come from the corporate world and there’s no such thing as an assistant CEO, and in Wayne Township there was an assistant Chief of Police, and my suggestion was to eliminate the position. When you factor in salary and benefits, it probably was a savings of over $250,000 per year.”
“There were also layers of management in other departments including at the library,” he continued, “and we were able to cut positions and in both of these cases, we were able to save a lot of money and in neither of those situations did we lose services because of it.”
What is the job of a Wayne Town Councilperson?
Sadowski’s named three items:
- “The Town Council is responsible for all the laws; the ordinances.”
- “The Council approves the municipal budget and works with the Administration to make changes as needed.”
- “Each Council Member advocates for residents that have problems that need to be resolved.”
“At the end of the day we are here to help residents; to answer the call when they have problems and try to help them. I enjoy the role of being a problem solver and that’s why people call me. Residents are surprised that I get right back to them as quickly as I do. I have published a periodic newsletter called Take Two since I started on the council over 10 years ago to stay in touch with residents.”
“It’s being responsive, getting the right people together and coming up with solutions that as many people can be as happy with as possible.” Sadowski gave an example: “In the Tall Oaks section, residents were having an issue with intermittent electrical outages and I arranged a meeting with the residents and representatives of PSE&G. Our residents were heard, PSE&G took their feedback and made some changes and so far, I haven’t heard any complaints on that issue since.”
In talking about the budget, Sadowski said: “I don’t like tax increases and neither do the people I represent. Many of my constituents live in Sisco Village and Sienna Village and are seniors on fixed incomes, and tax increases are an even bigger burden for them. There are seniors who want to stay in their homes, too and its becoming harder and harder for them because of the taxes.”
What is the biggest issue facing Wayne?
“Besides Taxes, it is Safety. As the town gets more populated and as we draw more businesses back to Wayne, there are a lot more cars on the road, there are a lot more younger drivers on the road, there are a lot more distracted drivers on the road, and people always seem to be in a hurry, so speeding is a problem, distracted driving is a problem.”
“One of the things I’m proud of, that I accomplished, and it wasn’t easy, was successfully lobbying to getting the speed limit reduced on Preakness Avenue,” said Sadowski. “It’s now all twenty-five miles an hour, where before there were parts that were thirty-five miles an hour. I’d love to see the speed limit reduced on Alps Road and on Valley Road, too.”
What are some other issues facing Wayne?
“One of the big things then, and its coming back now is COAH, the Committee On Affordable Housing, and they have these crazy mandates for municipalities. And, for Wayne, which is already built-out, the number of units that would be required to be built, not just for moderate and low income, but the builders also get to build four or five market-rate units for each affordable unit.”
“So, if the affordable housing mandate number is one hundred, for example, it means the builders could build four to five hundred market rate units too. This would totally change the character of Wayne. So, we did all we could to minimize the impact on residents in my early terms.”
“At the end of the day,” he said. “I’m just looking to make sure that Wayne remains safe, remains affordable, continues to attract businesses and allows homeowners, especially senior citizens, to continue to stay in their homes and one day, their children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to live here like we did.”