Joe Scuralli has lived in Wayne his entire life and currently lives one house down from where he was raised and where his Mother lives now. He went DePaul Catholic High School, then attended the University of Scranton for one year before coming back to New Jersey and earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Farleigh Dickinson University.
Scuralli then went on to Pace University’s Lubin School of Business to earn his Doctorate in International Business and Marketing, attending classes at night while he continued to work in his family business: Wayne Machine & Die Company. The Fourth Ward Councilman worked there until 2009 when he became a full-time professor at Berkeley College teaching Business.
“My family was in the plastics machinery business and I had been working there since I was thirteen years old,” said Scuralli. “I had also worked at William Paterson part time as an adjunct professor, teaching at night and on Saturday mornings from 1997 to 2002.”
2002 was a pivotal year for Scuralli, but 2003 was his biggest year.
“I got engaged in 2002 and knew I wanted to run for office. In 2003, I won a primary in June, I got married in August, I found out my wife was pregnant in October, I won the election in November and was sworn in on January 1st in 2004,” he said.
His son Joseph is now fifteen and is a sophomore at Wayne Hills High School.
“I have been active in volunteering for Boy Scout Troop 108, Our Lady of the Valley R.C. Church in Wayne, and I’m currently the Chartered Organization Representative but I have also served in the past as Troop Committee Chair and Treasurer,” said Scuralli. “I am also a founding member of the Wayne Radio Amateur Emergency Team, which is an amateur radio club that is focused on providing communications in emergencies to Wayne Township and other amateur radio activities.”
How did he get involved in politics?
“I was always interested in politics, since I was a kid. My father used to talk politics often and my history teacher, Mr. Bailey, held a mock election in 1980 and I represented Ronald Reagan. I had to give a speech in front of the whole school and I really liked it!”
Scuralli wanted to get involved in politics earlier in life but was too busy with his education, so after graduation, he jumped in, serving as Commissioner on the Zoning Board of Adjustment before running for office. He lost his first two elections. The first was a primary for Councilman-at-large where his loss earned him recognition and he was appointed to Judy Orson’s unexpired term on the Town Council when she became Mayor. His second loss was his next election to keep that seat. “I guess the third time was a charm,” said Scuralli, because he won the election for the Fourth Ward Council Seat in 2003 and has won every election since. This year he is running for his fifth consecutive term.
What is the job of a Wayne Town Councilperson?
“My biggest job is Constituent services. I act as a liaison for my constituents. The people know me and know they can call me. I then take any problem to the right people at Town Hall. So, my job is solving problems for people that live here.”
“It’s important to understand that under our form of Government, no Councilmember can ‘order’ anybody at Town Hall to do anything. All I can do is bring issues to the attention of the Administration and ask that they help. The Mayor is great, and all the people at Town Hall are great. They’re very responsive to problems I bring to them.”
Why should people vote for you?
“I’ve done a good job helping people and I truly want to help. I grew up in this town and my neighbors are like my extended family because I’ve know them for so long and I want to continue to take care of them.
I have a very good educational background and a lot of knowledge and experience in business and most of what has to get done for the town is business-related. I have a very good understanding of how the government works with residents and with the commercial side.
I want to continue to serve my neighbors and keep Wayne nice for my family and their families. That’s been my goal the whole time. I’ve done a good job trying to get things solved as much as possible, in my role.”
What is the biggest issue facing Wayne?
“The largest current challenge facing Wayne Township is compliance with the Mount Laurel process. I believe that proper and balanced zoning is essential to continuing the suburban character of Wayne Township. Over the years I have consistently supported the Township Administration in voting to fund legal, planning and other experts to ensure that Wayne Township remain an affordable, beautiful town where the character of the neighborhoods can endure while having appropriately placed shopping centers, medical facilities, commercial buildings, offices and services for the convenience of the residents.
I strongly believe that the zoning in Wayne Township should be determined by the Municipal Council with the support of the Township Planner and Planning Board. In addition, any variances should be determined by the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment as opposed to outsiders seeking to foist their visions upon the residents of Wayne Township.
What are some other issues facing Wayne?
“Taxes are always a concern for my constituents. Basically, there are only two payers of taxes in any town: businesses and residential. What the businesses don’t pay, the residents do. So, the more commercial development you have, the less residents pay in taxes.”
“Unfortunately, in New Jersey, the town is forced to be the ‘bad guy’ and collect taxes for other agencies. We’re forced to collect the taxes for the County; we’re forced to collect the taxes for the Board of Education. So, when someone comes to me and complains that their taxes went up, I ask them how much of that is attributed to the County or the Board of Ed and how much is attributed to the town.”
“For the last four years, municipal taxes have basically stayed flat, yet people are paying more because of these other agencies.”
“When I don’t think something is good for the town, I’m outspoken against it. My ward was looking for strong representation, so I don’t have any apologies for fighting for the people of my Ward.”