Last week, Westfield Town Council members JoAnn Neylan, Frank Arena, and Doug Stokes each participated in their final Town Council meeting. Collectively, they capably served Westfield residents for 32 years. I was privileged to have worked with JoAnn, Frank, and Doug, and witnessed first-hand their thoughtful leadership and unwavering commitment to our community.
Their accomplishments are too numerous to detail here, but a few highlights include successfully guiding our Town through the serious financial challenges wrought by the Great Recession, without any municipal employee layoffs or reduction in local services; actively assisting residents overcome the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy; building our municipal budget surplus, helping the Town become one of the few in New Jersey to earn a AAA credit rating, which we still enjoy today; and resolving Westfield’s state-mandated affordable housing obligations in a way that provides opportunities for all to enjoy living in our great Town while preserving its special character.
By focusing on local rather than national issues, and eschewing aggressive partisan politics, JoAnn, Frank and Doug helped to foster the kind of community that has attracted so many of our residents over the past decade and more. I thank them for their service, and I hope that their successors will learn, and govern, by their example.
Sam Della Fera
Editor's Note: The writer is a former councilman and serves on the Westfield Town Republican Committee.