Mayor John Duthie Reflects on Roseland's Accomplishments at Borough's First Meeting of 2014
Friday, January 3, 2014 • 12:22pm
ROSELAND,NJ - On Thursday, Roseland Mayor John Duthie and the Borough Council met for their annual Reorganization Meeting. The occasion actually took place in two locations; first at The Solana for a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony and then afterwards in council chambers for the official meeting, where council member Mark Vidovich was elected council president for 2014 and the mayor gave his annual address highlighting the accomplishments of 2013 and the challenges facing the borough in 2014.
At 6 p.m., friends and family members gathered with Councilmen David B. Jacobs and Richard N. Leonard to observe their swearing in ceremony at Solana's new senior residence. On hand for the occasion were Noecker School Student Body President Tara Smith, former Fire Chief and 100th Anniversary Parade Grand Marshal George Batta and former Planning Board member Carmen Biase, Jr. Jacobs was sworn in by both of his sons, Dr. Ira Jacobs and John Patrick, while Leonard was sworn in by Emergency Management Coordinator John Matheis and Claudia Reis, Esq. Both men will serve out their terms until Dec. 31, 2016.
From left: Dr. Ira Jacobs, Harriet Jacobs and her husband Councilman David B. Jacobs and Mayor John Duthie Credit: The Solana
Following the gathering, the Roseland governing body met in council chambers to officially open the 2014 year. Margo McCormick conducted a roll call of the 2014 Council and Councilmen Jacobs and Leonard joined their fellow council members Peter Smith, Michelle Tolli, Thomas Tsilionis and Mark Vidovich.
From left: Roseland Emergency Management Coordinator John Matheis, Claudia Reis, Esq, Lee Ann Leonard and her husband, Councilman Richard N. Leonard Credit: Kerry Hoimark
Duthie then asked the Council to approve the Council Appointments and Council Liaison Assignments; the following Council Assignments were approved:
Administration and Finance
Council Liaison Assignments
The following Council Liaison Assignments were approved:
Municipal Court / Prosecutor
Senior Citizen’s Advisory Board
Shade Tree Commission
Historic Preservation Committee
Local Board of Adjustment
West Essex Board of Education
Affordable Housing Board
Library Board of Trustees
First Aid Squad
Municipal Youth Guidance Committee
Senior Citizen Transportation Committee
Communications and Technology
Roseland Board of Education
Next, the mayor asked for the nomination of the council president. Jacobs nominated Vidovich, which was seconded by Tsilionis; the council unanimously received Mark Vidovich as the 2014 Roseland Borough Council President.
From Summer 2013, Roseland Councilman Mark Vidovich Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Borough Official Appointments
Following this procedure, Duthie asked for acceptance of the motion for Borough Official Appointments. All appointments hold until Dec. 31, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Again with unanimous consent of the Council, the following Borough Official Appointments were approved:
Acting Borough Clerk
Margaret M. McCormack
until June 30, 2014
Ethan Jesses Sheffet, Esq.
Chief Financial Officer, Tax Collector
Nancy Falivena Gennaro, Esq.
Municipal Public Defender
Anthony H. Guerino, Esq.
Duthie then asked for a motion approving the Annual Resolutions. The following passed the governing body unanimously:
- Fixing rate of interest for delinquent taxes
- Authorization – preparation of payroll, county property tax payments, health benefit payments and all debt service payment ratification for 2014 by Chief Financial Officer
- Annual delinquent tax sale
- Council meeting agenda categories
- Designation of official newspapers
- Appointment of Community Development Block Grant Representatives Wendy Celano and Gary Schall
- Acceptance of Cash Management Plan
- Appointment of Fund Commissioner and Alternate to the NJ Intergovernmental Insurance Fund
- Appointment of Public Agency Compliance Officer Margo McCormack
- Expense limit for Department Heads
Following this general acceptance, the council then accepted, with regret, the resignation of David Liable who found it necessary to resign from the Recreation Committee.
The following Borough Appointments were then approved for one year:
Terrance Aherne, MD
Robert DeFilippis, DVM
Appointments of Borough Employees
The following Appointments of Borough Employees were then approved for one year, until Dec. 31, 2014:
Accounts Payable Clerk
Accounts Receivable Clerk
Deputy Municipal Clerk, Administrative Secretary
Mayoral Appointments with Council Consent
The following Appointments were made by the Mayor, with unanimous consent of the Council:
Affordable Housing Board, 3 years
1 Open Seat
Board of Adjustment, terms vary
William Tedesco, 4 years
Alternate 1: Virgil Bavaro, 2 years
Alternate 2: John Matheis, 2 years
Board of Health, 4 years
Camp Wyanokie, 1 year
Cross Acceptance Representative, 1 year
Historic Commission, 4 years
Library Board of Trustees, 1 year
Mayor’s Representative: William Tedesco
Municipal Youth Guidance, 1 year
Captain Kevin Kitchin
Public Agency Compliance Officer, 1 year
Recreation Committee, terms vary
Vinnie Azzinari (to fill the unexpired term of David Liable), 1 year
Charles Lombardi, 2 years
William Shaw, 2 years
Senior Citizen’s Transportation Committee, 1 year
The Mayor then presented the following list of Mayoral Appointments to the governing body, which passed unanimously:
Beautification Committee, 1 year
Citizen’s Advisory Board to Mayor, 1 year
Chairperson, Board of Adjustment
Chairperson, Municipal Youth Guidance
Chairperson, Planning Board
Chairperson, Senior Citizen’s Advisory Board
Councilman Emeritus, Louis LaSalle
Crest Association President, Edward St. Thomas
First Aid Squad Coordinator
Holmehill Representative, Donald Ershow
Jr. Women’s Club Representative, Michele Tolli
Mayor John Duthie
Paradise Place Representative, Robert Rosen
Roseland Boosters Representative, Greg Piscitello
Roseland Glen Representative, Dr. Wesley Boodish
Roseland Green Representative, Jerry A. Casser, Esq.
Roseland Rotary, Bill Siudmak
Roseland UNICO Representative, Santo Barretta
Stonegate Representative, John Fitzgerald
Superintendent of Public Works
The Eagle Rock Representative, David Jacobs
Citizen’s Advisory Committee to Planning Board
President, Roseland Board of Education
Chairperson, Shade Tree Commission
Chairperson, Environmental Commission
President, Board of Health
Environmental Commission, 3 years
Sean P. Bowe
Open Seat (to fill Frank Butterfield's expired term)
Planning Board, terms vary
Class I: Mayor John Duthie, 1 year
Class II: Jack Gordon, Esq., (Historical Commission), 1 year
Class III: Councilman David Jacobs, (Motion by Council), 1 year
Class IV: Martin Marasco, 4 years
Charles Minervino, 4 years
Richard Reynolds, 4 years
Mayor’s Alternate: Steve Salvanto, 1 year
Alternate 1: Nancy Sayers, 2 years
Alternate 2: Open Seat, 2 years
Shade Tree Commission, 5 years
Roseland Mayor John Duthie Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
State of the Borough Address
The mayor then presented his State of the Borough Address:
"Happy 2014! The new year is upon us and the focus of Roseland’s governing body will be to continue preserving the unique qualities that make Roseland the gem of Essex County.
It is my honor to welcome everyone back and congratulate our re-elected councilpersons, Richard Leonard and David Jacobs. I also congratulate our 2014 council president, Mark Vidovich.
2013 presented us with many opportunities and challenges. We would not have been able to accomplish our goals and objectives without the help of our employees who play an integral role in the day to day operations of our borough. On behalf of the governing body, we recognize the efforts of our Borough Administrator Maureen Chumacas, for her leadership skills and effective management of our employees. We thank our department heads including Police Chief Richard McDonough, Superintendent of Public Works Gary Schall and Recreation Director Michael Colitti. We thank our employees, the members of our volunteer fire department and first aid squad and all of those who serve on borough boards and committees, as well as their family members who encourage them to do so. Volunteerism is the spirit of community and Roseland is blessed to have such a great group of volunteers.
Roseland continues to be a great place to live and to work. A recent search of the Garden State Multiple Listing Service revealed that only 15 residential property listings were available in our great borough. This is the fewest number of homes for sale that I can recall for as long as I have been tracking the numbers. To me, this is a clear indication that people enjoy living in the borough and appreciate and value Roseland.
Roseland’s business climate is also vibrant. This past year, Pal’s Cabin, an Essex County icon, merged with Fairchilds Market. Together their combined menus and nostalgia have become a new destination for diners throughout the region.
The long vacant property at the corner of Livingston Avenue and Eagle Rock Avenue, formerly an Exxon station, has been purchased by a local businessman who is vested in many other Roseland ventures. We are sure that the property will come back to life shortly and that it will further enhance our business district.
The Solana, an 82 unit assisted living facility opened in 2013 and is now operational and partially occupied.
Prudential invested many millions of dollars in its Roseland facility by installing solar panels above its parking area which will ultimately produce enough electricity to run its entire Roseland campus.
It is apparent that home owners and business owners alike see the value of Roseland and are investing their resources in Roseland’s future. The borough council recognizes that we must adapt to a changing business environment and we have taken proactive measures to accommodate the needs of our residents and business partners.
One example of the council's adaptation is the adoption of Ordinance 15-2013 in our land use code wherein we no longer require costly site plan approval when an approved use is being replaced by another approved use. Also, In an effort to accommodate our residents, we have recommended to the planning board that Roseland adopts an ordinance to make it easier for home owners to install permanent home generators. We are eager to make Roseland even more appealing to our residents and business partners today and in the future.
2013 marked a year of many celebrations and continued traditions. In September, we joined with the Roseland Volunteer Fire Department in celebrating their 100 year anniversary, with a parade and picnic. The day was a huge success. We look forward to the Roseland Volunteer Fire Department’s next 100 years of service.We held the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Reading Challenge, in partnership with the Lester C. Noecker Elementary School. We thank the children who participated in this event which encourages reading. I trust that they discovered that reading can be both fun and rewarding.
We hosted our 3rd Annual Roseland Remembers 9-11 Blood Drive. I thank my wife, Lisa, for organizing this event for the past three years. Also, I wish to thank all those who donated blood to such a worthy cause.
Improvements to the Fernwood Baseball Field were approved in 2013 and the project is underway. The project includes: turning the field so that the players' eyesight is not impeded by direct sunlight as well as installating a new irrigation system, drainage and new bleachers. The field should be unveiled in the spring of 2014 and we are applying for Essex County Open Space grant funds this month, which if granted to us will be used for additional field improvements.
We have preserved our infrastructure by completing many roadway paving projects, some using grant monies from the NJDOT. Recently completed projects include: the Holmehill project, the Eagle Rock, Williamsburg Drive, Davenport Avenue, Evelyn Road and Oak Drive. We have authorized improvement to Cedar Lane, Beachtree Road, and Paradise Place. We look forward to those projects getting underway this spring.
We negotiated and ratified the labor contract with our teamsters union, representing our DPW employees for the term 1/1/2011 thru 12/31/15. We increased our initiatives to reduce costs by increasing the number of years of service that an employee must serve in Roseland in order for them to be eligible to receive retiree benefits. We adopted the federal holiday schedule for our employees and have reduced and optimized our staff. We continue to enjoy many shared service arrangements with neighboring communities. Borough spending is down 5% from 2012. Our amount raised by taxation came in at $239,000 under the state allowed 2% cap.
Our Office of Emergency Management, led by John Matheis, added seven new auxiliary police members in 2013 and we anticipate the addition of another four members in 2014. The department has purchased five generators to be used in life threatening emergencies. The Office of Emergency Management and Gary Schall are aggressively pursuing FEMA funds, and to date they have already received $137, 000 from FEMA. We congratulate them on that success.
We strive to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents from the potential impacts posed by the federally approved natural gas compressor station being upgraded in Roseland. We have been in constant contact with the agencies that approved the project, who are responsible for its oversight. Those with jurisdiction over the project have assured us that the owner has met the safety standards that the agencies with oversight require of them. We have formed an ad hoc committee for the purpose of garnering community support and for recognizing the concerns of our borough constituents relative to this project. We will continue our aggressive pursuit of this matter and we will continue to provide regular progress reports to the community.
We approved an ordinance calling for $100,000 in improvements to the Roseland First Aid Squad building. So far, we have purchased and installed new metal doors. We have bid the HVAC work along with the much needed repairs to the bathrooms at the subject facility.
We approved and purchased a much needed fire pumper truck and new turnout gear, both in effort to keep our firefighters safe. In addition, repairs were also made to the HVAC system and soffits at the fire house
We are in the process of upgrading our borough computer system. The borough’s new website will be available shortly. It is in the beta phase now and is expected to go live this month. We look forward to the debut of the new website which should be extremely user friendly.
We are pleased to report that Standard and Poor’s rating services reviewed Roseland’s bond rating and upgraded us more than two grades to an AA+! The improved rating reflects the borough’s strong and mature property tax base, access to deep and diverse employment centers, good financial management and performance, including maintenance of strong current fund reserve levels and low overall net debt.
We have completed upgrades to our borough communication systems for all of our public safety departments. We have installed and are now communicating on the federally mandated narrow band channel. We purchased eight laptop computers and new video cameras for our police patrol cars, a live scan technology fingerprinting system and we also successfully negotiated and ratified a labor contract with our superior officers for the period of Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2015.
The Recreation Department, led by Michael Colitti enjoyed another successful year. The summer SCRAM program was a great success. The council honored 14 teams for their accomplishments and our holiday story time was well attended and enjoyed by all.
- 6000 LED lights were newly installed on our borough Christmas tree. We were also pleased to host the third annual Roseland Menorah lighting ceremony.
In retrospect, 2013 was a great year for our borough. Our accomplishments were many more than I’ve listed. I am proud of what we have accomplished in 2013 and 2014 brings just as much promise. We have many projects that have been in the works for quite some time. We hope to soon share the exciting news with all of you.
The appeal of our borough remains strong and I feel that we are the envy of our neighbors. I look forward to being a part of all that is good for Roseland in 2014.
Best wishes to you and your loved ones for the greatest New Year ever!"