democratic council CandidatE
Clifton High School Athletic Director
What do you think is the best way for newer residents to learn about the community?
The first place most newer residents look for information, is our website, https://www.rutherfordboronj.com. Over the past couple years, we've spent a lot of time trying to make our site more user-friendly and we've tried to keep it current, as there are constantly new programs, meetings and information to add. While the website has come a long way, it's still a work in progress.
Many recent residents also look to social media for information. The Recreation Department is my liaison assignment so I can speak to the use of our emails, Facebook and Twitter pages. Last year, I spearheaded online payments for rec programs. As a result, the number of families who signed up for programs online skyrocketed and in addition to the improving the efficiency of the process, we were able to capture more email addresses than ever before. We've used the email addresses to communicate better with families and we've used the emails to help advertise other programs run by groups like Municipal Alliance, PTAs, Shade Tree, etc. We also like to highlight our many successful programs on our Facebook page and utilize Twitter for field closures.
In addition to social media and websites, our Nixle notifications are great! They are especially helpful informing residents of street closures, snow emergencies and any other conditions that may be dangerous. Websites like ThisIsRutherford.com and Rutherford360.com are also helpful in getting information to the masses.
The most rewarding way we get information to newer and older residents is by providing many social opportunities for residents to meet and our kids to make friends. As the Recreation Liaison, I was fortunate to work with Councilwoman McGowan in the planning and designing of the new and improved Kids Spot. When my wife and I first moved here, we built many relationships at Kids Spot, festivals and swim classes at RHS. As a Council, we've made it a priority to increase the number of fun activities offered by the Borough. I am proud to have played a part in revitalizing National Night Out. Councilman Nunziato helped bring us Spooktacular, Councilman Goldsack helped bring us the Tree Festival, Councilman Narucki helped with the Arts Association and Councilwoman Begg-Roberson helped put the Pride Flag Raising together. I am very proud of the work of my colleagues and I look forward to providing more social opportunities for our friends and families.
If re-elected, I'd like to continue to improve our website and social media presence, find ways to reach the elderly who may mot utilize social media and continue to work with the Recreation Department and Rec Advisory to develop programs for all residents, no matter their age or interest. We are currently working on sponsoring more arts, STEM and STEAM activities.
2. Do you think there is any way to reconfigure parking better in the downtown to make parking more convenient for shoppers?
Parking is an issue everywhere in North Jersey, especially in transportation hubs like Rutherford. As a Council, we've been looking at this issue and working on a resolution. The Citizens Finance Committee has commissioned a study and our Traffic Division of the RPD has also conducted their own studies. From these studies, we've started with the low hanging fruit. Over the Summer, Councilman Nunziato presented a parking ordinance that was passed unanimously by the Council. This ordinance cleaned up old ones, improved safety and actually created a few more parking spots near Park Ave. We've also expanded Resident Only Parking and are tying up loose ends on two more ordinances that will address Felician and the West End.
To address parking in the Downtown, we are in negotiations with Blue Foundry (used to be Boiling Springs) to rent spaces for commuters, which would open up spaces near train station and Park Ave. With possible redevelopment on the horizon, we've been looking at ways to add a deck to the Kip Garage. We've also had great discussion on revamping the way we treat the Kip Lot and are open to the idea of overselling permits since it is very rare that the lot is filled to capacity.
If re-elected, I plan on supporting the parking ordinances and continuing to play a part in parking negotiations.
3.What do you consider to be the most effective mode of communication to share news with the residents? How would you communicate news and events to the community if elected?
Much of this was covered in my response to the first question, so I won't repeat myself. That being said, there are so many means of communication we can and do use. Email, websites and social media are the most popular and reach the most people but we can't forget about our seniors and newcomers. There are more people than you think, that use the Bergenite as their main source of getting information. To continue to reach them, I've forged relationships with all the writers who cover us. Since the paper seems to downsize a couple times a year, it seems like we're covered by a different reporter every few months. To that end, I make sure I maintain relationships with them and I always make myself available to comment on a story or provide information where appropriate.
If re-elected, I will continue my relationships with Bergenite reporters, continue to use my Council Facebook page, continue to communicate with TIR and Rutherford 365 and I'll continue to work with department heads to expand our social media footprint.
4.Do you think elected officials and appointed committee members should be required to follow a code of conduct when online and on social media?
The Borough already has a social media policy that is included in the employee handbook. Kudos to Councilman Goldsack and his committee for putting that together. As elected officials, we are held to a higher standard as it pertains to ethics, social media conduct and so forth. We are aware that we represent the Borough at all times and we reflect that on our Council/Mayor pages as well as our personal pages. As part of the Borough's Best Practices, all elected officials receive ethics training on an annual basis. Social media conduct is a large part of that training. As part of our new policy, our department heads are tasked with running their social media pages. They are consummate professionals and they understand the policies as it's laid out in the handbook.
As far as volunteers on borough committees and commissions, we don't have a policy specific to them as they are volunteers, but if re-elected, I'd help create a simple Code of Conduct for our volunteers. Great question. You may have sparked a great change in our policy.
5. How would you mitigate traffic and pedestrian concerns around town, especially in and around school zones?
Traffic and Pedestrian Safety is a priority for our Police Chief so in turn, is a priority for the department. As second on Police, I was fortunate enough to work with Chief Russo, Councilman Nunziato and our Borough Engineer on the traffic calming on West Passaic, by installing flashing lights and colored crosswalks to help drivers see pedestrians and remind them to slow down. So far, the feedback has been positive. Under Chief Russo, the RPD has spent a lot of time in our schools working on grade appropriate safety tips. I love when my 1st and 3rd Graders come home and talk about pedestrian safety they learned in school. We hope that by stressing the importance of pedestrian and driver safety at an early age, we will raise a generation of safe drivers and alert pedestrians.
If you drive and/or live around a school, you've probably noticed the increased patrols and freshly painted yellow striping. We're working with DPW and RPD to make our school communities safer and if re-elected, I will continue to play a part in this by working with the borough and if needed, county engineers to bring 4 Way Stops to the corners around schools.