Letter to the Editor: The 2012 Summit Election Perspective

Candidate and council president, Rich Madden welcomes recommendations on improving Summit's governance.

As an unopposed candidate for re-election to Council, my goals are to continue to represent the people of Summit with leadership, teamwork and integrity. I thank our Summit taxpayers for supporting my efforts over the past three years. In order to develop reliable future governance from our highly qualified base of young professionals, I encourage volunteers to run for election to Council and serve on our numerous Boards and Committees, regardless of party affiliation.

As 2010 & 2011 Council President Pro-Tem, I served as Finance and Personnel Chair, led efforts to reduce property tax increases and chaired both our auditor and solicitor search committees. We have a superior City Staff and compatible Common Council and Mayor. Ellen Dickson has been an excellent communicator who advocates total transparency. Aside from my candidacy, we’re lucky to have former Councilman Al Dill ready to serve again. We’re also fortunate to have effective legislators who represent Summit well, including Congressman Leonard Lance, State Senator Tom Kean, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and our own Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz.

As 2012 Council President, I’ve encouraged conciliatory relationships with Freeholders and State Legislators, organized the first joint meeting of Council and the Board of Education, and stressed fiscal responsibility, public safety, education and ethics as priorities. My efforts to develop meaningful bipartisan dialogue have enabled Summit to coordinate ideas with State Senator Ray Lesniak, County Freeholder Chair Al Mirabella, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage and others for the Passaic River litigation, County budget reductions and property tax equalization. Hopefully, many positive results will emerge from these associations.

Our future challenges include: flat budgets for the City and Board of Education; encouraging the County Freeholders to budget within the 2% spending cap; controlling debt service in this unstable economy; improving City parking; monitoring the Overlook helipad appeal; reconciling our Ameripay mediation; seeking indemnification from the Passaic River litigation; encouraging further downtown development; and, implementing shared services and effective corporate and community relations.

On behalf of Summit Council, we welcome your recommendations to improve our governance.



— Rich Madden

Robert Steelman October 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Rich I have seen other local governing bodies operate and you have added a high level of leadership to Summit’s council. Your letter references both people of Summit and Summit taxpayers. It is worth noting that some Summit taxpayers don’t reside here. And some local business people are “interested parties” to local rule-making. I’m an interested party. The discussion on improving governance may start with a refresher on the proper exercise of power at the local level. The State grants authority to a local body with conditions. The major conditions have to do with rights of people within and outside city limits. Transparency is one of those rights. Another is the protection real property rights. It surprises me that planning, zoning, and historic preservation discussions rarely engage the topic of historic rights to own and control property. It surprises me more attention is not paid to how misuse or overuse of local rule-making steps on the rights of commercial property owners. An example is how the downtown is viewed in terms of being “public space” when it is essential privately owned. Good governance should recognize its role to advocate for the preservation of rights as it attempts to achieve good policy outcomes.


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