IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss hosted his third annual State of the Township Address at Christian Pentecostal Church on Thursday, Jan. 26.
Three years into a four-year term in office, Vauss organized an event that filled the church to capacity, with a free meal provided inside the church annex afterward for everyone in attendance.
Those in attendance included: Essex County Democratic Committee and East Orange Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones; former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver; Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker; Assemblyman Ralph Caputo; Assemblyman Tom Giblin; Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson; East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor; and a host of other local officials, including members of the Irvington Municipal Council and Board of Education; Superintendent of Schools Neely Hackett; and the heads of all the township departments, including Ted Green, of the building department and Public Works Director Jamel Holley.
At the event, Jones said he was attending because Vauss-led Irvington is the “place to be,” adding, “Irvington is a model city with an excellent leader.”
Tucker said, “We sit here to acknowledge all the accomplishments” by Vauss.
“He’s presided over an 80-percent reduction in crime,” said Tucker on Thursday, Jan. 26. “Overall, clean streets and a safe place to live and work is what everyone wants. I just want to say that (Assemblyman) Ralph (Caputo) and myself, we are happy to represent Irvington.”
Caputo added that the job the Vauss administration has done in Irvington is “amazing” adding, “what’s more important than what you see is what you don’t see.”
“The feeling in this town,” said Caputo on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the event. “It’s amazing.”
Oliver said it is remarkable that in “three short years” Vauss and his administration continue to make improvements, and that everyone in Irvington seems to have “bought in” to the mayor’s mission to make the town safe and clean.
“The success for Irvington are successes for the entire county,” said Oliver on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the event. “I’m so proud of what is happening in this town. … I think that is the hallmark of a good leader. A good leader knows how to choose excellence around him. And the thing that is great is you inspire your people, Mayor Vauss, and that is what a good leader does.”
At last year’s State of the Township Address, Vauss announced Irvington’s new partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and introduced Brad Cohen, the special agent in charge and assistant director of the FBI’s Newark office. Cohen returned his year to provide an update on the fruits of this law enforcement relationship.
“I came here last year to enter into a partnership with the city,” Cohen said Thursday, Jan. 26. “We have a task force officer from the Irvington Department. Thank You, Mayor Vauss. The partnership we have is good. We will nurture that.”
Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers said he’s looking forward to continuing the productive relationship with the FBI
Joseph Santiago, Bowers’ current Public Safety Department subordinate and former police director, read a long list of public safety milestones accomplished during Vauss’ watch and said, “I enjoy it so much that I would do it for free. That’s just like the detectives in our Patrol Division, our S.A.F.E. and our C.E.R.T. I get the feeling that they would do this job for free, because they believe in themselves. Like the mayor believed in me, I believe in them. I’m just so very proud of our police department and I thank you, mayor, for giving me the opportunity to lead it.”
Vauss said he is the one who’s grateful for Bowers, Santiago and all the department heads, employees and residents who work together to make Irvington the best town.
“It’s a true team effort and our motto really is ‘one team, one dream,’ with everyone working toward the same goal,” Vauss said. “What we teach here in Irvington is that we’re one family. It’s easy to sit behind a desk and bark out orders, but it’s the people out in the streets that make it happen.”