MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Following the Maplewood Township Committee meeting on Nov. 18, the committee members, who are all Democrats, held a party caucus to select the mayor and deputy mayor for 2020. After all was said and done, the committee selected Deputy Mayor Frank McGehee to be mayor and Committeeman Dean Dafis to be deputy mayor.
Committeeman Greg Lembrich nominated McGehee to be mayor, with Dafis seconding the nomination; following this, the five members of the committee unanimously voted to make McGehee Maplewood’s next mayor.
“As mayor, I will bring a collaborative leadership style, a transparent communications approach and a culture of care working with our administrator, staff, elected officials, residents and local business owners to make thoughtful decisions on key issues,” McGehee told the News-Record.
McGehee, who was just elected earlier this month to his second term in office, will be filling the seat that had long been held by current Mayor Vic DeLuca, who has been in office for two decades, with 14 years as mayor.
“Vic has been a tremendous mayor and advocate for the residents of Maplewood,” McGehee said. “It has been an honor to serve with him over the last three years and I look forward to continuing to serve our community with him and my fellow colleagues on the Township Committee.”
DeLuca was unable to respond to a request for comment by press time.
Once the committee had decided who would be mayor, its members had to fill the deputy mayor position. McGehee nominated Dafis, and Lembrich nominated Committeewoman Nancy Adams, who has previously served as deputy mayor. Adams declined the nomination, and DeLuca seconded the nomination of Dafis. This was also followed by a unanimous vote.
“I’m humbled and honored by my colleagues’ confidence in me,” Dafis told the News-Record. “I will continue working on all of our local issues as zealously and passionately as I have thus far. And, I remain a collaborative and unifying presence on the Township Committee. Whatever extra ‘juice’ this new leadership title affords me, I will pour into my advocacy at the state level, where I can strengthen Maplewood’s voice and representation in all of those working family issues that affect us most intimately here at home, namely: affordability, public safety, economic mobility, economic development, community development, housing, school climate and culture, integrated and inclusive community. We have a governor whose administration truly appreciates the importance of these local issues, but we need local leaders to continue using their ‘juice’ to ensure that decisions and plans are informed by local perspectives and needs, not private interests or personal vanity.
“Incoming Mayor McGehee and I already work very well together and shall continue doing so for Maplewood,” he concluded.
McGehee and Dafis will assume their new positions at the Maplewood Township Committee reorganization meeting on Jan. 1, 2020.