IRVINGTON, NJ — When Mayor Tony Vauss and Building Director Ted Green celebrated celebrated their common birthday with a little party on Tuesday, Sept. 20, the mayor was quick to redirect attention to his annual Black Tie Mayor’s Ball on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Nanina’s In the Park restaurant in Belleville. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. followed by a cocktail reception at 6 p.m.
“Sept. 29 is the second annual Mayor’s Ball, and let me tell you, if you missed it last year, we had over 700 people attend. And it was just huge. We’re looking to do that and maybe exceed that this year. I definitely want people to come on out and enjoy themselves.”
Vauss said that during his two years as mayor he’s worked hard to keep his campaign promise to make Irvington clean and safe, and the consolidation of the Irvington Police and Fire departments into one department has helped achieve that goal, with only one homicide to date in 2016. He said Irvington has instituted walking police patrols, a new bicycle police squad and historic labor agreements with the township’s main bargaining units. Those agreements resulted in promotions to fill needed command positions on the new police chain of command, with an agreement by the promotees to defer their corresponding salary increases for as much as 18 months.
“I don’t know if I started something, I just know the movement and the feeling here, when you talk to our police department and fire department and our town employees, as well as the public schools and Housing Authority; when you get everyone to buy in, everyone feels good about participating, the sky’s the limit,” said Vauss. “And everybody’s happy with the direction we’re going.”
That makes Irvington different from some surrounding municipalities, Vauss said, adding that leadership is about delayed gratification, as opposed to instant self-congratulations and adulation.
Vauss said, from the moment he was sworn into office in July 2014, his administration has been dedicated to setting goals and doing what it takes to achieve them for the betterment and improvement of Irvington, meaning reducing crime; paving 54 streets; remodeling the Chris Gatling Recreation Center; repairing the bridges in town; installing new sidewalks; and improving the township’s credit rating for two years in a row.
“People can see the work; they’re proud to say they live in Irvington and that’s what it’s all about,” said Vauss. “Most people had their (mayor’s) balls the minute they got elected, but I had work to do. So we didn’t have our ball the first year. We had our first one the second year, so that we could get everything together and start to set the stage, because it’s no use to having balls if you’re not successful in the township. And we wanted to be successful first. We wanted the community to see it and feel it and want to be a part of it. And now we’re reaping the benefits of that.”
Teamwork has been the key to his success, Vauss said, collaborating with the Irvington Municipal Council and township employees to deliver the best service possible.
“That’s what we’ve demonstrated here,” continued Vauss. “I mean, these projects are unprecedented. No other municipality you compare has had as many projects as we’ve had in just the two short years. It’s impressive.”
Vauss said it’s these accomplishments that have allowed him to win the support of most of Irvington.
“Linda Van Dupree, John Dupree, Destin Nicholas, John Sowell, David Lyons; everyone believes in what we are doing,” said Vauss on Saturday, Sept. 3. “I wanted people to understand it’s not us versus them. We’re all in this together and everybody brings value to the community. And you’re not doing the community justice if you’re standing there saying: ‘I don’t like this person just because.’ You don’t need to like a person; you don’t need to love a person; you need to have a person do their job. And you need to be honest and say that person is doing their job or that person isn’t doing their job.”