Nutley mayor looks back as his term comes to an end

NUTLEY, NJ — After two years of leading Nutley Township through some of the most unexpected and dire issues it has ever faced, Mayor Mauro G. Tucci’s term will end on May 17. After announcing that the last Board of Commissioners meeting would be his last as mayor, Tucci took some time to comment on his tenure.

“On May 17, Commissioner (Joseph) Scarpelli will be sworn in as mayor, as per our agreement after the election,” Tucci said May 5. He thanked Scarpelli and the other commissioners for their cooperation and support during the last two years. “When we think about periods of time in our lives we often measure them by the events that have taken place during that period.

“It is unfathomable that the Nutley Board of Commissioners election was just two years ago when thinking of how many unimaginable events have taken place in this relatively short period of time, not only at a local level, but nationally and globally as well,” he continued. “These are events that many would never experience in a lifetime, and yet we have experienced (them) in just 24 months.

“As I began the first two-year term as mayor, the novel coronavirus pandemic would set off a roller coaster of events to follow. From the closing of our schools to entering the unfamiliar world of virtual learning to being advised that it was not safe to even leave our homes; as a community we were forced to face unprecedented challenges head-on. The months to come would bring dread and uncertainty, illness and death, food and supply shortages, social distancing, masks and just about everything else in between. Our community has endured many worst-case scenarios and, in coming together, the human kindness and caring nature of Nutley allowed us to emerge stronger from these events.

“I have led with my experience, heart and passion for our great township of Nutley for 22 years and I truly hope that our residents, families and friends found comfort and confidence knowing that the Board of Commissioners and I have done everything in our power to protect and serve you in the manner you are accustomed to.

“Since my swearing in as mayor on May 19, 2020,” he continued, “we have experienced a worldwide pandemic, Tropical Storm Isaias, Hurricane Ida, Christopher Columbus protests, the most controversial and polarizing presidential election of all time, the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests, major postal system disruptions, discrimination aimed at Asian­ Americans–Pacific Islanders, Nutley Volunteer Emergency and Rescue Squad reorganization, the Ciccolini building demolition due to a partial roof collapse, continuing ON3 issues that could impact our quality of life for years to come, zoning issues at Diamond Springs, and the devastating and ruthless Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The challenges of these last few years have forced us all to adapt to new realities, with many leaving or losing their jobs and most of us abandoning the routines we have come to know, and having to contend with a new normal.

“We did the best we could as a government and a community to make sure life went on as closely to normal as possible for both Nutley residents and businesses. We organized and delivered meals to our most vulnerable population — our senior citizens — during COVID-19, organized a recreation equipment drop off for those in need so children would have much-needed outdoor time in their own homes, suspended permit fees, coordinated outdoor ceremonies and celebrations for our high school graduates, created a COVID-19 inoculation/test site so residents had local medical attention, established a Business Collaboration and School Collaboration Committee, constructed our ‘A Place of Hope’ memorial for those lost to COVID-19 and other illnesses, and many more initiatives.

“Some of those we lost included Dr. Michael Giuliano, Ann Rotunda, Jerry Tolve, Vince LoCurcio, Anthony Biondi Sr., Peter Brown, Tom McEnery, Bishop (Peter) Bruno, Tom Strumolo, Jack Barry, Joe Fugazzi, Steve DiGregorio, Angelo Franicola, Joe Reilly and Dominick DiSimone, to name a few.

“In addition to honoring those I have just mentioned, we also celebrated a hometown boy named Doug Edert who helped put his team and our Nutley in the hearts and minds of the entire United States of America during college basketball’s March Madness.

“Finally, I need to thank the men and women of my Parks and Recreation Department, who assumed the responsibility of performing all duties required of the office of the mayor, including events like the phenomenal 4th of July celebration and the Christmas tree and (Hanukkah) menorah lighting. There are none better!

“To my family, there are no words sufficient to express my love and gratitude for all your support, always! Thank you all.

“Trying times, heartbreaking times, celebratory times, and acknowledgement of the strength, fortitude and compassion of our people make it all worth the effort,” Tucci concluded. “I hope I have lived up to your expectations as mayor. Thank you for the honor. To incoming Mayor Scarpelli, all the best!”