Everyone in the world knows that politically this is a HUGE month. There is a monumental swearing in of a politician who many hope can change the world. There are high expectations for this politician. Can he help mend the country? Steer the economy back on track? Bring pride back to America? Help working class families? Make our education system the envy of the world once again? Help curb global warming? etc. etc. Oh, and this month Obama is getting sworn in too. Wait, did you think I was talking about Obama? I'm talking about the even bigger politician getting sworn in this month -- my dad. Yes, and when I say "bigger" I'm not just talking about waist size.
Today in Livingston, New Jersey my father became mayor. As a kid I was always proud of my dad for his community service. Back then he was on the Board of Education which meant two things:
1. My teachers were scared of me and probably gave me better grades than I deserved.
2. My dad was constantly involved in making our community a better place.
Well, for the next year (the mayor in our town is a yearly rotating position between the elected town council members) my dad will be the man in Livingston. Frankly, I couldn't be prouder of my dad. I always feel that in life parents always brag about their kids. Well, I'm fortunate enough that I always get to brag about my dad. I love you, dad!
(PICTURE: This is the picture we would have taken if I could have come to his black-tie swearing in party...if my dad had a party)
For those of you who couldn't get in to the sold out swearing in, here's a copy of his speech:
I’m honored to be standing here as your new mayor and I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. In keeping with my promise to my wife and friends, my speech today will be short and if you remember how I ran the Board of Ed meetings, you know I like to get right to the point. When Eileen and I began house hunting over 32 years ago, it wasn’t in Livingston but we soon realized that this town offered more than any other, two swimming pools, great schools, and a diverse population. The fact that my in-laws, Cele and Leo Zucker, lived here was the icing on the cake and I love cake. Little did I dream that someday I’d be mayor of my new town? A few thank you are in order. The town employees have again done an outstanding job in 2008. Your dedication is not overlooked by our town council and Michele Meade who praises your professionalism. You keep the gears well oiled and polished. Our volunteers on the Fire Department and Fist Aide Squad are ready to roll on the ding of a bell, night and day, hot or cold, whenever needed. Our town committee members deserve our esteem and special thanks. All of you bring the spirit of Livingston into the limelight. I’d also like to thank our town council members, outgoing mayor Gary Schneiderman for overseeing the ground breaking for our new municipal complex and for the completion of the highly visible new street signs which benefit not only our residents but our visitors, and especially, my wife tells me, the home health care professional making visits. And lucky you, Gary, the Livingston High School Football Team won the State Championship under your term, although you had nothing to do with it, it brought to light the strong community pride that brought out 6000 people to the Meadowlands on Livingston bleachers. By the way, on January 15th there will be a community celebration honoring the team when the athletic facility at the High School is dedicated. And Arlene Johnson for bringing our attention to the trails and the greening of the community, to Rudy for mailing us technologically savvy with email blasting for urgent messages to our residents. And to Steve for his quick legal mind and unparalleled sense of humor. Above all, I’d like to tell you how fortunate we are to have Michele Meade as town manager. When we attend the convention for municipal government in Atlantic City, everyone sings her praises. During the past two years, Michelle has negotiated the police contract, begun a profitable recycling plan and pursued the purchase of equipment so our town employees can do jobs that were previously outsourced. She has hired a purchasing manager and set up a Human resource Department for the betterment of our employees. A few goals for 2009: 1. Continue and conclude the property re-evaluation mandated by Essex County, 2. Keep our municipal complex on schedule and within budget, 3. Work towards making Livingston more and more green, 4. Continue to encourage shared services with the Board of Ed and surrounding communities, 5. Continue our history of fiscal responsibility in these difficult financial times. I foresee that Livingston will continue to be one of the most desirable communities to raise our families and then stay on to enjoy our retirement.