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Woodcliff Lake Council Full Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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  • Michael Casale
    (Rep)

  • Josephine Higgins
    (Dem)

  • Roxana Rito
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Richard Schnoll
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What skills and experience do you bring to address issues facing your town such as budget, facilities and labor relations?

What budget priorities do you have for this upcoming year? Please include ideas that respond to the effects that the Corona Virus may have had on the municipal budget.

What ideas do you have to address social justice and diversity issues in your town?

What ideas do you have to address the effects of the Corona Virus on housing in your town, e.g. supporting a rent freeze (i.e. no rent increase) in your community during the statewide health emergency and, for say, six months thereafter?

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I served as Mayor for 8 years. I also served as councilperson for 3 years. I worked closely with the Borough’s finance teams for 11 years to deliver fiscally sound budgets. As mayor, I spearheaded an evaluation by Moody's advancing our rating from AA to AAA. I have a proven track record of working successfully with the Borough’s diverse departments. My work with the finance committee while I was mayor resulted in something that had never been achieved before – a five-year contract with our police. I continue to study the budget every year and provide our elected officials with the benefits of my experience.
The coronavirus and its uncertainty created serious challenges. Councilmen Craig Marson and Brian Singleton rose to the occasion, fully aware that the reallocation of our financial resources would cause concerns among a number of our departments. The next wave of both pandemic and the flu have already begun to materialize, and we must be ready. The budget will continue to demand great attention to insure we have everything we need as well as a surplus to defend our citizens against this next wave of Covid and flu not just for a month – we must plan for the upcoming year.
First, the fact that social justice and diversity issues exist should be recognized by the mayor and council. Small towns, such as ours, have a tendency to ignore these matters because of our own lack of diversity. This is not to shame our town about its homogenous make up, but to be honest with ourselves. When the biggest diversity problem we talk about is changing the name of our mascot, are we really analyzing this issue or making an appeasement to the issue? I believe all cultures are to be celebrated, included, learned about, listened to, and never shamed because of its unfamiliarity.
Coronavirus has caused many people to lose their jobs and they are getting little relief from either our Federal or State governments. We need to begin a continuing dialogue with those affected by the pandemic to help them remain secure in their homes. We could reduce some of their stress by providing free pool passes and free camp for people in need. We cannot do this alone. Because Woodcliff Lake has suffered a loss of its ratables, we need to bring NJ Senators Menendez and Booker, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, and Governor Phil Murphy into the mix to lend the financial support required to provide the relief our citizens need and deserve.
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Education Boston University School of Law '78 - SUNY Stony Brook '75
Qualifications/Experience Attorney for 41 years - Member of former mayor's advisory council - Former COO and Managing Attorney of multi-state law firm
Involvement in Community Member of Temple Emanuel of PV - Coached rec basketball and baseball - Helped negotiate Police Contract
Hometown Woodcliff Lake
Yrs. of Residence 27
I have been a practicing attorney for 41years. In that time I have had my own practice, have been a partner in two law firms and the C.O.O. and Managing Attorney for a large multi-state law firm. In those roles, I have had extensive experience dealing with budgets, financial issues and employee/labor relations.
The Corona virus has had a large impact on our current budget due to a reduction in revenue from such entities as the Hilton being closed. The virus will force us to become creative in our budgeting in terms of cuts and increasing revenue. My budget priority is to cut as much as we can from the budget before needing to raise revenue. We need to explore shared services agreements with neighboring towns as well as contracting out some services. Increasing revenue can be done in 3 ways, increasing the tax base, borrowing or raising taxes. Obviously, the third item is one we want to avoid.
Diversity begins at the top, with the Mayor and Council. Do we seek out diverse candidates when openings occur in Boro Hall? Do we market our town as a community that is welcoming to all, residents and businesses? Those are the areas that I would address.
Covid 19 has hit many families very hard with many losing jobs. That said, a small town like Woodcliff Lake has a limited ability to financially help people in need. I don’t believe that the town has the power to order a rent freeze. Additionally, a rent freeze hurts landlords and, in many cases in our town, the renters are renting single family homes. The Mayor and council should be petitioning the State and Federal Government to provide more aid to cities and states as well as providing a rent freeze and financial help for landlords.