Holzapfel & Brennan for Little Silver Council
290 Silverside Ave
Little Silver, NJ 07739
Fairfield University, BS in Marketing from Dolan School of Business
Little Silver has challenges like all towns in NJ. Our Town Council ,however has been very proactive with managing the important things that keep our taxes in check and make us a desirable town to live in. I would focus on several categories that always need attention.
responsible management of future development through a review of our Master Plan. This also would involve ensuring that we adhere to sound planning and zoning regulations.
Infrastructure Improvements is always a concern that effects now and generations to come. I would work closely with my Town Council colleagues and County and State level officials to maximize the potential of grants and low interest loans.
Sound financial management is a corner stone to any governance. Simply put, people do not want their taxes raised. Keeping an eye on the ‘bottom line’ and identifying areas of opportunity for financial savings is a primary role for any Council member
As a Town Council member I am representing the community I live in. Communication with the same community once in office is extremely important. We are fortunate to have many ways to communicate these days in a group setting. Zoom Conference is one example. Our Council and most Borough and Civic Committees have migrated to these types of meetings that allow for greater attendance and participation. I would continue using these technologies as well as the print media( Town Newsletter) and pursuing one -to one conversations.
I feel that I am qualified to serve on our Town Council because of my current and past successful leadership in our town . I served on our Board of Education for ten years including four years as Board President. This role also allowed me to be liaison and a member of many other town committees and organizations. I have also Founded, Chaired or Co-Chaired several long standing fund raising events in town, and continue to do so today.
Professionally I founded the NY metro region for WebbMason Marketing and have succeeded in growing it every year over the past 22 years. Besides managing a positive P & L every year, success in my business is based on maintaining relationships and building new ones. Creativity and thinking ‘outside of the box’ are also part of my success. I believe these are all things to consider when deciding if I am qualified for the Town Council position.
There are many qualities that I think of when describing Little Silver. Some of these are; great schools, beautiful neighborhoods, nice parks and recreation spaces, convenient and well maintained shopping district, commutable distance to NYC and many others. I think , however the most critical factor to the quality of life in our community is attracting people and families that carry on the tradition of volunteering . In my experience people tend to ‘take ownership’ once they have a vested interest by volunteering with any of our many organizations. My role has always involved getting people involved in our community and I will continue to do so.
Gotti Keenan 2020
260 Willow Aven
Little Silver, NJ 07739
BS Eastern Kentucky University
MS American University
Three challenges facing Little Silver are threats to the environment, the glaring need for more inclusive community engagement, and long-standing borough management and decision-making practices that often need more transparency. Little Silver must effectively plan for our changing environmental and climate future. A fresh municipal Master Plan is needed – one that recognizes the current changes occurring in climate, flood mitigation, traffic, sidewalks and roads, waste management and recycling, development in neighboring towns, more frequent changes in commercial activity – all made clear by the pandemic. This plan should not be an edict from the council, but a participatory, living framework of community involvement. Our town requires leadership that fosters a stronger sense of community – neighbor respecting and encouraging neighbor, supporting each other in efforts ranging from public health awareness and response, engagement in town commissions and boards, and more inclusive mutual decision-making. The goal to increase government transparency requires substantive community dialogue about a given matter before ordinances or resolutions are written. This ‘foregone conclusion’ decision making process must end. Given my background in strategic planning, change management and team building, I will engage the broader community with my partners on the Council to build a more sustainable future through effective planning, communication and coalition building.
My education, professional background, volunteer, advocacy work and family upbringing qualify me to be an effective Borough Council member. I have a master of science degree in Organization Development and a bachelor of science degree in Speech Communications and Human Relations. I worked for 23 years at a Fortune 50 financial services business, and rose through the ranks, culminating as the Human Resources Senior Vice President with responsibility for recruitment, career development, compensation and myriad other management deliverables for approximately 14,000 employees, one seventh of the business’s total, in dozens of countries, with multiple languages and cultures. I managed the changes resulting from four complex, large scale mergers. Since 2006, my efforts have focused on volunteer and advocacy work, serving on the Board of Directors and chairing the Governance Committee of a women’s health organization, as President of a community theatre group board, and many other meaningful volunteer roles. I am the co-founder of the Little Silver Democratic Club. My husband and I provide the home and care for my ninety- year-old mother, so elder care issues are personal to me. I also do my best to practice what I preach with respect to environmental stewardship, as I organically raise vegetables and fruits and tend bees on our Little Silver property. I am a good manager. I know how to build coalitions of members with disparate views. I get things done.
Consensus building is critical in the areas of waste and recycling management. Our recycling is facing limited outlets and our costs must be managed with creativity and collectivism with other similarly situated towns. The impacts of ever-increasing storms include severe flooding, with trees, power lines and property all over town being damaged. Little Silver requires land management changes restricting blanket clear-cutting properties of trees in a town that faces rising tidal and ground water levels. Study and long-term planning are required to assess changes to electricity transmission infrastructure and access to technology networks. There are many more issues than can be listed in a brief response here, but the change most needed in Little Silver is the overarching one of consensus building – viewing Little Silver as one community meeting challenges collectively with shared vision and thoughtfulness for our neighbors – an end to the current ‘us versus them’ attitude too apparent in the civic discourse of today. To foster this sea change in constructive constituent town involvement, a new, comprehensive and technologically leveraged outreach effort is needed on the part of the Borough Council and other town boards and commissions that stresses listening to constituents, representative government response and policy development, and the transparency needed so all in Little Silver can be proud of our town and its civic process.
339 Branch Avenue
BS, College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA)
JD, Catholic University (Washington, DC)
Fiscal challenges are always at or near the top of everyone’s lists. We need an efficient, well-staffed police department to ensure public safety. We need a well-equipped DPW to ensure that Borough infrastructure and equipment is maintained in working order. The list goes on. As a member of the Council and a member of the Budget Committee, I have been part of the team that has been successful in placing all of our various departments on strategic plans for capital expenditures to ensure that we can meet our needs as a town while maintaining taxes within the statutory cap, which is challenging. Many people don’t realize this, but for every dollar our residents pay in property taxes, only about 23 cents actually goes to the Borough of Little Silver (the remainder goes to the two school districts, and to the County). So there is a very finite pool of money every year, and it’s absolutely essential that we spend it wisely. As part of the process, we need to aggressively pursue grants and take advantage of financial opportunities that present themselves to municipalities whenever possible. One example is the extremely favorable, below-market interest financing that the Borough was able to obtain for our town-wide sidewalk improvement program, which has been met with overwhelming approval. We need to keep a keen eye on municipal finances to always ensure that our residents’ taxpayer dollars are being spent prudently.
Long before I was a councilman and Planning Board member, I was an assistant coach and Recreation Committee volunteer. My wife and I have consistently donated our time and resources to Little Silver and its various organizations and events, such as the Little Silver 5K and Little Silver St. Patrick’s Day. When it comes to dedication and service to Little Silver, our track record speaks for itself.
Professionally, I believe I am qualified for the position because I can speak directly from experience to issues that concern our residents. I have been a councilman for three years and a Planning Board member for seven years. I have chaired the Telecommunications Committee and the Affordable Housing Committee. I am Council liaison to the Board of Education and the Environmental Commission. For three years I have served on the Budget Committee. I took the lead in drafting some of the more significant ordinances the Borough has passed in the last three years, including the telecommunications ordinance and the ordinance regulating the use of single use plastic bags and straws.
Outside of Borough Council, I am an attorney with nearly 20 years of experience in matters such as public bidding, local public contracting, and municipal land use. I like to think that my exposure to so many facets of local government – both in my years of service to Little Silver and in my private practice – allows me to contextualize conversations with residents and offer practical, substantive responses.
Little Silver is consistently ranked among the most desirable towns in New Jersey. Our top notch school system is a primary driver of our stable property values, as are our infrastructure and public services. And if you look at the bodies charged with overseeing the matters that keep our property values stable – whether it’s the Borough Council or the Board of Education – you’ll notice that most of the people who sit on these bodies all started as volunteers at one point. Before becoming elected officials they were class moms and dads, scout leaders, coaches, members of various town committees and commissions, etc. It is critical that we continue to foster this spirit of volunteerism, because when the torch gets passed to new generations of elected officials, people who sit on the dais should have the same level of commitment to Little Silver as the officials who came before them.
In a similar fashion, for the governing body to remain as effective as possible, there needs to be a two-way flow of communication between the residents and their elected representatives. It is imperative that residents stay informed regarding Borough initiatives by utilizing one of the many forms of communication available and offer feedback. From the town website and town and councilmember Facebook pages, to Mayor Neff’s monthly newsletter and open public meetings, there are many ways for residents to stay informed and offer input.
260 Willow Drive, Little Silver, NJ 07739
College of William and Mary (M.A.)
The COVID-19 crisis is an ongoing challenge. We need to continue to look for creative ways to to support our local businesses, sustain community activities and maintain civic life without giving in to "COVID fatigue". I intend to continue to stress the importance of following medical and scientific guidelines as we work to safely reopen our community. We are all eager to return to normal, but it is important to ensure that the town continues to provide remote access and safer alternatives to high-risk individuals until the crisis is fully past.
This April, I was honored to be appointed to serve the remainder of an unexpired term on the Little Silver Council. It has been an adventure from the moment I was sworn in (in my yard!). I've had the chance to work with the governing body, Borough employees and dedicated volunteers under unique and challenging circumstances.
I am one half 'Jersey Girl', the other half 'Rolling Stone'...I've always considered Little Silver my home. I grew up here and graduated from Markham Place and RBR. But attending MIT on an ROTC scholarship set me on a path to some exotic locations before I returned. After college, the Navy sent me to Georgia, New York, New Orleans and Norfolk, Virginia. I worked in several areas of military logistics including, unaccompanied personnel housing, food service operations, payroll and parts procurement. I married a fellow officer and his career took us to Iceland, Bahrain, and England (and three years in NJ during which we lived in Red Bank). In Iceland, I was an engineer for the base Public Works Department, working with US, NATO, and Icelandic officials to determine requirements and secure funding for construction and repair projects. Since then I have worked as a substitute teacher (or school volunteer), I have worked with students from Pre-K through High School, both locally and at DOD schools in Bahrain and the UK. Since returning to Little Silver, I have volunteered at Library and Environmental Commission events and served on the Board of Health.
Beautiful waterways, tree-lined streets and proximity to the shore are an integral part of Little Silver's identity, however, climate change threatens our community. The oceans are rising, weather patterns are changing, and animal populations are moving. We need to start factoring that reality into our operations and planning. I will seek creative ways to educate and motivate residents to begin taking steps to prepare for the environmental challenges facing us.
The waterways of my childhood were not the vibrant wildlife havens that we see today with swans, egrets and even eagles a common sight. Decades of hard work and environmental regulation have restored our wetlands to support the ecosystems we now enjoy. Conversely, decades of complacency have decimated the gracious tree-lined streets that I remember. Construction, utility company butchering, and simple aging have wiped out trees across town without replacement. This not only affects the character of the town, but also increases the risks of flooding and soil erosion. Preserving existing trees, and planting new, is the cheapest and easiest way to combat the effects of climate change, but the governing body has been unable to pass an ordinance on the subject (despite Mr. Holzapfel's best efforts, for which I must give him credit). I will advocate for voluntary initiatives to assist, encourage and recognize residents and developers who work to retain and replant our local landscape.