BRADLEY BEACH — Halfway into his first year on the borough council, Alan Gubitosi has larger aspirations.
With Mayor Gary Engelstad announcing he will not run for a third term, Councilman Gubitosi told The Coast Star on Friday he intends to run for the borough’s top elected position on November 3.
The borough’s next mayor will face major issues in the coming years. The borough’s business community is still reeling from the COVID-19 crisis. New development, as well as the ever-growing popularity of the borough provides future challenges.
“There is an expression so many of our residents use when talking to one another. We often refer to Bradley Beach as the best kept secret on the Jersey Shore and inevitably we say ‘and let’s keep it that way,’ ” said Mr. Gubitosi, who is a 14-year resident of the borough. “I am very proud of what Bradley Beach is today, and if the word gets out a little bit, I am OK with that. We do have a very good community.”
Mr. Gubitosi, a father of four who lives on Fourth Avenue with his wife Anne, was elected last year under the slogan “Fair, Transparent Government. Real Change.” He is the senior director of Willis Towers Watson in Parsippany.
Last year, Mr. Gubitosi won his first three-year term on the borough council, running on a joint ticket with current Council President John Weber, and council members Randy Bonnell and Tim Sexsmith. That relationship with current members of the borough’s governing body, Mr. Gubitosi said, is also a major plus.
“I think it is important as a leadership team to have that mutual respect and mutual understanding as to what is in the best interest of the borough,” he said.
One thing that plays in his favor, he said, is that the borough has brought in a number of new professionals this year, including the borough administrator, borough attorney and chief financial officer, the councilman said. “We brought in some really good talents, but we combine them with people with great Bradley Beach experience,” he said. “I think someone in the role of mayor can leverage those resources very effectively if they have a vision and if they have a plan to execute.”
As the borough aims to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, which has shuttered businesses throughout the state, helping out Main Street is “probably number one” on his list.
“Main Street really is a critical part of our identity as a community,” he said. “I want to make sure Main Street survives COVID-19 and as a group we continue to thrive.”
Preserving the borough’s natural resources, including its beachfront, marine forest and lakes are “critical” to the borough, and he is “passionate about protecting those natural resources.”
Development is another issue that the borough needs to address in the future, as the borough needs to “manage development” whether that be with residents who want to build new homes or businesses on Main Street. Density, he added, needs to be managed as well.
“We are a very sought after borough, people understand that Bradley Beach has a lot of positives going for it and that could lead to a risk of overdevelopment,” Mr. Gubitosi, who is also a member of the borough’s planning board, said. “We really have a densely built borough already and I want to make sure we manage that appropriately.”
In the past, town hall has faced some criticism from residents over a lack of transparency. The councilman said he thinks he can improve transparency of the borough’s government from the mayor’s office.
“It’s really important that we as a leadership team continue to reinforce that our government serves the people, I think whether it is this year or any year, that is something that we have to do better,” he said.
“While it is impossible to make everyone happy when it comes to important decisions, what is important is that residents understand what the issues are and what the borough does to address it.
“If we commit to better public access to our governing body and strong, clear communications that is going to enable us to really drive transparent processes,” he said. “I think that might have been the largest single thing historically lacking in prior administrations.”
According to borough hall, two other residents have picked up packets to run for mayor in November.
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.
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