MANASQUAN — Two candidates, Michael Mangan, Democrat, and Gregg Olivera, Republican, are running to succeed outgoing Mayor Edward Donovan, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election. Both Mr. Olivera and Mr. Mangan are currently serving on the borough council.
The two mayoral candidates participated alongside council candidates Jason Bryant and Sheila Vidreiro, both Democrats, [Related story page 20] in Manasquan’s “Meet the Candidates” breakfast event on Saturday, Oct. 28, hosted by the Manasquan Beach Improvement Association and the Manasquan First Aid Squad. They explained their stances on issues that residents had asked in the form of pre-submitted questions.
A primary topic of discussion was overdevelopment and subdivisions in the town, with a resident-submitted question mentioning “one-family homes being replaced with two homes.”
“Overdevelopment is one of the main reasons I’m running for mayor,” said Mr. Mangan. He explained two types of change in town, one that he said can be controlled and one that he said cannot. The kind that cannot be controlled involves the influx of new residents to town as well as development of the beachfront, he said. However, he said, subdivisions can be controlled.
“There are towns where it’s well known that you can’t get a subdivision. I want us to become one of those towns as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Mangan. He added that he would “work with the planning board to try to change some of the zoning laws” to achieve that effect.
Mr. Olivera agreed with most of what Mr. Mangan said, saying “We all know that there’s a density problem in our town. I think it’s run rampant.”
However, he said, “The one thing where I disagree, though, is there are houses in this community that are on a 100-by-100 lot that have subdivided in the past and will continue to subdivide. I support them, if they decide to move on from Manasquan, their opportunity to subdivide. I think what we’re talking about here on council is jerry-rigging and going around and getting permits outside of regular sized lots, and I think that’s what we really have to focus on.”
The four candidates largely agreed on most of the issues raised in the questions, including parking, the water supply, bicycles, sidewalks and road safety.
The term length for Manasquan mayors is four years.
Mr. Olivera, Republican, is currently serving in his fourth three-year term on the borough council. He is also the chairman of the Administration and Finance committee, and sits on both the Public Safety and the Code and Land Use committees. He is a former member of the Manasquan Tourism Commission, where he served for 15 years.
Aside from his municipal duties, Mr. Olivera works as the deputy director of the Division of Purchase and Property of the New Jersey Treasury. He is a member of the Manasquan Elks, for which he has, at various points in the past, been the District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler, Exalted Ruler and Board Chairman. He is also a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Manasquan 1838. He is also a member of the Friendly Sons of Shillelagh of the Jersey Shore and the Manasquan Presbyterian Church.
“My paramount priority is to treat the office of Manasquan mayor with the respect that it deserves, and has historically been given by its predecessors,” he said, in a profile previously submitted to The Coast Star.
Mr. Olivera was born on Aug. 1, 1965. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Stony Brook University and a master of business administration in finance and international business from Seton Hall University. A 27-year resident of Manasquan, he lives there with his wife Lisa and two dogs.
“I don’t have any innate right to be mayor,” said Mr. Olivera at the Meet the Candidates breakfast. “Also, it’s only my time if, on November 7, you say it’s my time. I want to be mayor not for any of those reasons. I want to be mayor because I want to lead, I want to collaborate, and I want to give back to a community that has given so much to me and my family.”
He added, “The real question is ‘why should I be mayor?’ I think my diverse experience both in the public and private sector, as well as my charity leadership, gives me a unique perspective that is pretty rare. So as far as I’m concerned, I’m the best candidate. Vote for me November 7.”
Mr. Mangan, Democrat, is currently serving his fifth three-year term on the borough council. He is also the liaison for the tourism commission and recreation committee. He cited such accomplishments as “two percent Tax Increase Cap in place since 2014. Expanded the Recreation Program 10-fold and now turns a profit for the town yearly. Saved and rebuilt the boat docks, which also return a profit for the town each year. Created the first-ever dedicated Manasquan Senior Center. Increased Parking in North Main St Parking Lot. Implemented the Beautification Committee. Increased funding for road improvements without raising taxes to pay for it. Created the Citizens Advisory Committee. Improved Curtis Park, Skokas Park, Indian Hill Park, Mallard Park. Helped the town recover from Superstorm Sandy. Helped the town through the 2019-2020 pandemic.”
Aside from his municipal duties, Mr. Mangan owns Endurance Sports Floors, Endurance Squash Courts, and MWM Communications.
“My top priority is preserving our town’s unique charm while ensuring the necessary improvements to the very things that make Manasquan special,” he said, in a profile previously submitted to The Coast Star.
He was born on Feb. 13, 1984. He received a bachelor’s degree in communication from George Washington University. He lives in Manasquan with his wife Dana and three children; William, 10, Matthew, 8 and James, 5.
“How do you preserve what you have? I understand the instinct of people, if you want to preserve what you have, to do nothing.” Mr. Mangan said at the Meet the Candidates breakfast. “The truth is, if you look at that anywhere else in your life, if you don’t work to preserve what you have, you lose it over time. If we don’t make the proactive steps to invest in things like recreation, parks, and the two way communication we’ve been talking about, we will lose what makes Manasquan special. You’ve got to have a vision to make the changes you need that are in line with our traditions to make sure the town stays the great town it is for the future.”
He added, “I think you need a mayor who is not only connected with your community but knows how to pull the levers of government, has the time and the experience to do it. I think my record shows that. I think my experience shows that. I don’t think either one of [he and Mr. Olivera] would be running if we didn’t think we were the best person for the job. But I do believe I’m the best person for the job.”
WHERE TO VOTE ON NOV. 7
There are four voting districts in Manasquan. For districts one and four, in-person voting will be held at the banquet room of Volunteer Engine Company No. 2, 111 Parker Ave. For districts two and three, in-person voting will be held at St. Denis School, 119 Virginia Ave.
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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