Nutley’s Tucci Jr. to chair PVSC board


Nutley resident Thomas Tucci Jr. has been elected chairman of the newly reorganized Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission board of commissioners, it was announced last week.

The board convened in special session last Friday at the PVSC’s Newark facility to choose new officers now that it has been fully reconstituted with seven members.

Tucci Jr., brother of Nutley Township Councilman Dr. Mauro Tucci, was appointed to the PVSC board in 2014. He is the township manager of Cedar Grove.

“It was an honor to be appointed to this commission by the governor and it is an even greater honor to serve as its chairman,” Tucci Jr. said. “The events of the past several years have been challenging for this organization. I am excited to work with PVSC’s outstanding employees, the people who have met those challenges head-on and who are single-mindedly dedicated to protecting the health, safety and welfare of nearly 1.5 million residents of New Jersey.”

Nearly 100 PVSC employees, including many patronage appointees, were fired, the finance director resigned and several supervisors were criminally charged in connection with a scheme to use PVSC labor on private property. To make matters worse, the PVSC treatment plant in Newark was badly damaged by Sandy in 2012, causing many thousands of gallons of sewage to flow, untreated, into the river. Repairs have been ongoing since then.

At the reorganization, Passaic’s Kenneth J. Lucianin, the only member remaining from before 2011 when Gov. Chris Christie dumped six of the seven PVSC commissioners in the wake of the corruption scandals, was picked as vice chairman. Lucianin, a former Passaic councilman, is vice president of Matrix New World Engineering of Florham Park.

New commissioners whose appointments were recently confirmed by the legislature are: Elizabeth Calabrese, of Wallington; David S. Catuogno, of Franklin Lakes; Scott Heck of Ringwood; and Mildred C. Crump and Luis A. Quintana, both of Newark.

Calabrese has served on the Wallington Borough Council, Bergen County Board of Freeholders and N.J. Highlands Water Protection & Planning Council.

Catuogno is an attorney with the Paramus firm of Forman Holt Eliades & Youngman.

Heck is borough manager and public works director in Ringwood where he formerly served as councilman and mayor. He is a former commissioner on the Wanaque Valley Regional Sewerage Authority.

Crump is the first woman and African-American president of the Newark City Council to which she was elected in 1994.

Quintana was elected to his sixth term on the Newark City Council in 2014. In 1994, he became the first Hispanic to be elected councilman-at-large.

At last week’s meeting, the commissioners were briefed on bond refinancing issues and opportunities available to the PVSC through the state Environmental Infrastructure Trust that provides low-cost financing for environmental infrastructure projects that enhance and protect ground and surface water resources.

Among the commissioners’ priorities will be finding a replacement for executive director Michael DeFrancisi who resigned, effective Oct. 30. Until then, PVSC general counsel Gregory Tramontozzi will serve as acting director.

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