YOUTH MOVEMENT — Kelly, at 39, is Nutley’s youngest-ever mayor

From left, Scarpeli, Petracco, Kelly, Tucci and Evans.

Nutley Town Hall was filled to capacity with family, friends, residents and supporters to witness the swearing-in of the youngest mayor in Nutley history, John V. Kelly III.

The 39-year-old follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, John V. Kelly, who served the township as mayor from 1988 to 1992. The event also marked the reappointment of Nutley Township’s Board of Commissioners, Alphonse Petracco, Dr. Joseph P. Scarpelli, Mauro G. Tucci and Thomas J. Evans.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, performed by Zachary Sebek. The Rev. Thomas Nicastro of St. Mary’s Church continued with a prayer over the township and elected officials.

Eleni Pettas, Municipal Clerk, swore in the newly-elected members of the governing body.

As Kelly took the gavel and his place behind the center desk, he addressed the crowd.

“This journey started way earlier than my announcement for re-election, the campaign and even my election four years ago,” Kelly said. “It started over 39 years ago. My education, my temperament, my wit, my passion and everything of who I am was cultivated and developed by my parents, John and Cindy Kelly.

“It was buoyed by my grandparents, the late former Mayor and Assemblyman John Kelly and Betty, and Benny and Geraldine DeJackmo. There are two more people I want to thank: the first one is God. He’s blessed me with so many blessings in life, such a great family and being born into such a great community. And the second one is my fiance, Sara. She’s been my backbone throughout the campaign and I can’t imagine continuing life without her.”

Kelly continued: “I plan to work with the Board of Education and the rest of the Board of Commissioners to enhance the ‘destination of life’ that is Nutley, for our most valuable resource, our young people. I’ll work with Commissioner Evans to make this destination affordable for everyone. I’ll work with Commissioner Tucci to enhance the cradle of our youths’ athletic dreams and build on the facilities at this destination. I’ll work with Commissioner Scarpelli to enhance our roads so we can safely and smoothly find our way home in this great destination. I’ll work with Commissioner Petracco so everyone can feel safe and welcome in this community. I’ll work with the Public Affairs and Health departments to keep this destination both physically and mentally healthy.

“I’ll work to enhance the quality of life for those with special needs and for our seniors. This country would not be a great country without our veterans, without your love, your sacrifice, and I’ll continue to go to bat for you every day. Most of all, I want to hear from the residents of Nutley on how we can continue to keep Nutley a destination of life. I’m always available for discussion. My door is always open and my ear is always ready to listen. I want to hear from you at any time. Nutley is the destination of life and I’ll keep it that way. Thank you.”

Evans, Tucci, Scarpelli and Petracco were re-elected and appointed to serve as the head of their previous departments. The departmental assignments included the Department of Revenue and Finance (Evans), Director of the Department of Parks and Public Property (Tucci), Department of Public Works (Scarpelli), Department of Public Safety (Petracco) and Kelly as the head of the Department of Public Affairs.

Individually, they shared statements covering a variety of topics concerning the township.

“I will deliver my best ability every day throughout this term,” Evans said. “I look forward to sitting with my fellow commissioners. The challenges we face and we look to this next term are significant. But I’m fortunate in that I think, as a governing body, we have demonstrated what it means to work together to trust one another and to make good decisions for the benefit of the community.”

Said Tucci: “I look forward to continue serving with my fellow commissioners once again. I know today we have some of our Board of Education members in the audience and I just want to reassure them that I — and I’m sure I can speak for the  mayor and all the commissioners — will always stand with you. We’ll get through this crisis, we will right this ship. We will do whatever is humanly possible to make sure that our children get the education that they deserve and that our professionals are treated fairly.”

The former mayor, Scarpelli, also chimed in.

“Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving the people of Nutley as your mayor for the last two years,” Scarpelli said. “Now we can continue our efforts to preserve parking and beautiful open space and kickstart the revitalization of Franklin Avenue. We have other challenges as well. We have to see how we can be helpful to our school system as we cannot let our students’ education suffer. The overcrowding issue remains and still has to be solved. We have to reinvigorate our downtown and bring the redevelopment of the Ciccolini property to the finish line. I’m very excited about the future of our town.”

And lastly, but certainly not least, it was Petracco.

“I want to thank everyone who serves in public safety,” Petracco said. “I have to tell you, the police have a very, very difficult job. They’re out there 24/7, snow, rain, whatever the weather may be, holidays, Christmas. And they do a great job of working with our fire department. I am honored to serve another term in this great township of ours. And I am proud to serve with my mentors and peers here on the Board of Commissioners. Lastly, I want to congratulate Mayor Kelly, whose family has been a Nutley institution for decades.”

Following the commissioners’ comments, Kelly appointed Municipal Judge the Honorable Alan J. Genitempo as well as Municipal Attorney Jonathan Bruno, Esq.

As to future, “It’s very exciting,” Kelly said. “I’m looking forward to working for the township and alongside the entire Board of Commissioners. Together, we will continue to make Nutley the destination of life that it is, as it is more than just a stop along the way … but a place to stay.”

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