Four more years UC’s new slate elected

At least 100 people crowded behind Stanley Sanger Tuesday as he wrote down the number of votes each candidate had received at the polls earlier that day. Sanger was the master of ceremonies of the celebration at Schuetzen Park after the Union City municipal election.

Applause rang out after the total tally of 9,484 votes was written next to Union City Mayor Brian Stack’s name.

Although Stack and his team of four other commissioners ran unopposed in this year’s municipal election, the city’s residents still came to Schuetzen Park, most dressed in their Union City First t-shirts, to celebrate the victory.

“There is nothing better than when you receive the vote of confidence that we received today,” said Stack about the 9,484 votes that he received in the election.

At the election, Mike Leggiero received 9,171 votes. Christopher Irizarry received 9,080 votes. New commissioner Tilo Rivas received 8,906 votes and new commissioner Luis Martin received 8,882 votes. However, there was a malfunction in the voting machine at one of the districts on Martin’s name that may have affected his number of votes.

The new Board of Commissioners, Tilo Rivas, Chris Irizarry, Mike Leggiero, Luis Martin, and Brian Stack, will be sworn in at the next board meeting held on May 21 in the City Hall court chambers located at 3715 Palisade Ave. They will choose from among themselves a mayor, assumed to be Stack.

The new board

“Four years ago, I thought that everything that I worked for was for nothing,” said Irizarry about losing a council election in 1998. “Then I thought about all those people who knocked on doors night after night after night because they believed in Union City.”

Irizarry, who was sworn in as a commissioner in January and re-elected to a four-year term last week, ran on a ticket with Stack in 1998 and lost to former Mayor Raul “Rudy” Garcia and his ticket, which included Commissioner Mike Leggiero, Assemblyman Ralph Fraguela, and commissioners Tina Yandolino and Ray Lopez. Irizarry filled the commission seat left vacant when Fraguela resigned to devote more time to his position as Assemblyman

Leggiero is the only member of the board from 1998 who ran with Stack in this election.

“It is amazing what four years can do to a person,” said Leggiero.

Tilo Rivas, who is currently a member of the city’s Board of Education, has just become the first Dominican to be elected to the Board of Commissioners in Union City.

“It is a great step,” said Rivas when he was first introduced as Stack’s runningmate in March, adding that he will not only represent the Dominican community, but the entire Latin community. “Many people in my community come to the United States just looking for the American Dream. I am a team player and I am excited to be part of this team.”

Martin, a friend of Stack’s since grammar school, is currently a member of both the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Union City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

Both Rivas and Martin will have to resign from their board positions.

A new Union City

Since Stack became the mayor in October 2000, he has been able to stabilize the city’s tax rate and is a strong advocate for improving the quality of life.

As part of Stack’s quality-of-life campaign, he has increased the amount of police officers on patrol at one time in the city, changed the hours of operation for the city’s bars and restaurants, and closed down several bars that were considered to be detrimental to the quality of life.

Stack promised to continue to work for the residents during the celebration ceremony last week.

“Now in City Hall, you will have an ear that will listen to you,” promised Stack to about 150 constituents that attended the rally. “You won’t see a harder working group of people.”

“There will be some bumps in the road along the way,” added Stack. “But we will do the best we can.”


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group