HomeEdison SentinelEdison NewsLen Roseman retires in Metuchen

Len Roseman retires in Metuchen


Staff Writer

METUCHEN — For more than 60 years, Leonard Roseman served the residents of Metuchen and Middlesex County as a whole in the various hats he assumed.

That’s why when Roseman announced he was retiring; it was hard to believe for the many that worked with him.

“They tell me that Len Roseman is retiring … if anyone really believes that all I can say is [you have] to see a good doctor soon,” said Don Wernik, a former councilman, mayor and Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholder. “Len Roseman can’t retire even if he tries.”

Former mayors and colleagues shared warm sentiments of Roseman, who was presented with a Mayoral and Borough Council proclamation at a Council meeting on June 19.

Wernik, who served three consecutive terms as Metuchen’s mayor, said Roseman has been an asset to the community from the moment he started as an employee for the borough and over the years, he had served on many boards and commissions including a stint on the Borough Council. He also had served as the longtime chairman of the Metuchen Parking Authority.

The former mayor said Roseman was instrumental in the establishment of the Metuchen Municipal Pool, renovation of the railroad station, providing senior citizen housing on Lincoln Avenue and the addition to the Metuchen Public Library.

Wernik said the renovation of the borough’s railroad station was done at a time without the realization what the implications would be and what results would come about.

“Thirty to 40 years later a lot is happening,” he said, noting the development downtown.

Wernik said besides his involvement in the borough, Roseman served as chair of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, which supports the county and municipalities by providing financial and management assistance.

“Metuchen is very fortunate that the Rosemans decided to settle in Metuchen,” Wernik said. “Len and Gwen Roseman are a terrific team and have been a tremendous asset to the community.”

Former Metuchen Mayor John Wiley said he first heard of Roseman when he was 10 or 11 years old living on Spear Street.

“I heard of a young man in Metuchen politics, who was really smart, went to Harvard [University] and sounded like [President] John Kennedy,” he said.

Ten years later, Wiley recalled meeting Roseman, who he described as a long haired, anti-war activist, at a Metuchen Democratic Club meeting.

Wiley said Roseman along with his wife Gwen served as a mentor for many members of the community.

Former Mayor Edmund O’Brien said he first ran into Roseman 40 years ago at a Democratic Club meeting.

“Over the years, he would regale me stories campaigning and why he loved the [Boston] Red Sox, things of this nature,” he said.

O’Brien said in his entire political career, he had never served on a board or commission with Roseman until a fortuitous event.

He explained he was leaving Mayor Peter Cammarano’s swearing-in reception with his wife when he shook hands with Roseman and told him if there was anything that he could do for him, let him know.

That is when Roseman told O’Brien he would like him to serve on the Parking Authority.

“How could I turn him down?” O’Brien recalled thinking. “It gave me the first time opportunity to serve with Len … he’s a master at running a meeting and a master at going around walls rather than through them.”

O’Brien said he believes of all the accomplishments that Roseman has been involved in; a lasting legacy is what is happening on the former Pearl Street parking lot and the positive transformation and direction the borough is moving toward.

“It is due in large part to Len Roseman,” he said.

As for Roseman retiring, O’Brien said he’ll “believe it when he sees it.”

Former Mayor Thomas Vahalla said Roseman was his chief adviser when he was mayor, letting him know if ideas were good to move forward and telling him if an idea was bad.

Vahalla said Roseman had the foresight to keep Metuchen competitive and move forward with the development of the Pearl Street parking lot.

James Polos, executive director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) and former Middlesex County freeholder, said he met Roseman when he was a newly elected freeholder 19 years ago.

Polos said he would describe Roseman as a mensch, a Yiddish term he learned coming from Highland Park. The word means a person of integrity and honor.

“Mensch is not a term that the Jewish use lightly,” he said. “Len Roseman is a true epitome of what a mensch is.”

Polos said when he first met Roseman as a newly elected freeholder, Roseman had approached him about the Roosevelt Care Center in Edison.

“We had a very heart to heart candid discussion,” he said. “I knew right then and there, the man’s [Roseman] sole purpose was caring for the people in the county, it was not about him, it wasn’t about his fame or agenda, it was what was right for the people.”

Polos said after their discussion, he recalled Roseman saying he knew he would do the right thing.

“[Those words] went right through me and at that moment, I felt I didn’t want to do anything that would disappoint him and I hope I never have,” he said.

Judy Elliot said she met Roseman in 1971. She said she wanted to note that Roseman and his wife were instrumental in getting women involved in local politics.

Roseman said he and Gwen came to Metuchen when they were kids. A couple of weeks ago, they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with their children.

He said the community means a lot to him and his wife.

“Metuchen was recently recognized for the Pearl Street Development Smart Growth success,” Roseman said. “It’s a source of pride for all of us and I had a great seat to watch all this happen.”

Roseman said it could not have been done without the skilled, professional and dedicated committee.

He said looking back he has had a great time.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and especially for the relationships and friendships,” he said.

Roseman was presented with the proclamation and Council President Ronald Grayzel, a big New York Yankees fan, presented him with a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt.

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