Republicans seek to upset Democratic controlled council in Sayreville

0
1063
Voting on Election Day, voting ballot

SAYREVILLE – Two Democrats and two Republicans are seeking two available three-year terms on the Borough Council in Sayreville this year.

The terms of Democrats Dave McGill and Daniel Buchanan will expire at the end of the year. Buchanan is not seeking re-election.

For the council terms, the Democratic candidates are McGill and Michele Cassidy Maher, while the Republican candidates are Christian Hibinski and Donna Roberts.

Hibinski is making his third bid for Borough Council after running in 2015 and 2016. He also served as an elected county committeeman from Sayreville for three terms.

“I am seeking election this cycle mainly to continue the work I started a few years prior in my other election bids,” Hibinski said. “In 2015-16, I saw a system in place that was not as beneficial to the Borough of Sayreville as it could be. That still holds true today, as I watched it diminish even further as of late. I am running not only to bring balance and a voice back to an already monopolized borough council, but on the pillars of transparency and common sense.

“I truly believe honest discourse among differing minds, the ability for the public to access elected officials and for elected officials to communicate effectively amongst each other, and rational common sense policies are needed to have a successful and beneficial government,” he continued. “Ultimately then, I am running again for a council seat to continue to bring the messages of balance, transparency and rationale to the Borough of Sayreville.”

Professionally, Hibinski is an attorney focusing on civil litigation and government law.

“On a daily basis, I am involved in the intricate legal issues municipalities face locally and federally, working with mayors and council members to ensure their municipalities are run properly and efficiently,” Hibinski said. “This skill set is directly applicable to my success on a governing body myself, as I have experience interpreting and drafting city codes, ordinances and resolutions and aiding in the advisement of governing officials. If given an opportunity, I can use my background to ensure the Borough of Sayreville is run as effectively as possible.”

Issues that Hibinski said he intends to address if elected are the transparency between the governing body and the public and the accessibility of elected officials and information.

“As a councilman, I will work to streamline all communications to ensure Sayreville is always informed and that the residents’ concerns are heard,” he said.

A member of the borough’s Recreation Advisory Commission for the past four years, Maher is making her first bid for Borough Council. She has served as an English teacher for the past 11 years and holds a master’s degree in education. Previously, Maher worked in broadcast journalism for eight years and for Viacom in New York City.

“I started going to council meetings because I was concerned with where our taxpayer dollars are going,” Maher said. “I couldn’t see tangible items. I was also frustrated with the current state of Kennedy Park as well. Benches were old and had sunk into the ground, becoming unusable, while the skate park had a fence around it for years.

“Having two children in travel sports, I started witnessing how other towns cared more for the aesthetics of their community and wondered why we didn’t,” she continued. “Because of my involvement with the recreation board, I also started attending council meetings to show support for our recreation commission’s new ideas.

“I am a teacher in a high-performing school district and my life has been about public service, specifically about improving the quality of life and education for our children. That’s why I am committed to working with the Board of Education and ensuring that our students live in a safe environment, such as focusing on school safety and getting new water fountains in each school.”

If elected, Maher said she intends to improve borough roads, preserve open space and create jobs for residents.

“We need to keep the focus on improving our roads and making sure that we budget to repair roads that have fallen into disrepair over the course of many years of neglect,” she said. “We need to keep fighting against overdevelopment and preserving open space for our families and our community. And we need to create jobs for Sayreville residents by bringing new businesses to town that will offset residential property taxes and employ members of our community.”

McGill first served on the council from 2013-15 and rejoined the governing body in 2018 after he was appointed to fill a one-year, unexpired term. He also serves as a council liaison to the Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency.

“I am seeking re-election because at this stage of my life, I feel I have an obligation to the people of Sayreville: to give back something to them after living here all these years in a community that has been so welcoming,” McGill said. “There is much more work to be done. I am hoping to continue that.”

For the past 30 years, McGill has been involved in transportation and logistics for a produce company based in Florida. He has also worked in law enforcement as a police officer and was a longshoreman with the International Longshoreman’s Association.

“Due to this [my professional career], I understand the cost of doing business,” he said.

Issues that McGill said he intends to address if re-elected are infrastructure, bringing quality employment to the borough, safety and security, and cleaning up the environment.

“Our roads are clogged and something needs to be done about it,” McGill said. “Bringing quality employment to the Borough of Sayreville will give our next generation a step up in finding good-paying jobs.

“The next issue would be that of security and the safety of the populace of Sayreville, especially to our schools because our children are everything,” he continued. “I can attest that our police department does an excellent job of patrolling our streets and securing our schools.

“Lastly, our environment, which has becomes so important and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. We are a community that was formerly all heavy duty industry. As times have changed, these companies have vacated. Some have left behind a heavy environmental footprint on their properties that I wish to tackle, using both the state and federal government channels to help clean this up.”

Making her first bid for Borough Council, Roberts currently works in IT support at MUFG Union Bank. She has also owned and operated a small business and is a professional speaker and certified trainer.

“Sayreville is my hometown,” Roberts said. “I grew up in Sayreville and have a vested interest in our success. Some of the things going on concern me. I believe supporting our existing population should be a priority. We need to prioritize the needs of our residents before the desires of developers. I want to work with other towns as well as our county and state representatives to remove judges from dictating development with no regard to the impact of our residents, existing infrastructure, tax burden or schools.

“Although I have seen that additional tax base has been added, many residents have had their property tax increase,” she continued. “There is a real quality of life challenge for many already. And a final concern, there is currently no balance of opinion on the council. A council run exclusively by one party can be vulnerable to a level of group-think without a dissenting opinion. I believe we need balance to address the needs and concerns of all of Sayreville.

“As a technical trainer and speaker, I need to quickly jump into new technical details and provide road maps and guidance to broad audiences in meaningful ways. I believe this type of transparency is needed today in our Borough Council.”

If elected, Roberts said she intends to curtail overbuilding, maintain and improve infrastructure, and provide fiscal accountability.

“We need value from our investments,” she said. “Taxpayers are not a never-ending piggy bank.”

Democrats hold all six seats on the Borough Council and Republicans hold the mayor’s office.

Election Day is Nov. 5.