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Cosgrove Expresses Hope for Unity, Progress in Opening Speech [Transcript]

Below is a transcript of John Cosgrove's opening remarks upon being sworn in as mayor of Fair Lawn.

Good evening, I’d just like to thank everyone for being here tonight, and I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year and thank the people of Fair Lawn for giving me the honor and privilege to serve as your mayor.

Special thanks go out to my friend the Honorable Judge Miguel de la Carerra for swearing me in. Miggy and I have been friends since we attended Radburn School almost 50 years ago. I also want to thank the council for giving me this opportunity and thank Mayor Baratta for the outstanding job she did in 2012.

I know I have big shoes to fill, actually in Mayor Baratta’s case, six inch high heels, but I thank her for all her hard work and dedication to the people of Fair Lawn.

I’m proud to serve on this council with such dedicated people. And unlike what we’ve seen in Washington in the last few months, this council has the ability to come together and work toward making Fair Lawn a better place. I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem like that, but I publicly want to thank Lisa, Kurt, Ed and Jeanne for working for the people of Fair Lawn’s best interest.

I’d also like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for all of their encouragement and support. Tonight I am fortunate to have many of you here with me. My three children John, Kevin and my daughter Kerryann are here and I thank them for their love, patience and understanding as you’ve watched dad be involved in so many activities over the years. My big sister, Peggy, who we almost lost last year, is here tonight and I’m so delighted that she could be here with us. And my girlfriend Maryanne, whose unwavering support and encouragement keeps me going every day.

I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Fair Lawn all my life, and as I said last year, that I’m sure when my grandparents traveled across the Passaic River and arrived in Fair Lawn over 100 years ago, they never dreamt that their grandson would have the honor of serving as the mayor of Fair Lawn. I only wish that my parents were alive and able to be here tonight. They were the ultimate volunteers and instilled their love for Fair Lawn in me, and it’s because of them that I sit here tonight. Believe me, I consider myself very fortunate to be able to serve as the mayor of the town that I love.

Tonight as we move forward, I believe that this gives me the opportunity to tell you, the residents, the state of Fair Lawn’s union. Our union is strong, but in these difficult times we are facing some of the same challenges that many other cities, towns and boroughs are across the country. The decline in our economy and escalating obligations have left us in a situation where we must constantly examine the way we operate. Although these are tough times, I know that this council will continue to look at our budget and try to stabilize taxes. I’m hoping that we can preserve many of our amenities that have made Fair Lawn such a great place – the library, community center, senior center and Memorial Pool are the cornerstones of our community. I’m sure that our council will work together to try to keep our foundation of community strong and preserve it for future generations.

Fair Lawn is a great town, and based on what I’ve heard from the results of our recent survey, our residents agree. Ours is a diverse community, but unlike places in our nation and in the world, our diversity is our strength. We are a large town with a small town attitude. Our volunteers, employees and police are second to none, as they recently just proved during Superstorm Sandy.

I know that all things for Fair Lawn are attainable if we all work toward keeping Fair Lawn the great place that it is. The challenge for all New Jersey communities is to get through these tough times and be ready to grow in the future. Our borough, like others, is fighting to maintain our way of life.

I know though, we will weather the storm, but I ask for your help and for your support. I’m looking forward to working with the council and the people of Fair Lawn to help shape our community. Over the next 12 months I’m sure we’ll have to deal with many complex issues, but I want you, the citizens of Fair Lawn, to know that we will continue to listen to you.

We will continue to try to limit the tax burden on our residents, resist overdevelopment and maintain the character of our community, maintain a positive environment where we empower our employees and volunteers, create opportunities for commerce, ensuring that our local businesses have the support that they need to be successful, which will help to ease our tax burden, and to listen to all residents about their concerns and work diligently to address them.

My journey to this chair has been a long one. Growing up in Fair Lawn, I have been blessed with all of the opportunities that this community has to offer. It’s been said that it takes a community to raise a child, and in my case, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank all of those in Fair Lawn who have helped me -- my teachers, coaches, friends, fellow firefighters and relatives that have given me love and support throughout the years.

In closing, I would just like to say that I’m looking forward to working with all of you, the people of Fair Lawn, and the entire council in 2013, and I have high hopes and great expectations for Fair Lawn’s future. Thank you, god bless you and may god bless America.

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Ronnie Barbarulo January 05, 2013 at 01:01 AM
The town of Fair Lawn is truly blessed to have a man such as John to be our Mayor. I have known John for many years now and I know he has what's best for Fair Lwan, as his number 1 priority. Good luck my friend.
Truth Hurts January 05, 2013 at 01:12 AM
What an empty suit! Fair Lawn's "union"? What are we a union of Radburn and everywhere else? We are just a municipality in one of the counties in one of the states, not a union. The council had many partisan line votes last year and earned a grade a D- at best. Raising all kinds of fees and taxes at more than twice the state wide average. There is no doubt that Mayor John has given a lot of his time to the community and we should be grateful for that. But this idea that community center, senior center and Memorial Pool are the cornerstones of our community is a joke. They are an albatross around the neck of WE the tax payers. Its not bad enough we spend millions each year on those three programs, our mayor had the gym named after him. He talks about those surveys which the vast majority of people didn't answer. The results of which he knows, but have not been published. What's the deal? John talks about growing in the future? What are we going to do annex Glen Rock? Or does he want to grow our budget and double the staff at boro hall? This idea that they "will continue to try to limit the tax burden on our residents" coming from the deciding vote on one of the state's largest tax increase is absurd.
JimDobson January 05, 2013 at 03:25 AM
A anonymous coward like you calling a man like John Cosgrove a empty suit is a joke. I moved into my girlfriend's house here a few years back and meet the Mayor before he was elected. He is a man of great character and every town could use a John Cosgrove. The surveys were a success number wise based on how other towns have done them. You don't usually get a lot of them back. Also a small number of them get disqualified by people like yourself who go anonymous. I use to live in Cherry Hill and we did a survey very similar to this. It was not close to successful as Fair Lawn's as reported in a previous article. Municipality taxes remained pretty low as I have understood. Your referring to the reassessment which was scheduled by the previous administration. That caused a spike in your property taxes.
JimDobson January 05, 2013 at 03:25 AM
I know your being sarcastic when suggesting that he would want to annex Glen Rock so I wont touch your awful attempt at a point on two false premises and hypothetical bonk. As I said I haven't lived in town too long but I have been here long enough to know that the tireless work of John Cosgrove got the gym in the rec-center named after him. It wasn't his idea to get his name on the gym. I live close to memorial pool, my girl's daughter uses the Library and her mom uses the senior center. I love all these places and most people I talk to outside of the 6 people on the patch think so too. Congrats to the council for UNANIMOUSLY voting for John Cosgrove to be the Mayor this year.
Phil Jonas January 05, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Hey JimDo, you're a resident that doesn't own a house and are commenting on the wonderful services in Fair Lawn. Of course you want everything open and running full steam ahead. It isnt costing you a penny. This council majority knew about the reassessment. This council majority did NOTHING to ease the tax burden. If you owned property you would understand that. my house lost 25 % of it's value and Im paying the same amount of tax. That meabns my taxes went up 25 % since I pay the same.How is that possible if there is a 2 % tax cap?
JimDobson January 05, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Phil,Mike,Truth... you really are a jackass. I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for sometime now and obviously I pay bills with her. I don't just live in the house and eat for free because im a amazing boyfriend. My girlfriend's daughter uses and PAYS for the pool. Her daughter born and raised in Fair Lawn uses the Library. My girlfriends mother who has lived in Fair Lawn and owns a home in Fair Lawn uses the Senior center. And if my girlfriend's daughter wants to, she will use the Recreation Center. These things are not going ANYWHERE. I have a good feeling that the survey will show that when it is broken down and released. As for your property losing 25% percent of its value and the rest...I don't know your story and I don't believe you anyway. So instead of ASSuming things about you as you did about me, I wont address the topic. I'm sure you and some other anonymous troll or, just the same sad person with different screen names can make the same claim about me. In closing this reminds me of something a great man once said... "Phil you really are a jackass"
Kurt January 06, 2013 at 04:26 AM
Municipal taxes went up 4%, many had this compounded by being on the "losing" end of the reassesment. JimDobson does pay taxes indirectly. He might now realize it, but he is paying part of the millions spent too. The school district doesn't help the case either. Regardless of how you put they are taking under threat of force from people who want nothing to do with those non essential businesses the town losses so much money on. If they are that valuable, charge the users for the service not the tax payers.
JimDobson January 06, 2013 at 05:37 AM
You seem like a nice person so you can call me Jim or Jimmy. Also Happy New Year! I am very aware of what I am paying for. You pay to use the pool and you pay to play certain sports at the Rec-Center. Having places like these in a town add to the value of people wanting to move here in my opinion. And these are places that are not going anywhere. Municipal taxes went up 4% and the year before it would have been 5%, and the year before around the same thing. But the previous people in charge emptied our savings. This was made a issue in the last council race and on these online boards How much money yearly is the town losing on the Rec-Center? Nobody threatened me or forced me to move into Fair Lawn. My girlfriend could have easily moved to Cherry Hill with me. Who is threatening or forcing you to pay for these things? Goodnight for now
Common Sense January 07, 2013 at 09:16 PM
whenever i hear people complain about the services provided in FL i just dont get it. Im 4th generation FL and this is how the town has always been. when you move or live somewhere it is your choice to live there. you would have to lack common sense to move to a place like FL that has always had these services and assume they will be take away because you dont like it. people move or stay in this town because of these great services. to put in bluntly if you wanted to live in a town with lower taxes and no services like the rec center, pool, library, senior center, etc then you arent too smart if you chose to live in FL. there are plenty of towns in this area with lower taxes and non of these services, i suggest you start looking at these town if you really dont want to pay for these services because they arent going anywhere
Mayor Goldie Wilson January 08, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Regardless of how long they have been in operation or how many people use them, I do not feel that I should have to pay for any services that I, Mayor Goldie Wilson, do not personally use. As such, I request, nay, demand immediate closure of the pool, library, and senior center until such time as I choose to swim, read, or be 65, at which point I will expect them to reopen. And since I have my high school diploma and don't drive, I see no need for schools or roads. I will inform you of other things I no longer want to exist as they come to me. Vote Goldie Wilson for Mayor! I'm gonna clean up this town!
truthhurts January 16, 2013 at 08:42 PM
I know I don't post here very much, but please get your own anon...I don't want to be confused with you or your ideas. Cosgrove will be a great Mayor. With Baratta and Trawinski on their way out the door, the future looks bright for Fair Lawn!

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