Hello, I’m Jim Duffy, and I’m running for Mayor of Chester Township.
My wife, Julie, and I moved our family to Chester 10 years ago. Like many of you, we settled here because of what Chester offers: great schools, the rural character; the Boro’s quaint Main Street; the recreational potential. We settled here for the quality of life, and it’s been a great decision.
As attractive a town as Chester is, I believe a fresh perspective and new voice can make it an even better town by building a stronger community.
In making my decision to run for mayor, I’ve knocked on many doors and engaged in insightful conversations with neighbors on all sides of a variety of local issues. There’s a good chance I spoke with you. I’ve enjoyed all these kitchen-table discussions, not just because I’ve enjoyed meeting neighbors, but also because they’ve helped me understand top-of-mind concerns and opportunities in our community.
As Mayor, I will focus on these key areas:
Many residents are concerned about lack of communication from our local leaders and actions taken without adequate community input:
· Unlike my opponent, I have no conflicts of interest with the Township or any of its committees, boards or commissions. My opponent’s immediate family member has a pending lawsuit against Chester Township. Frivolous lawsuits are costing you, the taxpayer, money that could be used in much more prudent ways. We must reign in this kind of spending on the Mayor’s direct conflicts of interest.
· Community engagement and resident participation in matters that will impact our community are paramount to running a successful government. My goal is to engage our residents, inform them on key issues, and work hard to make sure our collective values and priorities strengthen us as a community.
· As one of the most affluent municipalities in the state, Chester Township should be more involved at the county and state levels. We must leverage all opportunities that exist to us at the County and State level. These include active and passive recreational opportunities for our children and families, as well as more robust interaction with our State Department of Agriculture. Chester Township has a rich tradition of agricultural development and the current Mayor falls short on delivering for that portion of our community. Our community priorities and values deserve greater representation. As your Mayor, I will give Chester the voice it deserves in Morris County and New Jersey.
Efficient Spending and Lower Taxes.
Chester Township should work more with other municipalities in our area to spend tax dollars more efficiently and lower taxes:
· As Mayor, I will explore every opportunity to ensure Chester shares services with neighboring communities without compromising our safety or quality of life. The Boro and the Township of Chester, and Washington Township have made some strides in sharing services, but we can do far better than we have done so far. We need to strengthen existing ties and explore new shared services relationships with all municipalities surrounding Chester. We can reduce costs and lower taxes with common sense ways to share services and simplify how we manage our communities. In addition to lowering our taxes, these efforts would help maintain or increase our property and home values.
· In my first 100 days as Mayor, I will present to you a thorough inventory of potential new revenue available to communities like ours through grants and other forms of aid.
Our greatest assets are the natural resources that surround us. We need to be more diligent in how they are managed, protected and used.
· It’s time to revisit our master plan to ensure we’re doing all we can to protect our natural resources, including how we are cleaning up polluted and impaired properties in our area. I will make this a priority and vow to create a community advisory committee to inventory these properties and provide a report to the residents of Chester within my first 100 days in office. The current Mayor has refused to address this growing concern and protect our natural resources.
· Active and passive recreation is a key benefit of a healthy environment, and we in Chester have much to enjoy outdoors. As Mayor, Chester Township’s parks, trails, rivers and other recreational assets will become a focal point of improving our quality of life and strengthening our community. These critical natural assets will be protected, improved, and better managed so everyone in our community can enjoy them, whether individually or as a community. I will create a plan to expand these recreational opportunities for our families, children and seniors.
· Natural resources know no political boundaries, and I see opportunities for Chester Township and our neighboring towns to collaborate on regional environmental sustainability initiatives. By pursuing the highest possible sustainability certifications, we can be a model for other municipalities to follow. We can also become an even more prized community in which to live, work and raise a family.
Nothing is more important to me than a safe, vibrant and engaged community. Putting Community First is my priority, and I hope you join me in our mission for an EFFECTIVE, ETHICAL, AND AFFORDABLE GOVERNMENT in Chester Township
Born and raised in New Jersey, Jim and his wife have lived in Chester Township for more than a decade. Their three children have attended local public schools.
Jim began his career as a high school teacher. While teaching, he earned his Master’s Degree in English from William Paterson University. As a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, he taught high school in Papua New Guinea—an experience that continues to inform his views about social and environmental responsibility.
An active hiker, sailor, runner and cyclist, Jim has always had a passion for the outdoors. As he began to explore a potential career in law, Jim was fortunate to land a position in the environmental department of Pitney Hardin, a Morris County law firm, which turned out to be a transformative experience. He soon became involved in the cleanup of some of the nation’s (then) top Superfund sites—including landfills, former war plants and hazardous materials transfer stations. Site investigations took him to local, state, and federal document repositories, including national archives across the U.S. and in the U.K.
These experiences led Jim to focus on environmental communications rather than a law degree. To help unify his experiences and interests, Jim earned a second Master’s Degree in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston, in which he focused on environmental and public policy issues.
Since then, he has worked for and counseled FORTUNE-ranked companies and government agencies to help them navigate various social, environmental and business challenges. Today, Jim is vice president of marketing for a leading global provider of business outsourcing and human capital management solutions.
Jim is currently a member of the Chester Township Environmental Commission and serves as the chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at William Paterson University.
Jim’s business and public service experiences, which include managing diverse projects, teams and budgets, instill in him a unique perspective and voice for our Chester Township community.