By Philip J. Victor, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Councilman Patrick Gillespie will officially be named the next mayor of Old Bridge, N.J. on Tuesday — the day after the resignation of James Phillips became official.
Phillips announced he would step down from office earlier this month citing health issues, namely diabetes. He had already made public his decision to not seek re-election in November.
Monday night, Gillespie spoke with CBSNewYork.com following a council meeting and said he was “very well prepared for the job.”
After expressing concern for his friend and predecessor’s health, Gillespie spoke about some of his first orders of business when he takes over the office. He talked about the need to adopt the budget for this year and “make cuts to be able to spare a lot of employees.”
Difficult budget decisions and the threat of police layoffs have been hanging over the township, but Gillespie expressed confidence that “there will not be any [police] layoffs this year.”
However, Gillespie said the 2 percent state property tax cap had been especially constraining, adding “everyone recognizes that.” In fact, Mayor Phillips had previously pointed out that the cap presented a major stumbling block to avoid the police layoffs.
The soon-to-be mayor also touted Old Bridge being one of three locations selected in the state to house new power plants. According to Gillespie, the plant being built by the Princeton-based company NRG Energy could bring in an estimated “500 construction jobs.” The other two plants will be built in Newark and Woodbridge.
Finally, Gillespie addressed the difficulty of taking over as mayor in the middle of his election campaign to win a full term in November. The Democrat said he had “lots of experience” in public service, including more than eight years on the township’s council, that would help him with the balancing act.
Gillespie added that the November race would be “very competitive,” but plans on running a “very aggressive” campaign and is confident of his chances come election day.