Editor's note: Questionnaires were completed before Hurricane Sandy made landfall.
Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli is a first-time mayor who ended up appointed to the top borough post when former Mayor Michael Halfacre resigned to accept the position of director of the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in February.
Both Halfacre and Lucarelli are area natives and graduates of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.
Lucarelli, who grew up in Rumson, chose to plant his family roots in Fair Haven. Though the mayor's run to fill Halfacre's unexpired term, which ends in 2014, is unchallenged, he said he plans to run for a full mayoral term when this one is up.
Fair Haven's governing body is run in a borough council format, which indicates a strong council, weak mayor structure, in political terms. Candidates for mayor and council run on different tickets, and are independent of one another at the polls. The mayor is elected separately, independent of council candidates. And, the mayor's term is four years, while council members serve for three per term.
On politics and his policies, it's simple for Lucarelli, he says. "I always go by the Golden Rule," he said. "Treat people the way you want to be treated."
Patch sent Lucarelli a questionnaire. The following are his responses:
• Name: Benjamin J. Lucarelli
• Age: 51
• How long have you lived in Fair Haven? 20 years
• Please list your community affiliations, volunteer work, special interests, accomplishments while on council (special): past president, Monmouth Day Care Center; former member of board of trustees, Two River Theater Company; volunteer live auctioneer, Monmouth Day Care Center; affiliations with Monmouth Conservation, The Wellness Center, Lunch Break
• Occupation: real estate management, licensed NJ real estate broker, construction management
• What do you feel makes you uniquely qualified as mayor? My professional carreer as a property manager and my years of volunteer work have enabled me to develop an skill set that crosses over perfectly to the duties of mayor.
• What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as mayor? Our most recent DPW/Engineering inter-local agreement with Rumson.
• What change would you most like to affect as mayor in your next term and how do you propose to accomplish it? Change? No thank you. We will be looking to continue our current policies of searching out efficiencies in government through inter-local agreements and privatization. The continuing goal is to deliver government services that are either better or less expensive and preferably both.
• Holding the line on taxes, preserving open space and protecting the diversity that has earned Fair Haven the distinctive reputation for being a quaint, down-to-earth town are all issues of paramount concern. How will you address these things? See answer to the above question