The fifth time may be the charm for Cedar Grove Township Manager Thomas Tucci, who has yet again been nominated for a spot on the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) board by Gov. Chris Christie, according to a release.
The position would be a voluntary one for Tucci, who would sit on the commission’s board of directors, Tucci previously told the Times.
Using Hurricane Sandy as an example, Tucci explained one of the board’s main roles.
“If they have any kind of catastrophe there, or major issue, they don’t have the bonding capacity because there are no commissioners in place. So basically, they’re operating on FEMA and the only legal way they can bond [and] borrow money to fix the place is if they have a board of commissioners,” Tucci said.
The commission is currently run by lone board member Kenneth John Lucianin of Passaic. This is after two former officials were convicted of theft and misconduct charges in March, according to a representative of the Passaic Vicinage-Superior Court in Paterson.
The officials charged are former Northvale Mayor Paul Bazela and former PVSC commissioner Anthony Ardis.
Though Christie has made his selections for the board multiple times before, the nominations must be verified by the New Jersey State Senate. That process has been delayed consistently, according to a statement made by Christie back in 2012 – the third time Tucci was nominated.
The process is one Tucci knows all too well.
“I’m on the outside looking in. And I don’t expect to get the position. My mother taught me not to expect anything. That way, you can’t be disappointed,” Tucci said.
Tucci, a Nutley resident, was among six other candidates nominated for the commission’s board. Another nominee, also from Essex County, is Joseph M. Morris of Glen Ridge.
The PVSC is one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the United States and serves 1.4 million residents in 48 municipalities, according to the PVSC’s website. Such municipalities include those in Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties.
“[The commission is] at a crossroads, where this place will either crumble, or it’ll succeed based on what happens in the future,” Tucci said.
If the board had more commissioners and they were able to recast their bonds, “they would be able to save approximately $10 million on the refinancing. So there’s a whole lot of issues that I have a background on,” Tucci added.
After being nominated for the position five times, Cedar Grove Township Manager Thomas Tucci was sworn in as the newest member of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission Tuesday, Aug. 19, according to a release from the PVSC.
Gov. Chris Christie nominated Tucci in July for the commission’s board of directors, which is an unpaid position formerly run by lone board member Kenneth John Lucianin, according to previous reports in the Times.
“I’m excited to get to work,” Tucci told the Times Thursday, Aug. 21. “The [PVSC] needs a lot of work at this point. Hopefully my expertise can help with the damage, but we want to do so in the best way possible for the rate payers of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, because that’s our charge.”
PVSC Public Information Officer Hollie Gilroy said she feels Tucci is a good fit for the commission.
“When you look at his resume, the addition of Tucci will benefit our board. He brings a wealth of experience with him. And having two commissioners will allow us to do some things that we weren’t able to do previously,” Gilroy said, referring to a PVSC process where legally, commissioners are needed to bond and borrow money in order to make repairs to the plant.
The PVSC is one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the United States, responsible for 1.4 million residents in 48 municipalities, according to a website dedicated to the PVSC.
Tucci was confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate Monday and his main duties will be helping the facility recover from Superstorm Sandy, according to the release. Tucci previously told the Times that this position will not affect his role as township manager.