There are few candidates for public office who possess the qualifications, educational credentials and resume of proven public policy success like Pete Massa!
A life-long North Arlington resident, Eighth Street homeowner with his wife Val, and graduate of Queen of Peace High School; few people have the institutional memory of the community like Pete Massa.
“Pete Massa has an impressive record of public policy success be it his accomplishments as a school trustee where he steered the ship to create the Middle School we have today, increased test scores or his fierce opposition to the EnCap housing scheme that threatened North Arlington’s longtime position as a small and safe South Bergen community that is affordable and attractive to the thousands who moved here over the last five decades from places like Kearny, Jersey City and Newark,” offered one political observer when asked to comment.
“Whether it was his time as a patrolman, sergeant and president of the local PBA, Pete was a cop people liked and trusted. When he retired in 1990 he moved to the state level where he rose to the rank of captain with the Waterfront Commission of New York & New Jersey where he worked on complex criminal matters regarding the docks, organized crime and unsavory union corruption. His nearly four decades of instruction in the area of Criminal Justice as an adjunct professor makes Massa uniquely qualified to serve with distinction at the local level of municipal government.”
A graduate of Rutgers University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA), Massa was a finalist for the position of municipal administrator when the position was created in 1980 by ordinance here in North Arlington.
Massa would be easily elected and reelected to the North Arlington Board of Education when budgets required voter approval and referendums were necessary for capital improvements. During his six-year tenure he served as vice-president and president where he controlled school taxes while increasing test scores and creating the political environment to get a capital plan approved by voters in a community where school budgets were routinely rejected every spring.
“Massa was an educational leader and reformer. Standardized test scores like SAT and HSPT’s increased on his watch and school budgets reflected the will of the community and started to receive voter approval. It was his leadership in 1992 with zero support from local Republicans that saw a successful $7.8 million referendum that reconstructed all school facilities with an emphasis on creating the Middle School we have today. Massa did it and did it with no political assistance from the Kaiser Administration and Borough Hall,” noted a former school official when asked to comment.
Massa served as school trustee from 1990-1996 and challenged Kaiser for mayor in 1994, in which Republicans coasted to an easy win at the local, county, state and national levels.
“This was a far more Republican New Jersey. Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. It was a difficult time for NA Democrats.”
Massa moved to the Waterfront Commission of New York & New Jersey and once again excelled as a respected law enforcement official. He would seek public office in 2004 as he ran for council and defeated then school board member Brian Fitzhenry (now a GOP councilman seeking reelection) by landslide proportions.
And then entered EnCap!
Massa led the fight against a housing scheme that would eventually collapse under its own weight and propelled Massa to the office of Mayor defeating Peter Norcia in 2006 and former GOP Councilman Gary Burns in 2010.
Massa would seek reelection in 2014 and was defeated by current incumbent Joseph Bianchi. The two served together and many credit both Massa and Bianchi for the Federal Express initiative which now is the centerpiece of redevelopment at Porete Avenue.
“Massa got the ball rolling and Bianchi saw the Federal Express project to fruition. It was truly bipartisan in spirit and scope unlike EnCap that tore apart the community with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing the massive plan to build nearly 1800 units of high density apartments in the Meadowlands. Bianchi supported EnCap. Massa did not,” offered one political insider when asked to comment.
Since leaving local government in 2015 Massa is now a commissioner with the Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) appointed by County Executive James Tedesco of Paramus. Both are running together this year on the Democratic ticket with Massa on the Yampaglia team with Josie Papile as council running-mates!
While Massa is retired from two law enforcement agencies, he continues to serve at the BCUA as well as teach in his capacity as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice.
Many residents look forward to Massa’s return to the Governing Body.
“He is one of North Arlington’s most knowledgeable citizens when it comes to law enforcement, public safety and the administration of municipal government. Voters have elected him five times to three different positions as school trustee, councilman and mayor. He served the North Arlington Board of Education as vice-president and president. He was employed as a municipal and state employee as well as conducting background checks at the federal level. He was a two-term mayor and currently serves the County of Bergen. Pete’s presence back on the North Arlington Mayor & Council will be well received should he be successful. If this race is about who has the best skill sets and resume, this will be a good night for Mark Yampaglia, Peter Massa and Josie Papile.”
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