Joe Ferrigno is the Republican Party candidate to represent Ward 1 on Conshohocken’s Borough Council. The same questions were asked of all candidates, however, they were slighting altered for the lone incumbent (Karen Tutino in Ward 1). All answers are as provided and unedited by MoreThanTheCurve.com.
Describe your background and why you chose to run.
My background starts with graduating college with a business major and coaching minor. I was captain of my D2 men’s soccer team. I went on to a professional career at Vanguard, UHS, and currently Teva Pharmaceuticals where I administer our 401(k) as well as most other employee wealth benefits in our Total Rewards department. Over the years, I’ve also been president of a young professional’s charity and am a Real Estate Agent with Conshohocken’s own Entourage Elite Real Estate.
I first decided to run after living at the Grande and then moving a few blocks down the road two years later. As an owner and tax payer since 2011, I did not believe we were being well represented at the local level and decided to do something about it. As I learned more about all the proposed development in the 1st Ward, it became clear to me that we needed a leader to step up and ask the tough questions, to keep all the constituents informed, and allow for their voices to be heard.
In September 2015 Borough Council sent its solicitor to endorse a development project before the Zoning Hearing Board. Do you think that action hindered the Zoning Hearing Board’s independence? If not, under what conditions would you support taking similar action in the future?
I believe these bodies should be independent, but given the fact that this tactic had not been utilized for roughly 9 years, if Council found this issue as crucial to its planning for the future, I would not be necessarily opposed to it. If it becomes a common occurrence, I would be in favor of eliminating this practice.
What is the biggest misconception about Conshohocken?
The biggest misconception is a choice between Conshohocken’s small town feel vs. a developmental focus. I believe we can be both. We need development to move Conshohocken forward, but we cannot forget about the impact it has on our residence. We need to find a healthy balance and make sure our residence, including our seniors, are taken care of first before we build.
Since 2010, three members of Borough Council have resigned before finishing a single term. How committed are you to remain a resident of Conshohocken and your ward specifically?
After buying our first condo and then our first family home, my wife Samantha and I have graciously planted our roots in Conshohocken and look forward to raising our family here.
The redevelopment of the publicly owned property at West Elm and Fayette hasn’t moved forward since a developer was selected in 2013. What are your thoughts on the process that led to the selection of the developer?
Any time a significant project is approved, I would make sure those that are affected the most by the decision would be fully informed and aware with the ability to weigh in. Without being in the room when the conversations were had, I can only say that these major processes need to have the utmost transparency with the public and I would make sure that would happen moving forward.
The outgoing president of Borough Council referred to Conshohocken as “semi-urban” in a 2014 interview with a tech blog. Do you think that is an accurate description or at least where Conshohocken is heading? If you do not feel it is an accurate description, what term would you use to describe Conshohocken?
I believe we are semi-urban. Tech companies are typically associated with a particular affinity towards the young professional. Real estate studies show that the young professional is drawn to a community which caters to “walkability” as well as access to regional transportation, entertainment, and dining – all of which Conshohocken has. The burden we bear is to transition these young professionals into young families who want to raise their children here, which means we need to focus on our community and keep the small town feel with mindful future development.
Council members usually have one area of local government they are especially passionate about. What do you see as the one issue you will be most passionate?
My specific focus will be on the community and its residence. Development is necessary no question, but we cannot become a place solely focused on business. Enjoying where you live is an important part of growing your community. Parking, traffic, and representation are a few issues that have been left as an afterthought in the 1st Ward and I intend to make sure these concerns are addressed before I cast a vote.