Joseph Januzelli is the Republican Party candidate to represent Ward 3 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.
I chose to run for the third ward council seat because as a long time resident, I felt it was time to stand up and be heard. Its easy to sit back and complain about traffic, parking, development, etc. however after 59 years calling Conshy home, I felt it was my time to step up and open a dialogue start to address residents concerns about parking and development. My background is in public safety. Having grown up in the fire service, I have experienced the internal workings of government first and even more so after my career path veered towards building and fire code management. Currently I am employed by a third party consulting firm where I provided consulting services in a large Buck County Township however, I still volunteer my time with one of our local fire companies, responding to emergencies and maintaining the fire apparatus.
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?
Having witnessed the process numerous times, I understand why a governing body would vote to send the solicitor to express support, and in some cases opposition, to a specific project When the solicitor attends you have one person, rather than an entire governing body, speak to express a unified position. The solicitor can also be best equipped to ask, digest and address questions from a legal perspective.
What is the biggest misconception about Conshohocken?
The biggest misconception about Conshy? I’d have to say that, in my opinion, a significant number of our residents believe that holding our leadership accountable is someone else’s responsibility. Too often residents I talk to express strong views on conditions in town yet believe their voices can’t, or won’t, be heard. This mentality has to be changed.
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?
I think my 59 years here speaks for itself. My wife Beth and I still reside in the home I grew up in on Spring Mill Avenue. Enough said?
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?
Regarding the West Elm & Fayette redevelopment project, while I was not involved with the selection process, I do have some concerns regarding the scope of the project and, if elected, will work to maintain transparency during the approval process this and any future Conshohocken projects.
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?
Over the years I’ve heard Conshohocken referred to by many titles however the one I relate to is HOME. Home to residents, businesses and guests alike. We are a small town with a big city vibe. The challenge moving forward is to maintain a balance between the two.
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?
As I alluded previously, public safety is something I am definitely passionate about. I’d work to ensure that our police, fire, public works and code departments receive the best training and equipment necessary to perform their duties. The men and women that staff these departments are second to none and I plan to keep it that way.