At its reorganization meeting on January 1, Wyckoff's Township Committee unanimously voted Chris DePhillips as mayor for 2012.
DePhillips, elected to the committee in 2009, gave the following speech to the standing room-only crowd in on Sunday afternoon:
"Happy New Year everybody and thank you all for coming to our reorganization meeting today. Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving as your mayor for the upcoming year. On the day I was sworn in as committeeman two years ago Mayor Boonstra said, "It is truly an honor to serve as the mayor of this great town."
How right he was and how true that is.
I've often thought that the mayor's remarks each year were like the annual state of Wyckoff address.
I can confidently say that the state of Wyckoff is strong — we have a strong past, a strong present, and a strong future.
We have a strong community with a rich tradition of volunteerism, and charitable giving.
We have strong schools, strong houses of worship, and we have safe neighborhoods.
We have a strong police department, led by Chief Fox, and a strong fire department, led by Mike Rose, that keep us and our children safe at night.
We have a strong Office of Emergency Management, led by Dave Murphy, that has protected us from a multitude of 100-year storms that have battered us over the last two years.
We have a strong, effective municipal government led by Bob Shannon and his great team in town hall, committed to providing exceptional service to our residents at a low tax rate — the lowest in our area.
And that is something that the township committee will remain committed to in the coming year.
It is not surprising, therefore, that Wyckoff is routinely recognized by New Jersey Monthly as one of the best places to live in the state of New Jersey.
Do we have our challenges in Wyckoff?
Yes, we do.
Do we have problems that vex us from time to time?
But it's all in the approach to these challenges that defines us as citizens and public servants.
As citizens and public servants, do we choose to focus on the negative or do we choose to be positive and solution oriented, remembering that together we are one Wyckoff?
When I ran in 2009, I pledged to look squarely at each problem and make the necessary tough decisions. My standard has always been and will always be, 'What is in the best interest of Wyckoff as a whole, not a specific individual or group.'
The committee successfully lived up to that standard under Mayor Rooney this year, and we will do so again this year.
All 5 of us on the township committee know that to do the right thing sometimes our decisions will not be popular.
As public servants, all we can pledge to you is that our decisions will strive to bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people at the lowest cost.
Not an east undertaking in deed, but that is our responsibility and our pledge to you again this year.
My late father taught me as a young child that public service is an honor and responsibility, a duty. At age 46, I still believe that today.
I know that my mom, Rosemarie DePhillips, my sister Susan, my brother Stephen, also believe in public service, and that's why I'm so happy each of you is present today.
Thank you all for being here.
I'm also happy to have my in-laws, Terri and Jack Reynolds, here today as well. Many of you who attend St. Elizabeth's Church have seen them there, so many of you believe they live in Wyckoff — however they just moved to Wanaque.
Thank you all for your continued support.
And last but definitely not least, I'd like to thank my wonderful wife Patti and our four children Timothy, age 14; Carly, age 12; Ellie, age 9; and little Zoe just 3 1/2 years old.
Thank you all for allowing me to serve in this role and for being more than patient with me when I'm out night after night with these four guys.
Patti, thank you especially for keeping all the trains running at home with the kids while you juggle your own career and you allow me to juggle my law practice and allow me to serve the community at the same time.
Sometimes, I don't know how you do it all.
Additionally, I want to welcome back and congratulate Brian Scanlan who was successful in his reelection campaign this past November. Congratulations.
This year Brian will serve as liaison to the zoning board, among other important responsibilities.
I would also like to welcome Doug Christie to the township committee. Doug will be the township committee representative to the planning board, among other duties.
Welcome aboard, Doug.
In the interest of time I cannot hope to address all the policy issues that the township committee will tackle this year, however I will mention a few of the highlights.
Our new library is scheduled to open in the spring of this year. We will continue with multiple applications before the planning board. We will continue to support public/private partnerships like the Wyckoff Parks and Recreation Foundation so that we can continue to address important public needs without increasing our tax base.
All facets of township government will continue to investigate regionalized services with other municipalities or the county, wherever possible.
And we will continue to hold the line on our budget and we will take a hard look at whether the township can afford to pay for a town-wide reassessment or reevaluation of our property taxes.
Mr. Rooney will lead the finance committee this year.
In closing, it is clear that Wyckoff's past, present and future are strong.
In this regard I want to recognize and thank all of the families who, for decades, have built and served this town while keeping the tax base stable and low.
Families like the Galenkamps, the Stanleys, the Boonstras, the McNamaras, the Shotmeyers, the VanderPlaats, the VanderEems, Mariones, the TenKates, the Toracks, just to name a few.
And I want to thank the families of today — my contemporaries — who are working hard in a tough economy to raise and keep their kids in this town. We thank them for keeping this town strong and vibrant, for strengthening our community resolve, for keeping our schools strong, and for volunteering, coaching, and giving back to our community every single day.
And finally I want to pledge to the children of our township — Wyckoff's future — that the township committee will continue to do everything in its power to keep this community safe for you so that you may be able to reap all the benefits of our neighborhoods, our schools, our houses of worship, and our recreation programs, so that you may grow up in this town with good memories and a solid foundation to become meaningful contributors to society and hopefully, yes, to the Township of Wyckoff.
Thank you all."