As your mayor, I take pride in running both our city and my re-election campaign with honesty and integrity, and I am asking for your support based on my record on the issues that matter to you.
My opponents this year, however, have chosen a different tactic, leaving me no choice but to set the record straight about the deceptive communication you may have received in the mail last week from One United Rahway. This attack ad was filled with misleading statements, utter nonsense, and outright falsehoods.
To begin with, my opponents claim that I gave a PILOT extension to a developer that purchased property from my grandfather. But the facts tell a very different story. The purchase of my grandfather’s commercial property for its market value was negotiated by the previous administration and the developer was introduced to my grandfather by the former Mayor Samson Steinman and Redevelopment Director Len Bier. In no way was the purchase of the property tied to the PILOT extension. I want to unequivocally state that I did not benefit personally in any way from this sale.
When I took office as Mayor, there was already an agreement in place that had been made by the previous administration to extend the PILOT. However, instead of just extending it, my administration actually re-negotiated the terms of the PILOT so that the developer is now paying MORE each year than they were under the old agreement. The flier you received doesn’t mention this - but that does not surprise me. Campaigns that rely on dirty politics are never interested in the truth.
In response to the hiring of family and friends. I have never violated the nepotism ordinance adopted in 2011. That is a fact! Being born and raised in Rahway it is almost impossible not to have acquaintances among over 400 employees that work for the city. These employees are qualified hard-working individuals who serve our city. Being an acquaintance of mine does not disqualify anyone from serving this city.
The $100,000 or 0.00364% of the city’s budget for the past 5 years invested for the city commercials have provided undeniable benefits for Rahway. Running these commercials resulted in new residents and businesses to establish a home in Rahway. This creates increased revenue and promotes the vibrancy of our city. The image and perception of our town is positive and ever expanding due these marketing efforts.
In reference to my compensation as Mayor, I have not allocated myself with a raise for the past 5 years even though the typical yearly increase for employees is between 2-3%. As Mayor, the salary I receive has not been increased by a dollar since I took office. I did undertake an additional responsibility for the city in 2021 and received a 10k stipend as a member of the OEM (Office of Emergency Management). I received training and course work to shoulder this responsibility. This gave me the knowledge and capability to handle emergency situations. This proved to be not only helpful but crucial when hurricane Ida hit our city. I along with police, fire, and the DPW worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our citizens.
The attack ad claims that taxpayer money was spent for my “vacations” in Hawaii and Las Vegas. However, these trips were not vacations but in fact part of my job and duty to the people of Rahway. The United States Conference of Mayors is held annually throughout the country. Past locations include, Boston, Indianapolis, and Miami, in 2019 the meeting was held in Honolulu. The registration cost of the conference was the only item allocated to the city budget as with all other conferences. The location of the conference could have been in New Jersey or Hawaii, the registration cost is the same. My travel and expenses were not incurred by the taxpayers of Rahway. The conference is an incredible resource for mayors to examine and act on issues that demand special attention such as civic innovation, exports, hunger, and housing. Mayors throughout the country share best practices on how they tackled challenges in a variety of issue areas. The knowledge and experience gained at these conferences are invaluable to effectively govern our city.
Regarding the International Parking Convention conference and exposition that was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, this convention provided access to equipment, vendors, companies, and experts that the city utilized to improve the parking utility. The convention also provided a wealth of information, ideas, alternate plans, budgeting models for any future endeavors to expand and improve parking for the residents of Rahway. I attended these conferences NOT for relaxation, but to learn new strategies and best practices that I could then bring home to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Rahway.
Finally, my opponents allege that my administration somehow misappropriated COVID relief funds. The COVID relief grants received by the City through the CARES Act are highly regulated and funds are only eligible to be applied to certain very specific expenses. Every single dollar of COVID relief money spent by the City was spent in accordance with these guidelines.
I think it is worth pointing out one specific example of how this attack ad is attempting to mislead you. The graph that claims to illustrate how COVID relief funds were spent runs from 2018 through 2021. I do not need to remind any of you that the COVID shut down began in March of 2020 – over two years into the time period illustrated by the graph. My opponents are obviously aware of this. The only possible reason that they designed the graph the way they did is to mislead anyone looking at it.
The allegations discussed above aren't even the most ridiculous things my opponents are saying. They seem to think that my efforts marketing our city to outsiders, meeting with seniors, and organizing volunteer park clean-ups are some sort of secret I am trying to hide. On the contrary, I consider them part of my job - and I invite you to join me at future events.
I stand behind my record because I am proud of all that I have accomplished with my administration for the City of Rahway since I was elected to serve as your mayor. But now, instead of engaging in productive dialogue about what they think Rahway should do differently, my opponents have chosen to resort to a dishonest and a counterproductive smear campaign. To put it in the bluntest terms: My opponents are lying to you.
And if they are desperate enough to lie about things that are so absurd and so easy to disprove, I can only ask you to consider - what else are they willing to lie about?
I am running for re-election on my record, commitment, and love for our city. The achievements and strides made by my administration and team on behalf of the city of Rahway throughout my term speak for themselves. It is apparent that my challengers do not have a record to showcase, ideas, or the experience to govern our city. They therefore must compensate by providing misleading negative information. Instead of focusing on relevant issues, their own views, their own experiences, and their own virtues, they are resorting to attacking my character in an attempt to gain votes. To use attack ads and rhetoric to deliberately frame me as a crooked politician as a means of presenting themselves as a more desirable alternative is deplorable.
Respectfully, this is the first and last time I will address this or any other lies or misleading statements from my opponent.
As a Rahway resident, I invite you to attend City Council meetings and participate in your local government.
Mayor Raymond Giacobbe