Ellen Sandman: Denville Mayor Candidate- Independent 

Ellen Sandman: Denville Mayor Candidate- Independent 

What is your educational and volunteer background?


I have a Master of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a certificate of Municipal Finance Officer from Rutgers University. I am also an Adjunct Professor Public Administration / Fairleigh Dickinson University – Hudson County Community College. A member of the Board of Trustees at Assumption College for Sisters, Morris County Improvement Authority as Secretary and Commissioner. I also co-chaired the St. Francis Fall Festival for 7 yrs. I was the State of New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commissioner (2000-2004), a past president of the Morris County League of Municipalities, a past president of the New Jersey Municipal Managers Association. I was the Commissioner of the Morris County Joint Insurance Fund for 27 years. I have also been an honorary member of the Denville Fire Department Association and an honorary member of the Sunrise Rotary. I volunteer with Denville Beautification and am a founding member and former chair of the Rockaway River Watershed Cabinet. I served as the lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and was the Master of Ceremonies for the Joey Bella Memorial Fund from 2001 to 2005. I also served on the Morris 2000/Tomorrow Executive Committee. 


Why did you choose to run for mayor?  Why did you decide to run now?


I believe these two questions are very much tied together in my case due to the unique 

circumstances I find myself. Having been a Town Administrator for over 44 years, 21 of  which were as Township Administrator in Denville, it became quite clear to me that there was a need to step up and run for the position of Mayor of the town I fell in love with some 33 years ago. After much encouragement and discussion with friends, family and the residents of Denville, I decided to run for this most important office. Recognizing that Denville is at a crossroads between maintaining the beautiful small hometown setting coupled with the need for growth and modernizing our policies and procedures.


Why now, … I could have decided to run for Mayor in 2011, as I was the Business Administrator in Mendham Borough and there is no prohibition to be the BA in one jurisdiction and the Mayor in another. Morally, I felt that one cannot serve two Communities in these roles simultaneously as the need to be there for your Town in the case of emergencies or serious issues such as Mount Laurel, Environmental, the ever increasing concern of the tax burden and Public Safety…where would your loyalties lie? I worked in the field of Municipal Government for another 8 years, honing my skills and the enhancement of my experiences in both Mendham Borough and Parsippany, retiring in December of 2018. Now that I am retired, I can address full time the issues facing Denville in 2020, giving my all, bringing my experience, vision, commitment and passion to sustain and expand on this wonderful family-friendly environment called Denville.


We need more than ever before to recognize that the vibrancy of a community rest not with those that govern but with the enthusiasm of its citizens. Mayor James F. Dyer, who I had the privilege to work with, instilled this most important belief in my day to day dealings with the public….To be a successful Mayor one needs to build upon that concept, it is volunteerism and involvement (Communications) by all members of the Community that will assure a vibrant place to call home. The best way to achieve this is through example, I believe I have lived a life of volunteerism and wish to continue that role, through the office of Mayor.


Although being Mayor is a part time position, I will give it a full time effort and I will be donating my salary to non-profits such as Joey Bella, the Denville Food Pantry, SPARK. 


What do you feel is the biggest issue facing Denville today?


The cost of providing services is ever present and one needs to call upon every possible idea to meet that ever increasing demand, be it Public Safety, Open Space, Affordable Housing, Recreation, State Mandates, Health Care, the Environment, Water and Sewer to name a few.


The Economic Vibrancy of our Downtown due to an ever increasing need for parking and the flow of traffic, with the many business, professional and shops requiring more and more access for the client, customer, and shopper.  Addressing the needs of the other Commercial and Business Districts like Rt.46, 53, and 10.


Our Lake Communities, status of the dams, the quality of the water…to name a few. 


What specific skills will you bring to the table if elected/re-elected?


My leadership skills have been honed by my role as both Business Administrator and volunteer project manager. Having the ability to work side by side with others to achieve open space (POWWW Property)projects, field improvements (Gardner Field, Knuth Fields, Pocono Fields), the quality of life and safety issues (SRO/Class 3, Norton Project), Communication skills …and yes I do have a tendency to talk a bit, but I really have the proven ability to listen as well. Negotiation skills for acquiring land and contracts be it PILOT’s or Union/Associations, development, acquisition of fields.

A financial acumen that has provided for cost savings, more with less, improved projects and enhanced outcomes (upgrades by Moody’s/S&P, Open Space Acquisitions, the Building of Cook’s Pond Senior Housing/Municipal Building.)  


What new programs or initiatives would you like to start if elected/re-elected?


Open Door Fridays, in order to communicate and answer questions as they relate to the many things that involve the Denville Administration/Township.


Denville Seniors First, Be it Cook’s Pond, the Oaks, the Senior Socials, Senior Clubs or any Senior seeking assistance, information, or wanting to address an issue and provide input.


Lake Community Forum, where everything from Water Quality, Dam restoration, assistance in collaborating with the Township to pursue State, County, Foundations and Shared Resources to insure the continued vibrancy of this most precious resource.


Increased Communications regarding the Council on Affordable Housing and embrace the Community’s input.


Sport Groups /Recreation/Open Space how they interrelate and what innovative use of existing funds can be maximized to assist in establishing an even better program for all residents.


Branding Denville as a Bike/Pathway Community…we are moving in that direction presently, but we need to focus more on how we can establish a program/project second to none.


Downtown Denville can be enhanced by looking into an Authority/Utility to provide not only parking but additional commerce. Funding is provided outside of the taxes and we can celebrate an improved town center (already the envy of the surrounding communities) by taking it into the 21st Century.


Communications and celebrating the Volunteer Spirit that is Deville has been my watchwords as I have walked the Township and believe some of what once was is now missing. My election is centered on this concern. Denville and her people first and foremost, I would like to serve as the Mayor (Steward) in that regard.  


What are you passionate about?


Family and Friends…Being involved in the Community, from selling 50/50 for Rotary, planting the Cannas for Beautification, performing Mystery Plays for the Denville Library, collecting the Ducks for the Sunrise Rotary, MC for Joey Bella, active in St. Mary’s.


What is the best thing about Denville?


Her volunteers, the people , its location, Downtown Center, Beautiful Lakes, woods, shops.


What are your hobbies/interests?


Volunteering, reading, travel, family events, the occasional visit to a casino, Broadway and music.


What is your professional background? 


City of Jersey City 1973-1986   Capital Construction Coordinator/Management Analysis/Assistant Business Administrator, Denville Township 1986-2007   Business Administrator/Public Safety Director/Acting Finance Director/Acting Mayor/Insurance Commissioner, Mendham Borough 2008-2014  Business Administrator/Insurance Commissioner, Parsippany-Troy Hills  2014-2018 Business Administrator/Self-Insurance Commissioner/Acting Clerk/Acting Finance Director                                                                          


Awards and Recognitions


             Outstanding Service Recognition-New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission, Rotary Centennial Service Award for Professional Excellence, Paul Harris Fellow, Morris County Chamber of Commerce William P. Huber Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership, Lakeland Hills YMCA Outstanding Community Leader, Morris-Sussex Area Council Boy Scout Outstanding Citizen Award, Joseph Maher Jr. Award from the New Jersey Chapter of the American Public Works Association

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