Union City Mayor Brian Stack can often be found in his office at City Hall until 11 p.m. or later. His position as Commissioner of Public Safety also has him driving the streets to check their security until 3 a.m.
And now that Stack was elected with more than 11,000 votes on Nov. 6, he knows that it's not time to relax. "We can't just sit back and say we've got it made," said Stack. "I am not just looking toward May; I am looking toward the next four years. I want the people to have the same confidence in me then as they do now."
Stack was appointed to the commissioner's seat and to the mayoralty in October 2000 after former Mayor Raul "Rudy" Garcia resigned. He ran in a special election on Nov. 6 to complete the unexpired term left by Garcia. This term will end in May when Stack will have to run again in a regular municipal election with a full ticket of commissioners. (See below).
After his inauguration as mayor Nov. 16, Stack resumed business as usual. "I am going to continue to be a full-time mayor," he said.
Over the past year, Stack has worked on helping the city become fiscally sound. In a short time, he has slightly reduced the city's municipal taxes, paid the city's cash deficit and established a $3 million cash surplus.
"We are trying to continue building up the surplus, but also trying to give some relief to the taxpayers," Stack said. "You always want to keep some surplus in there. We need a cushion to fall back on."
Stack credits the city's hiring freeze and the enrollment in the state's Distressed Cities Program for the stability the city is finally seeing in its budget.
This year, the city was able to include $2.5 million in state Distressed Cities Program funding and plans to increase that amount, as well as continue the hiring freeze.
Stack is also trying to make the employees working within City Hall more people-friendly.
"We are all public servants," said Stack, who initiated an open-door policy his first day on the job that sets aside two days each week for appointments with concerned residents. "Not just those elected."
Increasing quality of life
Stack has also been tackling quality-of-life issues, pushing for a greater police presence and cleaner streets. Since Stack has been in office, the police department has reinstated two-man patrol cars and has reassigned many officers from behind the desk to the streets.
However, Stack plans on working even more with the city's community policing unit to increase foot patrols and wants to put the concept of the neighborhood police officer into action.
"I want the people of Union City not just to think they are safe," said Stack. "I want them to actually be safe and feel safe."
On Saturday mornings, Stack, along with up to 50 volunteers, sweeps the neighborhood streets. With the city's Urban Enterprise Zone Development Corporation, Stack has initiated a Clean Program, where merchants and other residents will be responsible for cleaning their property.
"This is a real campaign that will run throughout the year, not just certain times," said Stack.