Stack, who has been dedicating himself to serving his Union City neighbors since he was a teenager, has never been elected to a four-year term as mayor. Stack ran in 1998 and lost, but won a freeholder seat. Two years later, he was appointed mayor after former Mayor Raul "Rudy" Garcia resigned. Then, this past November, he had to be officially re-elected to finish out Garcia's term, which ends this May.
Stack will be the first incumbent mayor to run with no opposition in a Union City municipal election. The election will be held May 14.
Since the city runs under a commission form of government, Stack is not technically running for mayor. He and his runningmates will all run for spots on the five-member Board of Commissioners, and then are expected to choose Stack as mayor from among themselves.
Stack's ticket of commissioners, announced at the kickoff rally, consists of Commissioner Michael Leggiero, Commissioner Christopher Irizarry, and two newcomers: Board of Education member Tilo Rivas, and Luis Martin.
Current Commissioner Tina Yandolino, who attended the rally, was not included on the ticket. Current Union City Commissioner Ray Lopez, a supporter of past Mayor Rudy Garcia, was not in attendance at the rally and will not run again.
Stack said that he chose his ticket because he felt they would work well together.
"These are very people-friendly people," said Stack. "They also can put in the time necessary to be a good commissioner."
Stack promised his supporters that they would get respect and results from City Hall in the future.
During the 18 months that Stack has been mayor, the city has reduced overtime by 60 percent, stabilized taxes, and took a hard stance on the city's bars and quality of life issues.
He said that he and his new Board of Commissioners will continue to work toward lowering taxes, increasing the quality of life and increasing the police presence on the streets.
"Putting Union City First is Stack's only agenda," said Leggiero. "That agenda is shared by all of us. Five of us represent the ticket. But all of you represent the team."
"Stack's dedication never ceases to amaze me," said Irizarry. He said that two things motivated him to work around the clock with Stack. "I think of all of you who take the time to knock on doors and be here to support us [motivated me]," he said. "And secondly, Brian promised me a vacation after the election."
Also showing their support for the mayor were State Sen. Bernard Kenny, Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Assembly Speaker and West New York Mayor Albio Sires, Assemblyman and former Union City Commissioner Ralph Fraguela, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and Hoboken Mayor David Roberts.
Although no one has filed a ticket opposing Stack's new team, Stack assured his crowd of supporters that he was not going to rest.
"No one filed against us," said Stack, who can often be found in City Hall way past 11 p.m. "That doesn't mean that we don't have to work now."
He added, "I was the only one sad that there was no ticket filed against us. It is not about working hard politically against a person. It is about working hard."
Of the lack of opposition, Leggiero said, "The people of Union City have spoken. This is a testament to our dedication and hard work. Now we can show that even though we are not contested in the election, we still care about Union City."
However, all of the people on the commission ticket urged the residents to come out and vote on May 14. "It is crucial that we get a tremendous vote," said Stack.
"We need all of you to stand with us on May 14," said Irizarry. "Not to defeat an opponent, but to show that Union City has a very strong voice, and when Union City talks, everybody has to listen."
The new guys
The future commissioners said they are ready to work hard for the city.
Martin, who has known Stack since they were in grammar school, said, "In Union City everybody sees dirty streets. They say 'That is Union City.' We will work hard so we can say 'That is not how Union City is; that is how Union City was.'"
Tilo Rivas, who will also be the first elected Dominican in Union City, has come a long way since he was appointed to the Board of Education last May. At that time, a group of parents had protested his appointment saying that he wasn't qualified for the position. Just one year later, he is hailed as one of the city's future commissioners.
"It is a great step," said Rivas, adding that he will not only represent the Dominican community, but the entire Latin community. "Many people in my community come to the United States just looking for the American Dream. I am a team player and I am excited to be part of this team."
Martin, an area businessman, has been active in the community for some time. He has worked for the Brian P. Stack Civic Association since 1996. He is also a member of the city's Zoning Board of Adjustment and was recently appointed to the Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners.
"These are great people [in Union City], they deserve great representation," said Martin, who has also worked with Stack as the Mayor's Aide since he took office 18 months ago.
Martin is a member of the Union City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. But Martin and Rivas will have to resign from their positions on municipal boards after the election.
Irizarry, who Brian said was like a brother to him, was appointed Commissioner of Revenue and Finance in January. Irizarry filled the position left vacant by Assemblyman Ralph Fraguela, who resigned to devote more time to his new position as assemblyman.
Irizarry ran with Stack in the 1998 election for commissioner when they both lost. As a full-time job, Irizarry is the Fixed Assets Coordinator at the Board of Education.
Michael Leggiero, whose family has been in Union City for more than 100 years, is the only member of the ticket who was an elected member of the current Board of Commissioners. He is also the president and CEO of North Hudson Community Action. Leggiero has overseen many departments in City Hall. In the past two years, he has served as the commissioner for the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Revenue and Finance and his current position as Commissioner of Parks and Public Property.
A hard choice
Commissioner Tina Yandolino, who was not asked to rejoin Stack on his ticket, proved once and for all that she is a lady.
"When I became a commissioner, I walked into City Hall with my head held high and a smile on my face," said Tina. "And when I leave City Hall, I will go with my head held high and the same smile on my face."
Although Yandolino will no longer be a commissioner, she said she will still hold her positions on the Union City Redevelopment Agency Board and the Planning Board.
"Tina is a very active person," said Stack. "She is still going to be very involved in government. There is no one more true blue Union City than Tina Yandolino."
"I enjoyed my tenure as a commissioner," said Yandolino, whose family has been in Union City for more than 100 years. "And I am leaving knowing that I served my city to the best of my ability. I am proud to say this is my town." .