The crowd continued to cheer as each of the five commissioners was sworn into office during the inauguration and reorganization of the board.
Stack and the two members of the board who were commissioners prior to the election, Michael Leggiero and Christopher Irizarry, remained in the departments that they were already heading. Leggiero will remain as the commissioner of the Department of Parks and Public Property, Irizarry will continue as commissioner of the department of Revenue and Finance, and Stack will continue as the Director of Public Safety.
Tilo Rivas was appointed to the Department of Public Affairs, taking the place of former Commissioner Ray Lopez, and Luis Martin will be taking over the Department of Public Works, the department formerly headed by Tina Yandolino.
Since Union City has a commission form of government, the five-member board of commissioners gets elected, then selects a mayor from among themselves.
In the front lines
Before March, many people didn't know the name Luis Enrique Martin. Now it is a name most Union City residents will never forget.
For the past 19 months, Martin, who has known Stack since grammar school, has been working behind the scenes as one of Stack's aides in City Hall. Martin was at the Board of Commissioner meetings, picking up trash during the summer clean-up days, and served as master of ceremonies for the city's Jose Marti celebration. Now, Martin said that he is looking forward to his new role as commissioner.
The day after his swearing in, Martin said that he was already down at the DPW garage introducing himself to his staff and explaining that he wants to help to improve the quality of life.
During the swearing in ceremony, Martin told a story about his father, who worked as a valet parking attendant for Michaelangelo, the restaurant that used to be on the bottom floor of the Doric high rise apartment building.
Martin told the audience that every weekend, a commissioner used to come to the restaurant and his father would have to take care of his car. Martin said that his father thought that it was an honor to take care of the commissioner's car.
"It is going to be an honor for me to take care of you, the residents of Union City, the way that my father was honored to take care of that commissioner's car," said Martin, who first arrived in the United States from Cuba when he was 4 years old with his two brothers and his parents.
Making a first
When Tilo Rivas was appointed to the Board of Education in May 2001, he was the first Dominican to be appointed to that board. On May 21, when Rivas was sworn in as a commissioner, he became the first Dominican to be elected to any public board in Union City.
"It is time to recognize the growing Dominican population of our community," Stack had said after appointing Rivas to the Board of Education. "Tilo Rivas is a person of integrity, with outstanding pride in his Dominican and Hispanic heritage."
Rivas, who immigrated to the United States in 1970 and settled in Hoboken to work as a research scientist for the Maxwell House Coffee division of General Foods, moved to Union City in 1990.
After moving to the city, Rivas wasted no time getting involved in his community.
Rivas is the secretary to the Hispanic Cultural Foundation of Hudson County, a commissioner of the Union City Redevelopment Agency, and a founding member of the Union City Public Library Friends, Inc. Now Rivas can add commissioners to that list.
"It is a great privilege to stand behind this podium in front of all of these people," said Rivas. "I want to say that I am grateful to the people of Union City and God Almighty."
Rivas, who now works as a research scientist for Nabisco Inc., also teaches judo and jujitsu.
"My pleasure will be to serve you," said Rivas to the residents attending the inauguration last week.
Continuing his agenda
The crowd continued to cheer as Stack promised to continue working to increase the quality of life in the city after being sworn in as mayor last week.
"We will continue to crack down on the quality of life," said Stack. "And we will continue to crack down on the bad bars in Union City."
Part of the city's quality of life campaign has been creating a greater police presence on the street. Stack said that there will be more walking patrol officers in the police department.
"I don't want you only to feel safe, but to be safe," said Stack, who has already taken police officers out of headquarters and onto the street and has reinforced two-man patrol cars.
Stack also pledged to make City Hall more business-friendly for the residents. Stack named the building department and the rent control office as his top priority when speaking about changes in City Hall.
"If they are not willing to solve your problem, then they have no business in this administration," said Stack. "I want to make City Hall business friendly for everyone. You should receive the white-glove treatment when you walk into City Hall."
Along with Martin and Rivas, Commissioners Irizarry and Leggiero will also be working with Stack to improve the city.
"These are not just fellow commissioners, associates and colleagues of mine; these are my friends," said Stack, about the four other commissioners.
However, none of the commissioners forgot to thank the residents for their positions during the inauguration.
"After losing the election in 1998, I didn't know if I was going to return to politics," said Irizarry, who ran on Stack's ticket against former mayor Raul "Rudy" Garcia in the 1998 municipal election. "But it was the people of Union City that pushed me to go forward."
"My lifelong dream of being a commissioner of this wonderful city has now been realized for a second time tonight," said Michael Leggiero, before repeating his speech in Spanish.
"It is very easy to get all wrapped up in government," said Stack, who promised to speak fluent Spanish by the end of his four year term. "But I can't forget that I wouldn't be here tonight if it wasn't for my mother, my father, my wife Kathy and many friends." .