This Tuesday, May 9, the residents of Union City will fill the seats of the five-member Board of Commissioners for the next four years.
This year, there are 11 candidates in total, and residents can vote for any five they wish from any column.
The mostly-incumbent slate led by Mayor Brian Stack is Union City First, under Column B, including Commissioners Christopher Irizarry, Tilo Rivas, Maryury 'Margie' Bombino, and non-incumbent Lucio Fernandez.
Running against them are Team Younity, under Column A, led by resident Frank Scarafile. The slate includes former commissioner Tina Yandolino, along with Frank Alonzo, Deirdre Berry, and Jose Fernandez.
Running independently in the hopes of retaining his seat on the board is Commissioner of the Department of Public Works Luis Martin, who will run under Column C. He had a falling out with Stack and is running on his own.
In Union City's form of government, once five commissioners are chosen, they will pick a mayor from among themselves. Mayoral hopefuls Stack and Scarafile are actually running as commissioners.
The candidates have been profiled in previous issues (see www.unioncityreporter.com).
Mayor Brian Stack, who also serves as Assemblyman for the 33rd District, first took office in 2001 following the resignation of Mayor Rudy Garcia.
Throughout the last four years, the current administration turned the city's cash deficit into a surplus, and brought in numerous new developments and school buildings.
"I feel a lot of our accomplishments have had to do with the quality of life," said Stack.
Running with Stack are current commissioners Christopher Irizarry and Tilo Rivas, who came into office with the mayor in 2002.
Rounding out Union City First are Commissioner of Revenue and Finance Maryury "Margie" Bombino, who was officially elected to the Union City Board of Commissioners just last November, and newcomer Deputy Director of Public Affairs Lucio Fernandez.
Bombino currently works for the Board of Education, and Fernandez has been serving the city of Union City in many capacities for years.
A former principal at Emerson High School and now Superintendent of Schools in Little Ferry, Frank Scarafile and the community activist group Younity have tried to address concerns regarding the current administration's practices.
"The fact is, we have a mayor that has unprecedented power in running the whole operation in the city," complained Scarafile.
Among the concerns is Stack's alleged control over most of the boards in Union City, alleged overdevelopment, not enough recreational programs, and concerns over law enforcement.
Running with Scarafile is former Commissioner of Public Works Tina Yandolino, who also served with Stack when he first took over on 2001.
A first-time candidate, Frank Alonzo is one of two Republicans running in the bipartisan election, and served for six years on the Hudson County Board of Taxation in 1997. The second Republican candidate is local businesswoman Deirdre Berry, who is running for political office for the first time.
A resident since 1990, Berry has voiced major concerns concerning parking and traffic flow around the city, as well as the effects of development.
The final member on the Younity ticket is local resident Julio Fernandez. A UPS postal worker, Fernandez has been a resident of Union City for the last 22 years.
Another familiar face to the Union City Board of Commissioners election is current commissioner of the Department of Public Works, Luis Martin.
Martin, who is running as an independent, defected from Stack's group in early March after Stack said he wouldn't include him on his ticket.
At first it was said that Martin had made the decision not to run again in order to dedicate more time to his family, but then in April, he collected the necessary signatures to run independently.
From that point on, Martin has become publicly critical of the mayor. He has stated concerns over Union City's current status under the city's budgeting practices, and complained that he and his fellow commissioners were often left out of certain duties such as executing the municipal budget.
"The mayor is only interested in his own political agenda," said Martin.