Supporters of Davis, those neutral, and Nadrowski herself say that the choice shows that the city is ready to break new ground.
Nadrowski was gratified by the choice and is ready to get started.
“The people I’m working with, the other four council members, know my ability and know I can do the job,” she said. “They’re forward thinking. It’s not 1950; it doesn’t have to be a man. I’m actually surprised it took this long.”
Nadrowski said that the city had previous councilwomen who were qualified to take the meeting gavel, including the late Dot Harrington and Mary Jane Desmond, still active in the community.
“I’m surprised in that there were those that were qualified,” Nadrowski said. “Dot was there long and had a great impact. People just weren’t ready for it at the time.”
“This is just another sign that Bayonne’s ready for change; we don’t want the same old thing,” Nadrowski said.
But at the same time, Nadrowski downplayed her gender in taking over the post.
“It’s the same job, with a male or female in the position,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anyone on the council who couldn’t do the job.”
Nadrowski said it is more about ability than gender for her to take the helm of the municipal council. Citing her work as a software engineer for more than 20 years, the council president said her professional experience, like being organized and knowing how to deal with divergent groups of people and individuals have given her the know-how to proceed in her municipal position.
“I think I’m very level, very calm,” she said. “I think that's a good quality to have.”
She believes that being able to deal with people unhappy with a situation – as well as those who are – can only help her in municipal government.
Nadrowski cited her years of volunteerism, and one instance specifically – selling the idea of a merger of Bayonne Catholic grammar schools into one citywide academy – as an experience that helped equip her for the job of council president.
“There were those who were happy and those who were not,” she said. “I think I know how to deal with both of them -- and with respect.”
Having been both a coach and athletic director at All Saints Academy has also shaped how Nadrowski will serve the city.
The bottom line for her will be bringing together people with competing goals and finding a middle ground.
“It’s dealing with multiple personalities, everyone wanting something different, and learning how to balance what they want with what’s good for people on the whole,” Nadrowski said. “And factoring in cost while doing that.”
Nadrowski said she has the personality for her new role, including doing something 100 percent when she attempts it.
“Obviously there’s a learning curve; everything is new at some point,” she said. “I feel I have the background to carry out, the skills needed, and the abilities and qualities to manage the job and manage projects, like in the business world.”
One of her first projects was the July 14 meeting at the city’s new downtown constituent office to discuss problems pertaining to the Bayonne Bridge road-raising project—an ongoing issue. The new administration decided to act quickly to find out what the concerns are.
“It’s something we get a lot of calls on,” Nadrowski said. “The residents are vocal, so we’re responding to it.”
Among the new priorities the new council will address are filling vacant seats on various boards, evaluating the efficiency of city government, and working on ways to attract new businesses to the city.
As for holdover projects from the administration of former mayor Mark Smith, the council will be examining those too.
“We still have to look at three proposals for the Harbor Station South,” Nadrowski said. “We’re not going to start over. We’re going to review them and evaluate them. We’re not going to just scrap what’s going on.”
The new council president promised an evaluation of proposed development for Broadway as well.
“We’re looking at terms and what makes sense to put in there,” she said.
Already under way were two initiatives that the mayor and council thought would bring greater transparency to government and greater participation in it; moving the council caucus from 3:30 to 7 p.m. so more people can attend, and moving up the public speaking portion of the council meetings from the end of the program to the beginning.
"Two things already done," she said of the measures that will be changed at the June 16 council meeting.
Words of praise
Many think that Nadrowski is headed for a successful council presidency.
“I am very proud to be serving in office with Bayonne’s first female council president,” said Davis. I grew up with Sharon’s family, and attended school with her siblings, so she and I have known each other for many years.
“We look forward to having a productive working relationship. Sharon already has made her mark in the technology field and as an activist with community organizations,” the mayor said. “As council president, Sharon will be sensitive to neighborhood issues and the needs of the entire community.”
“I think she’s going to do a very good job,” said at-large Councilman Juan Perez. “That’s my feeling. She’s a smart person and very articulate. She’s got my backing, and everything’s going to come out well for the city. She’s an asset.”
“I think it shows how inclusive Mayor Davis is, that he’s included everyone in the community and that a woman is his council president speaks volumes,” said former councilman and business owner Ben Costanza. “I think it’s a nice touch. It’s long overdue.”