James L. Cassella (Mayor, East Rutherford)
The League’s new president, Mayor James L. Cassella, began his service to the people of East Rutherford in 1980, as Trustee of the Borough’s Board of Education. During his five years in that capacity, he served on the Financial, Personnel and Contract Negotiations Committees. In 1985, he was elected to the Borough Council. Continuing on that body until 1995, he served as Chairman of the Finance, Fire, Police and DPW Committees. Mayor Cassella represented the Council in Contract Negotiations. Also, in continual service since 1985, he remains a member of the Joint Meeting Sewer Authority.
East Rutherford’s Mayor since 1996, he has also been, in addition to his other duties, an active member of the Hackensack Meadowlands Municipal Committee, including terms of office as Treasurer, Vice Chairman, and Chairman. In addition, he is a former Commissioner of the Bergen County Utilities Authority. For the past seven years, Mayor Cassella has served as a member of the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Executive Board. He is also a League Legislative Committee Member.
A graduate of Felician College, Mayor Cassella is a recipient of, among other honors, the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award, the Hackensack Riverkeeper Excellence in Public Service award and the South Bergen PAC Outstanding Leadership Award.
Mayor Cassella has been happily married to his wife, Janice, for 28 years.
League 1st Vice President
Colleen Mahr (Mayor, Fanwood)
Mayor Colleen Mahr of Fanwood is the new 1st Vice President of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. Mayor Mahr, who previously was the League’s 2nd Vice President, was elected at the League of Municipalities’ Annual Business Meeting in Atlantic City.
As First Vice President of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, Mayor Mahr will help lead the Association of New Jersey’s 565 municipal governments. She will represent the interests and needs of New Jersey’s local elected officials to county, state, and federal governments.
Beginning her career in public service as Mayoral Aide in Jersey City, Mayor Mahr rose through the ranks to earn the post of Jersey City’s Assistant Director of Housing and Economic Development where she developed in-depth analyses of business trends, legislation, real estate and industrial capacity, and applied the resulting data towards planning, organizing, and directing economic enhancement for Jersey City.
Elected Mayor in 2004, Mayor Mahr had an opportunity to apply her development experience to the deteriorating downtown of her home town, Fanwood. She kick-started the languishing downtown redevelopment plans that had been discussed for decades and worked with local property owners directly in order to avoid using eminent domain. More than a decade later, Fanwood has been transformed with a downtown redevelopment project that was awarded the 2014 Smart Growth Award for Redevelopment and featured placement in the NJ Handbook on Redevelopment.
A strong voice for her constituents, Mayor Mahr led a coalition of mayors working with the Raritan Valley Rail Line to secure direct rail service to Manhattan and continues to work with this coalition to advance the Gateway Tunnel Project, which would be a service to the entire state.
Mayor Mahr has served as an Executive Board member of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, Co-Chair of the NJLM Legislative Committee, leads the Mayor’s Coalition of The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, a member of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, Past President and Legislative Committee Chair for the NJ Conference of Mayors, Board of Directors of the Irish Network New Jersey, a member of the Governor’s Local Government Ethics Task Force, Muhlenberg Hospital Community Advisory Group Member and Board Member of the Union County Academy for the Performing Arts. Mayor Mahr currently serves as Director of Business Development for DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights.
League 2nd Vice President
James J. Perry (Committeeman, Hardwick)
League Second Vice President Committeeman Perry has been a League Executive Board member since 2013. He is also a member of the League’s Legislative Committee and the League’s Emergency Management Preparedness team. Committeeman Perry was also a member of the League’s 100th Anniversary Committee.
Committeeman Perry has served on the Hardwick Township Committee since 2000, and is in his 6th term. He chairs the township budget committee and has served on the local public safety committees, Open Space, Grants, Public Safety, and DPW Committees. He has been serving his community since 1995, starting with an appointment to the Environmental Committee and is a 20-year Planning Board member. He also has served as recreation director for 3 years. Committeeman Perry has also served as President of the Warren County League of Municipalities, President of Warren County Governing Officials Association, and Member of the Warren County Heroin and Opioid Task Force. In addition, he has volunteered as VP of North Warren Little League and coached youth baseball, football and basketball. He is a local business owner of Comtech Solutions, a computer repair business since 2000.
Committeeman Perry also serves on the NJCM Board of Directors, Legislative Committee, Gun Safety Committee, and Bylaws Committee.
Born and raised in East Rutherford before moving to Hardwick in 1993, Committeeman Perry attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford. His brother George Perry is in his 5th term as a member of the East Rutherford Town Council. He has two children, daughter Alyssa, 27, Rutgers Graduate and current math teacher at Glen Rock High School, and son, James Jesse, Jr. (deceased at 23 in 2015), graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.
League 3rd Vice President
Janice Kovach (Mayor, Clinton Town)
The League’s Third Vice President, Mayor Janice Kovach has served as Mayor of Clinton Town since 2012. Prior to joining state government, she was a Councilwoman in the Town of Clinton, serving as the Planning Board Liaison, Chair of the COAH committee, and the Historic Preservation Commission. She resigned her Town Council seat when she assumed the Director’s job of the New Jersey Division on Women, serving from August 2006 until September 2010. As the former Director, Ms. Kovach was a member of the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women, Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Assault, Governor’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, Gender Parity Council and the NJ Commission on Women Veterans.
As a resident of Clinton, Kovach served as a Trustee of the Red Mill Museum Village and President and Trustee of the CPS Partners in Education Foundation, Inc. In October 2004, she was appointed to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and served until May 2010. She is a Leadership NJ Fellow–class of 2009. She was appointed to the Hunterdon County Polytech School Board in March 2011 and served until October 2013. She continues to serve as a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council and as executive board member and chair of the education & training committee of the NJ Women’s Political Caucus.
In addition to her role as Mayor, she taken the passion for her work at the Division and parlayed it into a non-government role, speaking at events about the “Real Women in NJ.” Janice has worked as a consultant for several companies. Previously she was a Director with Prudential, managing a 24/7 call center and a Marketing Project Management Group. She has also held management positions with Fleet and NatWest Banks. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Thomas Edison State College.
Michael J. Darcy, CAE
Michael Darcy joined the New Jersey State League of Municipalities in January 1990. He has held positions in every program, service and management area including advertising manager of New Jersey Municipalities magazine; program specialist in charge of producing seminars; exhibit manager for the Annual League Conference, which is the largest municipal conference in the United States; assistant executive director, and, as of July 1, 2015, executive director.
As executive director, he is responsible for overall administration of the League staff of 18, member programs and services, business operations, and administration of the Executive Board. Darcy is a New Jersey registered lobbyist and represents the League’s interests to external partners and issue stakeholders.
The League represents all of the State’s 565 municipalities and over 13,000 elected and appointed municipal officials. Its headquarters are located at 222 West State Street in Trenton. The League has an operating budget of over 3 million dollars. Some of the many programs and services provided by the League include a monthly magazine “New Jersey Municipalities”, seminars/webinars and educational workshops on a wide range of subjects, numerous survey documents, almanacs, and directories. The League also produces an Annual Conference each November in Atlantic City that attracts nearly 20,000 registrants. Notably, the League is highly regarded as being the “municipal voice” on both Federal and State legislative matters.
Darcy is also responsible for overall administration the NJLM Educational Foundation and the 222 West State Street Urban Renewal Corporation.
He is a Fellow with Leadership New Jersey. In 1999, he achieved the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation, conferred by the American Society of Association Executives. He is a past president of the New Jersey Society of Association Executives (now MASAE) and served as editor of the NJSAE magazine PACE. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives.