By Lexie Yearly
Sal Schiano has always enjoyed staying involved.
A township resident since 2004, Schiano has been active in a number of organizations. In the past, he’s served as fire commissioner for Fire District No. 2, secretary of the Bordentown Township Environmental Commission and an alternate member of the planning board.
He resigned from those positions last year due to a family issue, but found that he was left with a void, and missed his constant interaction with the town.
Now, he’s running as the Democratic candidate for a seat on the Bordentown Township committee.
Schiano, 61, takes pride in the Clifton Mills development where he lives with his wife, Linda. He currently serves as director of the Homeowners Masters Association and president of the Commons Homeowners Association.
A Staten Island native, Schiano most recently lived in Old Bridge for 22 years before he moved to the township. He worked for 26 years with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In that time, he served as a police officer, detective, treasurer, and 1st Vice President and trustee. He also founded the Major Case Squad with several other detectives.
Schiano was based out of Newark when he finally retired from the Port Authority in 2003. He and his wife decided to move to Bordentown the next year because their son lived there.
One of his most poignant moments working with the Port Authority was when he witnessed the collapse of the second World Trade tower on Sept. 11. His job that day was to account for all the Port Authority detectives.
Schiano has also remained very involved with the XCEL Federal Credit Union, where he now serves as treasurer and member of the board of directors.
Schiano earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Brooklyn College and a master’s degree in education from Seton Hall University.
He has a number of hobbies, some of which started because of his sons. When his first son, Salvatore Jr., was born, Schiano took some local photography courses and brought his son as a model. Now, with two grown sons and three grandchildren, Schiano is still always the one behind the camera.
Schiano began working with computers, too, when his son started surfing the web. With the newness of the Internet, Schiano worried about who his son might be talking to and wanted to “stay one step ahead of him.” Schiano took some computer courses, he said, but taught himself much of the basics about how computers work and function.
An issue with snow removal payment in Clifton Mills is what first sparked Schiano’s interest in working as an elected official. The development has an agreement with the township, Schiano said, where Clifton Mills pays for snow removal, and the township reimburses a percentage of the payment.
About four years ago, a delay in the township’s payments began to affect the development’s budget, and so Schiano began attending committee meetings to try to get to the bottom of the issue.
Two years ago, Schiano ran unsuccessfully as an independent for a seat on the committee because he hoped to contribute his own experience and ideas.
One aspect important to Schiano was the creation of a central location for the township, he said. He explained that when people hear the name “Bordentown,” they automatically think of the city because of its central downtown. He hoped to establish a location that township residents could call their own, where they could host events like Community Day, instead of its usual location in the Senior Center parking lot.
He surmised that the idea may have come up already among committee members, but that the government needed to be more transparent about plans for the community.
“They just say, ‘we have an idea,’ but wouldn’t explain it to the township the way I think it should be explained,” Schiano said. “I think the residents should get more involved in what they want.”
One of the biggest things Schiano would bring to the committee, he said, is the willingness to look past party lines and focus on what’s right for residents.
He referenced the meetings he holds for the committees in his development, saying he has no problem admitting when he is wrong and asking for suggestions of different ideas from others.
Another issue he hopes to tackle is taxes. He said taxes have gone up since he first moved to the township in 2004, but the services don’t reflect the increases.
“I understand everything goes up, but services have gone down,” he said. “I’m not promising I’m gonna lower taxes, and anyone who is, is lying to you. But my thing is, for all the taxes that we are paying, to get more services.”