More Articles Click

Mayor Raymond J. McDonough’s Inaugural Address & Legacy

Aug 15, 2022
Harrison NJ Mayor Raymond J. McDonough

In 1994 then Mayor Frank E. Rodgers after 24 consecutive terms of office, 48 years in office as Mayor retired he endorsed then Councilman Raymond J. McDonough as the next Mayor of Harrison. Mayor McDonough would serve from 1994 to February 12, 2014 a total of just under 20 years in office when he passed from a massive heart attack in Town Hall.  A great loss to his wife, family, friends and residents of Harrion NJ. 

Mayor McDonough was on the verge of fulfilling his and his good friend Councilman Peter Higgins (who predeceased him) dream of lowering taxes by Redevelopment.  Current Mayor James Fife admitted that the current income from Redevelopment has very little to do with his administration but what Mayor McDonough and Peter Higgins set in motion many years ago.

On January 5, 1995, Mayor Raymond J. McDonough gave his inaugural address as follows:

As I sit here tonight, I am fully aware of the tremendous task that I have undertaken, and let me assure you that I am committed to leading our town toward the next century.

First, let me that all of the many people who worked so hard so I could be the sixth Mayor of Harrison.  I appreciate your efforts, I will never forget them, and I ask that you continue to work with me and the Council.

I have some pretty big shoes to fill, and I would like to thank Frank E. Rodgers for his many years of service.  We all owe him a debt of gratitude in many ways.

Let me speak now of change.  This seems to be the catchword of the nineties.  Everyone wants change.  Well, Harrison had changed in the last 20 years.  What town hasn’t?  But I feel our town has grown in many ways because of the changes; but in many ways, it has fallen behind.  I’m here to tell you that Harrison will continue to change in the next two years (of Mayor’s term), and I intend to make those changes positive ones.  Everyone may not be pleased with them, but I pledge to do what is right and fair for all residents.

Yes, there will be changes made – and all of you are invited to take part in them.  Come to the Council and Board meetings.  We welcome your ideas and participation.  I urge more people to get involved in our community.  Volunteer your time and talents to help others, especially our children.  As an example, let’s make our Community Center a showplace for New Jersey.  I also plan on expanding the services in the Senior Citizen’s Center.

I already restricted several municipal departments to promote efficiency, and I hope to boost the morale of all town employees.  I want all the residents to feel that this administration is open to them.  The Mayor and Council work for you and we are only a phone call away.

As to my goals:

First, we must lower property taxes.  Steps have already been taken in this direction.  For example, 27 new police and firemen were appointed.  Why?  Last year, Harrison spent over one million dollars in overtime for police and fire protection.  By hiring these new men, we will save $400,00 next year in overtime. And that deducting new salaries.  I am also looking into hiring civilians to do several jobs to free up an officer to do police work.

We are presently seeking new businesses and industries to occupy present  structures in town to increase our tax base.  I will soon be appointing a coalition of business people to help in this effort.

A close look will be taken at formulating the new budget and we will economize wherever possible.

Another goal is to beautify our town.  Cleaner streets will become a reality! We have already benefitted from the paving of Harrison avenue and various other streets.  Many new sidewalks were installed and new trees were planted.  I want to see these efforts continue, and I ask for your help in keeping your property clean and in good repair.  These are just some of the areas that my administration will look at.  There are many other issues that will be addressed in the coming months.

And finally, let me talk about pride.  I am proud to say I have lived in Harrison all my life.  I am proud to be following in my father’s footsteps.  I am proud of my family and all the great people who have chosen to live and stay in our fine town.  If all the of us work together, really together – if we install this feeling, regardless of politics – in our youngsters, then we a have a town in which there is a great pride. 

Thank you all. I’m looking forward to working with you.  Have a great 1995 and God Bless Harrison and the United States of America.  Good night.

--- Inaugural Speech of Mayor Raymond J. McDonough, made at Harrison Town Hall after his swearing-in to his first full term as the Sixth Mayor of Harrison on Thursday, January 6, 1995.

Mayor McDonough was a Councilman of the 2nd Ward before Mayor Rodgers supported his candidacy for Mayor upon Mayor Rodger’s retirement in 1994.  Mayor McDonough served from 1994 until February 12, 2014, when  Mayor McDonough suffered a massive heart attack while at the Harrison Town Hall.  Mayor McDonough was 65 years old at the time.  Mayor McDonough was working with a limited staff on February 12, 2014, which was a Town Holiday for Lincoln’s Birthday.  Emergency EMTs were unable to save him and his wife, family, residents, council members, town workers were in shock.  The loss was unexpected and on the verge of fulfilling the dream of the redevelopment of Harrison’s former Industrial Zone now fondly called SOHA (Southern Harrison).  The initial Redevelopment plan was envisioned by Mayor McDonough and his friend former Councilman Peter Higgins.

What are your thoughts on Mayor McDonoughs' inaugural speech and his vision of Redevelopment in the Town of Harrison? Let Us Know Your Thoughts on our Community Discussion Board.  If you have not signed up yet to participate you can Sign Up now.