The Essex County Republicans honored three Caldwells officials this week for their work and commitment to the communities they serve.
Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas named former West Caldwell Councilman Dominick Aiello the Elected Official Of The Year. Aiello, who resigned from the West Caldwell Council in November, was presented with the award during the group's annual holiday party.
"It is very nice and certainly humbling," said Aiello in an email.
Aiello was elected to West Caldwell Council for four-consecutive terms and resigned with a year remaining on his final term. Aiello said in November that it was time for a new crop of residents to lead.
"We gave the Elected Official Of The Year award to Mr. Aiello for his decade-plus … service to the West Caldwell community," Barlas said, "and also for the work he did with his organization Vero Amici."
In addition, other award winners from the Caldwells were North Caldwell Mayor Joe Alessi, who was presented with the Mayor of the Year award, and Caldwell Municipal GOP Chairman Joe DeFuria, who was name the Chairman of the Year.
Barlas said the county Republicans annual recognize "those who have done an exceptional job" during the year.
The county Republicans chose to award the Mayor Of The Year to Alessi, said Barlas, because of work during Hurricane Sandy and the relationship he developed with the crews from Texas who came to help repair the damage done to the borough.
"That highlighted for us what a mayor is supposed to be and what a mayor should do," said Barlas, "which is to promote the community … and be the ambassador of your town."
DeFuria has been the chairman of the Caldwell Republican Party for more five years. In a "bellwether" town, Barlas said, DeFuria has done a "great job of recruiting top-flight candidates [and] putting together a really good campaign team year in and year out."
The recent Republican sweep of the Caldwell Council municipal elections in November, Barlas said, is a testament to DeFuria's work.