Steve Neale, Verona’s director of administration and economic development, is leaving Verona to become the borough administrator of Waldwick. Neale’s last day will be Friday, July 7.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Verona business community over the years and I look forward to seeing you all still as a regular resident in town,” Neale wrote to members of the Verona Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
Neale, a Verona native who has served on the Verona Fire Department for 15 years, joined the town workforce in 2007 and initially handled a wide range of communications and website management tasks, pitching in wherever and whenever he was needed. He got modern parking meters installed on town-controlled spaces and worked with PSEG to make town buildings more energy efficient through cutting-edge lighting and improved insulation.
But he gradually came to focus on helping the Verona business community, both the businesses that were already in town and those looking to come here. Named director of administration and economic development in 2018, Neale made it easier for would-be business owners to see what properties might be right for their needs, and helped them to cut through the red tape that too often stymied business growth here. Neale was big on using social media to highlight the arrival of a new business, or a new feature at an existing business.
Neale made his biggest mark on the Verona business community during the COVID-19 pandemic. He sent detailed messages, often daily, to business owners to help them understand the constantly evolving welter of state rules and regulations, and facilitated amenities that Verona businesses never had, like outdoor dining. Along the way, he also somehow found time to lead Sustainable Verona, a program to improve the environment in Verona on a wide variety of fronts, and to get credentials in public administration.
And now he will be bringing all those skills to Waldwick, a Bergen County town that is somewhat smaller than Verona. (Verona’s previous town manager, Matthew Cavallo, left in November 2021 for another Bergen County municipality, Wyckoff.)
“I look forward to seeing what the future brings for the business community here in Verona,” Neale wrote to business owners, “and wish you all much success.”