GBCA Community Partner: Tom Duch, Manager City of Garfield
As City Manager, Tom is responsible for the day to day operations of the city including attending all Mayor and Council meetings, preparing and submitting the budget with the assistance of the Finance Officer, managing all personnel employed by the City, and serving as its Public Information Officer. As the diversity of people in Garfield grows, Tom strives to make the government friendly to the cultural differences in order to make people feel better about their community.
When Tom Duch, born and raised in Garfield, took his position as Garfield’s City Manager, it came as no surprise to the residents. “It’s a small city so a lot of people come here and say they know members of my family or they belong to the same church, and they want to deal with me directly,” Tom explains. “There’s a lot of personal interaction here at the office.”
Since he started in his position, Tom has extended the City Hall hours to accommodate residents’ needs and implemented customer service training for City personnel from Rutgers University. His future plans for the City include upgrading parks, the redevelopment and transit village designation of Passaic Street, and to continue to provide resources to assist those in economic distress. He also plans to continue to work with community-based organizations like Greater Bergen Community Action to provide social services for the residents of Garfield.
“Without organizations like Greater Bergen Community Action, the City of Garfield would not be as rich in what it has to offer,” says Thomas Duch, Manager for the City of Garfield. GBCA initially partnered with the City of Garfield when it proposed the Bergen County Help Center, to help direct individuals in need to the appropriate programs and services that can assist them.
The Bergen County Help Center transformed the programs offered by GBCA by adding the Weatherization and Home Energy programs based on the needs of the individuals. GBCA is also the designated Master Redeveloper in the revitalization of Garfield’s Passaic Street corridor. With 2017 marking the City of Garfield’s Centennial Celebration, GBCA has been a positive contributor to the events and inner-workings of the city, pitching in wherever they could.
While he has many achievements in the city, Tom believes that his biggest accomplishment as City Manager will be his successful rehabilitation of the Passaic Street Corridor. He takes pride in the upkeep of the community, and when residents tell him how beautiful the community looks, he just beams.
“I try to be the City’s biggest cheerleader, whether I’m at a County or a City meeting, and there’s a lot of interrelationships within the community that open doors for bigger opportunities for everyone.”
To learn more about the plans for the revitalization of Garfield by clicking here.
For more information on the benefits of redevelopment in the City of Garfield click here.