Public Info

Italian Tribune to Honor Freeholder Alexander Mirabella with Christopher Columbus Man of the Year Award

Mirabella set to receive award at Italian Tribune’s 46th Annual Columbus Day Gala at Birchwood Manor in Parsipanny on October 7th

Freeholder MirabellaFreeholder Alexander Mirabella, who led the founding of the annual Union County Columbus Day Celebration, is being honored by the Italian Tribune with the “Christopher Columbus Man of the Year Award,” for his pride in his heritage and years of assisting others through his public service.

“It is presented to him with the deepest degree of pride and admiration for his success in both an outstanding career and in his charitable life,” said Italian Tribune Publisher A.J. “Buddy” Fortunato.

“I am truly honored to receive this award, and proud to continue our efforts in calling attention to the immeasurable contributions that Italian Americans make to our country,” Mirabella said. “I am deeply proud of my heritage, and am excited by the opportunity to participate in this program, and take time to reflect on our shared legacy.”

The award will be presented to Mirabella at the 46th Annual Columbus Day Gala to be held on Friday, October 7th, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Birchwood Manor, 111 North Jefferson Road in Whippany, New Jersey. For information on purchasing tickets for the event, please feel free to contact the Italian Tribune at (973) 860-0101.

Originally born and raised in the City of Elizabeth and now a resident of Fanwood, Alexander Mirabella was first elected to the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1997. He is now serving his seventh three-year term and has been the Board’s Chairman four times.

Tracing his heritage back to Messina, Sicily, Al’s late father, Gene Mirabella, was the first Italian-American Police of the City of Elizabeth’s Police Department, and has a firing range in Springfield named in his honor.  Al is also married to Phyllis LaVecchia, a first generation Italian American and former Roselle Park Councilwoman, whose family hails from Vallata, Italy. They have two children, Alex (a student at the College of New Jersey) and Micayla, who is currently studying at John Cabot University in Rome.

As Freeholder, he founded the County’s Annual Columbus Day Flag raising in 2009 with UNICO District X, which has featured prominent statewide speakers and Italian American organizations, and serves as a member of the Scotch Plains / Fanwood chapter of UNICO.

Freeholder Mirabella also helped implement the County’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, sparking some of the largest increases in Union County parkland in generations. He developed the Sensory Friendly Theater program to provide cultural enrichment for persons with autism and other sensory sensitivities, and he oversaw the expansion of the County’s Office of Veterans Affairs, the creation of the County’s 9-11 Monument and the Board’s efforts in providing benefits for County workers called to active military duty.

Freeholder Mirabella’s other initiatives as Chairman of the Board, a position he’s held 4 times, include holding mobile Freeholder meetings in communities and assembling a shared services committee to streamline government and cut costs, while focusing on infrastructure planning, workforce development, and sustainability measures that helped to leverage millions of dollars in federal funds.

A staunch advocate of education, Freeholder Mirabella was recognized last year by the Union County College Foundation for his outstanding support of Union County College.  He was also instrumental in the implementation of the Union County Vocational / Technical High Schools and oversaw the creation of the Magnet HS, Academy for Information Technology, Allied Health Academy, UC Tech High School and the Academy for performing Arts – schools that are ranked among the best in the nation.

Other career highlights include the creation of the Union County Means Business Initiative, which includes business networking events, an online information hub and newsletter, a new workforce partnership with Union County College, and a special small business loan program through the Union County Economic Development Corporation.

Freeholder Mirabella has served on the Veterans Affairs Committee, the County’s Fiscal Committee, the Fire Services Advisory Board, and Union County Vocational-Technical School Board of Education. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Alan Augustine award from Union County’s Prevention Links in recognition of his work in drug and alcohol prevention. The Union County Library Directors honored him in 2001 for his advocacy on behalf of libraries, including development of grants to upgrade technology at 19 municipal libraries. He has also been honored by Community Access Unlimited for his efforts on behalf of the disabled and by the Raritan Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross (formerly Tri-County Red Cross) for his efforts in 2009 in securing grant money to train disaster volunteers.

Mirabella proudly serves as the Township Manager in Scotch Plains, New Jersey where he manages a $25 million dollar budget and introduced a budget which has had a decrease in the Municipal tax rate.  Since he assumed this leadership position, he has improved communication, increased the number of grant opportunities, improved the township infrastructure, enhanced public safety, improved employee morale and reorganized the Township Leadership team. 

Previous to his tenure on the Freeholder Board, he was twice elected as Councilman at Large in Borough of Roselle Park (1991 – 1996), serving and Fire Commissioner, Council President and Acting Mayor. He graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.