Vin DeSantis
Highlands Council Candidate Vin DeSantis
Vin DeSantis

HIGHLANDS –  Improving communications between the governing body and local residents is one of the goals of Vin DeSantis, one of four candidates running for two full term seats on the governing body in the November election.

As a lifelong public servant, the candidate also feels he has an obligation to get involved with the community he moved to from Lincroft four years ago. He sees serving on the borough council as an opportunity to apply his leadership experience in both executive management and emergency management in civil service to promote safety, security and prosperity for the Borough.

DeSantis’ experience does not come without cost to himself. A former New York City police officer  and New York native, at 18 years of age he served with the city’s EMS office. After completing the police academy he joined the New York City Police Department where he served more than 15 years until he was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident while responding to an emergency call. After numerous hospitalizations and surgeries, he was retired from active duty and began working in a hospital in Brooklyn, eventually heading the medical center’s EMS department.  The candidate and his family moved to Lincroft where he became an active member, then captain, of Station 10 of the Middletown Fire Department. In Highlands, DeSantis is a member of the borough’s Open Space Committee. Professionally, DeSantis is managing director of the New York canine unit of MSA Security, the nation’s leading and largest firm in providing explosive detection canines with canine teams throughout the United States and Asia. The MSA Windsor Team dogs sniff out potential threats from both stationary and mobile explosive odors in sports stadiums, airports, amphitheaters, cargo facilities, loading docks and more.

Seeking public office for the first time, DeSantis says he is running because he feels an obligation to get involved in the community and believes his past experience qualifies him for serving on Council.

Communication and transparency are essential, the candidate said, adding, “I hope to help improve communications between council and residents by working with fellow council members to ensure timely, transparent notifications and dialog especially on sensitive issues like the budget, taxes, infrastructure and our First Responder resources.” The candidate added  “there is always room for improvement no matter who sits on council. I would strive to collaborate with my fellow council members to explore different methods to achieve better communication with the residents on all issues.”

DeSantis also feels it is vital for the governing body to not only achieve a sound infrastructure and firm plans and actions for flood resiliency, but also to use all reasonable resources to further develop and attract sustainable new businesses in the borough. “It is important to bring new  businesses to the borough to complement those we already have,” the candidate continued, “we are located in an excellent and very desirable area, people come to Highlands from all over New Jersey as well as New York, and a sound business area will bring people throughout the four seasons.”   

His fiscal responsibility plans begin with timely transparent communications between the governing body and residents on all borough financial matters.

Preserving the unique and far reaching history of the borough is also important, DeSanctis said, as well as planning and providing for the borough to grow responsibly and prosperously so the next generations will still be able to afford to call it home. 

DeSantis readily admits taking on the responsibilities and duties of a councilman will not be easy, but he is fully capable of assuming the obligations.  “I think the hardest part of the job may be making the difficult decisions that are not easy and may not necessarily be popular with some folks. It’s easy to see residents from different areas of the town having both different and similar concerns whether it’s flooding in town, runoff/erosion on the hill or common concerns like assessments, taxes or spillback of Sandy Hook traffic in season.”  But, he added, “at the end of the day if you can look in the mirror knowing  you’ve put the time in, done the research, listened to concerns of all residents and acted sincerely  on behalf of the people who put you in office,  you’ve done your job. “

DeSantis sees serving on council as a means of becoming more involved in the community, a way to apply his leadership experience in both executive management and emergency management in civil service to promote safety, security and prosperity for the borough.

DeSantis said his family has always enjoyed visiting the borough and its many restaurants and historic and recreational sites, so he and his wife Jamie, were thrilled when they were able to move here, and not only purchase a home on Barberie Avenue, but also lease another on Shore Drive. The couple, who have been married 30 years, have a daughter who also lives in the borough and recently earned her master’s degree from Monmouth University and a son who currently residents in Tampa with his wife and the couple’s granddaughter.

DeSantis added he has already met with Mike Warren who is also seeking office for one of the two council seats for the first time, and they already know they share similar goals and visions for the future of the borough. He said he supports Warren’s candidacy and hopes the two of them can share a victory and use their enthusiasm for the borough and its residents as well as their past experience by working closely together on council.

DeSantis has a Facebook page, Vin.DeSantisforHighlands Council  and a web address

This is the first in a series of articles on the four candidates for the two three year terms on council and the two candidates seeking the one year term..  First in the series was candidate Kevin L Martin,  followed by incumbent Councilman Cody Valkos, both seeking the (1) council seat for a one year term.  Next will be Mike Warren, also seeking a full 3-year term.  Two additional candidates for the (2) seats with three-year terms, Jo-Anne Olszewski and Donald Melnyk will be profiled.

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...