Neighboring New Jersey towns will have brothers as mayors next year

Dec 27, 2023, 8:06 AM

GIBBSTOWN, N.J. (AP) — Two neighboring New Jersey towns may feel even closer next year when they’re governed by two brothers.

John Giovannitti, 61, will be sworn in Jan. 2 as mayor of Paulsboro, one day before newly-reelected younger brother Vince Giovannitti, 57, is sworn in to a second term as mayor of Gibbstown.

Paulsboro, with a population of 6,300, stretches from Route 130 to the Delaware River, across from Philadelphia International Airport. Gibbstown, with just under 4,000 people in Greenwich Township, is connected to its larger neighbor through the main corridor, Broad Street.

The Paulsboro brothers describe becoming mayors as a “happy coincidence” but also a natural next step after decades serving their communities. They told The Philadelphia Inquirer that being siblings aids the necessary collaboration of mayors of neighboring towns that share certain services.

“We can say things to one another,” Vince said, acknowledging that he might be more reserved in dealings with someone else. John says constantly seeing each other at family functions also helps.

Gibbstown and Paulsboro, described by John as “classic American small towns,” have families and church and civic groups that span municipal lines. Vince calls them “really one big community” and John adds that he does not know if there are many other communities that are “so intermingled.”

The brothers, both Democrats, said they have never lived anywhere else.

“The roots are deep … ” Vince said. “Your friends are here; your family is here.”

The Gibbstown mayor’s salary is $12,314 with a three-year term. Paulsboro’s mayor has a four-year term and is paid between $7,000 and $9,100. John also works as Paulsboro High School’s assistant principal and athletic director and Vince was a special-education teacher and guidance counselor in the district before retiring in 2021.

Asked to describe each other, John depicts Vince as thorough and organized and looking at “the big picture for his community.” Vince says his older brother is committed to Paulsboro, and he says he’s happy for him but “also happy for the residents.”

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Neighboring New Jersey towns will have brothers as mayors next year