Alex Torpey is a New Jersey raised and based public servant, entrepreneur, educator, and consultant.
Most recently, Alex was the Business Administrator for the City of Lambertville, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Formerly he was the Borough Administrator in Leonia, Bergen County. Alex is a visiting professor of governance and technology at Seton Hall University, an adjunct professor of public management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and an independent governance and management consultant. He is currently working with Sustainable Jersey as the consulting Program Manager for the Public Information and Engagement Program. He was the founder and managing partner of Veracity Media previously, and was one of the youngest mayors in the United States when he was elected to the position in his hometown in 2011 at age 23.
As a municipal administrator, Alex has pioneered thorough, multi-year budget, goal setting, and community planning processes. In both communities, within the first year, beyond a long list of various operational, technology, transparency, shared service, and management programs, Alex overhauled or created brand new budgeting infrastructure for operating/capital, debt, facilities, personnel, affordable housing, and more. This comprehensive and transparent process helped each of these communities, for the first time ever, understand where their budget and taxes would be going over the next six years, in an effort to help support more informed, effective, and strategic decision-making that will better meet the community's needs. Alex has won numerous grants and awards related to this work, including from the State of New Jersey, federal government, and Sustainable Jersey.
Alex's consulting areas of expertise include technology, civic engagement, communications, organizational development, strategic planning, management, policy/program evaluation, and emergency/risk management. Alex was the consulting Program Director for Run for America (Creating the new nonpartisan civic leadership program Pathways), and has consulted with organizations such as Living Cities, John Jay College, and Apolitical. Previously, Alex was a James Madison Fellow at the Millennial Action Project, on the Advisory Board of the New Jersey New Leaders Council and a member of Sustainable Jersey's Civic Innovation and Community Engagement Task Force.
In 2011, Alex was sworn into a four year term as the 48th Village President of South Orange. As the youngest sitting mayor in New Jersey at the time, he was also the youngest in South Orange's history. Alex's four-year term lasted until May 18th, 2015, when, as his last act as Village President, he swore in South Orange's first female Village President, Sheena Collum, whom he had supported in the election. Alex became a leading voice on millennial civics leadership, technology, good governance, and transparency in government as well as small business innovation and entrepreneurship.
Prior to taking office, Alex founded and then was a managing partner of Veracity Media, a non-partisan social-impact digital strategies consulting firm that helps nonprofits, political candidates and governments use digital media tools and grow their ability for impact. Veracity Media had been recognized on numerous occasions for its innovative approach to digital organizing and social impact vision and mission statements, which allowed the company to launch unique "Social Impact Projects," allowing team members to get directly involved in education, outreach and advocacy on issues important to them. Veracity Media's vision is to advance -- at local, state, national, and global levels -- a body politic that supports free and open discourse; equity of educational, economic and political opportunity; protections of human and civil rights; sustainability; and economic and cultural freedom and advancement.
Alex acquired his B.A. in the Political Science of American Law and Government from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he served as student government president for two years, while working for the school newspaper, radio station and serving on a number of other boards and committees. He also founded Hampshire’s Public Safety and Health Committee, Hampshire’s tennis team, and helped with the founding of the Department of Public Safety’s student security program. Alex’s course of study at Hampshire included looking at political science, legal philosophy, behavioral economics, public policy and anthropology. His senior thesis "Breaking Taboo" was a 14 month research project on the history and implications of alcohol policy in the United States, which included organizing a Five College conference on tackling alcohol abuse problems on college campuses, which gained recognition from many nationwide experts in the field of substance abuse and alcohol policies and resulted in change to campus policies at Hampshire. Alex's thesis advisory board comprised of Hampshire College President Ralph Hexter and Assistant Professor of Legal Studies Jennifer Hamilton (co-chairs) and Martha Umphrey, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College. Alex's thesis won Hampshire's Earl Ubell Award for explaining scientific findings to a broader audience. In 2013, Alex completed his Master of Public Administration in emergency management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, after which he was hired by his alma mater as an adjunct faculty member in their Master of Pubic Administration program.
In 2012, Alex also launched Rethink Leadership, a nonpartisan initiative aimed at inspiring and supporting young and otherwise nontraditional political candidates to run for office as a way to positively benefit their community. The goal of Rethink Leadership is to not only help encourage people towards greater civics participation, but also to help create a more collaborative political environment through local workshops, seminars and networking events.
As one of the country's most vocal elected officials on open government and the need for greater technological innovation, especially in local government, Alex has lectured, published articles, and regularly attends conferences on the subject. Alex has spoken at the Barnes Foundation, Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, POLITICO and POLITICO Pro, Emerging Local Government Leaders, the Belfast Technology Conference, Personal Democracy Forum, the National Constitution Center, Social Media Week NYC & LA, and at colleges and community groups across the region and nation. Alex has been awarded several open government awards and accolades, including from the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union and the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government for his initiatives to make government more transparent, which you can read about on the Open Government page.
Alex’s prior service to his hometown of South Orange includes serving on the South Orange Public Library Board, the Citizen’s Public Safety Committee, and as the volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator. Alex also wrote for several local newspapers prior to running for office, including his column, Tea Time with Torpey.
Alex is currently an active member and EMT at the South Orange Rescue Squad, which he has been with since 2010, as well as was the Village's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator while he was in office.
Alex's passion for public service extends far beyond transparency in government and his work to bring fiscal control, more economic investment, and lower crime rates and better emergency preparedness to South Orange. He had the opportunity in his capacity as mayor to officiate one of the first legal same-sex marriage in the history of the State of New Jersey in October of 2013 by opening up South Orange's town hall at midnight on the first day that same-sex marriage was legally accepted, and has been a vocal advocate for marriage equality before and since. Alex is also deeply passionate about increasing peoples' access to quality education, greater economic and political opportunity and is committed to working towards reforming political and electoral processes to allow a wider group of people to have the opportunity to serve in government to help re-shape American governance to be a global example for better governance.
Alex is an avid reader, writer, hiker, photographer, hobby tennis player and drummer who can often be found in his (theoretical) free time camped out in the local Starbucks or coffeeshop with a stack of books about constitutional government, history or quantum physics or engrossed in the latest TED talk or riding his motorcycle on the open road.
A graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, he and his family lived in Maplewood for 10 years before moving to South Orange in 1998. Since then, Alex's work has taken him to Rwanda and Uganda; Brooklyn, NY; Jersey City, NJ; Long Branch, NJ and several more places.
For the itemized detail of accomplishments and important notes in South Orange from 2011-2015, please click here.