Mayor Robert Greenbaum’s arrival in and service to Mount Olive

By Steve Sears

As the tenure of Robert Greenbaum’s time as Mayor of Mount Olive Township concludes in 2023, Mount Olive Life presents a four-part, quarterly series which talks about his life and accomplishments.

For our July 2023 issue, we briefly discuss with the mayor his 1998 arrival in town and his career in politics.

25 years ago, Greenbaum and his wife at that time were looking for an affordable home in a nice community. The found it in Mount Olive, along with a new, four-bedroom house for $235,000 at Flanders Crossing

The mayor recalls, “The neighborhoods surrounding Flanders Crossing were well maintained, and we decided that Mount Olive would be a great place to raise a family.” And since his tenure in office began as a town councilman in 2001, Mount Olive has changed significantly. “We have much more housing of all kinds – single family, townhomes, and condos – more and better developed parks and shopping centers, better schools, and generally provide better municipal services.”

Upon being elected to the town council, Greenbaum also served on the township’s planning board from 2001 – 2004, and again in 2009. “One spot on the planning board is reserved for a member of the governing body,” he explains. “I thought my knowledge of the law and planning issues would be of benefit to the township and to the residents. I enjoyed my time on the planning board, and ultimately gave it up to allow another governing board member a turn.”

The mayor was elected to the town council for three consecutive terms – 2001, 2005 and 2009 – and served ten of the twelve years. He served as council president from 2005 – 2007, was vice-president in 2010, and in 2011 ran for the office of mayor and was elected. “I decided to run for mayor as I had a specific vision and plan for Mount Olive, and thought I was the best choice out of those who had expressed an interest,” he says.

Greenbaum has had his challenges running the Morris County town of 30,000 residents, but there have been significant accomplishments. He says, “Our biggest successes were no tax increases for the entire time I was mayor, improved municipal facilities, communication with the residents, and building a sense of community.”


As important as those accomplishments are, the mayor has also had to lead Mount Olive through historic weather events, sad times, and even tragedy. Superstorm Sandy and various snowstorms and treacherous weather certainly plagued the community, but the township with Greenbaum at the helm fought through them. “There were many sad moments,” he says. “The death of two teenagers the night before graduation in a car accident, the death of the two boys in the lake when they fell through the ice, the Paramus bus accident, and (fire marshal) Fred Detoro and municipal engineer) Gene Buczynski’s passings.”

Still, Mount Olive and its citizens marched forward, and Greenbaum recognizes that he has not done his job alone, nor does any township function daily because of one individual. It is a team effort. He says, “The department heads, in particular, do a great job every day.”

As he prepares to pass the mayoral baton at the end of this year, Greenbaum has no regrets, and offers best wishes to his successor. “It is time for someone else to bring new ideas to town government. The best of luck; these are increasingly difficult times.”


At the same time, leaving a job he has loved is difficult. “It is bittersweet,” Greenbaum affirms. “It becomes part of who you are. But at some point, you just have to let it go.”


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