Wayne Smith

Former Mayor, Township of Irvington, New Jersey (July 1, 2002-July 2014)

Current Business/Wayne Smith & Associates

Wayne Smith has been an active, prominent member of Irvington’s civic, political, and social sectors throughout his 20-year residency in the township. During this time, he has crafted key alliances with all levels of government, in addition to private enterprise. This ability to build consensus helped propel Wayne Smith to victory in 1996 as an Irvington Council Member At-Large. He was resoundingly re-elected two years later, and at that time, unanimously chosen by his colleagues to serve as president of the legislative body.

His personal philosophy, “If you conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it,” has served Wayne Smith well during his life pursuits. In November 2001, he announced his candidacy for Mayor. Promoting an aggressive agenda to improve life in Irvington, Wayne Smith in May 2002 was elected as Mayor—the 20th since Irvington was incorporated as a township in 1898. His entire slate of council candidates—known as “Team Irvington”—were also elected, further demonstrating his proficiency for building effective partnerships. As a precursor to these impressive victories, the candidates backed by Team Irvington swept the Board of Education election in April 2002.

Mayor Smith was installed in Irvington’s top political post on July 1, 2002. Having identified three keys to Irvington’s revitalization—public safety, quality of life, and economic development—Mayor Smith implemented innovative programs in these areas to reclaim the town’s glorious past as a safe, attractive, and proud community.

Mayor Smith gained valuable experience in municipal operations as the chief of staff to former Irvington Mayor Michael G. Steele. During his tenure on the Council, Mayor Smith sought and received funding from state officials to help balance the township budget and stabilize taxes. Under his guidance, the Council authorized the Special Improvement District, a program to enhance Irvington’s shopping districts. In addition, he helped establish a Boys’ and Girls’ Club in the township, and continues to sponsor a Little League baseball team every year in Irvington.

Mayor Smith was born to the late Mordean Smith and George Rucker in the City of Newark, New Jersey; and he attended Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, New Jersey. He is the president and CEO of Wayne Smith & Associates, an Irvington, New Jersey-based public relations, marketing, and public affairs consulting firm, serving clients throughout the state, in addition to New York, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles. An astute, accomplished businessman, Mayor Smith is also chairman of the Black Urban Alliance, the African American Chamber of Commerce of NY/NJ, and the chairman of the Legislative Task Force of the Minority Business Braintrust. As co-chairperson of NJ Citizen Action, Mayor Smith’s efforts resulted in Community Reinvestment Agreements with more than 20 banks throughout NJ, stipulating low-interest mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income citizens. In 1995, Mayor Smith was a member of the New Jersey delegation at the White House Conference on Small Business.

The civic and professional careers of Mayor Smith are highlighted by the following activities and accomplishments:

  • President of New Jersey Conference of Mayors, 2013-2014
  • President of New Jersey Urban Mayors, 2006-2013
  • Representative of the Essex County Democratic State Committee, 1997
  • Member of the Board of Commissioners of the Essex County Improvement Authority
  • Board member of the Irvington Chamber of Commerce
  • Board member of the United Way of Essex & West Hudson
  • Board member of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Essex County
  • Member of the advisory boards for Dime Savings, Sovereign, and First Union Banks
  • Board member of the Center for Urban Education
  • Member of the African American Heritage Parade committee
  • Former commissioner of the Irvington Housing Authority
  • Former chairperson of the advisory board for Healthy Start of Essex County
  • Former member of ex-Gov. Whitman’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Black Infant Mortality
  • Former member of the Irvington Public Library Board of Trustees
  • Coordinator of Irvington’s 1st United Nation’s People Festival
  • Commentator for the Newark Festival of People


Mayor Smith has received the following awards and recognition:

  • Rising Star of the Essex County Democratic Committee, 1993
  • “An Outstanding Young Man of America,” 1988
  • “Outstanding African Male,” Township of Irvington, 1995
  • Project Redirect, “Men of Valor Award,” 1999
  • Dollars & Sense magazine’s Best and Brightest Award
  • US Small Business Administration Minority Business Advocate
  • NJ Citizen Action Service Award, 1997
  • 7 KISS-FM Achiever
  • American Stop Smoking Intervention Study/Essex-Union Coalition Assist Service Award


Mayor Smith has been featured in:

  • The Star-Ledger
  • City News
  • Twin Visions
  • Dollars & Sense
  • The Arrow
  • The Daily Challenge
  • The Network Journal

Mayor Smith has appeared on:

  • The Maury Povich Show
  • The Phil Donahue Show
  • WNBC-TV’s Positively Black
  • WWOR-TV’s The Black Experience
  • WCBS-TV’s Sunday’s Edition
  • New Jersey Network
  • News Channel 12