January 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Days after the borough's Republican Committee named former Mayor Al Morgan to represent the party in the June primary earlier this month, Mayor J. Brooke Hern said he never had any intention of seeking their support.
“I defeated Al Morgan for the Republican nomination for mayor when he had the Republican Committee’s support in 2010,” Hern said.
The mayor added that the fact the Republican Committee apparently made a strategic decision to endorse a candidate months in advance wouldn’t affect his timetable in reaching a decision over what he would to do for the next four years.
He said he was in no hurry to make a decision that would be based on whether there was more he could contribute to the borough, career goals (Hern is an attorney) and the needs of his family
“All these things will weigh heavily into my decision as to whether I will seek another term,” Hern said.
At last week’s Republican Committee event attended by about 150 people, several speakers characterized Hern as a mayor at odds with his Borough Council and one with whom it is difficult to work.
Hern scoffed at that notion. “I mean c’mon, we’ve had great accomplishments, and have worked together,” the mayor said.
He cited three consecutive municipal budgets delivered under the 2 percent cap with no reduction in services to residents and a very positive economic outlook.
Hern said that he and the Borough Council were on “the same page” taking a methodical approach to marketing a liquor consumption license without lowering their standards. “We all know it can be a great economic development tool and we’re working together beautifully on that,” Hern said.
Responding to comments that he was difficult to work with, Hern dismissed these accusations as “political nonsense” that had nothing to do with policy issues.
“I can’t imagine that any member of the Borough Council will deny this that when there’s an issue before us, every single one of us does what’s best for New Providence,” Hern said.
Hern is in the last year of a four-year term of office. Prior to taking office in January 2011, he served on the Borough Council for six years.
“I don’t have a political agenda or political ambitions. I’m just serving this town in the best way I can,” Hern said.
The mayor emphasized that he would like to see more people respond to public service and seek public office -- people who would serve in the same way he wanted to serve. “So far that hasn’t happened,” Hern said.
Former Mayor Al Morgan served as the borough’s mayor for two terms from 1999 to 2006.