Elections

Westfield's Mayoral Candidates Face Off at Forum

October 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield candidates for mayor and ward council seats sounded off Thursday night at a forum sponsored by The Westfield Leader in conjunction with TV36. Lauren Barr of The Leader moderated.

The event culminated in a debate between the mayoral candidates; Republican Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who is running for a third term, and current Councilman Dave Haas, a Democrat.

Candidates were asked about the increase in tax appeals—Haas said he would like to ask the county to do a tax evaluation of homes in all of the towns, so that Westfield’s taxes were not increased unfairly.

Sign Up for E-News

Asked if he thought budget hearings and other committee meetings should return to public forum, Haas answered an emphatic, “Yes.” He also said that he would like liaisons to report to town committees, and publicly.

Skibitsky countered, “If you look at my record, I’m probably the most transparent mayor we’ve ever had.” He pointed out that he gives a yearly Power Point budget presentation and said that few residents come to it because “They trust us.”

Asked if he would officiate at weddings for gay couples, Skibitsky answered, “Today I performed Westfield’s first gay marriage."

Haas told the crowd he looked forward, if elected, to performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Both Haas and Skibitsky said they would not like to see red-light cameras installed in Westfield.

They spoke about Westfield’s preparedness for storms like Hurricane Sandy and the purchase of the mobile command center:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIJFIi3l3pc

Asked about term limits, Haas said he favored the tradition of two terms for mayor. “We need people who bring new energy, new ideas.” He spoke about the toll that the job takes, and said that Skibitsky missed 25 percent of town council meetings this year.

Skibitsky answered, “I’m opposed to limiting their choices in any way.” He said that Haas had missed10 percent of meetings, and that he sometimes missed meetings because he was attending to town business.

On the cost of the town’s legal fees, Skibitsky said that the town pays a competitive rate. Haas countered, “We don’t know if we get a good price because we’ve never requested proposals.”

Asked if the town should fight to lower county taxes and possibly secede from Union County, Haas said that town should try to get more back from the county by applying for more grants and appoint a liaison to the county freeholder board who would report back to the council.

“I am the liaison to Union County,” said Skibitsky. He said the town’s relationship with the county has improved under his leadership and added that, since he was elected mayor, “we’ve received $3.3 million in grants.”

In his closing statement, Has said there should be a clearly stated need for any capital purchases, that he will work for a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley train line during peak hours, that he will join Mayors Against Illegal Guns and that he will make sure that firefighters have what they need.

Haas added that he was opposed to the mid-block HAWK light and crosswalk on Central Avenue. He concluded by saying that he would change the time set aside for "residents’ comments" during town council meetings to “residents’ questions and answers.”

Skibitsky told the room, “I volunteer because I love this town.”

 “It takes a proven leader to ensure the town continues in the right direction,” said Skibitsky. He listed accomplishments since he became mayor including, recently, securing a commitment to a one-seat ride during “shoulder-peak” hours. He added that, though Haas argued with him now, his opponent had voted with him 99 percent of the time.

The entire debate will be available for viewing on TV36 and on The Westfield Leader’s website, www.goleader.com.

To learn more about the candidates, visit our Candidates Statements section by clicking here.

To read about the first ward candidate’s remarks, click here. To read about the third ward candidates' debate, click here. To read about the fourth ward candidates' debate, click here. Republican Vicki Kimmins, running unopposed for re-election in the second ward, was absent from the forum.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

The Primrose School at Mountainside Holds a Free Open House

January 18, 2017

The Primrose School at Mountainside will hold an open house on Saturday, Feb. 4, featuring tours of the school and information on their research- informed approaches to learning.

The Open House is from 10 a.m. until noon, and is free and open to the public.

“This event is perfect for any parents interested in  childcare to learn what The Primrose School at Mountainside ...

Conversion of Single Family Zoning to Multi-Family Zoning Could Start 'Gold Rush' of Development

January 14, 2017

Dear Editor,

I am writing to oppose the construction of a multi-family residence (6 residential units) at 1481 East Broad Street in Westfield.  The construction of a multi-family residence at this location (RS-12 zone district) is contradictory to the township’s 2005 Master Plan, which has zoned this district for single-family home construction only.  Additionally, it requires ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Vehicles Burglarized, Attempted Home Burglary & More

January 18, 2017

January 8, 2017 4:15 a.m.

Joseph Bruno, age 52, of Westfield, NJ, was arrested for driving while under the influence pursuant to a motor vehicle accident. Subject was processed and issued multiple summonses and released to a responsible party.

January 10, 2017 12:38 p.m.

Report of shoplifting in the 200 block of W. South Avenue. Victim’s reported suspect(s) unknown took an unknown ...

Three Programs to Welcome February at Westfield Memorial Library

January 19, 2017

Three exciting programs for adults are on tap at the Westfield Memorial Library in early February. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

On Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m., Microsoft Excel Basics will be taught by Karen Camden, a frequent instructor and presenter at the library. In this two-hour class for advanced level computer users, she will cover the EXCEL screen, the quick access ...

Westfield High School Students Selected for Region Band & Orchestra

Seven Westfield High School Band students were accepted to the 2017 New Jersey Music Education Association Region Band or Orchestra.  Three of the seven students placed first overall in their instrument: Dale Beyert - Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, Trumpet; Michael Hauge - Wind Ensemble, Eb & Bb Clarinet, and Brooke Walden - Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, Piccolo & ...

Testing Your Resolve

Now that the ball has dropped in Times Square it is time for another annual tradition – New Year’s resolutions. So, along with improving your diet and exercising more, consider adding these:

“Will” you? – I have lost count of how many clients with whom I have met that have a spouse, children and substantial assets but an outdated or even no will at all.

5 Questions to Ask at an Open House

When you go to your next open house, ask the listing agent these key questions to help you make an informed decision. When a property is hot, a public open house may be your best opportunity for due diligence before submitting an offer. While the hosting agent may not be able to answer all of your questions, there is a lot you can learn.

1. How long has it been on the market?  You may ...

Closed Fund Open Mind

Closed-end funds (CEFs) can play an important role in a diversified investment portfolio. They offer benefits similar to those of an open-end mutual fund, but also sport unique advantages.  

Unlike a traditional open-end mutual fund, CEFs have a fixed number of shares available to trade. Their price is not tied to the value of the underlying portfolio. The only way the number of shares ...

It Even Happened to Me

Beware of credit card fraud — it can happen to anyone.

I was shopping at a retail establishment over the holidays and purchased some items with my business credit card. The next day, I was downloading my credit card activity into QuickBooks and spotted some strange charges - they were not large amounts, but they originated from establishments I don't frequent, like ...

Video: Mistreated, Harassed, Abused, Discriminated Against or Retaliated Against at Work?

Have you been mistreated, harassed, abused, discriminated against or retaliated against by your employer?

Watch this video to learn how Westfield employment attorney Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, who for the last 25 years has aggressively represented employees, can help you.

If you are the victim of prejudice or spend every day in a hostile work environment, you can give him a call for ...

Westfield Area YMCA is Ready to 'Bring on Summer'

It may be cold outside but the Westfield Area YMCA is gearing up for summer camp!  In-person registration is now underway.  Each year campers ages 3-15 try new activities, learn new skills, get creative, have a blast and make new friends in a safe environment.

 

 

The Y is excited to offer new S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) ...

Holy Trinity School Spotlight - 6th Grade

Sixth grade is a transitional year for students as they enter middle school.  Holy Trinity School embraces this change through its continued commitment to creating an environment in which its students can grow and develop academically, socially, and spiritually. 

In sixth grade, the curriculum becomes more departmentalized with students rotating classes for various subjects and ...

Imagine Receives Grant of $20,000 from the Northfield Bank Foundation

“We are so grateful to The Northfield Bank Foundation for their generous grant of $20,000 for the expansion of our bereavement support programs at our new center in Mountainside!” said Stuart Arnold, Imagine Board Chair.  “We are moving in the nick of time as all of our Green Groups (ages 10-12 approximately) are full.  Moving into this new space will allow us to ...

Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck on Route 22 is Fourth in Six Months

January 17, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - An unidentified male died Sunday after he was struck by a vehicle on Route 22 near North Gaston Avenue at about 11:55 p.m., according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police. The man is the fourth pedestrian killed in that section of the roadway since August. In August, two pedestrians were fatally struck and another pedestrian was killed in the westbound lanes in ...