I am writing this letter in support of the re-election of a dedicated public servant and my longtime friend Kevin Sullivan for Chatham Township Committee. The Mayor has done an outstanding job – as good a job as any mayor in memory, present company included.
I would also like to set the record straight with respect to several “issues” put forth by the Mayor’s opponent and her supporters that are disingenuous and misleading at best in what is a classic example of desperate negative campaigning.
Mayor Sullivan was selected by the Township Committee two years ago. There is no requirement that the Committee base their selection on seniority. If there were, then Committeeman Brower would have been mayor. It is not based on perceived entitlement. Majority rules. The Committee is tasked with choosing that person that they believe will best serve the Township in the role of Mayor. There was not a unanimous vote and those who did not win were understandably disappointed. This does not, however, excuse the poor behavior by those on the short side of the vote both on the night of the election and consistently since that time.
While I do not claim to be unbiased, I believe that anyone who can look back objectively over the last two years would clearly see that the Committee got this one right.
Then there is the “issue” of volunteer appointments. Board appointments are not lifetime appointments. Township boards and appointed committees are not the US Supreme Court. Volunteers are made aware of the length of their terms when they are first appointed. No one was thrown off a volunteer board. The terms of several longtime dedicated volunteers were up and they were not reappointed. They were replaced by other qualified enthusiastic volunteers.
Two of the volunteers who were not reappointed, including the campaign treasurer of Mayor Sullivan’s opponent, because they had publically stated that they were going to be moving from Chatham Township and could not serve out another term. A third volunteer who was not reappointed is embroiled in a lawsuit against the Township. The Mayor and the entire Township should have been called on the carpet if any of the three were reappointed!
Some questions have been raised concerning Colony Pool. Colony Pool is run by the same professionals that have run Colony Pool historically with oversight by the Township Committee. The Colony Pool Advisory Committee is, as its name implies, an Advisory Committee, no more, no less. Colony is a cost friendly alternative to those who do not belong to one of the many area private clubs for whatever reason. Pool management, especially when it comes to safety issues, should be run by professionals with volunteer input, not the other way around.
The fourth and final “issue” I’d like to put to rest is the budget and budget process. In this regard, Chatham Township is the envy of virtually every municipality in Morris County if not the entire State of New Jersey. The Mayor’s opponent is well aware that any Township Committee member and any member of the community who cares to can go through the budget line item by line item. If you do so, you will find that the majority of the budget is made up of expenses related to the Police Department, Public Works Department, Library, Health Insurance and Pension Contributions. There is very little truly discretionary spending – perhaps 10 percent of the municipal budget that makes up less than 20 percent of your property tax bill.
Through the efforts of Township Administrator Tom Ciccarone and fiscally conservative Township Committee members down through the years, Chatham Township tax increases have been modest to non-existent over the last 15 years at least with little to no decrease in public services. For the Mayor’s opponent to try to convince voters that she somehow will make a significant improvement in this process just isn’t factual.
Kevin Sullivan deserves to be re-elected, and Chatham Township is lucky to have him. He has served with dignity and class. He brokered the largest open space purchase in Morris County involving many different entities to bring millions of dollars to the project which will long be appreciated by future generations.
I encourage you to keep a good thing going and vote Sullivan on Tuesday, June 2. Thank you.
Former Mayor, Chatham Township