Montville Township Committee Candidates' Debate - Part II

Candidates Lucy Tullo, Emily Ryzuk, moderator Hope White, and candidates June Witty and Matt Kayne ©2017 TAPinto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno

Editor's Note: This is Part II of a series. Click HERE for Montville Township Committee Candidates' Debate - Part I

MONTVILLE, NJ – Residents gathered at the Senior House on Oct. 25 to hear Montville Township Committee candidates Matthew Kayne, Emily Ryzuk, Lucy Tullo and June Witty debate.

With long-term committee members Mayor Jim Sandham and Deb Nielson stepping down, two positions will be opening on Jan. 1, 2018. Kayne and Witty are running for the Republican party, while Ryzuk and Tullo are running for the Democrat party.

Sign Up for E-News

The candidates were given two minutes to make opening statements, answered seven questions, and closed for two minutes. The debate was moderated by TAPinto Montville owner and publisher Hope White. The order for answering questions was rotated, but candidates were kept in the same order for opening and closing statements. 

5. When a resident comes to you with suggestions for improvements to the township such as a town center, a town pool or tennis courts, sidewalks along all of Changebridge or simply a request to lower taxes, how will you answer that resident?

Kayne said he has nine years of experience answering questions and research needs to happen for large projects, with committee members and administration.

Ryzuk said it’s important to listen to citizens but to also encourage them to join a committee, to come to meetings and get involved – community engagement. But promises can’t be made without encouraging citizens to come forward at meetings, she said.

Witty said the town had wiggle room for fees when a citizen came to them in the past regarding a hookup fee. She also said she would like to start “town hall meetings” on a Sunday instead of a weeknight when township committee meetings are held.

Tullo likened connecting with residents with due diligence. She said she wanted to change how residents are treated at township committee meetings. At both township committee and board of education meetings, when public portion is opened, residents state their question and sit back down; there is no dialogue, and Tullo wishes to change that system.

“Without a dialogue, nothing is going to get understood,” she said. “You’re not going to understand what people are asking for.”

Tullo said there are many ways to connect with citizens, citing the website as being poor, using social media, and getting the word out.

6. What do you bring to the dais that will help you make decisions for the township?

Tullo said she brings her experience as a mother and a passionate woman, and someone who has lived in town for 25 years and been an educated and involved citizen.

“My passion for knowledge and being open-minded is very important,” she said. “I’m not bringing any pre-conceived notions to the township committee. I want to see a new voice, not the same old, same old.”

Kayne said he has a proven sense of leadership, respect and collaboration that anyone who has seen him in action has had the opportunity to view.

“Listening is an important trait, but most importantly hearing every side of an issue,” Kayne said, “and bouncing ideas back and forth before making a decision.”

Ryzuk said she has a lot of experience with program development at the county level in a hospital setting, funding a program and making difficult choices, “like cutting items you don’t want to cut.” She said she is a fair-minded person with a new voice that represents the constituents.

“It has been the same team over and over again for a long period of time, and at this time we need to change things up,” she said.

Witty said she is a new voice, too, who has never held an office before, who grew up here and raised her family here, and volunteered in Montville or related to Montville. She has a Master’s degree and is a forensic nurse, she said.

“I think medical people approach things differently [gestured to Kayne] – we’re pragmatic – we look at something and if there’s an issue we evaluate it right away to see if our outcome needed corrections or changes,” she said.

7. What do you believe is the most important issue in this local election and specifically how would you approach the issue?

Witty said the opiate issue is most important because it affects “all of us at some level. If you’re lucky enough not to have someone you love who has an addiction, you may be affected by robberies, car theft and other activity.”

Tullo said if the current [national] administration removes property tax deductions, the town will suffer because property values will decrease.

“People will not be able to move into newer homes, people will have a hard time selling their homes, and we need to look out for our town on a township level and be careful of what’s trickling down from the top,” she said.

Kayne said affordable housing is an important issue because, with Lincoln Park accepting 220 units, the face of Lincoln Park will change.

“You will see the difference in Lincoln Park fairly soon,” he said. “To accept the type of numbers that the Fair Housing Council is telling us, would change the nature of our town. We, as a community, need to look into every aspect being proposed by judges who are out of our town by interveners who are only going to benefit from a financial standpoint and do our homework as citizens of this town to make sure that we do the best in protecting ourselves.”

Ryzuk said that several positions in town are under-staffed or partly staffed. When police officers retire they are not being replaced, there is a part-time zoning officer who is making sure that bushes are trimmed, and Ryzuk said it’s important to make sure “are we manning our posts?”

Closing Remarks

Emily Ryzuk

Ryzuk said everyone running loves the community. She said she brings useful experience, energy and passion. She has a strong voice that will stand up to party politics that have dominated “for so long,” she said.

“I want a place to raise my children that is environmentally safe, and socially engaged, with information easily accessed by our residents, where heroin and opiate deaths are not on the radar, let alone number one in the county,” she said.

Montville is a gorgeous village and one she is proud to call home, Ryzuk said, and she said she would work hard to get the facts to residents, listen to the needs of the community, and when there is not a clear path forward, she will do everything in her power to find one, she said.

June Witty

Witty said all four candidates want to do what they think is best for the community. In order to prepare for the position, she has attended township committee meetings, meetings with department heads and staff, and has learned the inner workings of the township, she said.

“Matt and I are ready to continue our dedication to the community as township committee members,” she said.

She has been meeting with residents since April, she said.

“I feel I can connect with and understand our residents’ needs and concerns as well as bring my passion, experience and leadership to the township committee,” she said.

Lucy Tullo

Tullo said she is not a politician but she is extremely passionate, and loves her town. In her role as a theater professional, she has taught people and has learned to listen and work well with others, talk to others, and do her research.

“I do not have an agenda, and I come to the table as an independent voice,” she said. “I’ve connected to the residents already, because I’m part of this community as a mother, as someone who has been on committees, as a community leader.”

A dialogue is what is needed to make the community great, she said. She is also not looking at the community in the same way, she said, with the same eyes, and she wants to challenge the status quo.

Matt Kayne

Kayne called all four candidates potential new voices at an important time when the committee is losing two members with vast experience.

“Their replacements need to understand how their leadership and decisions impact the residents of our town,” Kayne said. “What separates the two teams is that June and I have the depth and breadth of experience and familiarity with our town and our citizens.”

Kayne said when he was elected to the board of education he quickly learned the facets of the job. He said he is in a similar position, broadening the scope from the children of the district to the entire town.

“The difference now is I have nine years of experience to draw upon,” he said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, Montville Township

Snowshoe Sundays at Pyramid Mtn

Health & Wellness


Sun, February 25, 5:00 PM

Montville Township High School, Montville

Harlem Wizards Fundraiser for Pathways

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Sports


Mon, February 26, 7:00 PM

Senior House, Montville

Montville Republican Club February Meeting



Tue, February 27, 1:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain, Montville Township

Family Science Day



Wed, February 28, 3:30 PM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Birthday Party for Dr. Seuss

Education Food & Drink

Adults Who Interact With Teens Offered Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

February 24, 2018

With teenage suicide rates on an upswing, a barrage of tragedies in the news, and the heightened pressures of adolescence in a media-frenzied world, it’s more important than ever for caring adults to know how to intervene effectively.

Morris County again this year is funding Youth Mental Health First Aid training through NewBridge Services for adults who regularly interact with children ...

Boy Scout Michael Manetta Achieves Eagle Scout Ranking

February 11, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Members of Boy Scout Troop 74 gathered on Jan. 14 as Scout Michael Manetta was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor.

Officials such as members of the Montville Township Committee, the Montville Township Board of Education, former post commander Frank Warholic of VFW Post 5481, Dee Cook, who is treasurer of the Dog Park Advisory Committee and Fishawack ...

SHREK THE MUSICAL Comes to Montville Township High School

February 19, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ- SHREK THE MUSICAL is the spring production for the Montville Township High School Drama Club. The performers will stage the Tony Award-winning musical Thursday through Sunday, March 1 through 4 at MTHS. SHREK THE MUSICAL is based on the 2001 Dreamworks movie. Tickets to this fun family production are only $15 for adults and $12 for students and senior ...

Talking Baseball in Februrary; Roxbury Teen Keeps Swinging for Cancer Patients

February 24, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - Major League pitchers and catchers reported for their first workouts last week, one sign that baseball season is on its way. Another: The beginning of Roxbury High School student Landon Monro's annual effort to register players and sponsors for his anti-cancer baseball tournament.

The 5th Annual Landon Monro Stand Up to Cancer tournament ...

Cops Called for Two People Shouting Racial Slurs During ‘Black Panther’ in Sparta

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night after a drunken woman and her boyfriend interrupted a screening of the movie “Black Panther” by shouting racial slurs, according to a witness and police.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including ...

Adults Who Interact With Teens Offered Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

February 24, 2018

With teenage suicide rates on an upswing, a barrage of tragedies in the news, and the heightened pressures of adolescence in a media-frenzied world, it’s more important than ever for caring adults to know how to intervene effectively.

Morris County again this year is funding Youth Mental Health First Aid training through NewBridge Services for adults who regularly interact with children ...


How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting can have an ...

Ask the Care Advocate

Dear Heidi,

My mom lives home alone and a few days ago she fell while reaching for something

in her hallway closet. She was able to push her emergency alert button and they

called me. I live nearby so I went to check on her and she had pain in her leg and hip

area. We got her to the hospital and it turns out that she broke her hip. She had

surgery to repair it and now we are faced ...

Century 21 The Crossing Open Houses this Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 Open Houses this weekend:

Saturday, Feb. 24 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, Feb. 25 from 1 - 4 p.m. 

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
8 Summit Drive, Bld #10, North Caldwell


Another Luxury Listing in the Pond Section of Montville Presented by Century 21 The Crossing

MONTVILLE, NJ - Century 21 the Crossing and Jason Failla do it again!  Another luxury listing in the Pond section of Montville.

"This new listing has had over 13,000 views in less then a week," Century 21 The Crossing's Jason Failla said. "Anyone can list your home, it takes a comprehensive marketing strategy to sell it!"

"Luxury is in each ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

The Best Way to Pay Your Child a Compliment

“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see them ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Pet Corner