TAP into Montville recently asked the 12 Morris County Freeholder candidates five questions, similar to those posed at the debate held in Montville recently. Their answers will appear in a series. The following answers are from Republican candidates Roman Hirniak, Peter King and Lou Valori. These three candidates are running together as Morris United.
1. Opening statement: describe your background and why you are running.
Lou Valori … I am a graduate of Seton Hall University, with a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D), and retired from the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department in 2012 as a Detective Sergeant. I’ve served on the Parsippany Board of Education, am currently Council President in Parsippany, and also serve as a member of the Morris County Park Commission and the Morris County Human Services Council on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans. My military career includes serving with distinction in the U.S. Army Reserves for 28 years and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. I was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I am married to my wife Ivette and we have three daughters. As a family, we attend the Notre Dame of Mount Carmel Church in Whippany.
Roman Hirniak … I am a graduate of both Marquette University and The John Marshall Law School, and am currently a Vice President and Senior Counsel with Santander Bank, N.A. Always focusing on being an active participant in my community, I am a member of the Randolph Rotary Club, attend St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany and serve as a Pedagogical Advisor to the Ukrainian Educational Council. I was elected to the Randolph Township Council in November of 2012, after having served two terms on the Planning Board and one term each on both the Recreation Advisory Committee and the Traffic Advisory Committee. During calendar year 2015, I was the Township’s Deputy Mayor and currently serve as Mayor of Randolph Township. I’m also an elected member of the Morris County Republican Committee, representing Randolph’s 10th Voting District. My son is a freshman at Rutgers University, studying biomedical engineering and my daughters are, respectively, a junior and a freshman at Randolph High School.
Peter King … I am a graduate of both LaSalle University and Benjamin Cardozo Law School, and a partner in the King and Petracca law firm, focusing primarily in municipal law and located in Parsippany. The firm serves as the municipal prosecutor for Morris Plains Borough, Morris Township, Randolph Township and Rockaway Township. I am a former Captain in the U.S. Army and was in active combat during the Persian Gulf War, earning various medals for my service, including the Bronze Star. I’m a life member of the VFW and the National Rifle Association. I am married to my wife Catharina and we have two daughters. As a family, we attend The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Morristown.
Our platform was developed as a result of numerous conversations we’ve had with Morris County’s citizens and elected officials. The overwhelming message from these individuals was a demand that three principal concepts return to the Freeholder Board: (1) professional stewardship, (2) a fiscally conservative approach to budgeting that’s strategic, as opposed to tactical and (3) a focus on consensus building. While these were once the hallmarks of conservative governance in our county, they have unfortunately all but disappeared.
2. How do you think the heroin problem in Morris County discussed by the Sheriff candidates should be addressed by the Freeholder Board?
In the same way that we are resolved to build consensuses with our new colleagues on the Freeholder Board, we must be ready to develop the same relationship with our new Sheriff as he tackles the significant destruction which the heroin epidemic has brought to Morris County. Our county’s chief law enforcement officer must have all appropriate resources available, primarily those of a financial nature, in order to effectively combat this crisis. The Freeholder Board should be prepared to address this reality and, if necessary, adjust budgetary line items to effectuate a solution. Through collective leadership, we can eliminate this scourge.
3. Imagine the board finds a 10% windfall (of approximately $34M) in the county budget. How would you approach these funds?
For reasons known only to themselves, a majority of the freeholder board has ignored their responsibility to invest in the county’s economic development. While municipalities are struggling to encourage our corporate citizens to either move into the county or remain there, the board has eviscerated that portion of its budget which is meant to assist in these tasks. Through a stimulus of our county’s economic development, you’re stimulating an increase in our ratable base and reducing the overall tax burden faced by our property owners. These funds should also be invested in our county’s infrastructure, the improvement of which fits hand to glove with improving our economic landscape.
4. What is your position on an Apprentice Program resolution, requiring contractor-bidders to have an apprentice program?
It destroys competitive bidding, prejudices small business and burdens our taxpayers with the increased costs it occasions. We are fully and unapologetically against this program.
5. What other issues do you think are important, that voters need to know about?
Our county jail, rated in the top one percent of this country’s correctional facilities, will now lose this rating due to the politically motivated decision by the majority of freeholders to use it as a tool to punish our Sheriff for supporting their campaign opponents. This same majority has disregarded the long-time financial issues at the Morris View facility and placed its existence in jeopardy. The yearly county budgeting process has become an exercise in disregarding our long-term fiscal needs, while subjecting our bond rating to a likely downgrade. This notion that it’s appropriate to mortgage our future for the benefit of the present has proven dangerous and must be permanently ended. In addition to ignoring these core responsibilities, the majority of freeholders has developed such an animus towards one another that there are now two Sheriff’s Deputies stationed in the meeting room at all times … to prevent a recurrence of freeholders physically attacking each other. Voters have had enough and are demanding a return to civility in government overall. To accomplish this in Morris County, the Freeholder Board must lead by example.
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