2012-04-19 / Front Page
Doucette, Field will face off in Dem. primary
Gotto will be unopposed in Howell Republican mayoral primary; Walsh not running
Voters in Howell will select one of two Democrats seeking the nomination for mayor when they go to the polls in the June 5 primary.
Howell residents Cochise Doucette and William Field both filed nominating petitions and will seek the nod from voters for the right to run for mayor in November.
Doucette, who has an associate’s degree from Brookdale Community College and a bachelor’s degree in business from Rutgers University, ran unsuccessfully for Township Council in 2009 and 2010. He could not be reached for comment prior to press time.
Field, who has lived in Howell since 1994 and is a professor of political science at Rutgers University, said he wants to increase government transparency.
“We need to be more open about government. We have been fighting about that for years and years,” he said. “I want to make the government more responsive and open to the voters. It also seems to me that we need to make Howell a more livable community.” Field previously served as a citizen member of the Howell K-8 School District Board of Education finance committee. He also was actively involved with Howell Middle School North when his children attended the school.
The winner of the Democratic mayoral primary will face Republican William Gotto on Election Day in November in the battle for the four-year mayor’s term. Gotto was the only Republican to file a nominating petition to seek the office of mayor.
Howell’s mayor serves as a voting member of the five-person Township Council. Gotto is a councilman and is serving as Howell’s deputy mayor in 2012.
Mayor Robert Walsh, who was elected as an independent, will not seek re-election.
One four-year term on the council will also be up for grabs in November. Councilman Juan Malave is not running.
Republican Edward Guz, who currently serves on the Howell Zoning Board of Adjustment, is the only individual who filed a nominating petition to run for the available council seat.
If Gotto is elected mayor, his seat on the council will be filled by an appointment.
Walsh, who was elected Howell’s mayor in 2008 after a three-year stint as a councilman, said he wants to spend more time with his family and to address business matters.
“It is just time for me to take a little bit of a break,” he said. “I couldn’t give 100 percent to the job.”
Walsh, who has lived in Howell since 1991, said he appreciated the support and contributions made by township management, employees and citizens.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Howell. It is something I have always been proud of,” he said. “I think I spearheaded the concept of everybody sharing in difficult decisions that had to be made.”
Specifically, Walsh pointed to the municipality’s purchase of the Global office building on Route 9 to house the new town hall, as an example of working in the present to benefit Howell’s future. “Much of what I did was geared toward the future because a lot of the present is thrust upon us,” he said, adding that he believes the Global building will be a financial and convenience benefit to residents.
Walsh said he was deeply involved in the community before serving in municipal government and intends to continue to do so after his term ends in December.
Malave, who was recently appointed to the council, chose not to seek a full term, citing professional matters.
“Unfortunately, recent job requirements and commitments have taken me out of town on a regular basis,” he said. “I feel like if I am not in it 100 percent then I should allow somebody else who has the time and commitment to serve. It was a really hard decision because I still have it in me to serve the people of Howell.”
Malave was appointed to replace Councilwoman Susan Schroeder Clark upon her resignation from the governing body in December.
“When I was first asked if I would fill in the vacancy, I was thrilled because it is something I really wanted to get back into doing again,” said Malave, who served a term on the council several years ago. “I thought I had some unfinished business.”
Gotto said he had been contemplating a mayoral run for some time and believes it is the best way to complete many of the initiatives he started in his current capacity as a councilman.
“I am really looking to essentially continue what I started, and that is to change the culture and the way the town operates,” he said. “The mayor’s spot is the best avenue to do that.”
Specifically, Gotto said he wants to work to stabilize property taxes while growing revenue, in addition to expanding communications, enhancing customer service and improving infrastructure on Route 9 and Route 33.
Gotto was elected to a one-year term on the council in 2009 before being re-elected in 2010 to a four-year term.
Contact James McEvoy at email@example.com.