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Walsh, Malave Proud of Time Serving Howell

Terms end New Years Day

When Mayor Robert Walsh adjourned the meeting of the Mayor and Council on Dec. 11 it was the last time he would do so at a regular meeting. It also marked the last meeting for Councilman Juan Malave after both men decided not to seek a new term in office. 

The council will meet again on New Year's Day Deputy Mayor Bill Gotto will take his seat as the new mayor and the process of finding his replacement will begin.

Walsh said he was comfortable knowing that he will be a former mayor on January 1. "I had made that decision seven months ago not to run," he said. He also has not ruled out a return to politics sometime in the future though he does not know when or at what level that will be.

Until that time comes he said he takes lots of memories from his time serving the township. "I've never been prouder in my life of being a part of something than when Brian Brennan came home," he said of the highlight of his term. "To see the people of Howell Township lined up on the highway, lined up on the street, eight-to-10 thousand citizens lined up. That was the highlight of my time on the governing body."

The outgoing mayor said he has also been through some tough times on the council. The toughest, he said was two years ago when New Jersey State Trooper and 18-year-old township resident John Bukowiec died within a few months of each other. "That was a very tough month for the town, it really truly was," he said.

No matter where he went in the town or who he talked to Walsh said the two tragic events were on everybody's mind. "It was just tough and being mayor you hoped to be able to solve the problems or make them feel better but you really couldn't." He added, "It was a very tough time to console them and to mourn with that. That was the toughest part."

For Malave, his second and most recent term in office only lasted one year after he replaced Councilwoman Susan Schroeder Clark. He had served in the past but said he always knew he would be back. " For some reaons I always thought I had unfinished business," he said. 

This time, Malave said he feels good about his decision not to run again. "This time I know that I'm done," he said. "Not that there wasn't good people on the dais back then. But this time I really feel confident that we are definitely headed in the right direction."

Adam Hochron December 29, 2012 at 02:19 AM
At this point it's all speculation as to who will take Gotto's seat. A list of three people will be submitted at the reorganization meeting and the council can choose from them. I don't know if Mayor Walsh is on that list or would want to be on. But as soon as they name someone at the meeting we'll report who the person is.
seventeen December 29, 2012 at 03:31 AM
When Grace A. speaks, everybody listens. I believe her to be a prominent/up-standing Committee woman (R). She would never make a statement like that, unless it was the truth. As she said..."mark my words". If you were at, or watched, the last Council Mtg., you will see/hear the mayor, practically, begging to be appointed to that position. Oh, he 'wants' it alright. No doubt about that.
Sue Veitengruber December 29, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Word is Walsh is on the list, Adam.
Sue Veitengruber December 29, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Pursuant to NJSA 19, Elections, the municipal clerk must notify the chair of the political party of the person who has vacated the office, in this case the Howell Republicans. The Howell Republican municipal committee then has 20 days to return 3 names to the governing body to chose from. Despite the fact that the council position will become vacant upon Gotto being sworn in, the swearing in of a new person cannot be done on Jan. 1st because there was no vacancy and no notification of the GOP municipal committee. Any attempt to circumvent the law could wind up in a legal challenge, not to mention the embarassment to both the Council and the Howell GOP. The Council has listed nominations for the vacant council seat on the Jan. 1st agenda right after the swearing in of Guz and Gotto, before a deputy mayor is chosen. As far as the speculation that the Walsh will be named and retain health benefits, his term ends 12/31/2012. Under the changes in eligibility for elected officials in the state health benefits law over the past few years, Walsh is no longer eligible for state health benefits because of the break in service. It does not matter whether it is 12 hours, weeks, or months. He can pay for benefits for up to 18 months under COBRA as any voluntary or involuntary terminated employee can provided he does not have access to other coverage.
grace abramov January 02, 2013 at 03:22 PM
told you so...see todays Patch news where Gotto is sworn in.

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