Somerset County Freeholders and Sheriff 1998



Vote Tuesday, November 3, 1998




The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provides nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Words in excess of the limit are deleted and indicated by a bullet (o).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 1998 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area



The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following three questions to all candidates for Freeholder:

1. Somerset County has identified numerous parcels of land for open space, yet there is a limited amount of resources available to acquire these lands. Please describe how the Freeholders could come up with creative ways to acquire these lands, including any additional sources of revenue. How can the process be accelerated before these lands are developed?

2. Somerset County has experienced rapid development over the past decade. This growth has created jobs, housing and business opportunities while at the same time putting stress on the county's ability to provide services. What policies would you pursue, as Freeholder, with respect to development? Are you in favor of assessing impact fees on developers to pay for services?

3. How would you use the State Plan to allocate the financial resources of Somerset County?


Party: The Democratic Party

Age: 50

Address: 122 North 6th Ave., Manville, 08835

Occupation: Laboratory Supervisor, Lab Corporation-Raritan

Education: John Jay H.S., Brooklyn, NY/Courses at Raritan Valley Community College in Business Administration, Accounting and Advertising

Significant Community Activities: 2 Term Mayor, Borough of Manville (1992 to Present); President, Somerset County Governing Officials Association; Board of Directors, New Jersey Conference of Mayors; Treasurer, Somerset County Conference of Mayors; the Manville Planning Board and Library Board; Borough Councilman, Manville, 1989-1991.


1. As Freeholder I would support the use of our Open Space Tax to finance bonds to quickly acquire parcels of open space while still available at current prices. Since so much needs to be preserved in relatively short time, I would make it a priority to work with all organizations (Nature Conservancy, and Trust for Public Land) and levels of government to maximize our efforts. I would encourage municipalities to develop their own funding sources, and would welcome all constructive partnership proposals. I would actively pursue grant opportunities from organizations such as the Duke Foundation and the Federal Government. I would use whatever influence the County has to encourage the private sector to use beneficial land use practices.

2. I am very much in favor of assessing impact fees on developers. As Mayor of Manville, I redeveloped the Johns Manville brownfield site with a mix of businesses that gave us outstanding ratables and enhanced downtown amenities. This development contributed to road improvements and traffic lights; $1.3 million against the $2 million total cost of a new Police Station; $650,000.00 demolition and removal of the old Municipal Building; and $300,000.00 for Downtown Beautification (brick sidewalks, decorative street-lamps and tress). By placing this development in a downtown area, we minimized adverse impacts on existing infrastructure.

3. The State Plan provides a useful guide to using resource allocation as a tool to protect and enhance the quality of life. Allocating resources to encourage development around existing infrastructure, and assessing impact fees on less desirable land uses enables the County to use a "carrot and stick" approach. This is our best tool to prevent property taxes >from spiralling out of sight. County resources should be used to encourage transit use, and Open Space Tax should be used to take properties of natural beauty and environmental value off the market.


Party: The Republican Party

Address: 55 Van Holton Road, Basking Ridge, 07920

Occupation: Full-time Freeholder

Education: Rutgers University School of Law, Camden - Juris Doctor; St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana - Bachelor of Arts - History/Humanities; State of NJ Bar Member; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Bar Member

Significant Community Activities: Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Deputy Director, 1998; member, 1996-present (term expires 12/31/98); Public Works I, Chairman, 1996, 1997, 1998; Liaison to: Park Commission, Planning Board (alternate), Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Board, Vocational & Technical Schools, Vocational Board of School Estimate, New Jersey Association of Counties (1st alternate voting member), Industrial Pollution Control Financing Authority; Somerset County Economic Development Summit-Steering Committee; Blue Ribbon Panel; Business Retention Task Force; Economic Development Incentive Program; Somerset County Regional Center Partnership; Branchburg Township Committee; Mayor, 1993; Deputy Mayor, 1994; Police Commissioner, 1994; member, January 1992-January 1996; Branchburg Township Planning Board, member, 1993, 1994; Branchburg Township Board of Adjustment, member, 1991; Governor's Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, member, 1994-present; New Jersey Association for Elected Women Officials, member; Somerset County Governing Officials Association, Secretary, 1998; Somerset County Mental Health Board, Former member; Somerset County Federation of Republican Women, member; Community Development Corporation - Renaissance 2000 Task Force; Somerset Alliance for the Future.


1. Somerset County has embarked on an aggressive campaign to preserve its open space farmland and historic places. The county is currently in the process of bonding up to $30 million to buy the land before developers acquire it. By referendum, over 62% of the voters approved an increase to the county open space tax to help with this process. This tax will be used to repay the bonding debt.

An Economic Development Incentive Program has been put into place to help targeted municipalities with limited open space by making funds available to increase recreational space, greenways areas and historic sites. These municipalities are encouraged to identify areas for preservation and apply for this funding.

2. Out of the Economic Development Summits in both 1997 and 1998, which I chaired, the Somerset County Smart Growth Initiative was developed. This Initiative will create planning and zoning plans to achieve high quality development and focus growth into already developed areas. By "smart growth" we mean planning responsibly for the future, protecting/preserving our open spaces, farmland and historic sites, and discouraging urban sprawl.

We have committed to public/private partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce to protect the economic base through business retention, expansion and targeted attractions while promoting intergovernmental coordination to promote efficient and to provide services consistent with a smart growth agenda.

3. Because the State Plan provides an overall regional growth management framework in terms of development and redevelopment without compromising the environment and economy, Somerset County is following the State Plan to the letter.

Using the State Plan that is reinforced and coordinated at all levels of government helps save tax dollars in the capital and operating costs of schools, roads, sewers and water supply, and preserves open space, frail environmental lands and farmland that would otherwise be gobbled up by sprawl.


The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following question to all candidates for Somerset County Sheriff:

If elected Somerset County Sheriff, what do you consider your top priorities?


Party: The Republican Party

Age: 69

Address: 1119 Washington Ave., Green Brook, 08812

Occupation: Sheriff, Somerset County since 1986

Education: North Plainfield H.S., numerous police schools including Boston School of Criminology and Delehenty Institute

Significant Community Activities: Local recreation programs; firearms safety training courses; secretary/treasurer, Police Chiefs association.


Full compliance with all statutory and administrative Code requirements and executive orders regarding the operation of the county jail, identification bureau and sheriff's office.


Party: The Democratic Party

Age: 40

Address: 1356 Crim Road, Bound Brook, 08807

Occupation: Business Partner

Education: B.A. Political Science

Significant Community Activities: Member, Bound Brook/Middlesex Rotary, 1992-present; member, Bound Brook Chamber of Commerce, 1986-89; volunteer, Award Food Bank, 1992.

As Sheriff my top priorities would be: Rebuild morale and professionalism, Law suits, investigations and findings of unfair labor practices have created a turnover rate of 160% in the last 3 years.

This department is far behind in the delivery of services other countries take for granted; inmate transportation (freeing other officers for patrol and public safety duties), K-9 unit for drug and bomb detection, Senior citizen outreach, drug interdiction, aggressive driver and DWI patrol are not performed here.

Modern Management and leadership skills will eliminate cronyism, inefficiency, and employee abuse.