Democrats: Committee Needs Diversity of Opinion
Candidates Michael Goldberg and James Farley say they want to bring a bipartisan view to the board.
Michael Goldberg, the head of the Democratic committee and a candidate for Hillsborough Township Committee, says he is determined to bring a change to the committee and bring a better way of life to Hillsborough residents.
“One of my goals is to provide a better way for people living in Hillsborough,” Goldberg said. “We are individuals, but we are also a community. We need to plan together, work together, and make sure we are taking advantage of every opportunity to make Hillsborough better for everyone.”
Goldberg believes that Hillsborough is at a crossroads on everything from taxes to the Route 206 bypass.
“The most important thing for the people of Hillsborough is taxes that keep going up and a vision for the future,” he said. “We are at a cross roads as we have more congestion on 206, the bypass wont be done until 2018, and more empty stores on 206; what is the township doing? We need to sit down and figure out what we need to do.
“When we found out that the bypass wasn’t going to be done until 2018, the mayor at the time said, 'This isn’t what we hoped for.' Well, what do we hope for?”
Goldberg says he and running mate James Farley want to ask questions and get answers.
“Jim is a lifetime resident of Hillsborough and has demonstrated his dedication to the town with his involvement with the Hillsborough Fire Company 1 and being on the board of education," Goldberg said. "He is thoughtful, concerned, and recognizes the importance of asking tough questions and demanding answers.”
Farley said he believes the board needs to become bipartisan.
“I’m in so the board will have bipartisan representation to represent the residents of Hillsborough in a fair and equitable manner,” he said. “We simply just need a bipartisan board, as it is in the best interest of everyone. My plan is to bring to the board honesty, trustworthiness, commitment and dedication.”
Goldberg said he believes it’s an ideal time to run, especially with it being the same time as the presidential campaign.
“It’s an exciting year to run because you know people will be engaged,” he said. “There is a lot going on that people are excited about and our party has made a difference in the election. There are really important issues in town that need to be addressed. It is important that the over 5,000 democrats in Hillsborough have their voiced heard. I felt that I wanted to be that person this year, and the rest of the democratic party felt the same way.”
Goldberg touched on Independent candidate Judd Mandell briefly.
“I respect Mr. Mandell’s commitment and I think that we share some of the same concerns, as he wants to bring a balance to the township committee,” he said.
Goldberg also talked about the hiring process of township administrator and former mayor Anthony Ferrera, using it as an example of why he wants a Democratic voice on the committee.
“It was a process that was not open and that failed to, even on the most basic level, serve the residents of Hillsborough," Goldberg said. "We don’t know if we have the best possible candidate because they didn’t open the interview process. He doesn’t have credentials to be clerk. He is going to be doing some on-the-job training at tax payer expense. This isn’t the first time that’s happened.
"This isn’t against Anthony as a person, it’s against a process. The day they announced him as township administrator/deputy clerk, nobody raised a single question about his qualifications or the salary he is being paid. He is being paid $124,000; there is a fair questions there as to why he is being paid that much. They all just echoed the same things and never raised one question.”
Mayor Carl Suraci, one of the two Republicans running for the two committee seats, has defended the hiring of Ferrera, saying the township did not hire Ferrera hastily and that it was six weeks between the announced departure of former administrator Michael Merdinger and the hiring of Ferrera. He also said "we have hired the most qualified person."
Goldber says he would handle similar situations differently.
“If there was an opening for township administrator, I would put out a press release announcing it to the general public,” he said. “I want to let people know that Hillsborough is looking for the best possible candidate for this position.”
Goldberg also said he wishes there was more discussion and effort to gain public input on the possible county police consolidation, and questions municipal tax rate increases he says have taken place.
Goldberg said he believes both sides need to work together for the betterment of the town.
“Even though there are a number of things that we question of the Republicans, at the end of the day we have to work together to represent all the residents of Hillsborough,” he said. “We can represent them better by asking tough questions and demanding answers. Ultimately, the result will be better government."