Page 2 Thursday, April 2, 1998 The Westfield Leader The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
Gentleman's Corner 3x10
Legg Mason 3x10 Sweeny 2x1 Democratic Slate Set
For Freeholder Board
The Union County Democratic Organization unanimously named Sheriff Ralph G. Froehlich and three incumbent Freeholders, Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan, Lewis Mingo, Jr. and Mary P. Ruotolo as its county ticket in the 1998 elections, it was announced this week by Charlotte DeFilippo, Union County Democratic Chairwoman.
"This is the team that will continue strong leadership for the people of Union County," said Ms. DeFilippo. "I was very pleased to see the overwhelming support our candidates received from the 21 Democratic Municipal Chairmen. We are proud that our Democratic Party can offer the residents of Union County candidates of this caliber. Each of these individuals are bright, intelligent, hard working and have a clear vision for Union County's future."
The Democratic Party also endorsed Maryanne S. Connolly, the Mayor of Fanwood, who was selected to run against Bob Franks for the Seventh District Congressional seat.
Sheriff Froehlich, an Elizabeth resident, has served as Union County Sheriff since 1978. He has been a law enforcement professional for nearly 40 years. Prior to his election as Sheriff, he served 19 years in the Elizabeth Police Department, attaining the rank of Lieutenant.
"I feel fortunate to be running for reelection with this team. I have good working relationships with Dan Sullivan as Freeholder Chairman and I have been very impressed by the hard work Freeholders Mingo and Rutolo have done during their time on the board."
Freeholder Sullivan, a life- long Elizabeth resident, has been a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders since 1993. He is a Data Processing Manager at AT& T. A former member of the Elizabeth Board of Education, he has served as President and Vice President and as Finance Committee Chairman of the board.
As Chairman, he has initiated the county's Access 2000 program, which is working to bring computers to every classroom in Union County by the end of the year 2000. Crime prevention, open space development and a renewed dedication to the arts in Union County are among his 1998 priorities.
"Our Freeholder slate brings deep community involvement, strong
qualifications and great talent to County Government," said Ms. DeFilippo. "Union County voters can see that they are building a stronger economy in Union County, assisting our schools and municipalities and providing first- class services to all residents of Union County."
"As Chairman, I am directing the Board of Freeholders to focus on investing in better education, opportunities and leadership in the 21st century," said Freeholder Chairman Sullivan. "I am eager to bring Union County's story of growth, stability and fiscal responsibility to voters."
Freeholder Mingo, a Plainfield resident, is a retired NYNEX executive named to the Freeholder board this year. Freeholder Mingo served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War and has been involved in Plainfield civic activities for many years, particularly in the area of youth services and recreation.
He is a founding member of the Plainfield Area Youth Development Tennis Association and has been active in the organization for more than 16 years. He also served on Plainfield's Planning Board and Economic Development Council.
"It is a great honor to serve the people of Union County, and I plan to do all I can to respond to the needs and concerns of the county residents," said Freeholder Mingo. "During the coming year, I intend to focus on improving services and facilities for the county's youth and senior citizens.
Freeholder Ruotolo, who lives in Westfield, also was named to the Freeholder board early this year. A strong advocate for education, she has served as an Executive Board member of the Westfield ParentTeacher Organization, and was active in fundraising and publicity for school activities. She is also very active in scouting.
Her late husband, Andrew K. Ruotolo, Jr., served as Union County Prosecutor from 1991 until his death in 1995 at the age of 42.
"I am proud to be part of a team which is working to improve educational opportunities, bring more and better jobs to Union County and improve our quality of life," said Freeholder Ruotolo. "As Freeholders, we are working hard to promote the energy, talent and possibilities of Union County."
GOP Picks Candidates For County Positions
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
Members of the Republican Committee of Union County gathered this past Saturday morning, March 28, to begin the process of trying to gain back the party's representation on the currently all- Democratic Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
When the votes were tallied after the three- hour convention, George B. Gore from Plainfield, Juan "John" C. Fernandez of New Providence and Andy MacDonald of Fanwood stood victorious.
They were chosen from among four candidates for the Freeholder slate. Albert D. Dill, Jr., a Summit councilman described by Republican Committee Chairman Frank X. McDermott as a "very promising candidate," was not selected this year by the party.
The seats of Mary Ruotolo of Westfield, Lewis Mingo of Plainfield and board Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan of Elizabeth expire this year. All have been backed by the Union County Democratic Committee, along with seven- term incumbent Sheriff Ralph G. Froehlich.
Union County Sheriff's Lieutenant Esther Guzman- Malcolm was selected to run against Sheriff Froehlich on the Republican ticket.
Mrs. Ruotolo, the widow of the late Union County Prosecutor Andrew K. Ruotolo, replaced former Freeholder Carol I. Cohen of Westfield in January upon her resignation to become County Counsel.
Freeholder Mingo took the seat of Walter D. McNeil, who resigned in December to become City Administrator in Plainfield.
The past few years the Democratic slate endorsed by its county committee has withheld challenges from candidate slates from Elizabeth and Union in the June primary.
The Republicans have not won a Freeholder race since 1994. During the course of the past three elections, Republicans lost all five seats they had held on the board.
With the exception of Mr. MacDonald, a former councilman in Fanwood, this year's Republican Freeholder ticket has no previous elective experience. Mr. MacDonald said he is running for a number of reasons, among them being an attempt to gain a two- party representation on the board in 1999.
He also said he wants "to look out for the interest of the taxpayer.
"That is extremely important; after all, it is the hard work of the taxpayers that make the functions of government possible," Mr. MacDonald explained.
Noting the diversity of the county, he said the government must be able
to deal with urban issues impacting cities like the county seat of Elizabeth, while also addressing suburban concerns in communities such as Scotch Plains and Summit.
"What holds everything together is taxes," Mr. MacDonald said. "I think our taxes are entirely too high." While not making a promise to significantly cut taxes, he did pledge that he would "do everything I can to see to it that taxpayers will be having a lessening burden than is currently the case."
Mr. MacDonald has been employed for 25 years in the computer industry, and is currently working as an area Sales Manager for Computer City in Springfield.
Mr. Gore, a Business Manager at AT& T and a former Chairman of the Union County Improvement Authority, said he believes that "there is a need to come up with a different direction in terms of how the Freeholders have responded economically to the cities."
He said the county needs to do more to help cities like Plainfield and "turn them to a more solid commercial economic base."
"They (the county) take a lot of tax money, but I don't (think) a lot of services come back to the community," he said. "To me it's a question of taxes and revenue sharing."
He also cited a need for more "clean" industry and environmentalproblem free businesses, plus improvement for the county's roads and infrastructure.
Mr. Fernandez, who serves with a legal counsel firm for the Union County Improvement Authority, said there is "no checks" on the actions taken by the current board, since it represents only one party.
"My concern is that we have to be bringing government back to the people, and that promises be kept in the campaign," he said.
Mr. Fernandez asserted that Democrats broke a promise last year to voters that (all of) the Freeholders would stay on the board, referring to the resignations of Ms. Cohen and Mr. McNeil.
An attorney in Roseland, the 34- year- old candidate was born in Elizabeth and served as Assistant County Counsel for Union County from 1994 to 1997 under former County Counsel and Freeholder James F. Keefe.
The candidate said the Republican slate is going "to focus in on each and every municipality — not giving one away," and noted that he feels the GOP's chances of regaining seats on the board are "excellent."
Mr. Gore also emphasized the need for Republicans "to work hard" at the community level to get the GOP fall ticket's message out to the voters.
TAKING THE OATH... Union County Manager Michael J. Lapolla of Westfield, center, holds the bible, while June S. Fischer of Scotch Plains, left, takes the oath of office for her latest term on the county's election board. The oath of office for Ms. Fischer was administered by Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi of Union, right. Ms. Fischer has served on the board since she was named to fill the unexpired term of the late Catherine Lehr as an Election Board Commissioner in July, 1987. After the term was completed, she served her own term as Election Board Commissioner as well as Commissioner of Registration/ Secretary of the board. Additionally, she served as Chairwoman of the board for four years and has recently begun her fifth time in that capacity. Breast Cancer Awareness
Highlighted by WHS March
David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times
WALK FOR LIFE… A multitude of Westfield High School students and teachers along with many concerned citizens march across North Avenue and Broad Street en route to Mindowaskin Park in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness. The March began at the high school and had a special appearance of high school teacher Ron Barner, in traditional garb, playing the bag pipes.
More than 300 students and staff members from Westfield High School, along with members of the community, participated March 26 in a march for breast cancer awareness.
Sponsored by the Women's Studies Group at WHS as part of the celebration of Women's History Month, the "March for Life" was organized to honor those women and men who have fought or are still battling breast cancer.
With the support of many local businesses and the Westfield Police Department, which provided safety and traffic assistance, the march departed from WHS and proceeded along Summit Avenue, through the downtown along Broad Street, and across Mindowaskin Park before looping back to the high school.
During the pre- march registration, English teacher and football coach Ronald Barner played the bagpipes while students sold commemorative T- shirts with the logo for the march, and accepted donations for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
High school librarian Julie Walsh, who organized the march and co- advises Women's Studies along with English Department Chairwoman Paula Roy, thanked everyone who made the event "an overwhelming success" by helping to raise almost $1,600 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
"The march reflected the generosity of spirit that is typical of our students and of what we see daily at Westfield High School," stated Principal Robert G. Petix.