Update: Tillotson, Greenberg Win Seats on Township Committee

Republicans say their Democratic opponents ran 'effective campaign.'

updated 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9

Republicans Robert Tillotson and Sari Greenberg won seats on the Millburn Township Committee on Tuesday, defeating Democrats Stephen Thomas and Seth Levine.

The top issue in the had been how the township is going to deal with . Other issues included shared services, parking and redevelopment but fixing flooding problems stood out as the issue voters were interested in most.

According to the Essex County Clerk's Office, Tillotson had 26 percent of the vote with 1,614 votes cast in his favor, Greenberg had 26 percent with 1,591 votes. Thomas had 24 percent of the vote with 1,474 votes and Levine garnered 23 percent with 1,417 votes.

Only 17 percent of the 451,561 registered voters in Essex County voted on Tuesday. Millburn Town Clerk Joanne Monarque said on Friday that Millburn has 14,090 registered voters and 3,331 came to the polls or voted absentee, which represents 24 percent of voters in town.

"They seized on the issue of the day," said incumbent Robert Tillotson, regarding the campaign. "They ran a very effective campaign. "We did not expect it to be this close - and that shows you how effective it was."

Greenberg, a lawyer and a mother of two girls in middle and elementary school, said she was thrilled to have won a chance to serve the community as it recovers from flooding.

"It's been a very polarizing couple of months and now we all need to come together as one as we face the challenges ahead of us," she said.

Thomas and Levine had hope to fill the two spots or at least the seat left by outgoing Committee Member Jim Suell, who had been the lone Democrat on the committee.

Thomas called Tillotson and Greenberg to congratulate them early in the evening, after the results started coming in as it became clear they had won.

"It is what it is. I'm surprised and disappointed," he said. "But I enjoyed the process, and will remain quite involved in the township. I do feel that it's unfortunate for the town that it's now a unanimous Republican committee."

Levine echoed that sentiment.

"This is a Republican town, and it shows," Levine said. "But having a totally Republican Township Committee is dangerous - there's no voices dissenting."

Last year, Levine said, he ran to get a parking deck and a river walk -- two things that the town has since started work on.

"So in that sense I won," he said. "I hope this time I 'win' by the township working toward sharing common services and a little bit of future planning to avoid future flooding problems."


M OKeef November 09, 2011 at 11:38 AM
Curious as to voter turnout numbers. I think there are about 13,000 registered voters in town, correct? I think the Democrats would have had a real chance if they would stop advocating for large scale redevelopment of downtown at taxpayer expense. Certainly many voiced a desire to send Township Comm "a message" re crisis response with this election. I HOPE Township committee got the message about poor performance on their part during townwide crisis -- Irene and snowstorm -- but doubt they did.
P_R_PC November 09, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Note to those who didn't vote - YOU BLEW IT. We had a chance for change to the town council. Those who've used this platform to complain and didn't vote should be ashamed. I'm proud to say I voted and proud to say I will continue to use this forum and others to challenge the system and push for more from those who run our town.
DS November 09, 2011 at 12:05 PM
I think downtown needs large scale development and consistency to put it on a par with downtown maple wood and chatham and Madison, all of which are significantly better formed, safer and MUCH better thought out.
DS November 09, 2011 at 12:07 PM
And yes, I voted as well.. As is consistently proven one party in control is NEVER in the best interests of a community..so we shall see, but hope here is limited
frustrated resident November 09, 2011 at 12:07 PM
So dissapointed.
JB November 09, 2011 at 01:17 PM
Assume that 3000 residents voted based on the #'s reported with 93% tallied which based on the 13,000 registered, we're at under 25% turnout. Not impressive at all.
Yenta November 09, 2011 at 01:35 PM
And the weather could not have been better. Not sure what it will take to get people out to vote. We've already had the flood, the earthquake, the storm, no power for 7 days. And proven poor performance and or non-responsiveness by our elected officials. I guess that 25% is all we can expect. Three Cheers for Democracy!
Carolyn Most November 09, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Shocking that the majority of residents in this town ignore local elections and those that do vote, vote for the status quo. I guess most voting residents feel that non-communicative, unresponsive, even arrogant local government is just fine as long as candidates promise not to raise taxes. Very disappointing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and believing you will get different results.
SS November 09, 2011 at 01:56 PM
I am an independent and I voted. I am disappointed with the turnout and the fact that we have an all Republican town council. Our system of government and constitution is built on checks and balances. I made an effort to come back from Midtown by 7:30 PM so that I could vote. Clealy, every one did not feel that same level of committment.
MarkDS November 09, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Failure to vote is a statement as much as voting is. One needs to accept that the majority of people in Millburn have made a statement that they are satisfied with the path the town is on. While I did not take that tack we need to accept the will of the people, congratulate the winners but continue to advocate for what we believe in. I will say this for the Democrats - for a while they were putting up impressive candidates such as Suell and Baer with solid backgrounds who were able to win. I certainly had disagreements with their positions but they were qualified. It was good that this was turning into a town with options for voters. However, in recent years the quality of the Democratic candidates have declined and all of them, even the ones like Thomas I voted for, had a background less impressive than the Republican candidates. So now we are back to a one party Committee which is a shame. The relative closeness of the vote shows that the Democrats do have a chance. They just need to do a much better job in recruiting impressive candidates and a much better job campaigning.
Yenta November 09, 2011 at 02:08 PM
I have to agree. Democrats need to step up to the plate and run for office or get involved with the Party. We have so many highly qualified people in this town. As I've noted previously, the quality of our Board of Ed candidates usually surpasses those running for Governor, Senator and other state-wide office. Wonder why Board of Ed holds more appeal than Township Committee. Is it because it directly involves our kids. Is school quality the overriding factor for keeping the town viable? It may be, but so is responsive, efficient government - not to mention low crime. I don't think that Millburn Township can brag about either of these. We need to hire more police so that we can really cover the town and catch these quality of life issues, such as car break-ins, burglaries, vandalism, etc.
Leslie November 09, 2011 at 04:02 PM
I voted based on qualifications, not political affiliation. I don't think national-level political doctrine is so relevant to local offices and I disagree with the concerns here about the dangers of an "all-Republican Committee." Far more important to me is a sense of competence and experience in getting things done.
P_R_PC November 09, 2011 at 04:42 PM
3 Part Group Question: 1. Will the Township Committee select a new Mayor at the end of 2012? 2. Which member of the Township Committee will be selected to replace Mayor Haimoff? 3. Why do you think your prediction of new Mayor is good / bad for the town?
MarkDS November 09, 2011 at 04:46 PM
I agree that national and state level parties are not relevant and would prefer non-partisan elections in Millburn. But my point is that it would be good to have choice of candidates with the relevant background and qualifications for the office, rather than only one slate with those qualifications.
MarkDS November 09, 2011 at 04:49 PM
The Mayor is selected by the Committee every year at the first meeting. Mr. Tillotson will be selected mayor and will use the bully pulpit (the mayor really has few real powers distinct from the other members of the committee) to push through the parking deck. Which is unfortunate.
Laura Griffin November 09, 2011 at 04:55 PM
This added to the story today regarding voter turnout: Millburn has 14,090 registered voters and 3,331 came to the polls or voted absentee, which represents 24 percent of voters in town.
Stephen V. Thomas November 09, 2011 at 05:03 PM
To Mark DS and Yenta: Having been through this process and lost, which I accept and respect and applaud, I admit I'm curious to learn what sort 'experience' is necessary, in your estimation, to render one 'qualified'. Truly, I wouldn't have embarked on this process if I didn't believe I had the necessary attributes to be a reasonable, responsible-if-dissenting voice in the process. Those who voted disagree with me and I completely, wholeheartedly respect that stance; I am, however, willing to listen and learn from that result.
MarkDS November 09, 2011 at 05:58 PM
If you look at the last 3 elections, the Democratic candidates have mostly not have the type of financial, legal or governmental experience on par with the the Republican candidates. And one, Humphries, was a bomb throwing blow-hard attention seeker. The Democrats need to look at the success of Suell and Baer and their backgrounds to see the type of people they need to have running. I had my differences of opinion with both of them (mostly on redevelopment) but I never had any doubt about their qualification to be on the committee.
Yenta November 09, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Absolutely did not mean to imply that you were not qualified. I voted for you and was very happy to do so. I was just agreeing with Mark's point about some people not voting party line and Democratic party not being a strong presence in the town. Not sure what your experience with the Demo party in town has been, but, perhaps, they are not as helpful to candidates - and as strong in their outreach to M/SH voters than the Republican party. I'm going to stop here because I don't want to make this situation worse. I apologize for giving you one moment's upset about my comment. You had the guts to stand up for yourself, you have totally paid your dues, have attended the committee meetings and have a clear understanding of the issues. I am sorry that you did not win. Very sorry, indeed.
P_R_PC November 09, 2011 at 09:55 PM
So sad. New Jersey voters demonstrated record apathy yesterday with a 26% turnout at the polls on.wsj.com/rNtzt3
P_R_PC November 09, 2011 at 09:55 PM
So sad. New Jersey voters demonstrated record apathy yesterday with a 26% turnout at the polls http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/11/09/new-jersey-breaks-record-for-fewest-voters/?mod=e2tw
Stephen V. Thomas November 09, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Yenta: No worries or offense taken. Of some of the things written/said about me of late, 'unqualified' would be among the least problematic. Thanks very much for the support.
mhs973 November 09, 2011 at 11:01 PM
To MarkDS, It is kind of hysterical to me how you are bashing the democratic party candidates beacuse you appear to have no knowledge of any of their backgrounds. Let me point the record straight, that Thomas led a good campaign and only wants to help make Millburn a more successful town, just as several other of the candidates in past elections have communicated. In addition, do you really think it is necessary to continue to bash Mr. HUMPHREYS. Also, just for your own knowledge, Humphreys is a high end attonery in Manhattan, who works on several financial law contracts at McDermott Will & Emery, so I really do find it funny that :"the Democratic candidates have mostly not had the type of financial legal or governmental experience on par with the Republican candidate." If you feel this way, can you answer one question - what is your experience then and maybe you should stop addressing your political team so negatively and run yourself!
MarkDS November 09, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Humphreys is a as I described him. A person whose primary goal in life is to hear himself talk. So sometimes being a "high powered" lawyer is far outweighed by other factors. Thankfully we did not need to endure him on the Committee. And I stated that I did vote for Thomas.
bluemartha80 November 10, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Mark DS- First you said that the Democrats were not running qualified candidates.You than explained the qualifications that you deemed necessary and you basically described Peter Humphreys but wait you than said that Peter is a articulate lawyer who talks to much.He also did not fall in your category that dems are all for big downtown redevelopment.I think maybe someone else is the one who likes to hear himself talk or at least type. One last thing I think it is safe to say from what I saw in town and at the train station that no candidate in this election worked harder than Steven Thomas.
MarkDS November 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM
I said less qualified, not unqualified.And I think I have been VERY clear what the problem is with Humphreys (who pretty much foisted himself on the Democrats kicking and screaming after the turncoat performance of his wife).
JB November 10, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Agreed on Stephen's hustle. And he was by far the most genuine of all of the candidates.


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