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Sullivan Picked for Mayor in Narrow Vote

Kevin Sullivan appointed Chatham Township mayor, Curt Ritter sworn in, appointed deputy mayor at reorganization meeting.

Kevin Sullivan is sworn in as mayor. Credit: Jake Remaly
Kevin Sullivan is sworn in as mayor. Credit: Jake Remaly
Chatham Township Committeeman Kevin Sullivan was appointed mayor for 2014 at the township's reorganization meeting Friday, while newly sworn in Committeeman Curt Ritter was appointed deputy mayor.

Both officials were appointed by 3-2 votes.

Committee members Katherine Abbott and Robert Gallop voted against the appointments. They voted to have Gallop serve as mayor and Abbott as deputy mayor, which the other members opposed.

Committeeman Bailey Brower Jr., who served as mayor for the past month, cast the deciding votes for Sullivan and Ritter. 

The five-member governing body picks a mayor and deputy mayor from among its members at the start of each year.

Sullivan is starting his second year on the Township Committee. Gallop, who was re-elected in November, is starting his third, three-year term.

Nicole Hagner, whose term was up at the end of the year, served as Chatham Township's mayor the past three years until letting Brower serve as mayor for the month of December. Brower said it was an honor to serve as mayor, but he can be more effective as a committeeman.
mary venezia January 04, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Bitter? You obviously didn't hear the lack of transparency to or respect of the Chatham citizens they are supposedly serving. It was a process that lacked honor!
Mary de St Phalle January 04, 2014 at 11:39 AM
The article rightly notes that the deciding votes (for the two position) were held by one individual. That person had the responsibility to uphold their solum, sworn responsibility to act on behalf of and in the best interest of the Citizen's of the Township and not for any personal interest, by voting for the most experienced, best qualified, and deserving candidates. Actions speak louder than words, and the manner in which that person voted speaks loudly about their integrity, morals and judgement.
Emily January 04, 2014 at 01:18 PM
The meeting last night was at the very least disturbing. A major news channel would probably be the only thing that could get some action and expose the backward way things are being run. Perhaps it's time too to merge with Chatham Borough because what I witnessed last night was something I hope to never, ever see again.
Tom Basta January 04, 2014 at 03:14 PM
I try not to speak up on these boards, especially on political topics since I know all five members of the Township Committee well. But there's something I have to say. I was at the meeting. While it was great to see people coming to the meeting, there were a couple of people who made insulting comments to Kevin and Curt while their families (including children) were in the room. I'm sure you all would agree with me that that's not ok under any circumstances. While political engagement is to be encouraged, we can't lose sight of basic decency.
John Nonnenmacher January 04, 2014 at 03:20 PM
The Constitution Of The United States. Someone tried to have my father-in-law forcibly removed from the room for voicing his opinion. Perhaps that person needs a history lesson and/or a lesson on the US Constitution. Does the First Amendment and the phrases of "freedom of speech" and " the right to assemble" ring a bell? Do the laws of our land cease to exist in Chatham Township? Thankfully, the officer involved has a brain and exercised the appropriate restraint. Meanwhile, this entire charade was captured on video.
Lauren Cooper January 04, 2014 at 04:18 PM
At the end of the day Kathy and Bob can walk away from all of this with their heads held high knowing that both acted with the utmost integrity and honesty. The other three, well that is for someone else to decide!!!
Emily January 04, 2014 at 04:41 PM
Honestly, it probably wasn't the best idea to have children in the room until a decision was made. Obviously people were angry. Aside from insults, those children witnessed first hand how government is NOT supposed to work. What a disgrace.
Disgusted Chatham-ite January 04, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Tubbs - you used to give me Communion at St. Pats and I thought you were a hypocrite then and feel even stronger now. You had a role in creating this horrendous divide amongst the Twp Committee and the citizens of this town are the worse for it. I suggest you stay in the midwest where you've been banished to. When you want to plan your Chatham political revival, wait until your partner in crime - Hagner - gets her in the ground luxury pool in - on her steep slope - now that she's stacked the Board of Adjustment with people that will approve it and now that she's gotten rid of anyone who would oppose it. And while you are there, invite Sullivan over so you can give him some lines to say or ways to vote. When asked last night without preparation from a concerned citizen "Tell us about your credentials and why you should be mayor"....he was speechless. I guess its hard to talk when Brower and Hagner don't prep you. Real change and transparency... huh Ritter? You are now one of them. Shame on all of you.
James Venezia January 04, 2014 at 07:44 PM
What was striking to me is that the process appears to be set up to fail without representation of individuals of the highest integrity. As for fairness, that seems to be a casualty of ego and personal interest; without honor the word fair ceases to have relevance. On one hand, you have to appreciate anyone willing to sacrifice their personal time for the benefit of others; maybe those who do volunteer need more direction from concerned citizens who are willing to participate in the process with more vigor, interest and regularity (I know I’ve failed from this perspective but this meeting was wakeup call for me). I certainly was surprised by the process as it did appear to lack the honor and respect that I would expect in our town but, maybe this is a necessary turning point – a catalyst to get more of us involved with the process. I’m trying to imagine the impression I’d have if I was in grammar or middle school – clearly the principles of character we teach our children went out the window at this meeting; imagine all those successful students working hard to be at the top of their class only to find out that networking and posturing take precedence over honor, hard work and experience.
Julles51 January 04, 2014 at 08:32 PM
What the hell happened at this meeting and when will it be posted to youtube?? ;)
Kevin Tubbs January 04, 2014 at 11:07 PM
DC, It's tough to take comments seriously from someone who is not willing to attach their name to them, instead hiding behind a screen name. That's especially true in this case when someone references receiving Holy Communion, goes off on a mean spirited rant about elected officials and fellow parishioners, then calls someone else a hypocrite. How ironic is that?? You can't make this stuff up. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; I'm happy to let my record of service to St. Pats and Chatham Township speak for itself.
Lauren Cooper January 04, 2014 at 11:31 PM
With all due respect Mr. Tubbs, I completely agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion but the facts are still the facts. The facts are that these two (as you describe them) "intelligent, strong family men etc." just completely divided this town and left their families open to ridicule. They were clearly self-serving and never stopped to think of the potential consequences. They were well aware of Gallops/Abbotts intentions and pretty much stepped all over them. They had no regard for their 'opponents' feelings nor their opponents families. Most sadly and telling was that they didn't care of the potential backlash their families could encounter. They only worried about themselves. Not really how I would define a 'family man.'. I promise you that I've tried to keep an open mind about all of this but I really can't get past the poor judgement of these two men.
Karen Swartz January 04, 2014 at 11:57 PM
The beauty of our democratic system is the basic fact that there will always be another election. I hope we never lose sight of that. With all due respect, I hope that our five Committee Members are succeeding today where we here seem challenged, and that is in burying the hatchet and looking ahead to a year of working together. Frankly a more involved and educated electorate may have prevented this sort of harsh discourse in the first place, for expectations and opinions would have been more widely understood. Perhaps a more bi-cameral attitude in our local system would have produced greater involvement, more lively and honest exchange, fewer surprises and less divisiveness. For our Township Committee, I wish you the very best going forward as I know all of us here do, for the betterment of our Township. Respectfully...etc.
Chatham Mom January 05, 2014 at 01:16 AM
Everyone needs to calm down. Maybe a change is needed and Curt and Sullivan could bring some fresh ideas and opinions to the chatham board. It's not all about experience. Some of these comments are very rash and bitter. It is extremely uncalled for to say they do not care about the backlash their families could encounter. And there is absolutely no need to put an article about their campaign managers past.
Lauren Cooper January 05, 2014 at 08:33 AM
My comment was certainly not meant to stir the pot but instead it was to call a spade a spade. There was a comment about children being in the room and another stating that these men should be trusted simply b/c one person deems them 'great family men.'. My only observation and assumption was that tKebin and Curt should have seen this coming and maybe not had kids in the room etc. b/c they knew darn well they were playing dirty and it was gonna get even dirtier once they started this divide. Perhaps for 364 days a year they are terrific family men but the day of this election, I'm sorry but I personally feel they did not take any one else's feelings other than their own into consideration. They should have thought very carefully how all of the other spouses and kids were going to experience this outcome. This is a very small community. It's very difficult for me to have any respect or faith in two men who seem to be only concerned about themselves. They made their bed, I certainly did not.....please do not direct any bad feeling toward people who are, as you, voicing their opinion.
Jen Galante January 05, 2014 at 08:49 AM
I couldn't agree more Lauren. And I'm sorry you don't see any relevance in Ritter and Sullivan's campaign manager, but these men win elections in Republican primaries where only the most conservative people vote. Maybe its time that people's true character be laid out there for people to see before the vote. Its one thing doing glossy mailings laying out "family men...conservative principals..." and its another thing to look at their actions, not words. Lauren is right - there was no regard for anyone but themselves in them voting for themselves. This was a power grab. A political play that they thought they could make without anyone noticing. And the point of my posts is that this is only the the beginning of the peeled onion. Let's all watch the tape. I for one can't wait. Isn't this a democracy? Aren't people allowed to go to meetings and voice opinions? What are we all supposed to do? Constantly look the other way? Let ourselves be constantly hushed and asked to sit down. These people are supposed to be leaders and role models and should act accordingly. But they don't.
Sir January 05, 2014 at 09:48 AM
Experience in government is overrated. Look no further than Congress. Can we be worse off than we were before? We need a vision in what is best for the Township and then a plan to accomplish that vision. Very simple. Welcome to the new Mayor.
Lauren Cooper January 05, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Sir... Perhaps you ave a point but this is not Congress, thisis small town politics and playing fairly should not be overrated. Curt and Kevin just needed to be fair and wait their turn. My 1st. Grader knows to do this. They held the key to avoiding this mess. Again kudos to Bob and Kathy for setting the tone/example that this town should model
Sir January 05, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Sounds like sour grapes. If you don't like the process start a petition. Btw - this "small town" could govern itself - even with a "1st grader ".
Disgusted Chatham-ite January 05, 2014 at 10:32 AM
The new guy really likes to brag about himself: http://www.thealternativepress.com/towns/chatham/categories/letters-to-the-editor/articles/deputy-mayor-ritter-thanks-committee-township-re http://www.thealternativepress.com/articles/5th-annual-thanksgiving-turkey-trot-rates-as-most http://www.thealternativepress.com/articles/lemonade-campaign-in-chatham http://www.thealternativepress.com/articles/curt-for-chatham-township-committee
ChathamNJ January 05, 2014 at 10:44 AM
Just curious....are there any actual issues or policies that people think will be different because of this process? I know that it is an all republican council, but party affiliation does not mean much at the local level. Can anyone shed some light on how the township would be different based on either choice as mayor?
John Nonnenmacher January 05, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Chathamnj, it's not about who got there its how they got there. We pride ourselves as being democratic. A democracy is about transparency and fairness. The process was fundamentally unfair. While Kevin Sullivan and Curt Ritter may do a fine job, given their experience, it just wasn't there time.
John Nonnenmacher January 05, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Disgusted Chathami-ite, if what you said about Nicole Is true I would like to see some proof. Economic gain from political shenanigans, like insider trading, is a crime. If what you say is true, then the Attorney General and/ or the US Attorney should be notified immediately. If its not true, then an apology is in order. I'd like to discuss this with you.
Concerned Chathamite January 05, 2014 at 12:29 PM
Sir, good point about about experience being overrated. However, I was at the meeting. When Mr. Sullivan was asked about why he should be Mayor, he was speechless. Is that who you want as the spokesperson for our town? Is that vision?
Mary de St Phalle January 05, 2014 at 02:45 PM
Knowing facts about candidates for public office, like who they hire, is definitely appropriate, especially for this forum. I have just now learned many facts that I wish I had known previously. My family and many friends in the Township had no idea that Kurt was one of "Bailey's Boys" prior to voting for him. We mistakenly bought into Kurt's pledge for "change." After the Borough's Mayor so upstaged ours during and after Sandy, I so hoped for needed change. These latest Shenanigans only serve to make our town government again look bad, especially compared to the Borough's.
Kickthemtothecurb January 06, 2014 at 09:54 PM
Wow, sounds like Congress. I am sure that each candidate is capable and as Kevin Tubbs said, each come forward willing to serve. It just seems wrong for a person with one year experience taking charge. There must be a learning curve that requires moreexperience right ? I won't bad mouth anyone. I wish the well and look forward to them hushing critics through performance in their important positions even if I am not sure ifI agree.just keep the infighting in the Township, haha.
communicate07928 January 07, 2014 at 05:36 PM
In his public address at the reorganization meeting on Friday 1/3/14 as well as on his web site, in TAP and in the press release sent out by the township today (1/7/14), Curt Ritter has stated that "I look forward to bringing change, increased communication and transparency to our local government..." This sounds great in theory, but in my opinion, he has already failed in practice. I myself as well as a number of other township residents I know of emailed Mr. Ritter prior to the reorg meeting urging him to vote for Bob Gallop and Kathy Abbott as Mayor and Deputy Mayor based on years of service as well as experience and track record. None of us received any sort of response from Mr. Ritter via email, nor did we receive an explanation at the January 3rd meeting why Mr. Sullivan was qualified to be Mayor over Mr. Gallop. Transparency? Neither Mr. Ritter nor Mr. Sullivan answered a direct question. Didn't expect a direct answer or transparency from Bailey Brower. In a world where local government is run with "increased communication and transparency," I would expect some form of response to taxpaying, concerned citizens (plural) vocal request for information and explanation. As of this day, not one person I know of has received a response back. This sort of game playing and lack of communication is certainly not what we need in Chatham Township.
Concerned Chathamite January 07, 2014 at 09:58 PM
Sadly communicate07928, I too never got a response. Perhaps Mr. Ritter needs to grasp the concept that he was elected NOT to self-promote, but instead to promote communication between himself and the citizens he was elected to represent.
Chatham Examiner January 08, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Ironically he is a corporate communications professional. Based on lack of communication but effective self-promotion you would think he is in sales/marketing.
Karen January 08, 2014 at 07:16 PM
Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Ritter, thank you for serving. I am confident you will do a great job.

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