Point Beach Mayor and New GOP Councilman Say They Can Work Together
Barrella, re-elected, and William Mayer, elected for first time, say it will be a continuation of ongoing, working relationship
Point Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella and councilman-elect William Mayer say they will work together for the town, hopefully helping to end divisions on council.
Barrella, a registered Republican who ran as an Independent, won re-election to the four-year term by only 36 votes, narrowly beating Republican Stephen Reid for the second year in a row.
Mayer, who has served as the town's bond counsel, was the only Republican to win a seat on Tuesday.
He was elected to one of two, three-year council seats, which are now held by Republican Sean Hennessy, who had declined to run again, and Democrat Frank Rizzo, who lost his re-election bid.
Mayer said he wants to work with the mayor and all council members to hopefully break down divisions.
"We have to try to avoid the camps, teams and divisions," Mayer said.
"I'm hoping we don't see votes of 3-3-1," he said, answering a question about whether his election will lead to tie votes, with Tim Lurie, Jeff Dyer and himself on one side, and council members Kristine Tooker, Michael Corbally and Bret Gordon, who was just elected, on the other side, leaving the mayor to have to break a lot of ties.
In the borough council form of government, the mayor only votes when there is a tie.
"I've known Kristine and Mike a long time," he said. "I want to work with them and the whole council, with more of a committee structure. The mayor needs to build consensus, and I think he will."
Barrella said on Wednesday that the mayor-councilman relationship will be a continuation of a good mayor-attorney relationship the two have forged during the past few years.
"I've worked with Bill for the past three years, I've always valued his opinion and I'll continue to value his opinion," Barrella said. "He's a smart guy. He knows our budget as a whole. He's not just someone who drafts a bond. He knows what we're dealing with. I expect Bill to be on the finance committee next year, if I have anything to say about it."
"We may disagree on certain policies on occasion, but I think we'll be able to work that out," Barrella said. "I'm really looking forward to working with Bill and Bret."
Bret Gordon, one of Barrella's running mates, won a council seat. His other running mate, Phyllis Thomson, former Board of Education member, lost.
Last year, Barrella managed to survive a recall and challenges from Reid and Democrat John Dixon.
According to the county election website, Tuesday's results are as follows: Barrella, 812; Reid, 776; Lurie (who had filed late to run and then withdrew his candidacy before the end of October), 81; and three write-in votes, with 1,672 votes in total.
This past Saturday, residents got a campaign mailer from Lurie that he was supporting Reid.
Council results are as follows, in order of highest to lowest vote-getters: Mayer, 767; Gordon, 686; Republican Andy Cortes, 669; Independent Phyllis Thomson, 621; Independent newcomer Karen "Kitty" Stillufsen (who was not running on Barrella's slate), 217; Democratic councilman Frank Rizzo, the only incumbent who ran, 177; and Democratic newcomer Nick Mazzola, 144.
Barrella said Mayer has developed friendships and professional relationships with at least some of the prominent boardwalk business owners, which could help the town in its ongoing discussions with the owners to find solutions to problems, such as paying for police services in the summer.
"Bill could be a bridge to help get a dialogue going," Barrella said. "He has a strong connection to the boardwalk, and I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that they know him and trust him. I could say something 100 times and they won't believe it. Bill could say it once and they' may believe him."
Mayer said, "We have to bring boardwalk businesses into the discussion and show them respect. They need to be able to pursue their business model without their patrons disturbing the residents. But let's see if we can have a consensus approach."
Regarding the election results, Mayer said, "I thought I'd be happy if I won, but I'm not because Steven and Andy didn't win."
"It was a draining experience, a long campaign," he said. "It was more emotionally draining than I thought it would be. I'm just trying to stay positive."
Mayer noted that Reid won in three of the four local voting districts, except for District 4, where Barrella lives.
Mayer said that since he won the election, he will not seek reappointment as bond counsel when that position expires at the end of the year.