HOWELL – Republican Township Councilman Bob Walsh, who has served the residents of Howell as a member of the governing body for more than a decade, will conclude his public service at the end of December.
In the Nov. 6 Township Council election, Walsh’s running mates on the Republican ticket, Thomas Russo and Pamela Richmond, won their first terms with 10,545 and 10,210 votes, respectively. Walsh received 9,846 votes in an unsuccessful bid for a new four-year term.
Democrat John Bonevich won the third available seat with 10,027 votes.
Walsh has been dealing with a medical issue and was not available for comment following the election.
Walsh, who is a native of Manalapan, and his family have lived in Howell for more than 25 years. In November 2005, he won an election to complete an unexpired term on the council and began his public service.
In November 2006, Walsh ran for council as an independent candidate and won a new term. In November 2008, he was elected mayor and served in that position from January 2009 through December 2012, according to information provided by the township.
Walsh returned to a position as a councilman in 2013. In November 2014, he won another four-year term on the council and that term will end next month.
Before the 2018 election, Walsh said he was proud of many things that have been accomplished during his time on the governing body.
“I am proud we changed zoning laws to prevent high-density housing. I am proud we preserved 22 farms. I am proud we created the 170-acre Soldier Memorial Park. I am proud we secured the new town hall on Route 9, saving taxpayers millions. I am proud we fought big developers and I am especially proud we cut the municipal tax rate by 15 percent in the last five years,” Walsh said.
Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro has served on the council with Walsh for the last eight years and said, “Bob has become one of my closest, dearest friends. One thing I can say about Bob Walsh is that no one I have met loves Howell more than Bob.”
Nicastro praised Walsh and said “his leadership, both as mayor and a councilman, is second to none. It is unfortunate he is dealing with a medical issue and we pray every day for him, but Bob has been a trailblazer for Howell. He is responsible for so many things he never got credit for; the purchase of (the current municipal building), making this town more efficient and effective and bringing everyone under one roof and generating revenue.”
He said Walsh led the municipality during the Great Recession.
“Leading this town through 2008 when we had the housing crisis and the biggest economic downturn … Bob navigated this town without having such a negative impact on many people,” Nicastro said. “He should be noted for being one of the best mayors this town has had, honestly.”
Howell Republican Chairman Juan Malave said, “Bob has carved out a true legacy in Howell. He has served more than a dozen years on the governing body as a councilman and mayor. He served as mayor during the great economic recession and his strength and leadership helped us through that difficult time.
“He also engineered the deal to get the township our new and much needed municipal building on Route 9, which was a stroke of genius for Howell. He has always put Howell first and he gives to the community through his many activities and charitable endeavors in addition to his work as an elected official.
“These past few weeks have been a challenge for him with his health situation, but nobody is more of a fighter than Bobby Walsh and so I know in my heart he’s going to be just fine. … Bob is still a winner in Howell for all he has done for this community. I am proud to be his friend and I am grateful for his service to Howell,” Malave said.