I have lived in Springfield for thirty-six years and have seen Township Committeemen come and go. Democrat or Republican, they have generally tended to the Town's business, served their terms of office and disappeared from public view or faded into the background of the political scene, having gained little but the satisfaction of having served the community.
Today, however, we are faced with a new phenomenon: a young politically career driven mayor who seems intent on using Springfield to serve his personal ambition by changing the form of the Township's government.
Instead of the present professional and politically neutral Township Administrator, he is maneuvering the voters, through charter revision, toward a separately elected and independent Strong Mayor, which would inevitably lead to a full time job with commensurate salary and pension. There is no compelling reason for such a change other than his expectation of filling that seat.
He has already shown his appetite for power by disbanding the independent volunteer Board of Health (against expressed public opinion) and proposing a new body with two remarkable provisions:1) it provides fewer services for the community; 2) it guaranties Shehady's control.
Most revealing of all is his use (in the September Patriot Times) of the expression “The Township Committee and I ....” already distancing himself as a separate entity.
On November 6, despite what the ballot reads, it is Shehady who is running on the Republican ticket. The two names you will see on that line are his stand-ins, his acolytes, whose votes follow his direction and who will support his rampant ambition to become permanent mayor.
To preserve the traditional democratic form of government in Springfield, vote AGAINST Shehady's shadow candidates and vote NO to Public Question 3 (Charter Revision), which was designed by Shehady to launch him on his way to an entrenched mayoralty.
Beware the imperial mayor!