Home>Congress>After 18 years, Burrell returns to public office

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), right, administers the oath of office to Vernon Mayor Howard L. Burrrell on January 1, 2020.

After 18 years, Burrell returns to public office

Gottheimer swears in new mayor of Vernon

By David Wildstein, January 01 2020 4:48 pm

The last Democrat to win a seat on the Sussex County Board of Freeholders and the only African American freeholder in Sussex history completed a political comeback today, being sworn in as the new mayor of Vernon Township.

Howard Burrell, 74, was administered the of office by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).

Burrell won a three-way race for mayor in a November non-partisan election against two Republicans: retired sheriff’s officer Daniel Storey and Council President Jean Murphy.

He led Storey by 101 votes, 43%-42%, with 15% for Murphy.

“I can think of no better way to kick off the new year than having Republicans and Democrats come together, especially in a time like this. I’m honored to administer the oath of office to such incredible leaders today, who have already done so much for the Vernon community,” said Gottheimer. “Vernon is in good hands with Mayor Burrell.”

Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway did not seek re-election and instead won a council seat.  Gottheimer also swore him in.

Burrell was elected freeholder in 1999, defeating GOP incumbent RIchard Durina by about 500 votes.  Republican Gary Chiusano ousted him in 2002 by ten percentage points, and Burrell lost a comeback bid in 2003 by more than 4,000 votes against Republicans Glen Vetrano and Susan Zellman.

Burrell was a Vernon councilman in the 1990’s.  A U.S. Air Force veteran, Burrell also held posts at Felician College and the state Department of Labor.  He is currently the chairman of the North Jersey DIstrict Water Commission.

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