In the midst of campaign fury, Scotch Plains Mayor Nancy Malool has announced that she will resign from her post as Mayor, effectively ending her campaign for reelection. Malool, who has served in Scotch Plains local government for over 10 years, has accepted a position working for the State.
Beginning in May, Malool will take on the role of the Director of the Shared Services within the division of Local Government Services in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The Mayor stated that a state policy will prevent her from holding elected office while she works in state government.
Malool expressed that she would have liked to remain Mayor and work for the state at the same time, but felt that this opportunity was the right direction for her career and her family.
Malool is no stranger to state government, having spent 17 years working for the Public Employee Retirement System. She also has a master's degree in public administration with a concentration in local government.
“I even spoke to the Governor hoping that he would make an exception and let me continue to serve as Mayor while working for the state,” Malool said. “Unfortunately the answer was no. It is important for me to work in state government because that is what I went to school for. I went to law school to further my interest in local government.”
As the Director of Shared Services, Malool will work with local governments across the state to facilitate positive change; helping neighboring towns save money and cultivate new ideas for the use of shared services. Malool will also aid in the development of related legislation, such as the championed by Courage to Reconnect.
Malool will officially tender her resignation in May. At that time, the Scotch Plains Republican Committee must nominate three candidates to fill the Mayor’s seat. The remaining members of the Scotch Plains Town Council will then vote to choose one of the three candidates. If there is a tie, the winning candidate will be chosen by the Scotch Plains Republican Committee.
As she reflected on her final days as Mayor, Malool expressed that there is “never a good time to leave.”
“A big part of me regrets not running in the primary battle, because I really think I could have won,” Malool said. “I think that some of my fellow council members have a lot to learn. Half the battle of this job is recognizing that you don’t have all the answers and working hard to find them. Hopefully they will be open to that.”
Although she is now reluctantly dropping out of the race, it was only two weeks ago that Malool sat down with Patch, confident in her bid for reelection. In an , Mayor Malool detailed her history with the Scotch Plains Republican Committee who chose not to support her in the June primary, backing Mary DePaola instead. As she prepares to leave her post, Malool stated that politics shouldn’t influence the decisions made by local government.
“I once advocated for Scotch Plains to become a nonpartisan governing body. Politics shouldn’t play a role. We are all supposed to put the community first. I’m a little nervous that this council won’t put the interests of the townspeople before their personal politics.”
Malool went on to speak about the recent controversy, stating that it has caused her to come to some tough realizations about where she stands when it comes to local politics.
“What has happened here emphasizes the fact that I thought I was a politician and now I know I wasn’t. I don’t fit the mold - I’m loyal, straightforward and I don’t make cut-throat deals. I did what I thought was right and I wasn’t beholden to anybody. I think that what has happened over the last few months has shown that politics is controlling some of the people on this council.”
When asked what advice she would offer to the next Mayor of Scotch Plains, Malool emphasized forgoing politics in favor of serving the needs of the people.
“Make the decisions you know are right in spite of political power or influence,” she said. “In the end, you need to make sure you can go to sleep at night know that you made the right decision for Scotch Plains. Always keep in mind who put you in office. Don’t let your ego get in the way and try to remember that you’re a regular person just like everyone else.”