HOWELL – Township Councilman Thomas Russo, who’s been serving as Howell’s deputy mayor in 2021, has announced he will be stepping down from the governing body effective November 6.
Russo made his announcement on November 3 in a video post to his Facebook page. He is one of three Republicans to serve on the council. He was elected in November 2018 and received the most votes of any council candidate that year. His term was to run from January 2019 through December 2022.
In his message, Russo explained how he is resigning due to personal circumstances that are quickly changing much sooner than he originally anticipated.
“My law firm is, at this very moment, undergoing a major transition and I have been fortunate enough to have been asked to play a lead role in the process,” Russo said.
In addition, Russo stated how he’s pursuing a life-long dream of his to join the U.S. Navy Reserve as an Intelligence Officer.
“In August of this year, I applied for a direct commission in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and eagerly awaiting the Selection Board’s response. I am greatly looking forward to the prospect of serving in this new and different capacity,” Russo said.
In his announcement, Russo reflected on the past years and the promise he made to give the position his “all and nothing less.”
“Looking back at the past three years, all the challenges, all the hard work, I can honestly say I have lived up to that promise. Since taking office in 2019, the council has been hard at work.
“We are on pace to preserve 53 acres of open space. We grew our police department. We paved over 43 miles of township roads, with more to come this year and next year. Our park improvement plan is on pace. We lowered the tax rate this year without impacting services.
“Lastly and most importantly, we took rapid and decisive action to respond to the many challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic by leading the charge on testing early on for our first responders. We started the Business Recovery Task Force to help our businesses during this difficult time,” said Russo, who chaired the task force.
“We rallied a small group of residents to deliver food and other items to homebound seniors and those in need, and through responsible budget management, made sure Howell stays ahead of any public health challenge if and when it occurs,” he said.
Russo stated how he could remain on the council for his last year, but doing so would break the promise he made.
“While it is certainly possible for me to remain on the council for my last year, doing so would break my promise and that is something I cannot do. The role is far too important,” Russo said.
Russo explained how he gained a significant amount of experience from serving in municipal government and also “gained great satisfaction working for the people of Howell.”
“Working with some really great people at town hall, all of our departments, from our police department to the Department of Public Works. The great work and sacrifice from these organizations is what makes Howell such a great community.
“Public service is the best-kept secret, it does so much for the community and the individual, and my hope is that in some way through my work I have inspired young people to get involved in local government. That is what my internship program was all about.
“I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to serve my community. It has been the honor of a lifetime and I will never forget it,” Russo said.