On Nov. 8, residents will have the opportunity to go to the polls to vote for four members of Gloucester Township Council. Gloucester Township Patch will share information and some of the thoughts of the nine candidates seeking four Council seats throughout the week of Oct. 9.
Name: Sam Siler
Political Party: Democrat
Years of residency in Gloucester Twp.: 36
Job: Retired U.S. Army, Lieutenant Colonel
Education: Bachelor's of Science Degree, North Carolina A & T University; Master's of Science Degree, American University
Family: My wife, Joyce, and I live in the Erial section of the Township. We have two sons—Mark and Orrin.
Why are you running for Gloucester Township Council?
I feel that I can make a significant contribution to the township by serving. I served my country and my community, and it has been both an honor and privilege to do so.
Have you ever held public office?
Yes, I served with distinction on Gloucester Township Council in the 1990s.
Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a member of the Gloucester Township Council?
I feel that I am qualified to serve as a member of the Gloucester Township Council due to my prior experience as a Township Council member, my experience as a member of the Gloucester Township Zoning Board, and my leadership training and experience as a military officer. With my prior experience as a Council member I can be effective on Council from day one and will not have to go through a learning curve.
What is the biggest issue facing Gloucester Township as we approach the end of 2011? How do you feel the issue should be addressed by Council?
During my travel throughout the township I found that most people are concerned about the high property taxes. I think that is a major problem in most parts of this state. The current administration has worked hard to control the increase of the property tax problem. I will be supportive of renewable energy projects to help reduce our utility cost. We must continually think outside of the box to come up with new ideas on how we can operate the township more efficiently.
What do you feel is Gloucester Township's biggest asset at this time? How would you exploit that asset to the township's benefit?
I feel that our biggest asset at this time is the residents of this township and their participation in governmental activities. We have a mayor that listens to the residents and has been effective in utilizing the talents of both governmental and individuals in making significant improvement in the operations of the township. The best government is when the residents and administration work together to accomplish common goals.
How do you plan to balance spending and revenue during tough economic times?
I think we must control spending and look for ways to increase our revenue. The mayor and present administration have taken action to avoid a tax increase in the municipal budget for the past two years. We must continue to explore ways to operate more efficiently.
Do you feel the current Council is effective? Why or why not? Where do you think the governing body could improve?
I think the current Council has been effective by installing solar energy systems to reduce energy cost, participating in municipal shared service agreements with other governmental agencies that have saved thousands of dollars, and continuously looking at ways to more effectively operate the township.
Editor's Notes: This is the seventh of nine profiles on candidates for Gloucester Township Council. Glen Bianchini's profile and Samuel Garro's profile ran Monday, Darren Gladden's profile and Theodore Liddell's profile on Tuesday, and Orlando Mercado's profile and Linda Musser's profile on Wednesday. The following is the schedule of publication for the remaining two candidates: Democrat candidate Tracey Trotto today at noon and Republican candidate Erica Weissmann at 6 a.m. on Friday.
Aside from minor formatting changes, the responses each candidate provided to the above questions appear here unaltered.