Seven Candidates are Vying for Six Spots on Princeton Council

There is one Republican and six Democrats running for council of a consolidated Princeton.

Geoff Aton

Street of Residence: 133 Cedar Lane

Occupation:  Local businessman

Previous Government Service:  None

Other Civic Experience:  I was appointed by the Mayor last year to serve on the 2012-13 zoning board.


Jo Butler

Street of Residence: Hibben Road

Senior Consultant, Wickenden Associates  

Previous Government Service:  

Borough Council (2011-present)  

  • 2012 – Transition Task Force representative (Public Safety, Personnel, IT and Infrastructure & Operations subcommittees), Public Safety Committee and Personnel Committee for the Borough, Liaison to Traffic & Transportation and PJBAC. 
  • 2011 – Liaison to Health Commission, Recreation Board, Corner House Board and Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance

Other Civic Experience:  

  • People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos, past Board member
  • Friends of the Princeton Public Library, past Secretary, Chair of Annual Fundraiser and Auction Chair
  • past Co-Chair of CommonGround
  • various volunteer positions at my children’s schools

Jenny Crumiller 

Street of Residence: Library Place

Occupation: Council Member

Previous Government Experience: Current Borough Council member since 2009

Other Civic Experience: 

  • Current Vice Chair, NAACP Legal LDF Princeton Committee (Past Chair)
  • Previous Cable Commission member; Past President, PCDO
  • Obama Princeton Headquarters co-chair and volunteer for many other Democratic campaigns, including local campaigns 
  • School volunteer at Community Park, Johnson Park and Princeton High School
  • Organizer, Antiwar Video Fund and other Iraq war antiwar activities
  • Neighborhood organizer (when we lived on Moore Street)
  • Sunday school teacher (Nassau Presby)
  • Meals on Wheels volunteer
  • foster parent of two children.

Heather Howard

Street of Residence:  Aiken Avenue

 Director, State Health Reform Assistance Network and Lecturer in Public Affairs, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Previous Government Experience:

  • Princeton Borough Council (current)
  • New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services
  • Chief Policy Counsel to Governor Jon Corzine
  • Chief of Staff to Senator Jon Corzine
  • Senior Policy Advisor to First Lady Hillary Clinton and Associate Director, White House Domestic Policy Council
  • Honors Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division
  • Judicial Law Clerk, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Legislative Assistant, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY)

Other Civic Experience:

  • Riverside Elementary PTO Executive Board
  • Member, New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners
  • Member, Board of Directors, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute
  • Member, National Advisory Council, New Jersey Nursing Initiative
  • Visiting Associate, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University


Name: Arden “ Lance “ Liverman

Street of Residence: Witherspoon Street

Occupation: Real Estate Investor 

Previous Government Experience:

  • 8 Years Princeton Township Committee, 
  • 10 Years Vice Chairman Princeton Human Services (served on the Civil Rights Commission)

Other Civic Experience:

  • Currently Chairman Board of Trustees for First Baptist Church of Princeton
  • Trustee/Board Member of Mercer Council of Alcohol and Drug Addiction
  • Former Board Member of Princeton Young Achievers
  • Former Board Member of Princeton Nursery School


Bernard P. (Bernie) Miller

Street of Residence: Governors Lane

Occupation: Retired, Consultant, Commercial Communication Satellite Systems; Retired, Senior Vice President, Lockheed Martin International; Retired, President, ECON, INC. 

Previous Government Experience: 

  • Princeton Township Committee ( 2002 – present) 
  • Deputy Mayor Princeton Township (2007 -2008) 
  • Mayor, Princeton Township (2009 -2010) 

Other Civic Experience: 

  • Princeton Township Housing Board
  • Chair, Joint Princeton Cable TV Committee
  • Treasurer, Friends of the Princeton Public Library


Name: Patrick Simon

Street of Residence: Harriet Drive

Occupation: Systems and Business Consultant, primarily working with railroads and other freight transportation providers

Previous Government Experience:

I have not held elective office. My non-elected government service includes:
The Princeton Joint Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission
The IT and Finance Subcommittees of the Transition Task Force

Other Civic Experience: 
PCDO Executive Board



Why do you want to represent Princeton on Council? 

Geoff Aton:

I love this town! I want to continue to serve and support it. I think it has been forgotten that the council members are elected to be the voice of the people. This is not a platform for personal agendas and beliefs.  The community has spoken on a variety of issues from Avalon Bay to the historical designation of the western section and the council ignored overwhelming dissent. Moreover they failed to give reasoning and substantiation. I want to listen to the residents of this great town and be their true representative. This is our town....it's time to be heard!

Jo Butler:

Jenny Crumiller and I co-founded the Citizens Finance Advisory Taskforce, and we were among the first to publicly sound the alarm on rising taxes.  In no small measure, our efforts resulted in a zero increase in municipal taxes for the last four years.  I want to continue to bring fiscal responsibility to our consolidated government.  We have the opportunity to deliver improved services, but it will require fiscal discipline and know-how to do it at the lowest possible cost.  If we want to preserve diversity, we must keep Princeton affordable for all.  I am in the second year of my first term, so I believe I have the experience and energy necessary to set our new Princeton on the best possible course for all residents.

Jenny Crumiller: 

I cherish Princeton and I feel a sense of responsibility for keeping it special, both to honor its past and for future generations. I love its classic, small-town aesthetic and its people, mainly for how smart and idealistic they are.

Heather Howard:

I am running for Princeton Council to bring a fresh perspective to achieving the promise of consolidation while maintaining and enhancing this community that we love.  As a mom, I want my son to grow up in a community that is affordable, diverse, and welcoming to all of its citizens.  That diversity is a large part of what makes Princeton a wonderful place to live, and we will need creativity, discipline and decisive leadership to maintain that strength during this transition. I’ve dedicated my career to progressive policies, and I’m determined and dedicated to making government work for the people of Princeton.

Lance Liverman:

I want to serve on the new council because I feel I can make a difference. I love Princeton and I feel a deep desire to give back. I will offer the new council a lot of previous experience. I am proud to be a consensus builder when it comes to difficult issues. I have the respect and love of so many Princeton residents. I am also concerned that my children are raised in a loving, diverse community. I truly think Princeton is the pearl in the clam!!

Bernie Miller:

To complete the job of merging Princeton Borough and Township into a new Princeton that will be greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Patrick Simon:

My tenure as a citizen member of the Consolidation Commission has awakened a call to continued community service and leadership, and I am running for public office in response. My priorities are the successful implementation of consolidation, the safety and security of Princeton during weather emergencies, and the development of more collaborative, productive and forward-moving relationships among Princeton’s key institutional stakeholders.


What differentiates you from your opponents? 

Geoff Aton:

I have recently partnered with the Ryan family who have owned The Ivy Inn since 1966.  We will soon be launching a restaurant in the space, a true community establishment. This means I will be on Nassau Street every day. This will give me a unique opportunity as a member of council to better understand the business sector and also allow me to speak with residents on a regular basis. I will be totally accessible and encourage open dialogue with the entire community which will enable us together to solve the challenges facing our town now and in the future. 

Jo Butler:

I serve on the Public Safety subcommittee of the Transition Task Force and the Borough Pubic Safety Committee, so I believe that I actually have the knowledge, experience and judgment to deliver on the promises consolidation.  Our single largest expenditure is our police force, and it is where we hope to achieve two-thirds of our potential savings.  I also serve on the subcommittee examining the merger of the two Departments of Public Works.  If we are to deliver improved services at the lowest possible cost, this is where the rubber meets the road.  I am the only candidate serving on these two critical committees.  I can deliver on the promise of consolidation.

Jenny Crumiller: 

I have a proven record of working to benefit our community and getting things done. I’ve spent my time as a community organizer encouraging people to get involved in the life of the community because I believe that’s the single most important thing to do that improves government. Many speak of this but few actually do it. One example is the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, where 6 years ago I got a lot of new people involved to transform the club into an open and highly participatory organization. People who are new to Princeton politics take our current process for granted, but it was very different before I was involved.  More recently, prior to joining the Borough Council, in 2009, I contacted some business people to form a citizen finance committee for the Borough to look at our budget because I was concerned about the management of Borough finances.  I invited participation, brought people together and got some talented people to delve in.  The sitting council had always raised taxes -- they had raised taxes every single year for decades, but with the scrutiny and pressure from our group, for the first time we had a zero percent increase.   

Heather Howard:

I have significant state and federal government experience, including as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, where I oversaw a $3.5 billion budget and staff of 1,700.  As a result, I have the skills to ensure that we make sound and sustainable decisions as we transition to the new Princeton.

Lance Liverman:

It is important that I say that the majority of my opponents will do a great job representing Princeton. We are lucky to have so many talented people running for public office. I offer the love and caring that I think the new Council will need. There are many less fortunate community members that need a voice. I will help them speak. There are many seniors that need assistance. I will help them speak. There are many international community members that need to speak. I will help them speak.  I just want to help make Princeton a great place for everyone.

Bernie Miller:

My extensive experience in local government, my demonstrated management skills in both a small business and large corporate environment, and the fact that I bring to the job of Committeeman a vision for the future of our community.

Patrick Simon:

What differentiates me from the other candidates is the specific combination of skills and experience I can bring to the new Council.

That begins with an analytical approach to problem solving based on an education focused on math and science, and 20+ years of experience in the business world in IT and management consulting. I am not satisfied with incomplete answers to complex problems. For example, I authored the Commission’s report “Additional Financial Aspects of Consolidation”, to specifically address important questions and issues that we had not dealt with elsewhere in our analysis.

I am very familiar with the both the opportunities and the challenges of consolidation through my work on the commission and on task force subcommittees.

As a non-incumbent I will bring a fresh perspective to the new Council, which is particularly appropriate at this time as Princeton comes together to start a new chapter as one municipality. I work effectively as a member of a collaborative team, and I will bring that collaborative approach to the new Council. Civil discourse is important to me, and I have demonstrated that through my work on the commission, reaching out to people with differing viewpoints, treating them with respect and taking their concerns seriously, whether or not we agree.

One final differentiator is that I was the only candidate who is not an incumbent who was fully endorsed by the PCDO and by the Princeton Democratic Party joint committees.


If elected, what are your TWO top priorities for Princeton and specifically what will you do to make those a reality?

Geoff Aton:

The two top priorities are implementing the consolidation plan and mending a broken relationship with the University. Princeton is in a unique situation beginning 2013; we will be the first major town to consolidate. Unfortunately we are off to an inauspicious beginning. Promises were made that we would scratch both the Township and Borough budgets and start anew; however this has not happened. Council also needs to gain greater cost control over its departments in order for the plan to be effective. The biggest of which, the Police Department has had many examples of a lack of oversight. This needs to stop across the board. I will ensure it does. Secondly, the University relationship is getting worse over time. With current zoning legislation set to pass this will only strain an already fractured situation. We need to stop recognizing that we have issues and begin solving them. This topic has gone on for far too long. It’s finally time to begin the healing process. To do this, I will establish a University Commission. It will be made up of a diverse group of community members and they will have at least monthly coffees in town to rebuild this relationship from the bottom up. Like any relationship both parties need to work at it; this is the first step. I have spoken with the key players and they are totally on board. The timing is great as the University will name a new President and a consolidated Princeton will name a new Mayor. Together we can make it happen.

Jo Butler:

  • Right size the police force. The Consolidation Commission recommended a three-year process to right size the police force. Given that this represents two-thirds of the potential savings from consolidation, it is imperative that we maintain discipline with regard to the recommendations. It is a process that will require constant monitoring and evaluation. No one wants to sacrifice the safety of our community. I am committed to achieving the right size police force as well as appropriate structure. We need to continue the positive, productive dialogue we have started with Princeton University to improve communication between police and Campus Safety so we all benefit.  I will push for the creation of a Public Safety Committee for the new community to serve as a collaborative partner and to provide oversight, much as we have done in the Borough.
  • Create a Parks Department. In my role as liaison to the Rec Board last year, I came to believe that we need a Parks Department to manage our active parks as well as our passive parks, and consolidation represents an opportunity to make that happen.  We have invested a tremendous amount of money in our open space assets.  We need to begin to maintain these parks and open spaces in a way that has not been done to date. This year we opened the new Community Park Pool on time and on budget.  I was instrumental in ending the debate on Borough Council and moving the project forward.  I will continue to advocate for protection for our parks and recreation programs.

Jenny Crumiller: 

Consolidation offers the greatest opportunity to improve how our government operates by giving us a fresh start.  So besides the obvious “achieving the promise of consolidation” which has become a cliché among candidates, specifically, I have two “pet projects.” 

  1. First, I hope to create customer service standards for all employees interacting with the public.  Other municipalities have done this already – for instance, Rockville Maryland has such a program (see  http://www.rockvillemd.gov/government/custserv.htm). 
  2. My second priority is improving government transparency through improved electronic communication. I’d like to expand our email notification system and create a more full-service website. I will also work to institute an electronic records management system. Like many local governments, both the Borough and Township currently still rely on paper files for organizing and storing their documents. Turning to an electronics records system will make sharing public information such as agendas, minutes, contracts and budget documents with the public a lot easier, cheaper and faster. While this may seem obvious to Patch readers, government regulations on how documents are retained partly explain obstacles to moving away from paper. But we also need leadership to embrace the benefits of electronic communication.

Heather Howard:

  • My first is ensuring a smooth transition to the new Princeton The stakes this year are high – consolidation holds tremendous promise for a stronger, more diverse and liveable Princeton, but we will need to be focused and disciplined to achieve that promise. I have demonstrated that I am committed to civil dialogue, collaboration and a more transparent and responsive government – key elements for a successful transition to a united Princeton.
  • A related priority is holding the line on costs and taxes. The property tax burden jeopardizes our ability to keep Princeton affordable and welcoming. Consolidation provides an opportunity to restructure government and identify recurring savings, but we shouldn’t rely solely on consolidation to find savings and efficiencies. As a member of the Borough Council Finance Committee, I worked for a zero tax increase budget this year; this is a principle I will continue to pursue.

Lance Liverman:

  1. First, I would like to make sure every resident of Princeton understands that I am elected to represent them. I think it is important due to the consolidation election to reinforce the new government is for everyone. I think that we need to for the 2013 calendar year to make sure we listen to our community members.  
  2. Second, I will concentrate on the savings that should be realized due to the consolidated town. I will make sure that the new council understands that we are given this opportunity to serve Princeton. Reducing taxes due to savings is important. Reducing any undue financial burden on our community members is important. I will make sure we realize the projected savings or more. I will make sure we treat all employees with respect and dignity. That we make sure any employee that do not join the new town employment ranks be given outplacement help and some financial assistance.

Bernie Miller:

  1. Fulfill the promise of consolidation by working improve the effectiveness of the delivery of municipal services and to achieve savings in municipal expenditures.
  2. Using my management and negotiating skills to achieve a long term stable relationship with Princeton University that will help to assure that Princeton continues to be one of the best communities in the US to live and learn.

Patrick Simon:

1. A successful consolidation of Princeton.

I will continue to do what I have already been doing on the commission and on the finance and IT subcommittees of the Transition Task Force, including:

  • focus on the specific goals set by the commission and approved by the voters in the referendum last November: cost control and savings, enhanced municipal services, and more responsive and effective government;
  • seek to understand and balance opposing views on issues and challenges as they arise, emphasizing civility in the process; and
  • engage in transparent and open communication with stakeholders and with members of the public

2. Improve how we deal with weather and other emergencies in Princeton, particularly the isolation, traffic problems, power outages, and related problems that result from flooding, snow, and downed trees. Specifically, I intend to:

  • enhance communication in emergency situations, through extending the Township’s notification system to all of Princeton, and through renewed focus on coordinating emergency public communications via all options available, including internet and radio;
  • review the options available for ensuring access to the hospital in its new location from all parts of Princeton;
  • study possible cost-effective municipal solutions to reduce power outages, and further, use my position on Council to advocate for help from the power utility and the state where necessary; and
  • work to educate the public on what to do and where to get information in an emergency.


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