The City of West Orange will have a new mayor in May. After more than 25 years as the Mayor of West Orange, Roy McDonald says he is not running for re-election this year.
McDonald was asked at the City Council meeting on Monday if he was considering another term as mayor with the talk that he would have an opponent this year. McDonald said he had no comment at that time. He talked to his wife Laverne that night, and McDonald decided he would not seek re-election.
McDonald, age 76, has served as the mayor of West Orange since 1995 and previously served as a member of the City Council. McDonald said health reasons for both him and his wife in recent years helped him make the decision not to run again.
There is an apparent candidate for the mayor’s position. Jim Whittington has said he is interested in running for mayor of West Orange. Wednesday was the first day for filing for a position on the May 1 ballot, and Whittington wasted no time getting the paperwork for filing that morning. He plans to apply at the City Hall on Monday.
Whittington, age 51, previously served as a justice of the peace in Louisiana. He has lived in West Orange for about 15 years. Whittington said, “I love West Orange, I made it my home, and I just have a vision there that I want to see West Orange grow and bring more jobs and more businesses there. I’ve thought about it for several years and decided to run.”
Whittington believes West Orange is ready to grow with new industries and businesses which will create jobs. “They need more jobs and more industry there to get people back working and help open new businesses there,” Whittington stated. He added there is a need to clean up the city from a number of dilapidated housing.
The seats of Randy Branch and Brent Dearing on the West Orange City Council are also expiring in May. Branch said he is definitely running for another term on the council. Dearing indicated he was not sure if he would run again. The deadline is Friday, February 12, for filing to be on the May 1 ballot for the Municipal Election.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-