Vernon Township Councilman Harry Shortway on Oct. 15 officially resigned his position due to health reasons.
Shortway, whose most recent stint in public office began in 2015 when he defeated Victor Marotta to become the township’s second directly elected mayor. At the expiration of his mayoral term, he sought and won election to the township council, where he served two years as Council President.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer during his 2015 mayoral run, and it was believed to have been removed through surgery. However, through Councilman Michael Furrey on Oct. 14, Shortway announced it was confirmed his cancer returned in June.
“My family and I have concluded it is best to leave public office at this time,” Shortway wrote in his resignation letter. “This decision will provide more time for family and disease management.”
The council did not act on his resignation at the meeting because it didn’t become official until the following day when he submitted his resignation letter to Township Clerk Marcy Gianattasio.
Council President Patrick Rizzuto said he has been battling prostate cancer for 32 years.
“I know what he’s going through,” Rizzuto said. “I wish him well. I offer assistance in terms of advice on any type of medical decision. I can only tell him that that there are continuing advances in this particular field of oncology, and I can only tell him to please avail himself of the most aggressive forms of treatment that are available.”
Furrey and Shortway have been friends for 50 years and grew up together in Ridgewood.
“I just want to say he’s done so much for this township,” Furrey said. “He really has poured himself into it over the years, done his time and really contributed to the township. He really has always done what he thought was right for the township, and really did make an impact. Hopefully, the township does collectively recognize that.”
“My family and I have concluded it is best to leave public office at this time. This decision will provide more time for family and disease management.”
Vernon Township Councilman Harry Shortway