William D. McDowell
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William D. McDowell (January 3, 1927 – April 13, 2007) was an American Republican Party politician who served as the first elected County Executive of Bergen County, New Jersey. McDowell also served as a Mayor and Councilman in North Arlington, New Jersey, and on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He was appointed by Governor William T. Cahill to serve as the first Executive Director of the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission, and later served as the Bergen County Republican Chairman. He was elected Bergen County Sheriff in 1981 and re-elected in 1984. He was first person to hold the position of Bergen County Executive, winning election in 1986.
Bergen County voters chose to change their form of county government in a 1985 referendum, creating a new post of Bergen County Executive. The first election was held in 1986. He faced no opposition in the Republican Primary. McDowell was the underdog in the General Election against Democrat Matthew Feldman, a five-term New Jersey State Senator and former Senate President. Feldman criticized McDowell's management skills, citing a state audit that criticized fire-safety measures and medical procedures at the county jail run by McDowell. McDowell said Feldman had falsely claimed in campaign literature that he authored a 1966 Senate bill creating Bergen County Community College, noting that the college has been founded the year before Feldman was elected to the Senate. McDowell also touted an endorsement from Democrat Doris Mahalick, who had been Feldman's rival for the Democratic nomination. McDowell beat Feldman by about 20,000 votes, 112,619 (55%) to 92,649 (45%).
McDowell served just one term and retired in 1990. His administration was described as low-key with traditional patronage. He blamed prison crowding on drug laws and enforcement. He was succeeded by Republican Assemblyman Pat Schuber. He died in 2007 at age 80.
- Star-Ledger obituary April 15, 2007
- Edge, Wally (16 April 2007). "Bill McDowell, first Bergen County Executive, dies". PolitickerNJ.com. http://politickernj.com/2007/04/bill-mcdowell-first-bergen-county-executive-dies/. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Hanley, Robert (30 October 1986). "THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN; BERGEN, AFTER 271 YEARS, TO ELECT FIRST EXECUTIVE". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/30/nyregion/the-political-campaign-bergen-after-271-years-to-elect-first-executive.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A6%22%7D. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Sullivan, Joseph (12 October 1986). "POLITICS; BERGEN VOTING FOR MORE THAN EXECUTIVE". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/12/nyregion/politics-bergen-voting-for-more-than-executive.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A6%22%7D. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Sullivan, Joseph F. (5 November 1986). "THE ELECTIONS: Changes in Jersey; Continuity in Connecticut; NEW JERSEY: Shapiro Loses in Essex County; McDowell Is Winner in Bergen". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/11/05/nyregion/elections-changes-jersey-continuity-connecticut-new-jersey-shapiro-loses-essex.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A6%22%7D. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Bergen County Official Won't Seek Re-election. New York Times. 9 February 1990.
- Salmore, Barbara G. (19 July 2013). "New Jersey Politics and Government: The Suburbs Come of Age". Rutgers University Press. https://books.google.com/books?id=3VD6AAAAQBAJ&pg=PA248&dq=%22Bill+McDowell%22+bergen&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiMrIfSg_bZAhVQI6wKHdmHCxEQ6AEILjAB#v=onepage&q=%22Bill+McDowell%22+bergen&f=false.
- Times, George James and Special To the New York. "Drug Arrests Are Crowding Local Prisons". https://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/12/nyregion/drug-arrests-are-crowding-local-prisons.html.