SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The reorganization meeting on Monday night was a reflection of change on the Board of Trustees.
Three Board of Trustees members spoke about their 10-plus years of service on the board and three new trustees were sworn in to serve, marking the start of their political careers in South Orange.
Sheena Collum also took the oath of office, marking her second term as village president.
"The best part about this governing body or at least what I'll remember is not only our accomplishments but the family that we had, we cared tremendously about each other's initiatives and lifting each other up," said Collum in a good-bye speech to outgoing trustees Deborah Davis Ford, Mark Rosner and Howard Levison. "It has been such a pleasure these past four years. It's been fun and enjoyable to work with this governing body and get stuff done and to be able to serve the residents of this community.
"It is not good-bye. It is hello in a new way," Collum said.
Levison is now the administrator for the South Orange Water Utility and Davis Ford expressed interest during her speech on Monday night in serving South Orange in the future.
Rosner was inducted into the Elected Officials Hall of Fame by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities earlier this year.
"I've seen changes in downtown while the basic character of the village remains the same," said Rosner, who served on the Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2019. "SOPAC is proving to be a great asset and a destination for the downtown. That's one of my proudest acheivements. Now we are going to renovate the Baird Center."
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About half of the Board of Trustees is made up of new members now who have never served in a political office like a trustee before. The new trustees are Bob Zuckerman, Summer Jones and Donna Coallier. They strive to improve the downtown, business opportunities for entrepreneurs, and other issues in town.
"We were out there canvassing in the sun and in the rain," said new Trustee Summer Jones, noting that she and her running mates Coallier and Zuckerman spoke to many residents to learn about the issues most concerning to them.
The three toured JESPY House and Academy Heights on their campaign trail and learned about the heights' Neighborhood Association.
"I want to thank everyone who supported us through this election. For many of us who ran, it was our first time," Jones said.
Zuckerman and Coallier also spoke on Monday night. Coallier wasn't in attendance because of a delayed flight but was televised through an Internet app and shown on a projection screen.
In addition to the projects Zuckerman wants to achieve, he spoke about being the first LGBT person to serve on the Board of Trustees. Zuckerman identifies as gay.
"I hope my election paves the way for anyone who is gay, lesbian, transgender, and anyone else who is considered an other. I have your back," Zuckerman said. "My goal is to give everyone here hope."
Issues the new board plans to tackle include revitalizing the downtown, taxes and infrastructure, planning and development, public safety, emergency response, and improving technology.