South Orange OKs $18K for Community Coalition on Race

Fred Profeta Jr., president of the Community Coalition on Race, speaks to the South Orange Board of Trustees on Monday night. Credits: Amy Kiste Nyberg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The Community Coalition on Race will receive $18,000 from South Orange under an agreement approved by the Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday night.

The board voted 4-2 to allocate the funds to the nonprofit group, with Trustees Sheena Collum and Howard Levison voting against the resolution.

“I’m very gratified that the funding was at the level requested,” said Fred Profeta Jr., president of the CCR, after the vote was taken. He termed the discussion “intelligent and helpful.”  He spoke to the board on behalf of the organization before the vote.

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Collum had proposed a compromise funding level of $12,000. That amendment to the resolution failed on a 4-3 vote, with Trustees Levison, Walter Clarke and Deborah Davis Ford voting against the lower amount. Village President Alex Torpey, who votes in case of a tie, cast the deciding “no” vote.

Levison said he is against providing any funding to the CCR, noting that he still had questions about how the proposal submitted by the CCR could be considered a service level agreement. “I still don’t know what the (money) is going to be used for,” he said.

Others felt strongly that the CCR should be awarded the full $18,000 set aside in the budget for the group. “I’m very happy with the level of detail they’ve provided,” Torpey said.

In suggesting the $12,000 funding level, Collum said that in expressing her opposition at the last meeting to the allocating the money, “I think I was a little rigid in my views.”  However, she said, she still was not comfortable with granting the CCR the full $18,000.

Profeta told the board that funding less than the $18,000 the CCR was asking for “would have a disastrous effect on the coalition’s ability to function,” noting that the group is heading in a new direction guided by five task forces. Some of the new initiatives include additional marketing and outreach, as well as sponsoring an international festival.

He also urged the board to consider entering into a shared services agreement in the future with Maplewood for the CCR.

In other action, the board:

  • Agreed to  establish an Irvington Avenue corridor advisory working group.
  • Approved the purchase of three 2013 all-wheel-drive Ford Interceptor vehicles for use as marked police cars for an amount not to exceed $105,371.25.
  • Introduced a bond ordinance of $1,035,000 for capital improvements. A public hearing is scheduled for the board meeting on Sept. 9.
  • Awarded a contract to Ricoh Americas Corp. to lease three machines that copy, print, scan and fax for $601.71 a month.
  • Adopted a resolution that corrected and supplemented a previous resolution stating the 2012 and 2013 salaries for nonunion and supervisory personnel.

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