SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Board of Trustees will have three new trustees.
Bob Zuckerman, Donna Coallier and Summer Jones will be sworn in as village trustees during the reorganization meeting on Monday, May 20, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).
Zuckerman, Coallier and Jones will replace Howard Levison, Mark Rosner and Deborah Davis Ford. Zuckerman, Coallier and Jones all ran for election on a slate together, "Your Voice, Our Village." They sought three, four-year seats on the board of trustees.
"We're all looking forward to getting started," said Coallier. "We want to look at how the committees are set up and figure out where we can do the most good."
Coallier said since she has a background in finance and accounting she might chair the Finance Committee. She also hopes to address issues concerning diversity wants to focus on helping local entrepreneurs.
"We're in the early stages of thinking right now," said Coallier, noting that she wants to help the businesses thrive.
Zuckerman too said he wants to help small businesses locally. He is the former executive director of the South Orange Village Alliance, a not-for-profit management entity for the village's Special Improvement District.
Using his expertise about revitalization, Zuckerman said some of his goals are to organize a merchants' association for small businesses, improve Irvington Avenue in Seton Village, and vote on a redevelopment plan for the Blockbuster site and surrounding properties.
Zuckerman said he'd also like to have a plan in place by the end of the year for a community advisory board that includes representatives from all 10 neighborhoods in South Orange.
"We want to make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists," Zuckerman said. "I hope we can continue to build bridges with Seton Hall University so we can have a deeper relationship between the village and the university."
Jones couldn't be reached for comment as of this writing.
Zuckerman, Coallier and Jones ran against two other slates for the trustee seats. The other slates were South Orange Forward which included Matt Wonski, Ed Grossi and Stacey Trimble Borden and Brown, Davis and Moore for Board of Trustees which included Bobby Brown, Toshie Davis and Ed Moore.
Zuckerman had the most number of votes with 1,554 votes. Coming in second place is Coallier with 1,388 votes and Jones in third place with 1,308 votes.
Although they didn't win the election, some of the candidates from the other slates are looking ahead. Wonski said on Facebook this week that he'll continue to improve South Orange as a member of the South Orange Village Center Alliance, and a business and homeowner. Brown said he is reflecting on the experience of running for a trustee seat and thinking about how he can help the town.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, Wonski, Grossi and Trimble Borden said they "congratulate Coallier, Jones and Zuckerman on their win and their willingness to step up to the challenge of these elected positions. We wish them well and thank them for their commitment to leadership."
Brown, Davis and Moore also congratulated Coallier, Jones and Zuckerman on their campaign and congratulated Wonski, Grossi and Trimble Borden on their campaign efforts.
"We're especially encouraged that our grassroots, issues-based campaign hit a chord with so many voters," said Brown, Davis and Moore in their joint statement. "We remain committed to expanding the local conversation, especially on issues of fact-based decision-making, social justice and how we work with our police to protect and serve everyone in our community, aging in place, public-library renovation, and downtown redevelopment."