Candidate Statements

Candidate Statements

Yellin: My Ideas for Communicating with our Residents

Yellin: My Ideas for Communicating with our Residents

Hi, this is Stephen Yellin, and I’m running for Township Council. You can read more about me and my ideas for Berkeley Heights at You can find my name on the ballot in Column A, Row 9.

This week, I want to discuss one of the major issues that has brought up in this campaign; namely, the perception that our Council is unresponsive to the concerns of the residents, and lacks the transparency necessary to gain the public’s trust. While I would argue that the current members of the Council try their best to communicate with the residents, much more can be done in this area. Berkeley Heights’ residents deserve a government that will not only listen to their concerns and ideas, but actively provide information and transparency in what they are and are not doing. I have three specific proposals and a few general ideas to achieve this goal.

  1. Revamp our Township website. Currently the website is hard to navigate, and does not provide much information for residents to understand what the Council is working on. Specifically, there is no way for residents to see the Municipal Budget, to read ordinances and resolutions and understand what issues are being discussed without going to Town Hall to personally examine the records. Our High School has many students who are experts with HTML; I propose that we ask them to redesign our website (possibly for extra credit or for a letter of recognition for their resumes) to fit the above requirements. Not only will it cost the Township nothing, but it will provide residents much easier access to the issues that matter to them.
  2. Give residents the opportunity to offer suggestions and ideas. Currently there is a “suggestion box” at Town Hall; however, it is seldom used, and could be greatly expanded on. I propose placing several different boxes across Berkeley Heights; specifically, we could place one at the Library, Mount Carmel, our schools, the Post Office and so forth. To ensure that no resident would be afraid to offer their opinions, the comments should be made anonymously. The ideas that come from these “suggestion boxes” could very well be the ideas that help our Town emerge from our fiscal crisis or improve our quality of life.
  3. Hold a quarterly “Town Hall” for the public. I propose to organize a public forum for the residents, to take place four times a year on a weekend afternoon. Many residents, whether due to work or the difficulties of driving at night, cannot attend Township Council meetings. Having a place and time that is much more convenient would help tremendously in getting residential input on pertinent matters. I suggest holding these Town Halls at either Mount Carmel or our Public Library, depending on the level of interest. As a Councilman, I would present the group with what the Council is working on, ask for the public’s ideas, and answer any other concerns or questions they may have.

I also want to briefly comment on how I would conduct myself at Council meetings. I strongly believe that, as a representative of the public, I am obligated to take a stance on issues facing Berkeley Heights and cast my vote accordingly. Abstaining to block a resolution or ordinance from passing, because you lack the votes for it to pass, is an abuse of the intent of our Faulkner Act system of government. I will only refrain from voting if I have a clear conflict of interest on the issue at hand; otherwise, I will vote “Yes” or “No”. I will always seek to work with the other members of the Council; however, if I disagree with a decision I will respectfully, but clearly dissent, and explain why.

In my final online article, I intend to summarize my reasons for running, and offer a few final thoughts on the campaign.  

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Refugee Assistance Partners of NJ to Host World Refugee Day Event

June 17, 2018

Refugee Assistance Partners (RAP) of New Jersey will be hosting a World Refugee Day program on Wednesday, June 20, 7 pm at Willow Grove Church, 1961 Raritan Rd, Scotch Plains.  RAP, a non-profit, volunteer organization of Union County, recognizes and salutes the tenacity and gifts, skills and talents of refugees worldwide.  Spokesperson, Jill Segulin said, “We recognize the ...

Drawings by Mel Holston on Exhibit at Pearl Street Gallery

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present an exhibit of drawings by Plainfield resident Mel Holston, located in the gallery space at the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 633 Pearl Street in Elizabeth.

A selection of Mr. Holston’s work titled, “Motherland: Life in Black and White,” will be on display at the gallery until August ...

Music, Classic Cars and Food Truck Festival Make Up Fanwood Summer FanJam

FANWOOD, NJ -- Unforgettable Fire, the New York area's premier U2 tribute band, will headline the second annual Fanwood Summer FanJam, a daylong music, classic cars, and food truck festival held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, in LaGrande Park.

The gig will literally be walking distance away from the home of Craig Kiell, the bassist for the popular band, which plays festivals, ...

Challenge Your Children with Our Fun-Size Development Program!

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” - Malcolm X

The Summit Area YMCA recognizes the potential in every child. We strive to provide the environment and resources for all youth to learn, grow, and thrive. With nurturing and supportive staff, enriching curriculum and programs, and a strong built-in value system, children are able to not only reach ...

Watchung Borough Mayor and Council Approve Affordable Housing Settlement

June 9, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ -The Watchung Borough Council voted on Thursday night  to settle its third round affordable housing obligation mandated by the state of New Jersey. Watchung Borough’s immunity from builder's remedy lawsuits  expires on June 30.

 Mayor Stephen Pote was forced to cast the deciding vote after the council deadlocked at 3-3.

Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith Attends Gun Safety Bills Signing Ceremony with Gov. Murphy in Trenton

June 14, 2018

TRENTON, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith attended a gun safety package bill signing ceremony at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton on Wednesday with Governor Phil Murphy. Mayor Smith joined a bipartisan group of local and state elected officials, as well as members of Moms Demand Action of Union County, at the event. 

“As a leader in Sandy Hook Promise, I was happy to accept the ...

Union County Freeholders Support LGBTQ Community with Historical Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

June 4, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - The rainbow flag, a symbol of pride and independence fly’s high at the Union County Courthouse in recognition of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. 

This historic event by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Office of LGBTQ Services, Department of Human Services and many others, brought dignitaries and people from all over New Jersey to the steps of the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment


Mon, June 25

Summit YMCA, Summit

June 2018 College Tour


Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM


Kids' Critter Camp


Mon, June 25, 10:00 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Summer Reading Kick-Off: Eyes of the Wild

Arts & Entertainment

Berkeley Heights Here and Now: May Edition

Berkeley Heights Here and Now

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...