SOMERSET, NJ - The Franklin Township Council filled the seat left vacant after Shanel Robinson was elected to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Tuesday. 

Crystal Pruitt, who was born and raised in Franklin Township and currently works as chief of staff for Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (LD-16), was nominated by Councilwoman Kimberly Francois and appointed in a unanimous vote by the council. 

“When this became a reality I felt two things: excitement and being absolutely terrified,” Pruitt said. “I don’t think those things are going to change and they shouldn’t, because at any time I feel particularly comfortable I don't think I can do the job well.”

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After being sworn in by Zwicker while surrounded by her family, Pruitt said her focus on the council would be serving residents and making sure that they feel they have a voice and a home in Franklin Township. 

“I recognize that I am an appointee, so I’m going to take this unexpired term to work really hard to prove that I deserve to be here, that I deserve to serve,” she said.

Pruitt comes to the council with a bachelor’s degree in criminology from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in forensic psychology and another master’s degree in forensic mental health counseling, both from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council also passed ordinances on first reading that will allow for the purchase of land that it will use to expand parking at the Franklin Township Baseball League Complex on Dekalb Street. If passed on Feb. 12, the township will acquire a plot of land at 15 Waldorf St. in an effort to address concerns of residents about on-street parking during baseball games, according to Township Manager Robert Vornlocker. 

A similar set of ordinances was passed on first reading allowing the township to buy land around the upcoming Franklin Township Community Youth Center on Lewis Street. The township will use the purchased land at 150 Shevechenko Ave. and Lewis Street for between 40 and 50 parking spaces at the community center, Francois said. 

There were two other ordinances passed that will be up for final passage at the next council meeting. One will set regulations for allowing the township to purchase digital signs for schools and other public buildings. Vornlockersaid the ordinance to close Willow Avenue – between Smithwold Road and the dead-end – to vehicular traffic is to discourage the illegal dumping in the area.

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