FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Courage to Reconnect Scotch Plains and Fanwood has received approval from the state Local Finance Board to form a commission to study consolidation of the two municipalities. Under the terms of this approval, Courage to Reconnect will have the right to put forward two commissioners of their choice from each town and they are now calling for applications.

Fred Lange, the Scotch Plains resident who formed Courage to Reconnect, explained that potential commissioners did not need any special qualifications, however, they should be prepared to be available to attend one meeting a week for six months.

It is the lack of specific qualifications that has Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr concerned over how this Commission is to be formed. “When a supposed citizen’s group, who we feel does not adequately reflect the will of the people of Fanwood, is in control of appointing people with no specified qualifications to determine the future of our town, yes, it is a concern!”

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 “Some people want to do things quickly, and other people don’t,” said Lange, “and we’re getting a lot of leads now for independent consultants to do the study, but we still need to appoint commissioners from both towns to move forward — and to do that, we’ll have to have a meeting with the two mayors to discuss what they’re going to do.”

There will be 10 commissions in all, four appointed by Courage to Reconnect, two each by the respective town Councils and then the four commissioners from each town will appoint the fifth.

While Fanwood feels that the Shared Services Study done in 2009 point to shared services rather than consolidation, according to Lange “things were left out of the shared services study because the people behind it weren’t concerned about the things that have to be tackled under consolidation … like the debt of the towns.”

Scotch Plains Mayor Mary DePaola is taking a more pragmatic “wait and see” approach to the concept of consolidation.

Anyone interested in serving on the study commission, please send a cover letter explaining your interest, ability to satisfy the time commitment and resume to: Courage To Reconnect Scotch Plains and Fanwood PO Box 481 Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, or email spfreconnect@gmail.com.