SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Residents interested in running for three open seats on the village Board of Trustees must submit their petitions by March 11.

Potential candidates need to submit a petition containing a minimum of 125 signatures to be placed on the ballot. All candidates also have to be South Orange residents and legal voters for at least one year.

The 2013 village municipal election is May 14. This year candidates will face no incumbent trustees since Trustees Janine Bauer, Michael Goldberg and Nancy Gould announced they would not run again.

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So far, the ticket of Sheena Collum, Stephen Schnall and Walter Clarke has announced its candidacy. The municipal election is nonpartisan, but candidates may work together as a ticket.

Bauer, who said she plans to remain active in the community, said any thoughtful person willing to put in the time should consider running because the village needs good leaders. However, she said, having some particular qualities would be helpful as a trustee.  

“I think that (being a trustee) requires having experience with town affairs, and I think that it requires patience, and it requires the ability to compromise in order to get to the resolution of issues without giving up whatever you believe in,” Bauer said.

Gould warned that being a trustee is a lot more difficult than it may seem because the board faces issues that are very complex. She also said trustees must place what’s best for South Orange above all else.

“A trustee should truly understand how his or her actions will impact the residents of the village,” Gould said. “The trustee must be willing to vote for something that is for the good of the whole and be thick-skinned if the vote is criticized by a vocal minority. Some of the online chatter and emails can get pretty abusive! If you can’t take criticism, you shouldn’t be in the job.”

Goldberg said he welcomes anyone running to reach out to him for guidance. He also advises that to be successful as a trustee, one must make an effort.

“People need to be willing to put in the time to read all of the materials, to ask questions and to carefully listen to all points of view – from staff and from residents,” Goldberg said. “You also need to check your ego at the door and remember that the village was here long before you and will be here long after you.”

The winners of the election will serve four-year terms without remuneration.

The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.