Do Not Change South Orange Village Charter

December 6, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Next Monday (December 9), the South Orange Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on Ordinance 2013-19 which will forever alter the rich culture and history of South Orange Village. For nearly 150 years, South Orange has been governed by a VOLUNTEER "Board of Trustees", which also includes a "Village President". The fact that these unpaid volunteer positions have had these unique and distinguished titles is part of the rich history and traditions of our Village that have made our town unique. Now in a single vote, the Board of Trustees is planning to propose revising our Village's Charter, changing their titles to Councilmember/Mayor plus allowing for these volunteer positions to be given monetary compensation, paid for by your property taxes.

This is wrong for so many reasons:

Serving as a volunteer is a longstanding Village Tradition
Since the Village was settled, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees has been an honor and a privilege for those who want to serve the community. In all that time, this honor has been done by VOLUNTEERS who were not paid for their service. People served the community because they wanted to do the right thing for the Village, not because they were looking to supplement their income. This tradition is an important part of the culture and history of South Orange and should not be changed.

Sign Up for E-News

Providing compensation is not necessary
Serving the Village on the Board of Trustees is a part-time position. The Village already has a large payroll of full-time paid staff that handle the day-to-day operations of the Village. As a former member of the Board of Trustees, I can say firsthand that serving on the Board of Trustees does not require a financial outlay for any mandatory expenses. I personally maintained an extensive email list and online blog to frequently communicate with residents - neither of which cost a single penny. In addition, the Board of Trustees already receives complimentary admission to many political fundraisers, a complimentary parking sticker to park in any permit space downtown, two free nights at the Borgata in Atlantic City for the annual League of Municipalities convention and other perks. No cash compensation is required for the Board of Trustees to complete their duties.

Changing the Charter opens a Pandora’s Box
Altering the Village Charter to provide monetary compensation to the Board of Trustees will open a Pandora’s Box that can never be closed. What begins as a modest “stipend” today, will inevitably grow over time. Simply do a search for Congressional salaries over time as an example of how, when given the opportunity, politicians love to pay themselves more and more money over time.

Our Taxes are already beyond excessive
In this time of flat incomes, reduced services, reduced staff, and skyrocketing property taxes, we simply cannot afford a new expense added to the budget. We simply cannot afford it. There are some that make the ridiculous claim that without payment, some people cannot afford to run for office. I think it is far more important that with our oppressive taxes, too many people can no longer afford to live in our town and this situation only reduces all of our property values. The taxes in South Orange are outrageous and we need our elected officials to find ways to REDUCE the budget, not INCREASE the budget by adding an additional expense to pay themselves.

I hope you will join me in expressing your opposition to these radical changes to almost 150 years of our Village's long proud history. 

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. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Oct. 22: Bob Miller Oysterfest Committee

On Thursday, October 20, the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce honored John Meade, Jr. with its Distinguished Service Award. (Read more here.)

Meade, center in photo, is pictured here with Bob Miler Oysterfest Committee members.

TAPinto SOMA's Photo of the Day highlights people, places, and events in and around South Orange and Maplewood. To be featured as a Photo of the Day, please ...

WWII Vet in Need Unable to Keep Township Committee’s Attention

October 19, 2016

At the Maplewood Township Committee (TC) meeting on October 4th, a 91-year-old WWII Veteran implored the TC to take action to clean the “Durand Gully” behind his home. A resident of 50 years, he cited numerous calls to Town Hall and visits from various officials which offered promises but no action. Mayor De Luca assured the resident that the town would investigate and get back ...

South Orange Police Blotter - October 19

October 19, 2016

South Orange Police Blotter as of October 19

Theft/arrest - George Brown, a 36 year old Orange resident was arrested on October 10 at 9 p.m. after an officer on routine patrol observed the subject walking on Ward Pl. and determined that he fit the description of an actor that had been burglarizing vehicles in town.

The officer had previously viewed home surveillance video of the ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Phone Scam Reported

October 9 - Fraud; A resident reported that they received a phone call from someone reporting that they worked for a technical support company that the resident had subscribed to. The caller provided the victim with some account information and convinced the resident that he was in fact an employee of the company.  The caller was then able to convince the resident to make a payment to ...

New Assistant Township Administrator in Maplewood

October 20, 2016

MAPLEWOOD, NJ -  Sonia Alves-Viveiros was appointed Assistant Township Administrator on Sept. 26, according to the fall edition of the Maplewood Leaflet. 

Alves-Viveiros has six years of prior experience working in the City of Summit and in Bernards Township, both in administration and in the Clerk’s office, according to the Maplewood ...

SOMA Happenings: Oct. 21 - Oct. 23

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ -- Here's what's happening in the two towns this weekend:


Rent Party on the Road - Big Train's Reunion Tour will be landing at the South Orange Elks (220 Prospect St., South Orange) from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. to help support BackPack Pals. 


Prescription Drug Take Back Day - From 10 a.m. to 2 ...

Town Halloween Celebrations in South Orange and Maplewood to be Held on Monday, October 31

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Halloween is here on Monday, October 31, and both South Orange and Maplewood have festivities planned for that afternoon. 


The annual South Orange Halloween Festival takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Halloween in "Spooky" Spiotta Park on South Orange Ave.There will be music, games, an appearance from Wanda the Giant ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, October 23, 11:00 AM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Celebrate Fall at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, October 23, 1:15 PM

West Orange

Strut Your Mutt Canine Costume Contest and ...



Sun, October 23, 7:00 PM

Bane Haunted House, Livingston

Bane Haunted House is Open this Weekend - Buy ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Mon, October 24, 7:30 PM

Columbia High School Black Box Theatre, Maplewood

Choice 2016: The Rise of Trump

Arts & Entertainment Education Government

The South Mountain Community Remembers Principal Edmund Krause

October 17, 2016

The South Mountain Community Remembers Principal Edmund Krause

For those of you whose children attended South Mountain Elementary School many years ago, Principal Edmund Krause is remembered as a dedicated principal.

Mr. Krause died last Friday, October 14, after a prolonged illness.

Services will be held on Tuesday, October 18, at Bernheim-Goldsticker on Old Short Hills Road in ...

McGehee will 'Pair Responsible Decisions and Innovations'

October 23, 2016

It is with great enthusiasm and thoughtfulness that I submit my endorsement for Frank McGehee for the Maplewood Township Committee (TC) this November.  

Looking at what Frank is campaigning for, there are many things that I agree with, he is looking to think outside of the box and try and pair responsible decisions and innovations while trying to make sure that the TC can find solutions ...

Endorsement of Frank McGehee for Maplewood Township Committee

Over the past year and a half I have had the pleasure of getting to know Frank McGehee as the result of our work for the community through the Community Coalition on Race. I have been impressed by Frank's vision, intellect, drive and willingness to take on a leadership role on key organizational policy issues notwithstanding the fact that he is a relatively new trustee. When I learned that ...

In Your Community

Always Get a Second Opinion

In 2016, nearly 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States. A breast cancer diagnosis is life changing and the amount of information regarding treatment options can be overwhelming. After a patient is diagnosed, it’s best that they take a moment to fully process the information that is given to them and seek a second ...

Is There a Conspiracy to Stick Nails in Tires?

Here’s the Sitch …

A customer recently brings her tire to a dealership for repair after finding a nail lodged into the rubber. She gets that it’s her fault and the Service Tech Dude fixes the tire. Three weeks later, the customer returns, this time waiving her hands wildly, wondering why the “check tire pressure light” had come on, forcing her to return to the ...

Staging for the Holidays

If you're thinking of selling your home during the holidays, now is the time to consider the proper amount of decorating to compliment your staging.


First, consider all of the senses. Take advantage of the fall scents to make your home feel inviting from the moment a buyer steps inside. Some ideas for infusing fall scents are heating some apple cider in a small crock ...

Free Holiday Season Parking in Downtown Millburn Begins Oct. 29

October 23, 2016

MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn Mayor Ted Bourke announced Wednesday evening at the Millburn Township Committee meeting that free parking in downtown Millburn and lots around town will begin next Saturday, October 29, and last through the holiday season. The suspension of parking fees in downtown have traditionally started on Black Friday, but shoppers will get an extra month in response to the ...

Community Meeting Held to Discuss Development of Old Hawk’s Tavern Site in Vauxhall

October 22, 2016

UNION, NJ – About fifty local residents attended a community meeting Thursday night, Oct. 20, to get information on the proposed development of the old Hawk’s Tavern site at 2140 Springfield Avenue in the Vauxhall section of Union.

Located at the corner of Springfield and Crestview Avenues, the proposed development includes a Spanish-themed restaurant on the ground floor ...

Five Halloween Hacks Every Parent Needs to Know

I’ve been celebrating Halloween with my kids for over a decade now, and as a result, I’ve got a few Halloween hacks for parents to share.

1. Go to the pumpkin patch early. Some might take this advice a step further and skip heading out to the over-crowded pumpkin-slash-apple-slash-pony-ride-slash-corn-maze extravaganza entirely, but not me. Those fall pumpkin ...

Going Toe to Toe

There are a lot of body parts I’m not particularly happy with (you thighs know who you are), but the one part of me I’ve never been bothered by is my feet. Not to be conceited, but I’ve always thought I had pretty nice feet, as far as feet go. They are not too fat or too thin, my arches are not too high or too low, and my toes all line up nicely in descending order. I ...

‘Richard III’ Roars into Shakespeare Theatre

MADISON, NJ – A taut, compelling production of “Richard III,” that cunning, evil king, will mesmerize you at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Director Paul Mullins has kept the action at full tilt, even as a raft of henchmen and royalty people the stage. Of course you need an actor as Richard who can both charm and antagonize those around him. Derek Wilson fills the ...

Four Day Trip Ideas for this Weekend

October 11, 2016

There are only a few short weeks left until the fall weather turns brisker and festival season comes to an end. Don’t miss out on all the family-friendly fun available throughout the North Jersey area this coming weekend.

Annual Harvest Celebration

In Downtown Chester, the city is celebrating the season with a weekend-long fall festival taking place October 15 and 16. Highlights ...

Weekend Events in New Jersey to Entertain the Family

As Halloween quickly approaches, there are only a few weeks left to enjoy the festival season in North Jersey. If you are looking for something for the entire family to do this upcoming weekend, there’s plenty of food and fun to be found in the Garden State.

Brick Fest Live

It is no secret that children and adults alike love LEGOS. Brick Fest Live is a one-of-a-kind fan experience ...

South Orange-Maplewood Adult School Presents 'Choice 2016: The Rise of Trump'

October 21, 2016

The South Orange-Maplewood Adult School presents the Fall 2016 Redpath Lecture on Monday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. The lecture costs $10 and will be held at Columbia High School’s Black Box Theatre.

How We Got Here and How the Corporate News Media Missed It

For years, the corporate news media reported we were recovering from the Great Recession ...

The Gallery at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center New Exhibition: Pure Photography from Film to Digital

The Gallery at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center invites you to our new exhibition, Pure Photography from Film to Digital.

This exhibit will be an exploration and grand retrospective look into photographic art in its natural, purest form – from the days of film to the more recent digital process.  Acclaimed photographer, Barry Gray curates works from five renowned ...

Studio 509 Seeks Vendors for their 2017 Sip and See Trunk Show

Studio 509 is seeking vendors for their 2017 Sip and See Trunk Show on Friday, December 2.

If interested in being an exhibitor, email Studio 509 at

Studio 509 is located at 509 Valley Street in Maplewood. To learn more, visit