SUMMIT, NJ – Now that the dust has settled from a hotly contested council race, Mayor-Elect Ellen Dickson is looking ahead.
Dickson defeated fellow council incumbent Mike Vernotico and challenger Eileen Forman-Ludden last month for the mayor’s seat.
“The council position is different from mayor,” she said. “I don’t have a vote on council issues, but I’m the deciding vote if there’s a tie. The mayor makes a lot of appointments, so I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we want to reposition some of our boards.”
As an example, Dickson said she is looking for people to participate in the city’s various boards who are 10 to 15 years younger than the current makeup of the boards.
“We have a growing Asian population in Summit, so I’m looking to fill board positions with qualified Asian candidates so we can better represent our town as it’s changing,” she said.
She added that she’s also looking at what kind of experience each board might need.
“I have encouraged the three new council members to make sure they reach out to people they know to get their volunteer forms in,” Dickson said. The back of the forms, available at city hall, has a list of available opportunities.
“We also have a Think Local First Committee that hasn’t been staffed yet,” she said. “It’s about shopping locally, that whole movement. I want to find some fresh new faces for that board.”
Another board that Dickson is planning is a new type of technology committee that will help decide such matters as whether downtown Summit should be wi-fi accessible.
“We need to look at the future of Summit from a technological point of view,” she said.
In fact, technology will play a large part in Dickson’s administration. The city of Summit has just launched a new website, and she’s hard at work on her own mayoral website that she says will include fun elements like a fact of the week, and highlights of the history of Summit.
And, Dickson said, she thinking of making some changes to the Mayor’s Committee on Diversity, which has been in existence since 1993.
“I’m thinking of altering it somehow, making it more of an assimilation committee,” she said, adding that she would like to have more events in community rather than just meetings.
“I want to continue our move toward assimilating everyone into the lifeblood of Summit,” she said.