WEST ORANGE, NJ — Many seniors continue to question whether the results from the West Orange senior citizen survey administered by Montclair State University (MSU) accurately reflect the needs of the township’s diverse senior population. In response, Kenneth Kayser, assistant township attorney, has researched whether it would be possible to have all of the survey’s data sent to the township.

Kayser told the township council earlier this week that the initial reaction from the staff at MSU was that this data might not be available to the township since it is “owned” by a state institution (MSU). He added that the person he spoke with a MSU indicated that this data was not a public record, which means the township is not entitled to it. Kayser said he is waiting for an official, written response from MSU to the township’s query regarding the data.

Councilman Joe Krakoviak said that when he questioned Theresa DeNova, health director of the township, about the availability of the data when the survey was presented to the council, she initially wondered why anyone would want it, but then said it would be available to the township. Krakoviak added that the MSU survey supervisor will be coming back from vacation in the coming week, and that he hopes this issue can be straightened out.

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Resident Clare Sylvestri said it is essential to get all the data from the senior citizen survey.

“I have done market research, and we always looked at all the data to see how we can improve things,” she said. “We have to look at the data of people who are dissatisfied or in need, and improve their situation.”

Council President Susan McCartney agreed with Sylvestri on this issue, saying it is vital for the township to have all the survey data to help as many seniors as possible.

Councilwoman Michelle Casalino objected to some seniors telling her that issues concerning older adults in need are being swept under the carpet.

“We are here to assist all senior residents, including those who don’t drive and need services,” said Casalino. “We are here to take in the information, and keep working at improving the lives of our seniors.”

She added that improvements have already been made to the township’s website due to survey feedback.

“Another positive outcome of the survey process was the improved awareness of senior programs and services,” she said.

Click here to read more about the findings from the survey.

To read more from this council meeting, click on the headlines below:

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