WEST ORANGE, NJ — After being elected or re-elected to their respective positions, West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, Councilwomen Susan McCartney and Cindy Matute-Brown, and 2019 Council President Jerry Guarino were officially sworn in during Tuesday night’s reorganization meeting for the township.
As Parisi begins his third four-year term as mayor, Guarino and McCartney continue their tenure with Guarino assuming the role of council president after McCartney held the position in 2018.
“I’m honored that the voters gave me another opportunity to serve,” said Parisi. “I’m excited about some things on the horizon, and as always I’m excited for the future of this community.”
Much of the evening’s celebration was directed toward freshman councilwoman Matute-Brown, whose husband administered the oath of office in front of numerous friends and community members who came to support her.
“First and foremost, thanks to my family—We ran a grassroots campaign that included every single member,” said Matute-Brown. “I look forward to working with everyone on the council. There are a lot of great things happening in West Orange.”
During a slight intermission following the swearing-in ceremony, the mayor and council engaged members of the audience over dessert, where a celebratory cake was served to mark the end of hard-fought campaigns and acknowledge the numerous supporters.
When the meeting returned to council business, the discussion focused on what 2019 has in store for local officials.
One of the more challenging issues addressed was the potential redevelopment and relocation of the West Orange Public Library. According to the council, the library has not been officially slated for redevelopment, but is currently in an evaluation stage to determine whether a redevelopment project is viable.
The evaluation entails investigating potential future locations, such as 10 Rooney Circle–a location that was suggested as part of an adopted resolution authorizing the township to “retain Arcaro and Lovino Architects to perform and prepare a report to the possible relocation of the West Orange Public Library to 10 Rooney Circle.”
In relation to the potential redevelopment of the library, the council also amended a resolution previously adopted in 2018 in which the council referred the facility to the West Orange Planning Board “for a study as to whether the property constitutes an area of redevelopment.”
Council members urged residents to continue attending public meetings in connection to the Essex Green redevelopment project as well, stressing that public forums like the one held in December are the best way for community members to help shape the project and voice their opinions.
McCartney added that residents should consider attending an upcoming special meeting where the township will reveal the updated West Orange Master Plan. The public meeting will be held on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Liberty Middle School.