The 2013 municipal election season began in earnest today as three local residents announced their candidacy under the banner of South Orange 2013. Sheena Collum, Stephen Schnall and Walter Clarke are seeking to fill 3 Board of Trustees seats that will be vacated this May by outgoing Trustees Janine Bauer, Michael Goldberg, and Nancy Gould.
“There’s much more we can do and must do to make South Orange a premier New Jersey town and that’s why we’re running,” said Collum. An 11-year resident and vocal community activist, Collum currently serves as the Chair of the Citizens Public Safety Committee (CPSC). In 2012, the CPSC executed one of the most successful, non-profit fundraisers in Village history raising nearly $30,000 for the volunteer South Orange Rescue Squad. Collum has served the town in a variety of committee and volunteer roles including the Charter Review Committee, the Public Information and Marketing Committee, and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
Stephen Schnall, a 13-year resident, plans to leverage his 30-plus years of business innovation and technology experience to improve government efficiency, minimize spending, and control taxes. “New Jersey’s ‘new normal’ agenda and its corresponding 2% municipal tax cap requires municipalities to be creative in how they deliver services,” said Schnall. “We have some of the highest property taxes in the nation and therefore, everything is on the table.” Schnall has been involved with the South Orange/Seton Hall Partnership, an executive committee member for the South Orange Community Garden and was recently named to the Montrose Park Historic District Association Board of Directors. Additionally, he has been an active PTA member serving as the Field Day coordinator for 5 consecutive years for Marshall and Jefferson schools.
Walter Clarke, a 14-year resident, has led many of the Villages most innovative sustainability initiatives including the installation of 3 electric vehicle chargers in the downtown, South Orange River Day where over 500 volunteers removed an estimated 2,000 pounds of debris from the Rahway River in 2012, and getting South Orange certified in the first year of the Sustainable Jersey program. “I look forward to expanding upon my experience as Chairperson of the Environmental Commission, Energy Policy, and Sustainable South Orange Committees,” said Clarke. “There’s a lot of money right now for municipalities who are going green and embracing sustainability, but you have to be in a position to take advantage of them. We can save money, make money and preserve the environment all at once. We have to take advantage of this window in time.”
“We’re excited to get going, share our ideas, and most importantly listen to the community,” said Collum. “South Orange 2013 can’t do it alone. We look forward to reaching and engaging with every household in South Orange, and over the next few weeks we’ll be traveling around town to your neighborhood asking for signatures on our petitions and listening to your thoughts and ideas about South Orange’s future.”
South Orange 2013 also announced that a variety of communications vehicles including a website, printed literature and social media pages will be introduced shortly so residents can learn more about the candidates and their full platform.
The South Orange Municipal election is on May 14, 2013.