Alex Torpey is Village President. He was sworn in on Monday night at the Board of Trustees meeting by Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin. In addition, re-elected trustees took the oath for another four years.
After a statement of the official election results from Tuesday’s election, Torpey was sworn in. In addition, trustees Deborah Davis Ford, Howard Levison and Mark Rosner were re-elected. Davis Ford was sworn in by the Honorable Blonnie R. Watson, Freeholder President, Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Levison was sworn in on Saturday by Steve Rother Village Counsel, and Rosner was sworn in by his daughter, Shera Frieman, Esq.
Monday’s meeting saw a large crowd, including residents, dignitaries, supporters, but mostly family and friends of the new president and re-elected trustees.
Torpey’s remarks follow, and the entire meeting will be available for viewing here.
First off thank you everyone for coming out tonight. Many of you are folks who helped out on the campaign trail and I literally would not be up here tonight if it weren’t for all the support and hard work that you all have put in. Now little did you know that by attending this meeting tonight, you are now legally required to come to every single Board meeting.
Before I start, let me also give thanks to my predecessor who has left a very large pair of shoes to fill, Douglas Newman thank you for the amount of time and energy you invested in making South Orange a better place.
And of course give thanks to our Board of trustees, all of whom have already been volunteering so much time to help their community... I’m looking forward to working with all of you on behalf of South Orange.
So the election is over. Now what?
No, literally, does anyone know?
So I’ve had over a dozen hours of meetings already with members of our Board and staff to make sure we are going to be able to hit the ground running and that the transition of the position of Village President goes as smoothly as possible. And I’m excited.
I’m excited because the faces of the people that I’ve talked to over the past couple months light up with excitement when we talk about government. And at a point in time when voter apathy is tremendously high and when people all around the world are questioning government more than they ever have before, the fact that so many people have hope for the progress to come is inspiring.
At one point in time, American government was one of the, if not the most innovative and progressive in the world. And even though South Orange is ahead of the curve in many, many respects, our staff and elected officials have to tirelessly fight against the grain of a system that doesn’t encourage innovation or creativity, but rather bureaucracy and rigid structuralism.
Government should be about innovation, inclusion and transparency, and here in South Orange, I believe we have the opportunity right now to literally the pave the way and set an even better example of how to do government right. When people ask the question of how to do something, whether it be reducing taxes, providing online tools for citizens to engage with their government, or energizing our downtown my vision is for that answer to always be the same, “Well, how did South Orange, New Jersey do it?”
There will be many eyes on South Orange over the next couple years..... and those eyes will help us, as a community, bring attention to the issues that need it and help literally shape the future of discourse about local government.
I will be more formally laying the groundwork, with the Board, about what we will accomplish over the next several months and years and I encourage everyone to come out to meetings and email us if you’re interested to get involved.
I’m excited and incredibly humbled to be in this position. Being able to help direct the future of the town that I call home is surreal and incredible, and I look forward to this journey with all of you.