ORANGE, NJ — Former Orange Democratic Committee Executive Director Anthony Salters’ final statement to the city of Orange in which he served in one capacity or another since 2012 was a plea for consensus, cooperation and better communication between Mayor Dwayne Warren and the Orange City Council on behalf of all its constituents.
“The elections are over,” said Salters on Tuesday, June 14, after he learned newly re-elected Orange Democratic Committee Chairman Kerry Coley had not reappointed him to the executive director’s post. “Bruised feelings need to heal fast and political maturity needs to finally kick in. Time to resolve campaign issues collaboratively now, such as the water management company, YWCA and outstanding litigation issues, just to name a few.”
Salters said, “Many people can point out problems, but residents simply want solutions that finally lead to positive resolutions.” He said the Warren administration and council finding a way to work together was the best thing for everyone.
“Total consensus is an unreachable goal anywhere,” said Salters. “Let’s remove that obstacle of expectation and be realistic. Let’s just get things done to improve the quality of life for Orange residents without further delay.”
Warren echoed those same sentiments at his inauguration on Friday, July 1, inside Orange Preparatory Academy, saying he plans to keep his campaign promise to keep up the progress that began on his watch as mayor, but he knows he can’t do it alone.
“I’m not a sore winner; I’m a respectful winner and I respect the fact that people laid it out during this last campaign,” said Warren on Friday, July 1. “It was a hot election. It was a fiery furnace, but fire is used to purify gold, so it goes through that blasting process that we pull out the best of us and we purify what we do every day.”
Warren said, “Now you’ve got a purer council that can sit down and do the work” that is needed to keep Orange moving forward into the future.“It’s easy to work together,” as far as he’s concerned, because he understands, as heated as the rhetoric in the last campaign was, “it was done because they wanted to move Orange forward.”
“This was all done in common good; it wasn’t done just because they don’t like Dwayne Warren,” the mayor said. “And now that I’m here, I hope that we can all pull together and move Orange forward and do that in one voice. Thank you to the people of Orange for coming out to vote and for going through this process where some people who were close to me felt insulted and some people who were not close to me did things they normally wouldn’t do that’s out of their character. Thank them for all coming back together to say what means the most is that we take care of Orange.”
“I’m calling on everyone to join, get involved, volunteer; bring your skill set. We can use it.”
Coley and West Ward Councilman Harold Johnson agreed that sounds good, but said the proof is when the administration and governing body members find ways to reach consensus on serious issues.
“I hear a lot of people talk about this foregone conclusion that there’s supposed to be harmony within the legislative and executive branches, but there’s still some unfinished business that we have to take care of, from a legislative standpoint, and if it rubs people the wrong way, it has to happen,” said Johnson on Friday, July 1, following the council’s reorganization meeting. “It has to work its way through, because we’re not going to turn a blind eye on things that need to be cleaned up. We’re all for whatever initiatives that are great for moving our town forward. We’re not going to be in a position to be blocking anything that positive, because I represent people of the West Ward that I have to answer to.”
Coley said that, although the election is over, the issues raised during the campaign don’t magically go away, but have to be dealt with if stakeholders in the city really want to move Orange forward into a better, brighter future.
“As the councilman of the East Ward, the only thing that I can do is continue to raise those issues to try to bring conclusion to those issues,” said Coley on Friday, July 1. “And when new issues come up, just continue to do my best to lead the East Ward in the issues to a positive conclusion. There’s never a protocol for doing good. Just do good.”