EO mayor’s reorganization speech a taste of things to come

EAST ORANGE, NJ — In East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor’s speech at the City Council’s annual reorganization meeting on Monday, Jan. 2, he invited attendees to Cicely Tyson High School on Tuesday, Jan. 24, for his fourth annual State of the City Address.

Taylor will be running for re-election this year, along with five members of the council, including Council Chairman and 3rd Ward Councilman Ted Green, 1st Ward Councilman Chris James, Council Vice Chairman and 2nd Ward Councilman Romal Bullock, 4th Ward Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman.

East Orange has a unique 10-member council with two elected representatives from each of the city’s five wards serving in overlapping four-year terms designed to encourage continuity within city government; most municipal governments that ascribe to the Faulkner Act instead use a single ward and multiple at large council structure.

The strength of the Democratic Party in East Orange means that the Democratic candidate who wins the municipal primary election earlier in the year usually wins the general election in November. This affords a good deal of power to the city’s Democratic Committee chairman, Leroy Jones.

“The primary election is on Tuesday, June 6, and the general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 7,” said East Orange City Clerk Cynthia Brown on Monday, Jan. 9. “Petitions are available and we are having more printed. Petitions are due 64 days prior to the primary, by 4 p.m.”

According to Brown, nominating petitions for mayoral seat and any of the five ward seats will be available. She further explained that the governor’s race and state Assembly and Senate elections are part of the general election.

Taylor’s fourth annual State of the City Address will likely include much of what he already told the council at the annual reorganization meeting.

“The challenge is when you’re losing sleep, you’re losing time away from your children; the hardest thing that I can do to my children is when they say: ‘Daddy, are you coming home’ or ‘Daddy are you staying’ and, nine times out of 10, the answer is ‘No,’” Taylor said Monday, Jan. 2. “And so this commitment far surpasses anything that I personally ever wanted to achieve. It’s something that I’m doing and we’re doing collectively on behalf of this great city, and it’s something that I thank the residents of the city for affording us the privilege and the opportunity to do.”

Green also said he was pleased to be a part of a real team effort, including the administration, City Council and all of the city employees, adding he was looking forward to enjoying that same cooperation in 2017 and beyond. Green was re-elected to serve a second consecutive term as City Council chairman at the annual reorganization meeting.

“New Year’s Day is here and we wanted everyone to come out and really be a part of a movement with these 10 council members that all bring different ideas and different methodologies to the council and we’re working as a team,” said Green. “We may not get along all the time; it’s like a family, sometimes we’re a little dysfunctional, but we get the job done. We passed the budget on time this year; we worked on the water department, where we’ve got some checks and balances now; we also did some things on Schedule C, with the bargaining units; worked with the ministers this year; and we also had our first retreat in a long time, when we first came in at the start of last year.”

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