Photo Courtesy Connie Jackson
From left are new city administrator Solomon Steplight, new chief financial officer Shuh Yang and East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green. The mayor appointed these two as his first official appointments of his new administration.
EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Mayor Ted Green has made the first official appointments of his new administration by appointing Solomon Steplight to serve as city administrator and Shuh Yang to serve as the city’s chief financial officer.
As city administrator, Steplight will supervise the Department of Administration and assist Green in managing the city’s $144 million budget. Yang, who previously worked in Kearny, Jefferson Township, Mount Olive, Andover and Montclair, has worked for East Orange since December 2005 and has nearly 13 years of experience here under her belt. Yang’s new job as chief financial officer will focus on tracking revenue and expenditures, maximizing revenue and managing financial controls.
“Solomon is an innovative business executive, who brings a wealth of experience in corporate and municipal finance that will keep the city on strong fiscal footing,” said Green on Thursday, Jan. 25. “He is incredibly talented but, most importantly, he understands the needs of our community and how we must evolve to achieve a more prosperous future.”
Green had equally glowing comments about Yang.
“Shuh is a hard worker and true team player,” said Green. “Both she and Solomon are exceptional additions to our leadership team.”
Councilwoman Alicia Holman confirmed Steplight’s appointment earlier this year, at the East Orange City Council’s reorganization meeting on Monday, Jan. 1.
“Romal Bullock is chairman; no vice chair yet,” said Holman on Sunday, Jan. 7. “The (city) administrator is Solomon Steplight. No other appointments other than that.”
East Orange City Clerk Cynthia Brown also confirmed that Green has appointed Steplight to serve as his city administrator. She said the vote to confirm Steplight at the council meeting on Monday, Jan. 22, was 7-0, with three members absent.
According to Green, Steplight is an East Orange native who spent nearly two decades driving the performance of national and government organizations, including previous municipal experience in Newark as an assistant business administrator for Mayor Ras Baraka and assistant finance director for former Mayor Cory Booker.
Steplight also worked as the director of finance for the city of Hoboken for Mayor Dawn Zimmer and, most recently, he helped Baraka respond to the Amazon HQ2 request for proposal, which landed Newark among the final 20 cities being considered for the coveted second headquarters of the electronic commerce giant. Steplight has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and experience in technology, government, education and finance.
Green said Steplight is a self-professed “tech aficionado” and education advocate who shares his passion for educating and advocating for children and young people, which he demonstrated by spearheading the growth of several start-up companies, including Girls Who Code, a computer science education organization, and Prepfoleo.com, an online network of academic, enrichment and career resources.
“Solomon re-engineering financial processes that improved the city of Hoboken’s credit rating from Baa3 to AA+ in 12 months, leading Girls Who Code from a $800,000 budget serving 500 girls to a $16 million budget serving 20,000 girls in less than two years,” Green said. “He also secured a partnership between Rutgers-Newark and Apple to offer computer coding classes to 280,000 Newark residents. My administration’s vision is: ‘One City, One Community, One Goal Equals Progress,’ and I know Solomon and Shuh are going to play major roles in helping us fulfill our mission for progress.”
Steplight said he is happy to be in a position to help Green and the city reach its progress goals.
“I am extremely excited to join the Green administration during this unprecedented period of redevelopment and growth in the city of East Orange,” said Steplight on Thursday, Jan. 25. “Increasing how we use technology and data will enhance our culture of performance, fiscal discipline and services delivered to our customers, citizens and constituents.”
Yang also said she’s ready to “jump right in.” She holds a bachelor’s degree in law from National Taiwan University and a master’s degree from the University of New Orleans and currently has certifications as a public accountant, county finance officer, tax collector, municipal finance officer and registered public purchasing official.