EO council chairman approaches 100-day milestone


Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange City Council President Romal Bullock speaks at the Historical Society of East Orange Black History Month Kickoff event in City Hall.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — Although most attention is focused on a new mayor or president’s first 100 days in office, East Orange City Council Chairman Romal Bullock, who represents the 2nd Ward, is also approaching that milestone.

Bullock, a practicing attorney, served as the council’s vice chairman for the past two years. As council chairman, he’s an ex officio member of all council committees, including Finance, Public Safety, Negotiating and Economic Development.

Bullock said as vice chairman he filled in for Green whenever the former chairman was unable to attend regular council meetings, and this prepared him well for his current duties, although he admits it’s not the same.

“It’s busier because the chairman of the council is a member of all the committees,” said Bullock on Tuesday, April 10. “We have nine standing committees and other sub-committees. So there’s a lot more committee meetings that I have to attend, because the chairman is an ex officio member of all the committees.”

Bullock’s council colleagues elected him at the annual reorganization meeting on Monday, Jan. 1, in the Cicely Tyson School of the Fine and Performing Arts theater, where Green was Inaugurated. The council’s official swearing-In ceremony preceded the reorganization.

In addition to Bullock, the incumbents sworn in at that time were 1st Ward Councilman Chris James, 4th Ward Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman. Third Ward Councilman Bergson Leneus succeeded Green — who gave up his 3rd Ward seat in order to run for mayor — becoming the city’s first Haitian-American elected official.

All were part of the Team Green in 2017 ticket, an extension of the Line A Democratic ticket that swept to victory at the county and state levels. Former Assemblywoman and East Orange native Sheila Oliver also made history by becoming the state’s first black lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Phil Murphy.

Now Bullock said East Orange is poised to continue making history.

“We have a lot more issues and priorities to work on,” he said. “We feel like we have one of our own in the Mayor’s Office, the way that it may not have been in the past. We’re looking to do more things in a lot of different areas and I have never been more excited. I’m an East Orange native and I’ve never been more excited about the near future of our city than I am right now.”

Former Mayor Robert Bowser dubbed East Orange as “The City on the Move” and Green’s immediate predecessor, Lester Taylor, had a vision of the city becoming a “model of urban excellence and a destination city.” Bullock, who took public office during Taylor’s tenure, said he is excited to be a part of the direction being charted by Green for the city.

“Under the previous mayor, the prior motto had its strengths as well, but when you say ‘one goal progress,’ you’re cutting right to the chase,” Bullock said. “We all have one goal: to move our city forward. When the mayor says ‘one goal,’ I commend him on that and I think we all support him 100 percent.”