EAST ORANGE, NJ — At a press conference outside City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 24, East Orange officials unveiled five new street sweepers and two other vehicles that will allow the city to start cleaning its own streets again.
According to East Orange Mayor Ted Green and Department of Public Works Director Chris Coke, the new vehicles and equipment will allow the city to bring street-sweeping operations back “in-house” for the first time in more than 13 years, after previously outsourcing to a private company. They also said the new sweepers all use Tier 4 clean diesel technology, which requires significant emission reductions, aligned with the latest environmental protection standards.
“It seems like my last name fits into all of this, because my name is Green and the city is going green, to protect the environment and deliver better services to and for the people of our community,” joked Green on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “The cleanliness of our city has been one of my administration’s top priorities and bringing street sweeping back in-house not only allows us to control how much we sweep during peak season, but it also provides us with an opportunity to hire local residents and train existing employees. From my biweekly ‘Mayor on the Block’ initiative and citywide cleanups to enhanced code enforcement and public property auctions, we are restoring pride and, ultimately, renewed investment in our city.”
Coke said that means the DPW will be able to provide even better services.
“I guess first I’d just like to say ‘thank you.’ The mayor and City Council have been very supportive of the men and women of our department taking on tasks that normally were outsourced,” said Coke on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “Ultimately, one of my favorite purposes for being here, beyond the day-to-day operations, is to ensure that the residents of the city do not only have jobs, but have jobs that can serve as careers, and I’ve spoken to the mayor and I know that he shares that. And we’re hoping, that now we have some new men from the city on our team, that those men will also add to the bunch behind me and this will be a start of a beautiful career for them in city government. Government can’t do everything, but this is something that we can definitely do and, with the support of our constituents and, again, the council, I’m sure this administration will continue to move forward in going green.”
“I’m excited about the new equipment. It was a long time coming and now we can do great things with the city with the sweepers during the day and the night,” said East Orange Parks Department Supervisor Dennis James on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “That’s what’s going to be the biggest benefit. We can use the sweepers day and night and for an emergency, in case we have spills, car accidents. We can come pick it up right away.”
Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge and other council members at the unveiling also seemed excited about the new street sweepers. She and Councilman Casim Gomez also recognized Tony Jackson, the aide to the mayor, for being the driving force behind bringing the new street sweepers to the city.
“It is a great day for the mayor, the administration and the city of East Orange,” said Talmadge on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “When he first was sworn in, this was his goal, to start this street sweeping in the city. And you know I had mixed feelings about it in the beginning, because when I first came on the council 20 years ago, we had it in the city and we ran into so many problems, the mayor at that time sort of got rid of it.”
But Talmadge said Green convinced her and the rest of City Council that the city would have a brighter, more productive future by bringing the street-sweeping operation back in-house to the DPW
“After talking to Chris Coke, and Tony Jackson was fierce in pushing this, he made a believer out of me,” said Talmadge. “He said: ‘We can do this. We can do this right. You know they made some mistakes in the past and that’s why they got rid of it.’ So I truly support the mayor in his initiative to make this city cleaner and greener and thank you all for being a part of this. I look forward to great things in the City of East Orange.”
“First, I’d like to commend the mayor and his administration in this effort and I would actually like to really commend Tony Jackson. He fought very hard for this project,” said Gomez on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “Sometimes, if you believe in something, the obstacles just make you stronger. You have a better commitment and you’re going to make sure that your particular project gets through and that it’s a success and I’m sure that this project will be a success. This is going to create jobs. This is going to save money for taxpayers. This is going to give us autonomy, as a city, in terms of service and flexibility. So this is a win-win. So thank you, mayor. Thank you, administration. I’m looking forward to this project rolling out.”