Zuckerman, Coallier, Jones win BOT election

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Following a busy election season, with nine challengers running for three open seats on the South Orange Board of Trustees, the “Your Voice, Our Village” slate is ready to take office. Bob Zuckerman, Donna Coallier and Summer Jones won the May 14 municipal election. They will be taking the seats vacated by Mark Rosner, Howard Levison and Deborah Davis Ford.

All results from the May 14 election remain unofficial until certified by County Clerk Christopher Durkin.

Election night, with 12 out of 12 districts reporting in, Zuckerman came in the lead with 1,894 votes, or 18.3 percent. His running mates followed closely, with Coallier receiving 1,676 votes, or 16.2 percent, and Jones garnering 1,574 votes, or 15.21 percent.

The “Think Work Thrive Together” slate took the fourth, fifth and sixth spots with Braynard “Bobby” Brown receiving 1,248 votes, or 12.06 percent; Toshie Davis receiving 1,018 votes, or 9.84 percent; and Ed Moore receiving 805 votes, or 7.78 percent.

In the final bracket came the “South Orange Forward” slate, which had been running in conjunction with Davis Ford, who lost the election for village president. Matthew Wonski received 776 votes, or 7.5 percent; Stacey Trimble Borden received 690 votes, or 6.67 percent; and Edward Grossi received 647 votes, or 6.25 percent.

There were 20 write-in votes and provisional ballots have not been counted yet.

“It feels incredible; it’s just euphoric,” Zuckerman told the News-Record in an election night interview about his slate’s win. “I knew this was going to be a competitive election and I did not know we would win by the margin we did. There were other great candidates who ran against us. But we ran an extremely issue-focused, solution-oriented campaign.”

Zuckerman said he is grateful to the residents of South Orange and “can’t wait to get into office.” Once he is in office, he looks forward to working to create a Community Advisory Board, which would have representatives from each of South Orange’s 10 neighborhoods to ensure the village is addressing the concerns of all residents in each neighborhood. He plans to have this board created by the end of the year, he said. He is also looking forward to redeveloping the Blockbuster site, which has sat vacant for many years; he is especially excited about this opportunity as he was the executive director of the South Orange Village Center Alliance for five and a half years.

“At SOVCA, that empty storefront was the bane of my existence and I look forward to seeing it filled,” Zuckerman said.

Coallier could not be reached for comment by press time on election night.

“I know my experiences will help to deliver good government,” Coallier said in a prior statement to the News-Record. “I have values that are aligned with village residents and business owners and a collaborative spirit.”

Jones celebrated her win surrounded by friends and family.

“I’m really excited to start my new role,” she told the News-Record in an election night interview. “I know all three of us are going to be great trustees.”

She too wants to thank residents for voting for her, and said she is looking forward to getting into the weeds and really sussing out where problems are in South Orange.

“I really just want to meet everyone to figure out what internal issues there might be and then work to solve them,” Jones said.