As the new year begins, local governments with partisan elections reorganize. Many newly elected officials take solemn oaths to serve their fellow citizens for the first time. Others renew their commitments to the public’s service. And all await the Governor’s State of the State Address and his Budget Message so that they can better evaluate the fiscal and policy landscape for the coming year.
The League exists to help them all. But to do so most effectively, it needs their help, as well. League policies and procedures, and our ongoing attempts to influence decision making in Trenton and Washington, depend on the active participation of all of our members. We know we need the perspectives of the people who have won the trust, and the votes, of their fellow citizens. We need their time, their talents, their energies and their expertise. And the way we can gain access to those precious resources is through their participation on one or more of our policy committees.
The League’s School Funding Reform Committee, chaired by Edison Mayor Jun Choi, works closely with our Property Tax Reform Committee, chaired by Somerdale Mayor Gary Passanante, on issues that the Legislature’s Special Session on Property Tax Reform left undone. Our Gangs and Youth Violence Prevention Committee, chaired by League President Mayor Bob Bowser of East Orange, fights a large and growing problem that threatens our most precious resource—our children. Our Hometown Security Task Force, chaired by First Vice-President Mayor Tim McDonough of Hope, has been working to better prepare our local governments for both man-made and natural disasters, since shortly after 9-11. The Economic Development Task Force, Airport Advisory Committee, Quarries and Mines Task Force, Group Home Advisory Committee and Heavy Truck Task Force address issues that confront many elected officials from all around the state. And a number of Committees recommend reforms in the areas of land use, planning and zoning. The Mayors’ Wellness Campaign promotes leadership for a healthier New Jersey. And the Mayors’ Committee for a Green Future helps towns create sustainable energy policies and a cleaner environment.
Though there are several others that would benefit from your perspective and participation, I have to mention our Legislative Committee. As old as the League itself, this committee continues to shape our response to state executive branch and legislative initiatives. Legislators and high ranking administration officials continue to come before the committee to promote the policies most important to them and to solicit our input.
If you want to help yourselves, your constituents and your fellow local elected officials by serving on any of our policy making committees, please feel free to contact me.
Consider this, then, an invitation to involvement.
Editorial from New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 85, Number 1, jANUARY 2008