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Petition Opposes Changes to South Orange Village Government

David Lackey

Friday, December 13, 2013 • 6:57am

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – An online petition has begun gathering signatures to show opposition to a proposal that the village government is considering which would change the titles of those on the governing body and change the positions from volunteer to compensated with a modest stipend. The petition may be found here. As of this writing, it had garnered 51 signatures.

The full story about the discussion of this matter at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting may be found here.

A review of the Village Charter had been undertaken to bring it into alignment with current state statutes and to make its wording gender-neutral. The process led to the recommendations to rename the village president as mayor and the Board of Trustees as the Village Council.  The proposed ordinance would also remove the word "township" from the name Township of South Orange Village.

While there seems to be widespread support of removing the word "township" from the village’s name, the proposed changes to the titles of village officials and the issue of compensation have drawn criticism.

“The fact that these unpaid volunteer positions have had these unique and distinguished titles is part of the rich history and traditions of our Village that have made our town unique,” Michael Goldberg wrote in a recent Letter to the Editor.

A very informal and unscientific survey of village residents done by The Alternative Press showed a slight majority in favor of the term "mayor" rather than "village president," and a majority having “no opinion” on the terms "trustee" versus "councilperson."

On the issue of compensation, respondents to our survey were nearly unanimous in opposition to the idea.

The issue will next come up for discussion and a possible vote at the next Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Dec. 23 at SOPAC

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