This year there has been a busy year for the Glen Rock Council, there are 4 candidates running/rerunning for Borough Council. These candidates are:
- Paula Gilligan
- Bill Leonard
Robert E. Saydah
Robert Dill is not re-running for a 3rd term.
There are several issues that the candidates discussed on different formats – websites, social media, and the League of Women Voters Candidates night. Banana Tree News has gone through these sources and wants to help get some of their positions out in one place. Following are questions from the League of Woman Voters.
What experiences, qualifications and skills do you bring to the council?
My many years as a process consultant will be a great asset to the council. By establishing consistent processes for defining problems, identifying and getting agreement on desired outcomes, gathering and analyzing data, transparently reaching consensus, and communicating with stakeholders, we can make better decisions and gain wider community support. My work with and on corporate and non-profit boards has prepared me to play a similar role for the town that I love. My current role in managing a product that moves almost $2 trillion through the U.S. economy involves soliciting community input, prioritizing initiatives, and managing multi-million dollar budgets. Finally, my years as an award-winning coach have taught me how to assess talent, establish goals, and construct and execute detailed plans to achieve them. It would be an honor to apply my career experiences for the betterment of GR.
My experience as a small business owner as a managing partner of a CPA firm, my leadership positions on various not-for-profit boards, my term on the Glen Rock Planning Board, and my skills as a practicing CPA will be valuable assets to the Council.
In your opinion, what do you see as the role of a council member?
Local government matters; a council member’s role is to ensure that municipal services meet the needs of residents and foster a sense of community. Council decisions impact infrastructure, our parks and open spaces, and the programming that is available to our community.
Council members also have a responsibility to plan for the future of the community. We must listen to the needs of our residents today and anticipate the needs of our residents tomorrow– vision is crucial to the success and resilience of our community.
When a council doesn’t have the jurisdiction to implement a change that will improve the lives of residents, it’s the responsibility of a council member to advocate for residents on the county, state, and national levels.
The role of a council member is to implement initiatives of care for our community. This means supporting our seniors, stewarding our local environment, addressing food insecurity, and so much more. There is a great deal that can be done on our local level to improve the lives of Glen Rock residents and to promote well-being and healthful living in our community.
A council member also has the responsibility to think globally and act locally. So many of our residents are concerned about matters of gun safety, reproductive justice, and fighting the climate crisis. Council members can be a voice for Glen Rock residents on these issues that matter most to them and represent the values of our community.
I see the borough council as the board of directors of the town of Glen Rock. As a “director,” it will be my job to honestly and earnestly seek to understand the needs of all of the stakeholders of the town – residents, employees, business owners, etc. – and protect their financial, intellectual, and emotional investment in our town to the best of my ability.
Governance of the municipality. This includes providing leadership, guidance and support to the residents and the municipal workforce, setting policy and regulations, reviewing and approving the financial budgets and participating in the Master Plan.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city anyway you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
I would utilize such a grant for our library. Our library is centrally located, well-trafficked, and an incredible asset to our community. It has become a trend for libraries to function both as traditional libraries as well as spaces for the community (e.g., senior and other community gatherings). It would serve Glen Rock well to have a separate, fully accessible entrance to the Library for times when the Library itself is closed but other activities may be taking place. Having facilities that are accessible and welcoming to all residents is essential.
Our library has been open for 100 years, and we have an opportunity to execute a vision for the next 100 years of our Glen Rock Public Library.
I would repurpose “The Source”, at the Borough Hall station. It can be retrofitted with sustainable building solutions and materials. Its primary purpose will serve as an outreach, connecting neighbors to all physical, mental and financial wellness information and services. It will help amplify borough news and help residents as needed for services at the county and state levels. Ideally, this project would be a collaborative one between Borough Council, Glen Rock Arts Council, and Glen Rock Environmental Commission. Promoting community connectivity, creativity, and resources. The central location serves all residents on multiple levels. A place to share art, and knowledge and build community relations.
Two of the biggest needs that I see for Glen Rock right now are a functioning performance space for the arts, and a senior center. One of the biggest desires I have is to install solar panels at/over the borough hall parking lot. Perhaps we could install the solar panels first, then use the energy savings to help fund a senior center and performance space.
Assuming the grant is for general purposes and not for a restricted use, I would utilize the funds in conjunction with the budgets and planning. As such, the priorities that are established in the budgeting process would help govern how the funds would be allocated.
What is your vision for small businesses in Glen Rock?
Small businesses are the cornerstone of a vibrant downtown; it is crucial that we attract and support small businesses. I have had the pleasure of attending information sessions and studying resources from the non-profit Main Street America. Implementing some of the strategies outlined by Main Street America would be beneficial to our small businesses and to our community.
We must also foster the collaborative efforts begun by the Borough’s Business Commission. While recognizing that businesses are private enterprises, we must continue to listen to the needs of business owners in our community and minimize barriers wherever possible (e.g., modifying ordinances to make it easier to start a business without compromising health and safety).
As a former small business owner, I understand many challenges small businesses face. I look forward to fostering open communication between Glen Rock small businesses and the council, working side-by-side to develop solutions that work for our community.
I am eager to support small businesses in implementing sustainable practices, providing education and resources to help them navigate cost-effective transitions to becoming more environmentally conscious operations.
Thriving small businesses are a key part of the quality of life that we have and seek to maintain in Glen Rock. It is the job of the council to create an environment in which small businesses can be started and maintained. Some ways in which this can be done are to ensure that municipal services are available and excellent; that parking needs are addressed; and that the regulatory environment is favorable to starting and maintaining businesses. Two additional things that we can do are 1) provide a “starter kit” of key information that a prospective business can use to see how they can succeed in Glen Rock, and 2) develop a listing of potential advisory resources (there are many retirees in town that would be excellent consulting resources).
A vibrant small business community is critical to the health of the municipality. I envision an active and effective partnership organization that brings the municipality, the property owners (landlords) and the business owners (tenants) together as a cooperating team. This will provide the interchange of ideas, free flow of information and cooperation to enhance the working relationships between the three parties keeping in mind the specific interests of each of the three parties.
As per NJDEP, “Towns should update ordinances to streamline electric vehicle charging infrastructure and adopt designs standards to facilitate consumer adoption.” Do you agree or disagree?
Yes – The climate crisis is here. We’re fortunate to live in a community where so many folks are making the switch to electric vehicles. It’s crucial that the council facilitates this transition by supporting electric vehicle infrastructure, and I have already voted yes on such ordinances. This is a critical step in safeguarding our environment.
Yes – I believe that electric vehicles are the future. I am proud to live in a fully electric vehicle household, and I will support initiatives to expand electric vehicle infrastructure if elected. We are living in an ongoing climate emergency, and we have a responsibility to take climate action on the local level.
The statement as written is unclear, however, I believe it is appropriate for the town to create the conditions necessary to support a growing movement to electric vehicles.
I agree but with the stipulation that such infrastructure plans are a component of the Master Plan and implemented only when financially feasible.
If this passes interpretive Statement: A “yes” vote on this question would allow the Borough of Glen Rock to create a fund to be used specifically for the maintenance and preservation of its parklands, fields, pool, recreational facilities and natural resources by establishing a “Municipal Open Space Trust Fund” to be funded annually through the collection of a dedicated open space tax in the amount of one half of one cent per one hundred dollars of assessed value. The tax imposed would be .005 cents for every $100 of assessed property value for a period of 5 years. This tax would be dedicated to the maintenance, improvement, or acquisition of land for recreation and conservation purposes, or the payment of debt service or indebtedness issued or incurred
- all of the content was copied from the LWV voter guide — including the questions, answers, and videos — and came from the LWV.
- The material came from: http://onyourballot.vote411.org/race-detail.do?id=28657818 and the Vote411 website, https://www.vote411.org/.