After I retired from my career as a human-resources executive in the financial-services and non-profit sectors, my wife Tonia and I moved to South Orange in 2010. We chose this town for many of the same reasons younger families do: beautiful homes; a diverse, progressively minded population; proximity to the city and nature; and institutions where we could remain involved and engaged during our senior years. We haven’t been disappointed.
Eight years ago I helped launch the West Montrose Neighborhood Association (WMNA), now the largest in South Orange with almost 600 members. I am now president of the group’s board, and I’ve chaired the development, public safety and seniors committees — and I have generally engaged and contributed to the Village government committees that focus on these topics on behalf of the WMNA.
The WMNA has been especially vocal in its advocacy for pedestrian safety. Like all residents, we were shocked two years ago when a car speeding over the West Montrose Ave. viaduct by Mountain Station went off the road and killed a pedestrian at midday. Our home is less than 400 feet from the site, and the Country Day School where dozens of families walk to drop off their pre-K children is just across the road.
I’ve been on point for the WMNA in pursuing safety changes not only on that deadly strip of road but throughout the town. We’ve been deeply involved in efforts to engage Essex County and Village officials in what will be a major overhaul of Scotland Road, adding significant traffic-calming measures including improved lighting and new plantings.
I also serve on the management committee of SOMA Two Towns for All Ages, which helps seniors “age in place” here and in Maplewood. Tonia and I are fortunate to have found a rare two-family home in West Montrose, and our grown son his wife and their children live upstairs. Our daughter and her family live a few blocks away. It’s the sort of multi-generational set-up that we, as a town, need to find better ways of facilitating.
With my human resources background, I have a keen sense for people who can get things done and have the creative skills to rise above rhetoric and promises to deliver on challenges. People like my colleagues on LIne D — Bobby Brown and Toshie Davis. We’ll bring more than our unique skill sets to the Board of Trustees. We bring our commitment to think, work and thrive together.