Courage to Re-Connect Announces Commissioners for Consolidation Study

Four of the 10 commissioners needed for the study have been chosen, two from Scotch Plains and two from Fanwood.

The group Courage to Re-Connect, which is leading the study on the consolidation of Scotch Plains and Fanwood announced the four commissioners chosen to represent each town.

At the Dec. 18 Scotch Plains town council meeting Courage to Re-Connect NJ founder Fred Lange announced that the two commissioners from Scotch Plains are himself and Don Parisi. The two commissioners representing Fanwood are Ann Saltzman and Daniel McCarey, according to The Alternative Press.

A presss release from Courage to Re-Connect provided additional information on the candidates:

Scotch Plains:

•       Fred Lange, founder of Courage to Reconnect Scotch Plains & Fanwood,
has lived in Scotch Plains since 1974 and has a MBA from Rutgers
University. He is retired from an extensive career in logistics.

•       Don Parisi, a former member of the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Board of
Education, has been active with Courage to Reconnect since its
inception. He has met with state officials throughout the process to
create a Municipal Consolidation Commission between the two towns.
Parisi is General Counsel of Rider Insurance Company.

•       ALTERNATE – Sarah Dreikorn, now completing her MBA at Stevens
Institute of Technology, is a microbiologist and project manager at
Pracs Institute.  A resident of Scotch Plains for more than 20 years,
she has seven patents in the area of pharmaceuticals.


•       Daniel J. McCarey, a Fanwood resident who owns a general litigation
law practice in Scotch Plains, is a member of both the Fanwood and
Scotch Plains Business and Professional Associations.

•       Ann Saltzman, a retired psychology professor from Drew University
and a Fanwood resident since 1977. A trained social scientist with a
Ph.D., she has presented professional papers in front of numerous
associations since 1979.

•       ALTERNATE – Pat Hoynes, a resident of Fanwood since 1985, has served
as the assistant to Mayor Colleen Mahr since 2010. She also serves as
Fanwood’s planning board secretary. She also served on the Scotch
Plains –Fanwood Board of Education and was the Board’s representative
to the Garden State Coalition of Schools.

According to Gina Genvoese, Executive Director of Courage to Re-Connect NJ, when the organization was looking for applicants in October there was no specific criteria, but she noted the more applicants the better.

"No one should be discounted, it should be an open process," she said. 

She added that Courage to Re-Connect was responsible for sorting through the applicants and choosing the candidates.

“We were impressed with the number of qualified professionals who
expressed strong interest in serving on the commission,” said Dan
Winigrad of Fanwood, a member of Courage to Reconnect Scotch Plains
and Fanwood in a press release. “There is an incredible
talent pool in these two communities, which made the decision to seat
commissioners very difficult.”

The process calls for a total of 10 commissioners for the study.

 The next step is for each town's council to choose two additional members. Each four-person group will then choose a fifth commissioner. 

On Sept. 12, the Local Finance Board in Trenton approved the application for the consolidation to be studied. The study is to be completed over the next three years.

T December 23, 2012 at 05:30 PM
No way I want to be a part of Scotch Plains. You guys can clean up your own mess.
Just the facts December 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Let's all pay attention and keep an eye on the big picture. The purpose of this group is to identify if any money can be saved through a consolidation of the two towns. I can almost predict that they will finalize their report that money can be saved....even if it's only a $1. The issue will be put to vote and if I follow the comments...Fanwoodians are leaning towards a "thanks, but no thanks" decision. The kicker is that the Trenton says if you say "no" to savings....well, you get punished by being ineligible for state aid, grants, etc....so, at the end of the day, Fanwoodians will pay more in the way of taxes as a way of punishment from Trenton. You can have who ever you want on that committee, but every resident better look closely at the details of the final product, be prepared to ask serious questions about how they arrived at their numbers and more importantly, look at things that are done by volunteers (fire and rescue) or at a cost that will not be sustained going forward (paid elected representatives comes to the top of the list) and ensure they are included in the final report (and are projected out over a 5 and/or 10 year period). This is only the tip of the iceberg....let's hope that this committee is transparent and posts all of their data, meeting minutes, etc on line and that all meetings are open to the public.
Concerned Fanwoodian December 23, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Just the Facts: I think you are missing the point. This is far beyond just dollars and cents. I query whether Fanwoodians would have been happy if they had saved $1,000 on their taxes but had to deal with the same issues the SP residents had to given the poor leadership they received following Hurricane Sandy. My biggest concern is that Fanwood is being placed in a no-win situation. There is no question that the final report from the "Committe" is going to be an indication that consolidation will save money. As someone much more articulate than me stated, when you own the information, you can bend it how you want. CTR is being paid to push an agenda so there is little doubt their final product will meet that agenda. However, they don't have a stake in the game otherwise. Thus, my view is we will inevitably receive a report that will indicate dollar savings and the people of Fanwood are stuck in a no-win situation--eiither accept a proposal that is being forced down their throats or lose state funding if they don't. I also have a question regarding the process--if the consolidation moves forward, will there be a mid-term election for the various government posts--mayor, etc.?
bgporter December 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the legislation that's in effect here can only punish FW in the event that the committee recommends that the two towns enter into a shared services agreement and they do not do so, and would be penalized to the extent that the committee says that shared services would save. (And of course, FW and SP are involved in some shared services already and are pursuing others). There's no penalty of any kind in play if the cmte recommends merger and the towns vote that down. Someone with more time/energy than I can look through my comment history where I tracked down a PDF of the law in question last summer sometime.
bgporter December 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Here it is, from a posting on October 4th: IANAL, but looking at the actual text of S2 (which you can find here: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=S2) it appears to me that things are getting mixed up -- my takeaway from the discussion here was implied that if this process were followed, put to vote, and then voted down, the towns would lose some amount of state aid, but that's very different from what S-2 says: "The bill provides that a LUARCC-recommended consolidation would not be binding on a municipality and there would be no penalty for failing to implement the consolidation. However, a LUARCC recommendation to implement a shared services proposal would be required to be placed before the voters, unless objected to by the Legislature, and a municipality’s failure to implement the shared service recommendation could result in a loss of State aid equal to LUARCC’s estimated cost savings for implementing the recommendation." Two things: LUARCC is an already existing commission that can make these recommendations on their own without any efforts regarding sharing services/consolidation by the affected towns on their own. 2. If that commission suggests consolidation and the towns refuse, there's no penalty. However, if shared services (which we're already pursuing) are suggested and the towns fail to implement, ten penalties apply. Am I reading this incorrectly?


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