Effective Organizations Have Structures Which Drive Performance
All departments should publicly submit annual plans which detail their department's initiatives and objectives for the year. Plans should define priorities and include timelines for completion of initiatives. The plans also give the departments a chance to detail additional resources required and highlight any areas where they require support. The plan serves as a guide for future budget requests which support the department's execution of their plans.
The departments should report on their performance to their annual plans on a monthly basis. These department level reports would serve as the basis for the Township Supervisor's update to the Township Committee and community. Areas where timelines are slipping should be identified and employees should be recognized when objectives are completed. The department leads should also report new issues or items that require attention. A good example of the need for governance structure is the pilot of the leaf blower ban. We're piloting the ban but without any defined measure of its success/failure. Reduction in noise, increase in lawn waste, increase in price, decrease in appearance? Without guidance, we'll end up rehashing the same debate in September with the same outcomes.
On a quarterly basis a Dashboard should be produced that summarizes the health/performance of each department with a Red/Amber/Green status. For departments in Red or Amber status, the Township Committee should actively engage in the process of supporting those departments which are under performing.
Education Is Key To The Vitality Of Our Community
Early Education Is Critical
Many studies have shown the importance of preschool, pre-K, and full day kindergarten programs. Early learners benefit from socialization, structured play, and a head start on key skills. Parents benefit from excellent childcare and are freed up to work full-time. Often parents' benefits are tied to their full time work and they are forced to choose between day care and health care. The Township should support and maintain the early education institutions in our town.
Listen To Our Teachers
The teachers in our community are singularly focused on the education of our children. They deserve to be heard and consulted on matters impacting our schools. For example, I would have engaged the teachers at the high school before introducing a School Resource Officer. They are best suited assess the impact on the learning environment and educators are often the first line of defense in a school safety incident.
Funding Of Schools Isn't Just the Concern Of The BOE
I'm sure many will point out that education concerns are purely the concern of the Board Of Education. There are many things that Township Committee can, and should do, to support the Schools in our community. We -Maplewood and South Orange- can provide township services to the schools at a reduced or no cost. We can share revenue windfalls, like the sale of the Post Office, with the school system. As a member of the Township Committee, I'd put time and effort into the collaboration between the Township Committee and BOE.
Common Sense Government
Expertise Is Required To Make DecisionsNow that you know what I stand for, will you stand with me? Please Donate.
The lack of discussion and utilization of experts in the current Township Committee decision making process is troubling. We elect the Township Committee to make decisions, but we trust they are going to be well researched before making decisions. Whether it's leaf blowers, Zika prevention, or the sale of tobacco products - the opinions of TC members are not expert. We should seek out citizens with expertise and allow for sufficient discussion before passing new ordinances. I'd rather see the TC make a few good decisions a year instead of chasing and legislating isolated issues. If I'm elected to Township Committee, I'll encourage the required discussion which will lead to better outcomes. We should leverage the incredible talent in our community to benefit of all.
Ordinances should have sufficient enforcement provisions to make them effective. Without enforcement and oversight, the impact of an ordinance is muted. I would also create a temporary citizens committee to review of our current ordinances to ensure they are still relevant and enforced. There are several ordinances which are widely ignored and it undermines the public's confidence in our government institutions. The recent expansion of the leaf blower ordinance is in direct relation to the lack of enforcement of the present ordinance. The township will find itself in the same position with the new ordinance if we aren't pragmatic about enforcement.