MICHELLE GRECO ANSWERS
Week 3 Question: How would you improve upon the process of selecting board members and volunteers to Township appointed committees? What do you think the County’s role in local government should be?
First of all, I am so impressed by the volunteer spirit in this town and I urge anyone who is interested in volunteering on a particular committee to go out to one of the community events they sponsor and meet the people involved – in this digital age I still firmly believe that personal interaction is the best way to get involved. If you are interested in renewing Peppertown Park, go to one of the events they sponsor, meet the members and offer your help. I guarantee you will be glad you did!
So many residents have generously contributed their skills to help improve our town through various boards and committees. Each one is focused on a specific aspect of our town ranging from reviewing and approving development proposals to improving the aesthetics of our town and parks. I am so grateful to each and every volunteer that has given of their valuable time to do the HARD WORK that has contributed to the success of these committees.
It is fantastic that we have so many willing volunteers – we must match each person’s skills and talents with the needs and objectives of each committee. The current process is fair and objective but there is room for improvement. The needs of the committee are assessed periodically and the process to select new members includes an application and interview to determine the skills, talents and goals of each volunteer to see if there is a fit. The mayor consults with committee heads to determine the best fit before the final decision is made. This process can be further streamlined and communicated to residents by leveraging the upgraded technology and robust search capabilities of the new website being developed. Committee openings should also be more formally advertised on the website, the Township Facebook page and in Town Council meetings. With so many volunteering to be involved, I am confident that technology improvements will help to facilitate the process for the benefit of our town.
I am a proponent of local government. We are a small, close knit community - our residents have many skills and talents and we know our priorities. I believe that we are more than capable of governing our Township independently, but I think we need to do so in partnership with our local County. As the larger governing body they can give us access to valuable resources. In fact, 25% of your tax dollars go to the County (17% to our municipality) so it is only right that we can work with them for grants and services that can benefit our tax paying residents.
We have been successfully partnering with the County, spreading the word about social programs that they offer to benefit our residents. We have also leveraged a number of County grants, for example those that are part of our rolling capital road repair plan. I urge residents to pay attention to County elections to make sure that Berkeley Heights is appropriately represented at the County level.