South Orange Keeps Firing People...Who's Next?

shelag67

Regardless of your thoughts about JAC, their abrupt closing was conveniently disappeared and then the RFP was given to Run! Jump! Fail! Great tag team job between Collum & Zuckerman, while thumbing their noses at the local animal rights activists.

https://villagegreennj.com/business/run-jump-lift-wins-temporary-lease-former-jac-shelter-south-orange/

Then Melanie Trancone was fired as our Animal Control officer and her position was outsourced to St. Huberts.

And now we learn that Sandy Martiny has been fired from her position as Director of Cultural Affairs.

If I was a Village employee, I'd start looking for employment elsewhere. Chances are, you're next.


shelag67

From local artist Sybil Archibald:


We are extremely saddened and upset that the town of South Orange has decided to eliminate Sandy Martiny's position. Sandy is Director of Cultural Affairs, which means she runs everything to do with the arts: Studio Tour, Jazz at Spiotta Park, movies at Flood’s Hill, classes for adults and children and endless other programs to support the arts in South Orange. There are no plans to hire someone or reopen her position until the Baird renovation is over, which will be at minimum two years, but could be many more if construction is delayed. This makes no sense because so many of Sandy's projects were not connected to the physical location of the Baird. Staff from the already overburdened recreation department will supposedly pick up the slack. For a town that has always respected the arts, this is a shocking and inexplicable change.

Out of a $15 million dollar renovation of the Baird, why can the town not reserve the small salary of a part time arts administrator? This is poor planning and a real slight to the arts.

We were promised a call by one of the town trustees to explain last night. Instead we received a vague, forwarded email, explaining that other employees in the Rec Department will take over arts activities that are “already underway.” It is understandable that arts activities related to the physical location of the Baird, such as classes would be suspended (though it would make more sense to relocate them), but the email suggests that after the next year most of the department’s other arts programming will cease as well. It is difficult to express how disappointing this situation is. Sandy has worked tirelessly to support and advance the arts in our town, somehow creating full time results out of a part time job. The amount of hours she put into the Studio Tour alone has made it possible each year. How the Rec Department thinks that a person with no background in running the Tour and already holding a full time position will be able to find the time to make it happen is absurd. After 17 years, 2019 could be our last Studio Tour.

Artists and musicians add so much to our town. It saddens me that we are held in such low esteem. We give our time and energy, mostly without compensation, to South Orange. Our activities beautify downtown and draw patrons for businesses. The arts attract new residents and renters. We deserve support. Our children and families deserve support and exposure to the arts through classes and programming.

Please contact the Village Trustees and impress upon them the importance of and need to support the arts and your feelings about the elimination of Sandy's position. South Orange has become known for its arts and many of South Orange and Maplewood's artists rely upon the Studio Tour and other cultural programs for inspiration, connection and sales. All of us benefit from living in a community that supports the arts.
Sybil Archibald
Wendy Bellermann

Please reach out to the Trustees individually and let them know your thoughts:
Steve Schnalll sschnall@southorange.org
Karen Hartshorn Hilton Hilton khilton@southorange.org
Donna Coallierr dcoallier@southorange.org
Bob Zuckerman bob@sovillagecenter.org
Summer Jones sjones@southorange.org
Walter Clarke wclarke@southorange.org
Sheena Collum scollum@southorange.org


Formerlyjerseyjack

$15m. ?  

Why isn't "Maplewoodians For A Better South Orange" questioning this?


Formerlyjerseyjack

Formerlyjerseyjack said:

$15m. ?  

Why isn't "Maplewoodians For A Better South Orange" questioning this?

 M.F.A.B.S.O. may be liable for a malpractice/negligence suit.


Formerlyjerseyjack

I was thinking, one way to alleviate some of the cost... Move the Tao to the center of Baird. That will eliminate the need to pay for security cameras that are supposed to prevent graffiti on the "art."


shelag67

Formerlyjerseyjack said:

$15m. ?  

Why isn't "Maplewoodians For A Better South Orange" questioning this?

Who are the members of this elite group?

More importantly, can they influence the BOTs to triage the bleeding?


FilmCarp

The Baird is a big place that has been neglected for decades.  Did any of you attend any of the meetings where this work was discussed? I did.  Doing what's needed isn't usually cheap.


yahooyahoo

You could probably build a brand new building for $15M.


FilmCarp

You could certainly build some building for 15 million somewhere.  But the question is can you renovate and modernize that building for less than $15 million.  After watching the process I don't think so.  I just wish that the place had been taken care of for all those years with regular updates, etc.  Instead it's left to us to fix it.


phenixrising

Was this $15 mil approved only for Capital Planning (renovations)? Did the $15 mil come from a grant which is only for renovations and not operating plans?




truth

Perhaps creating the new paid water commissioner position has used up all funds available for salaries.


mrincredible

FilmCarp said:

You could certainly build some building for 15 million somewhere.  But the question is can you renovate and modernize that building for less than $15 million.  After watching the process I don't think so.  I just wish that the place had been taken care of for all those years with regular updates, etc.  Instead it's left to us to fix it.

 That's more or less where we are as a country, isn't it. We have had decades of deferred maintenance on municipal facilities and the price tag is pretty stunning to make up for that time lost.

it's particularly egregious here in New Jersey where Municipal Taxes are so high.


Klinker

I think money spent on the Baird is money well spent.  That building is a member of our community.


shelag67

truth said:

Perhaps creating the new paid water commissioner position has used up all funds available for salaries.

 I'm tingling with anticipation for when the BOTs start the conversation about getting paid for their volunteer work.


FilmCarp

shelag67 said:

truth said:

Perhaps creating the new paid water commissioner position has used up all funds available for salaries.

 I'm tingling with anticipation for when the BOTs start the conversation about getting paid for their volunteer work.

 It is extremely short sighted to be upset about the water position.  Almost silly, in fact.  Look around.  Town after town are having serious issues with water supply and distribution.  It is one of the most basic functions and responsibilities of local government.  We have hired a very qualified person, perhaps uniquely qualified due to his years of work overseeing the system, to proactively maintain our system.  This is heads up stuff.  Instead of using it to criticize an unrelated move we should be happy that this was done.  But don't take my word for it.  Go to a committee meeting and listen.  They are open to the public.  Usually there are only two or three of us citizens there.  


Klinker

If click on Shelag's name and review his posts  (two threads with the same tone) you quickly realize that you are dealing with a very specific individual.


FilmCarp

I know, but truth is who I was actually talking to.


yahooyahoo

Why does S.O. need a water commissioner when they have outsourced to NJAW?  Maplewood doesn’t have one.


cramer

yahooyahoo said:

Why does S.O. need a water commissioner when they have outsourced to NJAW?  Maplewood doesn’t have one.

Maplewood doesn't own the water infrastructure.  South Orange maintained ownership of the water infrastructure. Unlike Maplewood, South Orange operates its own water utility. NJAW supplies the water, but South Orange owns the infrastructure. Howard had been running the water utility for years as a trustee - an unpaid position. Howard was the workhorse on the BOT. The position was advertised, and Howard was the most qualified for the job. 

"Collum said that regardless of who was appointed, the position of water administrator was vital because of the enormity and complexity of South Orange’s water situation, and the anticipated capital projects and infrastructure work set to take place over the next five years.

“We own and operate our own water utility,” Collum said, unlike, for example, Maplewood. The position “requires a lot of understanding of a municipal water utility and an engineering background,” both of which Levison has."

https://villagegreennj.com/towns/south-orange/levison-resigns-after-12-years-on-bot-is-appointed-water-administrator/


shelag67

Klinker said:

If click on Shelag's name and review his posts  (two threads with the same tone) you quickly realize that you are dealing with a very specific individual.

 *her posts. Please don't try to discredit me by misgendering me. You might have an even better idea of who I am if you would stop claiming that I'm male.


shelag67

Wow, the new BOT members are brutal. They don't care about those who have served the community, even before they moved here. 
The next round of firings will happen within the the next six months. Can you imagine dedicating your life to the Village and then losing everything after spending your life making this place a better to live in?


yahooyahoo

cramer said:

yahooyahoo said:

Why does S.O. need a water commissioner when they have outsourced to NJAW?  Maplewood doesn’t have one.

Maplewood doesn't own the water infrastructure.  South Orange maintained ownership of the water infrastructure. Unlike Maplewood, South Orange operates its own water utility. NJAW supplies the water, but South Orange owns the infrastructure. Howard had been running the water utility for years as a trustee - an unpaid position. Howard was the workhorse on the BOT. The position was advertised, and Howard was the most qualified for the job. 

"Collum said that regardless of who was appointed, the position of water administrator was vital because of the enormity and complexity of South Orange’s water situation, and the anticipated capital projects and infrastructure work set to take place over the next five years.

“We own and operate our own water utility,” Collum said, unlike, for example, Maplewood. The position “requires a lot of understanding of a municipal water utility and an engineering background,” both of which Levison has."

https://villagegreennj.com/towns/south-orange/levison-resigns-after-12-years-on-bot-is-appointed-water-administrator/

Thank you. Makes sense.




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