The Township Committee seats of Commissioner Kevin Campbell and Deputy Mayor Ed O’Malley will be vacant at the end of the year and four residents are vying for the spots, including resident Mary O'Connor.
A debate between the candidates will be held at the Cranford Municipal Building on Thursday evening at 8 p.m.
Read more about O'Connor below.
Name: Mary O'Connor
Address: 22 Elm Street
Length of Time in Cranford: 43 years
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Communications
Family Life: Widowed, one daughter Nell
Professional Life: Educational Technology
Current: Cranford Planning Board, Hyatt Hills Golf Commission, Vice-Chair Cranford Republican Municipal Committee, Lector, St. Michael Church, Cranford Holiday Decorating Committee
Previous: Zoning Board of Adjustment, CHS Project Graduation Committee, CHS Senior Fashion Show Committee, PTC Scholarship Committee, President, St. Michael Home and School Association, Chairperson St. Michael Holiday Bazaar
1. Please list the three most important issues facing Cranford in this election and explain your position on each.
Fighting the Birchwood development must continue to be a priority for the Township Committee. The impact of this project on our schools, flooding, and essential services will be profound.
All development issues need a consistent, thoughtful approach. Our first priority must be to determine how projects will impact our infrastructure, our property values and our community concerns.
The Township Committee needs to fight harder for funding from Union County to complete the Lenape Basin project. We need a river maintenance schedule that de-silts the river and removes the debris obstructing the flow. We cannot afford, either financially or emotionally, another Hurricane Irene.
As we have seen this year, the right Township Administrator can make a huge difference in obtaining funds for much needed projects, and managing the day-to-day operation of the municipality. In addition, the Township Administrator must be the safeguard of fair hiring and promotion practices. We need to make sure we hire a highly qualified Township Administrator and full time certified Chief Financial Officer to get Cranford back on track. Cranford must have a long-term capital improvement project that addresses upgrading our infrastructure and paving our streets. We need the right professionals in place to make that happen.
2. What made you decide to run for a seat on the Township Committee this year?
This is the town I grew up in and the town I returned home to when it came time to raise my own daughter. Cranford is a very special place. I believe very strongly in community building and see so many opportunities to make this town even greater. I have over twenty years of experience serving the Cranford community. The people of this town deserve leaders who will put them first and their own agendas aside. My first priority is to be an effective voice for all residents.
4. How do you feel about the township committee form of government and the way in which the position of mayor is decided in the township?
In 2008, the Charter Study Committee made several recommendations that would make our form of government more efficient. Specifically, it recommended that the Township Administrator be given more authority over the day-to-day operations of the municipality, and the hiring and promotion of municipal employees. I support these changes and recommend the appropriate updates to the Township code. The Township Committee if coupled with a strong administrator, provides the checks and balances that Cranford needs.
5. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am so thankful to the many Cranford residents who opened their doors and spoke to Bob D'Ambola and I over the past six months. You have asked us questions, given us your opinions, and shared your concerns. It has been a wonderful experience and taught me so much. I thank you and ask for your support on November 5th.