The South Orange Village is looking to fill volunteer openings on several boards and communities, including the Community Police Collaborative and the new Community Care and Justice Committee, according to an announcement posted on the Village’s website on March 14.
“At all times, we’re understaffed, under-resourced, and we just don’t have enough people power to do all the work we want to do,” Village Trustee Stephen Schnall said. “With volunteers, we accomplish way more than with just staff.”
The Village is constantly on the lookout to fill these committees because otherwise, they would become non-functional, Trustee Walter Clarke said.
One of the committees, The Community Police Collaborative, was formed early last year, with the primary goal of building collaboration between the police and the community and to better understand police department data, such as crime and police use of force statistics, according to Coallier.
The collaborative is an advising committee where residents can gather information and give input on police policy, Chairman Donna Coallier said.
Coallier is also part of the Community Care and Justice Committee, which has not yet been fully formed. Currently, it is a social work pilot, as they are assessing what the South Orange community needs from a social standpoint, according to Coallier.
“Right now, we’re just a bunch of people that are really interested in making this happen,” Coallier said. “We could really use arms and legs on it.”
South Orange created the committee in collaboration with Seton Hall and Essex County to focus on protecting vulnerable members of society and the youth, according to the South Orange website.
“Seton Hall has amazing talent,” Coallier said. “It made all the sense in the world to partner with [them].”
The Public Works and Utilities Committee focuses on concerns regarding public works and village infrastructure such as trees, streets, and sewer authority, according to the Village’s website.
The Health and Public Safety Committee meets to discuss public safety pertaining to the Village.
The Finance & Capital Projects committee works to improve monitoring, reporting and public transparency, and operating and water utility budgets. They also identify spending efficiencies and focus on general financial oversight, budgeting, and long-term purchases.
Other programs include the Citizen Engagement & Strategic Partnership, where members meet to discuss different ways to improve citizen engagement with South Orange residents and look into partnerships with other organizations, such as Seton Hall.
Anyone can apply to work on any committee, according to Clarke.
Due to the pandemic, many of the program meetings are virtual on Zoom. Those interested in volunteering for a committee can apply on the Village’s website.
Emma Thumann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org