Consolidation Study Looking for Commissioners

The approved consolidation study is now looking for commissioners from Scotch Plains and Fanwood.

    Courage to Re-Connect, the organization backing the study to consolidate Scotch Plains and Fanwood is beginning the search for comissioners for the study.

On Sept. 12, the Local Finance Board in Trenton approved the application for the consolidation to be studied.

The process calls for a total of 10 commissioners for the study.

Courage to Re-Connect will sort through applicants to choose two commissioners from Scotch Plains and two from Fanwood.

Following this, each town's council will choose an additional two members. Each four person group will then choose a fifth commissioner. 

Last week Fanwood held a special meeting on consolidation, Mayor Mahr was interested in knowing what criteria would need to be met for the commissioners.

According to Gina Genovese, executive director of Courage to Re-Connect, there is no specific criteria when receiving resumes.

"No one should be discounted, it should be an open process," she said. 

Genovese is expecting cover letters will be sent with the resumes so that applicants can express why they would be a good fit for a commissioner.

She added, the more applicants the better, so that people would be motivated and interested in the process.

If not chosen as a commissioner, applicants can also have an eventual opportunity to be a part of a committee or be involved in the study in some way. 

Interested applicants send documents to:
Courage To Reconnect
Scotch Plains and Fanwood
PO Box 481

Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Or email spfreconnect@gmail.com 

The deadline to apply is Nov., 16. 

Genovese added that the additional commisioners will be probably be chosen within 2-3 weeks of Nov., 16. 

Holden MaGroin October 08, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Barney Oldfield. I'm from Scotch Plains, but have a few friends who reside in Fanwood. Herbie and Bygby Hind, as well as Hugh Jass are my closest Fanwood friends.
FanwoodMom October 08, 2012 at 11:51 PM
@ Holden - lol, you outdid yourself with the comment above!
FanwoodMom October 09, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Why is the group called "Courage to Re-Connect"? I am not up on my SP and Fanwood history - guessing Fanwood was once a section of Scotch Plains?
Holden MaGroin October 09, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for FanwoodMom. It was around 1896 or so and our 2 communities were 1. There seems to have been a feud between clan Mahr and clan Genovese and Fanwood broke apart and became their own borough. It appears that feud continues.
Michael Lewis October 09, 2012 at 02:36 AM
This provides additional backround and has some interesting photographs. http://books.google.com/books?id=4rMQTm4PEF4C&pg=PA9&lpg=PP1&dq=fanwood
Gina Genovese October 09, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Courage to Connect NJ is a non profit that assists citizens and elected officials in creating a consolidation study commission. As executive director, I serve as a resource for anyone seeking information about consolidation and using the 2007 Municipal Law. Gina Genovese
Michael Lewis October 09, 2012 at 01:09 PM
@ Gina Genovese: I do not need an explanation regarding Courage to Connect NJ. Maybe it is just me, but what I fail to see is why Mr. Lange needs a spokesperson for HIS own group, Courage to Reconnect SP-F, who does not reside in either Scotch Plains or Fanwood. After all, he had ten signatories on his original application, including five from Fanwood. Why SHOULD he need YOU to either be HIS spokesperson or review applications for HIS group's commission? This is NOT a rhetorical question - it strikes me that you are going well beyond YOUR brief as an advisor and gets right down to the question as to exactly who IS driving this agenda. It sure does not seem to be Mr. Lange.
haljalikea kick October 09, 2012 at 03:02 PM
As usual, I agree with Mr Lewis. Since Fanwood residents haven't been graced with their presence at any of the public meetings, I wonder if Ms Genovese has ever met any of the 4 mystery Fanwood signatories/petitioners??
bgporter October 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM
It's really starting to seem odd that with a single exception, none of the 5 Fanwood signatories has attended any of the public meetings (well, he wasn't greeted with much of a Kumbaya spirit, so maybe not that odd that they're avoiding public appearances), but odd that no one from the media (whether Patch, SPF Times, whoever) seems to have reached out to them for on the record comment. Have the SP signers been in attendance at meetings there?
Tired October 09, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I'm more concerned over this "application" process. I may or may not have what the judgers deem the "right" credentials but isn't this a bit distasteful? It appears the committee is looking for NYC train rider execs, lawyers etc. Are we saying a regular citizen; say a retired fire fighter, stay at home mom, or Quik Check manager has no place on this bored? Only those Mercedes driving, 20k tax paying need apply? Very off putting and in poor taste.
Michael Lewis October 09, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I cannot speak to the first meeting. Mr. Lange (himself a signatory) attended the second and third. Don Parisi (former member of the BOE and, for the record, someone I like and respect even though I disagree with him on this particular issue) attended the second and third - spoke at the third. He was in the picture with Mr. Lange when the application was approved in Trenton. I BELIEVE but am not absolutely certain that John Thompson attended and spoke at the third - could be mistaken on this one (too many meetings!).
Tired Taxpayer October 09, 2012 at 04:42 PM
In response to my cousin Tired above - the criteria are not specified - but the committee would best be served with a diverse representation. that said, what IS the time commitment? Is this for people w jobs, or retirees only need apply? I do not believe a meeting schedule (or time requirements) was produced. In good fun - As a resident of Scotch Plains the pertinent questions for me are: Do the commissioners get health benefits, state pension credits, annual salary??
Holden MaGroin October 09, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I'm Holden maGroin and this is for Tired Taxpayer. Good one. You beat me to the punch.
SSM October 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
An excellent point, Mr. Lewis. As has been the point made by numerous concerned citizens, by all appearances, this is an endeavor being driven by Ms. Genovese and her cohorts. She already provided her “assistance” to Courage To ReConnect SP-F, yet she is now going to be the person instructing Mr. Lange on who to choose for this commission. She also intends to be the one to find the money to fund the study, since her future career as a consultant (as well as the career of former mayor of Princeton Township, Chad Goerner) depends on it. She has made known that it is her desire for them to be consultants on this subject to other municipalities throughout the country. I suspect we will hear nothing further from Ms. Genovese on this board.
firedup49 October 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Michael Lewis, Ms Genovese for about 2 or 3 years has been going to towns in around New Jersey persuading them to consolidate. At one of these meeting Mr. Lange happen to hear what she had to say so he signed on. Ms. Genovese was successful in having the Princeton's to consolidate as one. This does not go into effect until after January 2013. I do not agree with this maybe just suspicious, and research. But I will say why not wait to see if Princeton is happy with the decision, and if they save. (there was a report that said taxes would be higher added on the services
Holden MaGroin October 09, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and I just got home from cautiously driving through Fanwood. NJ radio station 101.5 FM has spent the last hour discussing our councilman Anthony Parenti's statement that, as a traffic expert, he can unequivocally state that NJ has no speed traps. Who'd have thunk that we get Fanny Wood on the front page of the Ledger last week and now a sitting councilman as an hour-long topic of comments.
bgporter October 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
This is an easy one to test -- heading east on Midway Ave away from Martine, FLOOR IT. There are never any black and white cars sitting there around the gentle curve by the Tillotson intersection, radar gun at the ready. No speed trap there, no sir.
Tired October 10, 2012 at 01:52 AM
HA! nice one. You're correct we NEED a time table laid out publicly listing the approximate time requirements. Then let's see who is chosen for this panel.
Jenni October 10, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Am I reading this correctly? Is Gina Genovese the Executive Director of both 'Courage to Connect 'and 'Courage to Re- Connect' ??? Another question, who EXACTLY will be reviewing the cover letters and resumes of interested applicants ?
Builda Wall October 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I'm pretty sure there's never been one at Brunner School, either. Ever.
Holden MaGroin October 10, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for bgporter and Builda Wall. Perhaps he was using hyperbole.
Bridge Troll October 11, 2012 at 07:59 PM
On 2/17/2012 I commented on the outside run CTC process. I quote myself below. "Scotch Plains and Fanwood are nice towns with capable citizens and democratically elected representatives. It appears CTC is a group of outside career politicians pretending to be a 'grassroots' local organization. The CTC website lists only people from South New Jersey and has its meetings in East Brunswick. Just so you know, those are not very near Fanwood or Scotch Plains. If your group could list some members from Fanwood and Scotch Plains it would be reassuring. Or just tell us, without checking, who has the best pizza in the area. If that question stumps you, move along please."
bgporter October 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Bridge Troll -- CTC is a separate statewide organization that's acting in (supposedly) an advisory role to the local SP/F 'Courage to Re-connect' group. If you go here: http://spfreconnect.wordpress.com/application/ you can download a copy of their application, and in that document you can see the 5 Fanwood petitioners (Vincent Leonetti, Sherry Morales, Kevin Pagano, joseph Pankeiwitz, Dan Winigrad) and 5 SP petitioners ( Ilse Heinemeyer, Jonathan Jaffe, Fred Lange, Don Parisi, John Thompson). Would be nice to hear from one or more of them (besides Mr Lange).
Michael Lewis October 12, 2012 at 02:41 AM
@bgporter - I forwarded your original comment re the elusive application signatories to Nicole Bitette together with what contact information I could find on www.whitepages.com (Ilse Heinemeyer appears to be elderly and did not have a phone number). I have seen comments by Mr. Parisi in an article on Mr. Lange appearing in the Star Ledger, but when I attempted to locate it I came across something far more interesting: Messrs. Lange, Genovese and Parisi making a very recent presentation regarding a potential consolidation between Roxbury and Mount Arlington: http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20121011/NJNEWS/310110027/Forum-asks-Could-Roxbury-and-Mount-Arlington-become-one- It does get more and more curious.
Builda Wall October 12, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Is Ilse Heinemeyer the woman who owns Heinemeyer's Collectibles, the antique store on Terrill by the middle school? She's a nice woman. I'm sure someone could stop in and ask her about it.
Michael Lewis October 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Judging from the location of the address, it seems possible (I never knew who ran that antique store).
bgporter October 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM
@Michael -- curious & interesting indeed. I also like this detail: "Some residents, however, protested that their mayors had not been invited to the forum." Perhaps they learned in Fanwood that they can't count on the mayor to applaud their efforts, so it's better to stay under that radar as long as they can.
Barney Oldfield October 12, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Builda - Have you actually met Mrs. Heinemeyer? Your nice woman is my whining, cantankerous curmudgeon.
Derek October 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Where's the comment "like" button?
Builda Wall October 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
She's always been pleasant to my wife and me the several times we've gone into her store. However I do know her reputation for causing trouble at council meetings, and a google search turns up a lawsuit she filed charging the city for overbilling her on taxes for 30 years and using the RICO statute, amusingly. (Though there are folks here who would claim the local GOP is indeed a mafia, with Godfather Marks, Fredo Malool and so on.) Her apparent dislike of the town's governance would make her an easy mark for groups promising a change in the power structure, to be sure. Nevertheless I can only speak to personal experience with her, which has been fine. I'm sure if you work for the town (do you?) you might see a different side of her.


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