Montclair 2012 Slate "Troubled" by the For Montclair Slate's Positions

Slate headed by Robert Jackson concerned by opponents' views on education and fire department


The Montclair 2012 slate released the following statement Wednesday in response to

When it comes to the fire department, the Montclair 2012 slate, headed by mayoral candidate Robert Jackson, said:

At the March 17, 2012 budget meeting For Montclair took the position that the Montclair Fire Department must be 20 percent overstaffed if it could assume the Glen Ridge contract—supposedly 20 percent of our total business—without increasing staff. 

If elected, For Montclair stated they will invoke the "exit provision" in the contract in order to negotiate a better deal. If reopening the negotiations results in Bloomfield’s likely take over of the contract, will For Montclair layoff the 20 percent of the Montclair Fire Department pursuant to its public position?

Mayoral candidate Robert Jackson says the For Montclair position shows a troubling lack of understanding regarding the economics of the fire contract.

“I implore ‘For Montclair’ to get a handle on the real economics of the Glen Ridge contract” said Jackson. “Speak to Fire Chief Allen and get a full understanding of the level of service and corresponding costs before you blow the deal. For Montclair has taken a frighteningly short-sighted position on this issue."

When it comes to the Board of Education, Montclair 2012 said:

[Mayoral candidate] Harvey Susswein states that he will forego his responsibility to appoint members to the BOE and instead  leave appointments up to the council.

Robert Jackson says as mayor he will embrace the responsibility of selecting BOE members.

“The voters of Montclair elect a Mayor to select BOE members. That responsibility is a serious one and one that should not be cavalierly handed off," Jackson said. "The voters place their confidence in the mayor and the mayor needs to stand up. Who wants a mayor who is not willing to embrace his most important assignment: selecting the individuals who will direct the educational future of our children?”

The Montclair 2012 Team includes:

  • Robert Jackson
  • Richard McMahon III
  • Bob Russo
  • Richard Murnick
  • Robin Schlager
  • Sean Spiller



Right of Center March 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM
So, I think I understand this. The slate that would put a Teacher’s Union President (Sean Spiller) across the table from the local Teacher’s Union in negotiations, is lecturing another slate on the nuances of running a township.
Cary Africk March 28, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Hmmmm .... I'd like to quote from the 1979 Charter Commission which established our form of Government, including Mayorial appointment of the BOE members: page 39 the study notes: "In Montclair the mayor appoints members of the Board of Education, the Library Board, the Planning Board, and also serves as chairman of the Board of School Estimate. Under the Council-Manager Form the individual selected by the council as mayor is empowered to make these appointments without the advice and consent of the other members of the council. While a responsible mayor would informally seek the counsel of his peers in making such appointments, the Charter Study Commissioners believe that a more formal system of council confirmation would be desirable." Sounds like Harvey's doing the sensible thing, and something recommended a long time ago by some very wise people!
Jeff Jacobson March 29, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Mr. Jackson, The Glen Ridge fire deal wasn't fair to Montclair taxpayers. Rather than engaging in a race to the bottom with Bloomfield, why not see if we can make a deal that includes Bloomfield, and from which all participants benefit? Why not ask West Orange, which could benefit from the Nishuane firehouse? It's not too late; that's the good news about the Glen Ridge deal having an exit clause. Let's see if we can do better for Montclair. Our slate will. On BOE appointments, I'm delighted at the prospect of an advice and consent system for such important positions. If a candidate for BOE cannot win the affirmative votes of a majority of the Council, the Mayor might well want to reconsider the selection. If the next Council is as dysfunctional as the current one -- which it won't be if voters elect For Montclair -- the Mayor still will have his unilateral powers. But isn't it better to have consensus if consensus is possible? Advice and consent works at the state and federal level; why not here? I look forward to debating these issues out on the trail. Best, Jeff Jacobson Third Ward Candidate For Montclair
Right of Center March 29, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Mr. Jacobson, The real question about the fire contract is whether or not your slate would advocate layoffs if the contract is cancelled. Would you? You can't really argue simultaneously that its not a good deal to cover Glen Ridge because the revenue does not cover the cost, and then absent the contract not reduce an overbuilt fire department.
A. Gideon March 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
"The real question about the fire contract is whether or not your slate would advocate layoffs if the contract is cancelled. Would you?" I second the question. If we've over-capacity w/o the contract, then the logical action to take failing to continue the contract is to remove that excess capacity. The question then becomes: What would that save us? Knowing this number is the only way to know that the deal is bad (or good). ...Andrew
Howard Beal March 29, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Hmmmm.. So the recommendations of the Charter Study Commission trumpet the law? Novel. Can you go back in your archives and find a Commission that recommended that I shouldn't have to pay my taxes? Thanks!
spotontarget March 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
No problem with Jackson criticizing Susswein's position on the fire department. But where's the beef? Other than saying Susswein doesn't get it and relying on Fire Chief Allen for back-up, he hasn't clearly said where Susswein is wrong. Township top staff, who have a vested interest in defending and maintaining the status quo -- can no longer be relied on as the arbiters of management and cost efficiencies anymore. That's one reason why we are$ 250 million in the hole.
A. Gideon March 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM
"But where's the beef?" I don't see the beef on either side of the debate. ...Andrew


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