25 July 2008

CSC Anniversary

Do you remember where you were one year ago today - July 25, 2007? I was with a handful of fellow residents in the multi-purpose room of the Hillsborough municipal building. We were expecting to witness the culminating vote of Hillsborough's first Charter Study Commission. We were not disappointed.

The five CSC members - Chris Jensen, Glenn van Lier, George Ostergren, Gloria McCauley, and Bill Page (named to the commission after the death of original member George Fenwick) - had recently completed a study on forms of municipal government available under New Jersey's Faulkner Act, as well as a study of our current Township Committee form of government.

For eight months they interviewed experts and current and former members of the various allowable forms - Mayor Council, Mayor Council Administrator, and Council Manager - sifted evidence, and had some lively discussion along the way.

For all of the politics involved, there was also history being made. If the CSC voted to recommend a change, it would be just the third time in Hillsborough's 236 year history that voters would have the chance to opt for a new form of government.

Still, it wasn't exactly "edge of your seat" theater. You could tell by the make-up of the CSC that the recommendation would be for Mayor Council - just like you could tell by the make-up of the audience that night that the recommendation would fail at the polls in November.

What do you think? Did the voters make the right decision? If we had voted to change to Mayor Council, we would be in the midst of an exciting election campaign right now to seat our first directly elected mayor and five council members.

I must admit, it would be pretty exciting.

As we grow - add a train station, a Main Street shopping district, maybe even a 1500 unit retirement complex! - Hillsborough will undoubtedly become larger and more complex.

But that's o.k., I hear they have a form of government perfect for that!

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