On Tuesday, May 3, MyVeronaNJ held its first election forum, featuring the candidates for the 2011 Town Council election and moderated by the League of Women Voters. In attendance were the four candidates running for the single two-year seat: Jim Robbins, Kevin Ryan, Gerard Tamburino and Bruce Williams, and three of the four candidates are running for two four-year spots: Rob Caruso, Dan McGinley, and Michael Nochimson. Frank Sapienza, who is a current Town Council member and seeking reelection, was called into a Zoning Board meeting after we set the date of our event and was unable to attend.
It has taken us some time to process the videos taken that night, but you can finally view them on MyVeronaNJ’s YouTube channel. The candidates in attendance made opening and closing statements, and responded to several questions. Two were questions submitted in advance to them by MyVeronaNJ (you can read their written responses here). The rest were drawn at random by League moderator Michelle Bobrow from questions submitted by our readers through our site and by attendees at the door. Because he could not attend in person, Sapienza was allowed under League rules to have only an opening statement read at the forum. And our apologies: We also attempted to run a live Webcast of the event, but ran into some last-minute tech problems that we could not resolve by the start of the forum.
The candidates were asked for their thoughts on trimming Verona’s budget, running a more transparent town government, sharing existing services, and adding new services. They also responded to a question submitted by a reader that asked whether, if elected to Town Council, they would re-approve the contract of Town Manager Joe Martin, who has been faulted by some residents for his often brusque demeanor. Each candidate stressed that while Martin needs improvements to his people skills, he is a very competent town manager. Those responses and more are on MyVeronaNJ’s YouTube channel
We should also note that the Montclair chapter of the League of Women Voters sent out its own questionnaire to candidates. You can see the responses under the May 10 Municipal Election section of this page.