Letter: Town Council Gender Imbalance Outmoded

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mailbox3To The Editor:

After reading Camillus Mitchell’s letter regarding the upcoming Town Council election I felt compelled to share my observations. Mr. Mitchell applauds (“What a great job these men have done…”) the achievements of the current Town Council for its fiscal responsibility, and for rectifying the “wasteful spending” of the past. In his praise, Mitchell characterizes the current Town Council as successfully “draining the swamp.”

Mitchell claims to be forward-looking and interested in Verona’s thriving future yet his words have a distinctly backward-looking angle. Invoking dubious and vague promises that Donald Trump made on the campaign trail in 2016 hardly seems the way to inspire the confidence of Verona’s families, businesses, and voters at the election booths on May 9th, 2017. And all six of the names he drops—former and current Councilmembers and candidates—are men’s names. Mr. Mitchell draws attention to the fact that there are no women serving on the Town Council. This gender imbalance seems to me outmoded and inequitable. Most of us understand that women are full participants and contributors in all areas of professional and public life, including municipal governance, but that reality is not reflected or represented in the Verona Town Council.

This election offers Verona voters a chance to see a real change. On May 9th, we have an opportunity to elect Carrie Ford, a talented woman dedicated to leading our town into a balanced, fair, and solid future. She is an accomplished attorney who has built her career on being a fierce advocate for her clients. Her objective, no matter the task, is to achieve the best long-term result without compromising core ideals. I encourage all forward-thinking voters to do as I have; reach out to Carrie and learn more about how she can put her skills to work for our community and move Verona in a new direction.

Sincerely,
Brenda Shaughnessy, Verona resident
and Associate Professor of English, Rutgers-Newark

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1 COMMENT

  1. I want to preface my remarks by saying that my comments have nothing to do with Ms Shaughnessy’s support for Carrie Ford. They are solely directed at her comments about gender imbalance on the council. The fact that this has occurred has nothing to do with the five men that are currently sitting on the council. One of the few things I actually like about our form of municipal government is how easy it is to get on the ballot. No party affiliation required, no backroom deals needed, just go out and get the required number of signatures and you are good to go! I have lived here long enough to have seen capable women such as Teena Schwartz, Maria Force and Catherine Tamasik serve on the council. So my point being, if there is any gender imbalance it is not built into the system. Mr Mitchell’s comments just refected the reality of the situation that has existed since 2011 which I believe was the last year Ms Schwartz served. So my question to you Ms Saughnessy is just how far back did you want Mr Mitchell to go? It not his fault that his comments reflect the reality of what he has witnessed. You should be heartened by the fact he now has two women he can choose from to cast his third vote.

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