During the pandemic, we’ve all spent much more time in Verona. What have you discovered about our town?
During the pandemic. I was in a position where I had to be out no matter what as a Rescue Squad member, and that put me in a different position. So while I was teaching from home, I was out on the front line with the pandemic. And I learned that there’s nothing that can break Verona’s spirit. That was the most important lesson that I learned: That no matter what was happening, people were still working together. People were resilient, people were stepping up and supporting our restaurants and their neighbors. A lot of people were checking in, especially on their elderly neighbors. There was a lot of pride and support for our emergency services, people were banging pots and being out to support us and I think that was all great. One of the little projects that I did during the pandemic was I took it upon myself to walk my dog on every street in Verona. Every last one, and it became multiple times because the pandemic lasted a little longer than I think any of us wanted it to. So, while walking the dog in those neighborhoods, and really seeing places of Verona that I didn’t visit that much, and of course when you’re walking you see everything more, I saw a lot of people supporting one another. I saw people following the rules, and trying to make sure that the pandemic did not last as long as it could have. People were clearly listening and social distancing and, but also doing whatever they could to to help one another. I got to talk to a lot of people because more people were actually outside and really got to learn a lot about what people were even doing in their own neighborhoods. I was also walking Bloomfield Avenue, which was really interesting when there was no cars on it. It was a little unsettling, actually, to not have any traffic. But really taking stock of the businesses and the stores that we have in town, and taking note of empty spaces, and the offices also really gave me some information on what we need to build up our economic prosperity in town, and what we can do to develop in a reasonable way. After watching how people supported our restaurants with Facebook groups, and really going out and making curbside pickup and delivery work, I think we have a really welcoming community for business as well. I also learned where every sidewalk crack was in town, often by accident. I learned a lot about what we need to be doing as far as consistent maintenance of our roads and sidewalks in order to make Verona a very walkable place.
What is the biggest problem that Verona needs to solve in the next four years?
I think the next four years will probably be a lot about development. But at the same time, I don’t know if this is necessarily something I would classify as a problem, but maybe an opportunity. As a result of the real estate market and the pandemic and new building in town, we have seen a pretty interesting demographic shift in town, where we have people who have lived in Verona for their entire lives. We have young families moving in and buying homes. We have a lot of people moving from cities and more urban environments and coming to the suburbs. We have a much larger renter population than we’ve always had with the addition of the Annin Flag buildings and White Rock Road. So as a result of talking to people around town one of the things that I’m starting to notice is that it’s going to be really important over the next four years to build better on a culture that we’ve all known and loved. I came into Verona 13 years ago as a teacher, and I moved into Verona because I fell in love with the town. I lived in Caldwell for a little while after moving from Morris County, and then moved into Verona because I really loved the town. I really loved the spirit of it. I think that’s something that we want to make sure continues. We really want to make sure that everybody who lives in town, whether you are a very experienced resident and have a long tenure, living in a house that you have spent a lot of time working on or you are the newest renter or you are a single person or a person with children, whatever neighborhood you might live in, that we’re able to really bring Verona together and hear from more people. There are groups that, by nature and their needs, like people with children are definitely more active and the schools and recreation. But we also have more than 9,000 that don’t have children and so how do we do that? I really want to bring more people into government who are normally connected, they don’t really have those linkage groups, they may not be a civic organization or a school, but we have a lot of people that are coming to town with really valuable insight, we have a lot of people that have lived in town for a long time with valuable insight. I’d like to really bridge all of that and really develop unity in town that we can use in order to continue to make Verona one of the best places to live in New Jersey.
[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#3355FF” class=”” size=””]I think that this would be one of those opportunities to engage in some very meaningful, strategic planning[/perfectpullquote]
What could Verona do to be more sustainable?
I think Verona has done a lot on that topic. We have developed really good engineering structures as far as our wastewater treatment facilities and our water system. We have engaged with Sustainable New Jersey on a lot of things, our economic development department has done a lot on sustainability as well. Anything that a municipality does is a pretty significant balance between the immediate effects, whether it be financial opportunity cost, whatever it might be, and long-term effects. I think we can start looking at any of the practices that we have now–as far as construction, as far as what we do within Public Works–in order to use and to suggest using materials and processes that are more sustainable, not only for the environment but also economically. That takes a lot of commitment to do that, we have done so many things in particular ways for a long time. A lot of those really work. I think our municipal government does a really great job in most of what it does, especially our Public Works Department and the leadership of Chuck Molinaro–a phenomenal group of individuals who are the best I think I’ve ever seen and I have contended to other people are probably the best public works department in the United States. We’ve had people around for a long time that have made a difference. So we need to sit down and look at every structure: How are we getting our energy? How can we promote better recycling in town? How can we create an environment where people are willing to, themselves, engage in more sustainable practices? And really sit down, form committees dealing specifically with this. I have pushed this in my platform, especially for strategic planning. I think that this would be one of those opportunities to engage in some very meaningful, strategic planning, with experts who are in Verona. We have a lot of people who are very experienced in this, and we have a great Environmental Commission. We have a lot of folks in town who are engineers and can really help guide us in developing new policies and procedures that can benefit everybody. It’s not something we can necessarily do in maybe a day or a year. But if we do a plan that’s five or 10 years, we can potentially engage in practices that are more likely to yield us results over time that may not be visible right away, but can certainly help us as we move forward.
Verona’s municipal budget accounts for 26% of our tax bills, and the town Council’s recent budget workshops have given us a preview of what those bills might be like in 2021. What concerns you about the new budget and why?
I think the town has generally done a good job with budgeting. Most of what the town budget is is non-discretionary spending. That’s a really big piece that everybody, and the voters, need to understand. It’s always certainly concerning to everybody to have taxes go up. It’s difficult to say that taxes will go down. That’s one of those things that becomes relatively unsustainable when that happens. But I think there are a couple things that we can potentially do in the future to look at reducing any tax increase that we have. I caution everybody, number one, to really consider what smart budgeting now does for the future. if we engage in practices that don’t take care of maintenance, that don’t address issues now, that don’t deal with the compliance that we need to deal with, it’s going to cost us more in the future. At the same time, we have some really amazing opportunities in Verona to engage in some cost savings through things like shared services. We do it really well in Verona, and the voters that I’m talking to are often in agreement that we have a phenomenal Public Works Department if you compare ours to neighboring towns, just based on snow removal and they do so many other things, where we are steps ahead. So what can we do to potentially share those services with other places? We have shared services agreements with respect to building inspection. We have shared service agreements between the township and the school district for field maintenance and snow removal. They’re relatively unofficial in a lot of cases, but we absolutely have those, we share services with Montclair Board of Health for our health services, we have the Wayne Animal Control Department to deal with our animal control issues. So we have a lot of that already. The town invested money in redesigning its police dispatch center. It’s, it’s beautiful and very well thought out. And there’s a potential, because we engaged in some very smart infrastructure planning, to change our police-fire EMS radio system to a state-level system that other towns like North Caldwell and Essex Fells are signing on to, Montclair, it’s in certain pieces. But it’s becoming more and more common; you may see Cedar Grove migrate. Once we have that it’ll be a lot easier potentially to share dispatch services as well and to bring maybe multiple municipalities together, and it wouldn’t really be that much of a capital outlay for us because we’ve built that in so there’s an option. One of the most significant drivers of any budget is personnel, and we have great staff in Verona, everybody from the town that I’ve ever come into contact with has been professional and helpful and truly dedicated to this town and a lot of our municipal staff of course live in town and really take pride in that. So there’s a lot of praise to offer there. My experience as a union leader but also a professional negotiator, I negotiate contracts for other for teachers and custodians, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, administrators, throughout Essex County, Hudson County sometimes. And as a result of that, I’ve been able to really engage in very positive discussions with boards of education, board attorneys, and to really bring together the labor and management, to develop creative solutions that save the municipality, or the school district, money, but also really benefit the employees. So things like really taking time to evaluate healthcare. I don’t want to say that we make healthcare worse or not as generous or something like that, but we can design healthcare plans that can really meet the needs of the staff, potentially, while reducing costs. And that’s something that we’ve successfully done in a lot of other places. That’s a big driver and those healthcare costs go up, you know 10% sometimes, and even worse. The New Jersey State Health Plan a couple years ago increased by like 17%. It was very difficult and now that’s controlled by some benefit reform in those circumstances. But those are some ways of really doing that. And I’ve been fortunate to get a lot of really great feedback from governing bodies that I’ve worked with, and their attorneys. in the ability to reach the other side of the table. In order to come up with deals that really benefit everybody and that’s an experience I think I could bring in, in order to control some of those costs, while maintaining excellent benefits for our staff that really reward them. But build that conversation, so that it’s collaborative between the management and the staff and everybody could potentially benefit. So that’s one place that we can absolutely look at it and really engage in some creative solutions. If you look at the police budget, so much of it is subscriptions and things that we must continue with, you know, the servers and records maintenance systems. dispatch systems. We have body-worn cameras in Verona, and there are software associated with that. So a lot of those costs are out of our control a little bit in that way. And as a result, it puts us in a position where, you know, there isn’t as much funds to spend on other things that we might want to do. Those are some things to look at, look at all our contracts, look at things that have been around for a long time, and really start to think about what they can be going forward. I tend to think everything is negotiable, and that we should, as much as possible, be negotiating or renegotiating.
In February, Governor Murphy signed bills legalizing recreational marijuana among adults, what should Verona do about legal marijuana?
That question is really interesting because so much of this has been dealt with legislatively and the legislature has had to go back to the table already to pass cleanup bills related to this, because the bills as they stood forbade the police from notifying parents, not only of marijuana use the first time but also of alcohol use in an underage children and that that was really concerning to me. Not just a Verona resident, but as a teacher, as somebody who works with kids every day. This is an issue. I actually spoke about this in my, we had a really good discussion in my law classes about this recently. And as students were really taking the opportunity to analyze why legislation is made and what the effects are, and to have a really spirited discussion on what this means. And a lot of our students recognize that pulling the parents out of that was a problem. But certainly, that wasn’t a universal agreement because everybody has their opinions. So this created some really interesting challenges for our police department, especially with how to interact with the public. We have an incredible community policing model in Verona, and the legislature, by engaging in activity that could sanction individual police officers for approaching somebody who might be under age if they’re in possession, could threaten that model. So, one of the first things is working with the police department, municipal government and stakeholders to identify how we want to proceed with enforcement, how we want to proceed with education. What can we do to still maintain a good quality of life in town even if the legislature is creating some environments that may make it more difficult to enforce laws related to use of marijuana in public and alcohol use in public? The problem though, the way the law is written, is that municipal governments are really constrained about passing ordinances to make enforcement more rigid. So we really have to work together as a community, and come up with strategies on how to move forward with that. Concerns I’m hearing from voters are, you know if my neighbor is outside using marijuana and this is not something that fits in with my family’s needs, how do we do that? I think that we need to have some discussions among neighbors and community meetings. Some information sessions, whatever we can do, to discuss what the impact of these laws is going to be on our neighbor relationships and how we can work as a town to mitigate any disagreements and issues that may arise. Because even though these substances are legalized, we still want to make sure that it’s not interfering with everybody, just like you can’t have a loud party where you have 100 people intoxicated next door. We want to make sure that those same values are being applied. I think that’s going to take a lot of organization among neighbors, and a lot of understanding, and I have a background in that area. I look forward to helping with that, doing community organizing, to get people on the same page about what our expectations and what our norms as a community are.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#3355FF” class=”” size=””]Even though these substances are legalized, we still want to make sure that it’s not interfering with everybody, just like you can’t have a loud party where you have 100 people intoxicated next door[/perfectpullquote]
You speak on your website about the need to support Verona’s emergency services. What would that support look like?
When I speak of emergency services, I speak of our Police Department, our Fire Department, our emergency medical service, our Emergency Management Office, and in many ways, I also add our Public Works Department to that because they have been on the frontlines with us. During bad snowstorms and other incidents our Public Works team will respond out, clear roads, shovel driveways, sidewalks. They’re there when we have bad accidents and there needs to be a clean up. They’re always there to help us, so I also tried to include Public Works in some of these discussions. When we look at supporting emergency services, one of the biggest things is funding. Take for instance the police department. We talked previously about a lot of their funding being related to subscriptions. One of the things that, especially with changes in policing in America, of late, and police and public relations, I want to make sure that police officers have the opportunity to attend as many training classes as is appropriate, within a schedule. A lot of the training classes are free, but there’s also a personnel cost. We have to either pay overtime or send somebody off a shift. So trying to work to find some creative ways to make sure that more police officers can go to great classes. We have phenomenally well-trained officers, but often some classes like our drug recognition expert class, which is going to be really important. That’s the class that trains officers to identify people who might be under the influence with marijuana. Now that recreational marijuana is being legalized, there’s no roadside test for that like there would be [for alcohol]. Lt. Paul Watkins from the Verona Police Department delivered a phenomenal [de-escalation] class to the Verona Rescue Squad because we’re seeing more calls related to behavioral health. That’s really important, so I want to get as many officers to those classes as possible and really have some of the best trained officers that we have, making sure that police cars are up to date, and it’s one thing that I think is great that came out of the budget discussions was the police department leasing cars, as opposed to buying them which can make it a lot better that we have more up-to-date equipment, more often, which is phenomenal because the last thing on earth we need is an unreliable police car. That’s one of those things, working with the Fire Department to make sure that we have the best fire protection equipment that’s rescue equipment that we can possibly have. Because it’s one of those things that we, we have to spend money on now. But, in that instance, when it is necessary. You want the best items for everybody, and also make sure the Fire Department has the opportunity to take advanced training as much as possible, and to develop a long term capital plan for replacement of apparatus. That’s really important for the Verona Rescue Squad, of which I’m a member, so I would like to put that out there for context for the reader: The Rescue Squad is supported largely by individual donations. The Township of Verona is great in providing the Rescue Squad with fuel and insurance, and has generously provided capital funding for ambulances. The past couple of ambulances were bought outright some using PILOT funds, others using capital funding. Less than half of the municipality donates to the Rescue Squad in any year. That’s something that we would want to consider as equipment is getting more expensive. The Rescue Squad carries Epinephrine pens that cost hundreds of dollars and we don’t have health insurance, like individuals have, and we’re paying for those out of pocket and they expire after 15 months. So those are things we are trying to get some funding, and perhaps the municipality can work to create a budget there. There’s no specific town budget for the Rescue Squad for operating expenses, but help to create a small budget for the Rescue Squad that can deal with some of these more expensive ongoing items that expire. The Rescue Squad recently added a drug like Naloxone–Narcan–which once again is another expensive thing when you’re not a consumer that has health insurance. So doing that, and making sure that the organization, facing an increased call volume–except for last year because during COVID the call volume actually went down–making sure that organization has all the tools necessary. The Rescue Squad has 100 members, which is fantastic. We’re always looking for more, but the organization is very healthy, and we’re now able to expand our services, to engage in special operations, and to assist other towns and areas as well. In exchange we get a lot of support back from that, so wanting to make sure, once again looking at those shared services, what can we do to support other municipalities and potentially, as a result, get that in as well. Those are the big areas I would look at.
On your platform you say that you would conduct responsible municipal budgeting capital planning to make sure that Verona is an affordable place to live. What is not responsible about the current budget process?
In my previous answer we looked at what things that we can change. I don’t think there’s a suggestion, necessarily in the platform, that the current budgeting is irresponsible. And for those individuals who take the time to watch the budget presentations, our department leaders do a phenomenal job at presenting those needs. But my commitment is to continue to move the budgeting process forward to review any contracts we have, whether they be for subscriptions or for professional services. We have a lot of experts that we can bring in. Looking at those to make sure that we’re making good deals. Engaging in capital planning, where we are looking not just necessarily in the current year, but really starting to look at the next five years, what our out years look like. What do we need to buy now, versus what can we potentially wait on and what are the cost benefit analysis of those. I’d like to see when we look at capital, to have that long-range idea. I’d really share that with the municipality. It’s part of what we really need to be doing as a municipal government is making sure that people really understand where every bit of that tax money goes. But in addition to the tax money, the township also gets income from a lot of different fees. And one of the things that I really would like to see as a Council member is for the township to engage in an annual report. I’ve been on nonprofit boards, and it’s something that we do is provide an annual report. What is our total income because our income goes beyond that tax money, what our current PILOT balances, what are our plans for those, how much are we taking in from building fees, how much are we taking in from parking fees. We have a tree ordinance that has a $50 fee associated with it. What are we taking in from that? The pool of course is its own utility. The wastewater treatment facilities is a utility as well, but how much of that money is going to the operating versus capital expenses; the Council increased the sewer fee recently after connecting the new complex in Cedar Grove to it. So a lot of that was to maintain the capital structure, but I think every resident should have a listing of, okay, what is operating, what is capital, and to really build discussions. One of the things I really want to see is more residents providing feedback on the budgeting process, but by really having all of those tools, by publishing that report, by being incredibly transparent with that and really letting people know where that money goes, even the couple dollars you pay to pick up a police report from a car accident. How many police reports are we doing, how many OPRA requests are we charging for? All of this plays into the overall budget, and I would like to see that really included, and potentially look at starting to simplify some of the fees that we have in town. In addition to taxes because when all those fees and the sewer fees, the water bill and taxes are added up really what people are paying to own a home and or to rent a home because of course, taxes go to the renter as well, because the landlord has to raise rent and so forth. What we’re actually using it for and how can we simplify that process.
[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#3355FF” class=”” size=””]Charging people fees to do something or to stop doing something isn’t typically a great way of disincentivizing somebody[/perfectpullquote]
Your platform also seems to call for incentives to retail and office property owners to fill vacant spaces, how would you make that work?
Right now we have a lot of storefronts and you can see the vacancy and the places appear to be in disrepair. I wouldn’t want to fine people, because I don’t think that’s necessarily going to solve the issue. Charging people fees to do something or to stop doing something isn’t typically a great way of disincentivizing somebody. So that’s, I think that’s number one. But our priority must be to get these businesses filled. So a couple ways of doing that, right. The first is we have an economic development department in Verona, that was recently established under Town Manager Matt Cavallo. But one of the things I would like to see happen is for surveys to be put out and some research be put out to our residents to find out what people are going to other municipalities for. For what goods and services do people leave Verona? We’ve started to develop that research base. What we can do is provide that to potential businesses and also provide it to landlords in order to help them attract by saying okay here’s the kind of businesses that would be very successful in this town. This is what people are going out for. If you can build a clientele, if you have the entrepreneurial ability to do this, this is a welcome place. I think that’s something to do. We talked about incentivizing businesses. I would certainly propose for landlords that are able to attract a business that improves the appearance of the town, because sometimes we have businesses that the landlords have in buildings that look old; they’re very dated. So if you improve the walkability of the town, if you improve the appearance of the building, and you keep a business that runs and participates in the economy and brings other businesses in, to provide some property tax incentive to the landlord. The details of course would have to be worked out by ordinance. But I think that incentives tend to work better than fees to get people in. What can we do in order to promote that? And that’s very important, because if we bring in more people, more traffic, our parking meter fees go up, we can start collecting from that. We have more successful businesses everywhere if you bring in a couple really good anchor businesses and that doesn’t threaten the businesses that exist now. It’s going to say, Oh hey, I’m stopping at this new store but I’m going to get a sandwich next door. I saw a hairstyle I really like, I want to stay in Verona, I want to come to Verona because we’ve been tracking business from outside as well, to really engage in that. I think that Verona is a town that has residents who are very interested in shopping local and supporting local business, and our local businesses provide tens of thousands of dollars a year in support to our civic organizations. The businesses in Verona are great partners to the rest of the town. The other big piece of it is we have a lot of unrented office space in Verona. So if anybody wants to do the research, it’s very easy to go and search for office space in town. There are a lot of buildings on Pompton Avenue that have empty spaces. There are buildings along Bloomfield that have empty spaces as well. If we bring in an office, their staff and their clients have the potential to shop in Verona. They’re going to get gas in Verona, they’re going to eat from Verona businesses, they’re going to potentially get their hair cut down the street because it’s convenient. They’re going to start to use medical professionals and offices in town, and all of that can really help support our businesses, and bring some additional money and produce value as well. And eventually, the property values will go up as a result, not just the business property values but when you have a really healthy economy, the homeowner property values go up, which ends up increasing revenue.
Many of your platform points revolve around transparency. So what is an example of a municipal government operation that is not transparent now and how would you change that?
I think that the town has made a lot of great strides under Township Manager Cavallo in making the government more transparent than it previously had been. But I would like to expand upon that. The first thing is the annual report I discussed; that’s a great exercise in transparency, getting that out and taking the time to provide information to residents before they ask for it. Under the Open Public Records Act, residents have the right to most records that exist; you can go and request copies of police reports, and body camera footage. You can ask for bills, you can ask for communications. That’s all available to you. What I would like to see is, instead of having people having to go and request through OPRA, having a document vault available online, where we put any reports that go in front of the Council that are not confidential. Anything that is going to go to a Council member in a Friday packet. I’m a researcher by academic training. I like to have archives, I like to have stuff there. Put it out before people request it. In addition, what that does is hopefully brings people closer to municipal operations. I want to see more people participating in township meetings, I want to hear from more voters. I have my perspective, that comes as educated in a lot of different ways. As a homeowner, as a teacher in town, as a Rescue Squad member. But I want to hear from voters. I would rather hear from voters before a decision is made, before the second reading of an ordinance, with some potential time to revise it. I want to make sure that people have as much of the same information in front of them as I do in front of me. And these are areas that we can expand with transparency. I would also like to see meeting summaries. It’s phenomenal that you can go on the municipal website and watch a recorded Zoom of a Council meeting in case you missed it, but sometimes people don’t always have the ability to watch a three-hour Council meeting, but would like some finer points. You can look at the meeting agendas and see what’s there, but it’d be nice if we could have some minutes. We may not be able to put them up until the Council has approved the minutes and if it’s something that the municipality can’t do, something that we can do. Right now, Councilwoman McGrath actually does this on her own, which is great to see, building that transparency. But I think the municipality can also really engage into that as well. It’s very easy to be transparent. It’s a lot harder not to be.
In October, you led a no-confidence vote against the superintendent and filed a grievance against the school district, in part because of health and safety concerns for teachers if students were in classrooms. This March, before the CDC revised its guidelines to three feet, you attended a rally to compel the district to get all the students back in. And you met with the superintendent to ask that the six-foot rule be set aside. How do you square these positions?
Very simply. And I don’t necessarily think this is a municipal issue but I’m happy to answer the question. The no-confidence vote was engaged in for a series of things, and that’s all available on the school district website, because that was posted. So there were a lot of things that members were concerned about, and thus that vote went through, and the vote was done in a representative manner, in a democratic manner. I may not have voted as the chair of the meeting, but I have an equal vote in that, as every other member of the association, because it’s a democratic process. And a lot of those concerns continued to exist among our members in March. I am an elected representative as the president of the Verona Education Association, and as such, I represent the interests of my members. So I had a lot of elementary staff members reach out with concerns and frustration about the current hybrid model in elementary, and looking at the three feet of distancing and trying to relax that just for elementary as an option, but that was one of many things. The meeting that I engaged in with the superintendent, director of curriculum, two principals, and Lisa Freschi, school board member, and Tim Allworth school board member, and there was a parent there as well, Mike Dupree, to provide parent insight, was not for the stated purpose of reducing the distancing. That was one of the solutions that we offered, one of the things that we represented, that my members wanted. That meeting was for the Association to offer its support to focus reopening efforts as much as possible in getting elementary students back into the buildings. That’s something that I talked to staff members. I’ve also been in communication with a lot of parents in town as well as a public figure, and it’s something that we had some common ground on that really we’re pushing forward, and we felt as if a lot of the plans were not really moving forward because the resources of the district were being pushed in a bunch of different directions with three different school levels. So the support we offered was to do as much as we can to get a really good plan, right away, for the elementary to get them back into school. Focus all energies there and then move on to the next one, to provide communication support, to look at any contractual issues before a plan is released in order to mitigate any issues that might come up, to engage in trust the surveying. A lot of our members, and I know a lot of the parents, have been surveyed out. In many ways, and a lot of people are hesitant to give information or didn’t feel like their information was being acted upon. So lending the credibility of the Association to that data gathering and developing instruments that would really get to the data that we need, was another commitment that we offered so there are a whole bunch of different commitments in there. But in the end, the decisions of course are up to the school district, and that line has been very clearly placed, but we’re offering their support. I don’t consider this really a political matter. I consider it a matter that was done for representational need for our members. And in order to help the children and the parents in Verona, it’s one thing that everybody seemed to agree on. But the other thing that that we, that we also pointed out in the meeting was that the three-foot distancing opportunity would have only been at that point. Of course, the guidance has changed, but at that point for teachers who are comfortable with it, it was not going to be any kind of universal change, because we’re going to have everybody there. And still, you’re going to see staff members that are six foot distanced from the kids. The kids may be closer together but the staff are still going to keep their distance. So I think that what that demonstrates on everything else is we had this vote of no confidence, and the board and the association are still working through that and coming to understandings on that, and the Association is very pleased with the effort made by the board members and really hearing our members, and really getting that representational model. But in the end what it was and what was really important about that meeting was that it was an opportunity to once again reach out and reach across and put things aside in order to deal with a very practical need at that moment. And the commitment that I offer to every Verona resident is I think a lot of people have seen my passion and representing the members that have elected me as prior education association president, I have, I mean now my eighth year have been reelected, three times, and being able to see that I have been able to see advocacy. And that’s for a few hundred people. And that’s as somebody who is not in the government. What I can promise, and I think the big takeaway for the voters of that meeting, was that they can elect somebody who is able to see all sides of an issue, who is able to reach across and make those communications, who’s able to reach out to stakeholders, and really hear what they’re saying and to act upon that feedback. And I think that’s really the lesson. And that’s the commitment that I offer to every voter in Verona, every individual and every non-voter in Verona, that especially students who I advocate for all the time through my association work, is that I’m going to represent you. As your delegate, as someone who is going to hear you and is going to make decisions based on the feedback that you provide, and who is willing to make adjustments based on dynamic environments that we find ourselves in. And I really look forward to the opportunity to represent you in that way, and to continue the representative work that I’ve already done with the teachers and custodians and administrative assistants and paraprofessionals and counselors and child study team members and medical staff in Verona.