(East Orange) – Seeking to waste no time in getting to work to deliver change for East Orange families, Mayor-Elect Lester Taylor today announced the appointment of several distinguished individuals to lead his transition team.
On Tuesday, November 5th, East Orange residents overwhelmingly cast their votes for Lester Taylor to be the next mayor of their city. Today, Taylor formally announced that former state Assemblywoman and Gubernatorial Cabinet member Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette, Esq., Ph.D. will chair a transition team tasked with assembling a city government composed of diverse, talented and forward-thinking professionals and civil-servants.
Mayor-Elect Taylor also announced that Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-34), Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin (D-34) and East Orange City Council President Quilla E. Talmadge will serve as honorary chairs of the transition.
“Dr. Bush-Baskette and the committee chairs all share my commitment to building a city government that is open, ethical and accountable to our residents,” said Taylor, who will be sworn in on January 1st as the city’s first new mayor in sixteen years. “I have no doubt that together we can make our city safer, more affordable, provide jobs and improve the quality of life for our families and seniors.”
Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette is a highly-respected policy expert, attorney, professor and public servant. She is the founding president of Sojourn Institute LLC through which she provides policy consulting and life coaching. She is also currently on the faculty at Rutgers University. Elected to three terms as an Assemblywoman, she left the Legislature to join Governor James Florio’s Gubernatorial Cabinet as the State Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in a New Jersey Gubernatorial Cabinet.
“I’m proud to be joining Mayor-Elect Taylor in his efforts to build a responsible government that works for all East Orange residents,” said Dr. Bush-Baskette. “Mayor-Elect Taylor has a vision for where this city can go and the dedication to get the job done. I am thrilled to be able to use my experience and expertise to build a city government that East Orange families can count on.”
In addition, Mayor-Elect Taylor named the heads of the following eight committees who will work under the guidance of Dr. Bush-Baskette and provide specific expertise in their areas of experience:
• COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Gerard M. Balmir, Jr., government and community affairs director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)
• COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, HUMAN RESOURCES & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES: Cheryl G. Fuller, Director of Finance, Administration and Chief Financial Officer for Hudson County
• COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION: Jacqui Greadington, educator and advocate
• COMMITTEE ON RECREATION & YOUTH: Vinnie Brown, Grammy Award winning Artist, Activist, Host and MC
• COMMITTEE ON LAW & COURTS: Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq., attorney and Vice President of Administration and Finance at Essex County College
• COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY: Newark Chief of Police Sheilah A. Coley
• COMMITTEE ON HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Dr. Denise A. Davis, Dr.PH, MPH, MPA
• COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT & PUBLIC WORKS: Marjorie Perry, president and CEO of MZM Construction & Management Company, Inc.
For more information about transition efforts and to add their ideas and suggestions to improve the city, East Orange residents are encouraged to contact the transition team at EOtransition2013@gmail.com or (973) 602-7971.
For the latest updates from Mayor-Elect Lester Taylor, please visit www.lestertaylor4eo.com, www.facebook.com/LesterTaylor4EO or www.twitter.com/LesterTaylor4EO.
ABOUT MAYOR-ELECT LESTER TAYLOR’S TRANSITION TEAM
CHAIR: Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette, Esq., Ph.D. is a highly-respected policy expert, professor and public servant. She is the founding president of Sojourn Institute LLC through which she provides policy consulting and life coaching. She is also currently on the faculty at Rutgers University, serving as an instructor for the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice and the Division of Continuing Studies.
Elected to three terms as an Assemblywoman, Dr. Bush-Baskette successfully sponsored laws that raised the minimum wage in the state and instituted the first Family Leave Law in the country. She left the Legislature in 1991 to join Governor James Florio’s Gubernatorial Cabinet as the State Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, becoming the first African-American woman to serve in a New Jersey Gubernatorial Cabinet. Dr. Bush-Baskette also served as a member of the New Jersey Ethics Commission.
Her public policy writing and research has focused on issues that impact the lives of people in urban areas, including: drug policies and their impact on black women; the effect on children of having a parent who is incarcerated; juvenile justice; gender; and race/ethnicity. She has also led delegations in juvenile justice to mainland China, Australia, New Zealand, and Cuba.
Dr. Stephanie Bush-Baskette earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University-Newark, her Juris Doctorate from American University and baccalaureate degree from Cornell University.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Gerard M. Balmir, Jr. has more than a decade of public-sector experience and presently serves as government and community affairs director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), a 20,000-member union affiliate in New Jersey. In his position, Balmir works collaboratively with government and community leaders, business and labor, to encourage sound economic development policies that grow the economy, create family-sustaining jobs and improve neighborhoods and communities. Balmir brings a wealth of diverse experience to his Committee, having served at the municipal and state level including positions in the administration of Governor James E. McGreevey and for the Township of Woodbridge. Additionally, he served as Vice Chair of the City of Trenton Planning Board and currently serves as a member of the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority.
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, HUMAN RESOURCES AND INFORMATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES: Cheryl G. Fuller is an experienced government manager and financial professional based in New Jersey and presently serves as the Director of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer for Hudson County, New Jersey. She is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Municipal Finance Officer and Certified County Finance Officer. She is also a Qualified Purchasing Agent. She is a proud graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Economics.
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION: Jacqueline Watts Greadington is a vocal music teacher in the East Orange School District and a longtime advocate for teachers and children of color. She has represented the NJEA on the National Education Association (NEA) Board of Directors and currently serves as Chair of the Black Caucus of the National Education Association where she has brought national attention to issues that affect children of color. Jacqui Watts Greadington was born in Newark and is a graduate of Arts High School. She earned her B.A. in Music Education from Langston University, an HBC in Langston, Oklahoma.
COMMITTEE ON RECREATION AND YOUTH: Grammy Award winning Artist, Activist, Host and MC Vinnie Brown helped change Hip-Hop history. Hip-hop is notorious for short-lived careers, big singles, and one-hit wonders. Naughty by Nature, however is the exception. Since the early ‘90s Naughty by Nature (NBN) has created chart-topping party anthems that have dominated Rap, Pop, and R&B charts, all the while staying true to hip-hop. As a Community Activist, Vinnie passionately speaks out against drugs and the ever growing violence of street gangs found in his local communities. He has organized and participated in a multitude of forums, rallies, conferences and teen summits offering peaceful solutions and giving hope to our youth. Vinnie is still active with his first love, MUSIC. However, he is using his voice and visibility as a host and MC to spread positive messages to the youth.
COMMITTEE ON LAW AND COURTS: Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq. is an attorney specializing in community development, economic development, and public policy initiatives. She is the new Vice President of Administration and Finance at Essex County College having recently served as the first woman to hold the position of Essex County Administrator. Prior to joining Essex County, Ms. Harley served as the Executive Director of the Newark Downtown District, New Jersey’s largest Special Improvement District. Joyce Harley was the first African-American elected to the South Orange City Council where she also served as Mayor. She has been cited twice by the New Jersey State Legislature for her work in community and economic development in targeted urban areas in the State. She is an honors graduate of Douglass College and Rutgers Law School.
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY: Sheilah A. Coley became Newark’s first female Chief of Police in August 2011. She has served with the Newark Police Department since 1989. Upon being promoted to Captain in 2004, she assumed responsibility as Executive Officer of the South District, subsequently becoming Commander of the South District (5th Precinct). Additionally as Captain, Chief Coley has been the Commander of the Police Academy, Criminal Investigations, Communications Division and currently, the Office of Professional Responsibility. Chief Coley attended the Community College of the Air Force and Essex County College. She attended the Yale University Child Study Program, the Senior Institute for Policing, Penn State’s POLEX Program, Northwestern University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Dr. Denise A. Davis’s 23 year career in health within education, philanthropy, government, and health care organizations is anchored in strategic planning, program design, mission driven research and analysis, and improving access to health care for underserved populations. Dr. Davis currently is a principal in MSB Philanthropy Advisors (MSBA) a social justice firm committed to providing technical assistance and training services in the areas of health, education and human service to funders, government and non-profit organizations. Dr. Davis earned her Dr. P.H. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in health policy and administration, an M.P.A. in public policy and administration from New York University, and a B.A. from Ithaca College in Allied Health. Denise is a member of the American Public Health Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, American Public Health Association, Black Women in Health Care, and Minority Health Council of the University of Medicine and Dentistry, Board Member• Helene Fuld College of Nursing , Executive Board Member• CUNY Institute for Health Equity.
COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS: Marjorie Perry is the president and CEO of MZM Construction & Management Company, Inc. She is also an innovator, public speaker, writer and role model for women and minorities in business. Using her extraordinary path to success and twenty-six years of experience as fodder for inspiration, Perry finds her calling motivating nascent entrepreneurs to develop and pursue their dreams. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being inducted into New Jersey’s premier business publication, NJBIZ 2011 Business Hall of Fame, Best 50 Women in Business and one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs in New Jersey. Perry has also served as a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. She holds a B.A. from Kean College and earned her MBA from NJIT.
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