Blog

Here keep up to date with all sorts of recent news, important information, events and more. For information specific to updates from the Village of South Orange, visit the South Orange website latest news section.

Torpey at the White House for first-ever White House Tech Meetup

On Friday, technology advocates, trainers and local government innovators converged on the White House for the first-ever White House Tech Meetup to talk about technology’s role in innovation and economic growth. Joined by the White House CTO Megan Smith, the White House Deputy CTO, The White House Office of Technology and Science Policy and Meetup Co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman, around 100 technologists spent the day covering a wide-range of topics that were all focused on the social good and economic development that can come from smart, organized technology advocacy. "Home is where your startup is." - @NJTech. Great reminder on the power of community building. #WHMeetup — U.S. Digital Service (@USDS) April 17, 2015 The morning began with comments from Heiferman, Smith and the Director of the National Economic Council Jeffrey Zients, talking mainly about the important role that tech-sector growth has in building the national economy, discussing the White House’s “TechHire” initiative, among others. All emphasized the power that those in the room yield to make a difference, as Heiferman often came back to the point, “You are creating opportunity.” Tech Meetups and the Organizers behind them change lives every day. Check out their powerful stories: https://t.co/Z95o8qzVkV #WHMeetup...


Torpey and DeLuca advocate for tuition credit for emergency responders in Essex County

Vic DeLuca, Maplewood Mayor co-signed the below letter I wrote, which was sent to the Essex County Freeholders as a follow up to my request that the recently implemented tuition credit program Middlesex County implemented for volunteer EMTs and Firefighters be considered in Essex. Read the full letter below: April 14th 2015   To the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders:   College tuition costs are rising. Since 1978, average college tuition costs have risen by 1,120%, outpacing food costs and even healthcare. A 2014 report from Bloomberg showed that tuition costs actually rose four times faster than the Consumer Price Index. 70% of students borrow money for college, and the average borrower will take on $33,000 of debt, adding up to a total student loan debt in the United States of $1.2 trillion as of last year.   And yet, even in difficult economic times with college and other critical costs rising so quickly, there are many men and women who continue to volunteer their time, hundreds and thousands of hours a year, risking their own safety to help others as volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians and volunteer firefighters. In South Orange, the all-volunteer rescue squad contributed over 17,000 hours last...


2015 State Of The Village recap, video, transcript, and more

Village President Torpey: The State of the Village is strong because the community is strong. With over 100 village officials and community leaders in attendance, Village President Torpey delivered his 2015 State Of The Village address Monday evening. Recounting accomplishments of the past year, he lauded what he considered the “truly remarkable” success of the current governing body and community members for rising above divisiveness that in the past had stood in the way of progress, creating a real collaborative political and civic environment that exists in very few places and has helped drive so much of the Village’s success that was discussed throughout the evening. Before beginning, Torpey noted the difference between talking about the “village,” which he called the institution of the government, versus the “Village,” representing the larger concepts, culture and community around government, making sure the “State of the Village” wasn’t just a recount of the performance of the institution of the Village government, but rather a holistic discussion and evaluation of the entire environment in which new ideas get discussed and codified into laws in South Orange. Torpey led with the importance of transparency in government, and discussed not just steps the Village has taken...


From the Setonian: South Orange mayor teaches how ordinances are passed

From Seton Hall's student newspaper The Setonian: In the fall semester of last year, Seton Hall launched a new course, Strategic Management for Collaborative Governance, offered to students seeking their Master’s degree in public administration. The course is taught by Dr. Matthew Hale, Associate Professor and MPA Program Chair for the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs, and Alex Torpey, president of South Orange Village and now also adjunct professor of government and technology at Seton Hall. Dr. Hale reached out to Torpey with the idea for the course after they met at an event on campus last year.    Read more at The Setonian.


New date for the 2015 State Of The Village

Due to weather the 2015 State Of The Village was postponed and has been rescheduled to Monday, February 23rd at 8:30pm in the loft at SOPAC.   The State of the Village is required - in writing - to be provided to the Board each year, however, I began holding a physical ceremony with a report to the Board and to the public after I was elected in 2011, hoping to instill a sense of tradition and help bring the community together around our progress and our challenges. Updates will include a recap of the past year and upcoming work to reduce municipal spending and property taxes, reduce crime, increase economic development and ratables in the Village, encourage sustainable practices, and continue to break ground in transparency, technology and citizen engagement. Join us as we celebrate the achievements of hard working public servants and lay out a vision for not just the future of the Village, but the future of innovation in local governance. RSVP to Cathy Cameron at ccameron@southorange.org or 973 378 7715 extension 2. The address will also be viewable online live and on SOMAtv.    


Announcing the 2015 South Orange State Of The Village Address

Village President Alex Torpey announced today that the 2015 State of the Village Address will take place Tuesday January 27th 2015 in the Loft on the Third Floor of the South Orange Performing Arts Center. The State of the Village is required - in writing - to be provided to the Board each year, however, President Torpey believes holding a physical ceremony with a report to the Board and to the public instills a sense of tradition and helps bring the community together around our progress and our challenges. President Torpey's updates will include a recap of the past year and upcoming work to reduce municipal spending and property taxes, reduce crime, increase economic development and ratables in the Village, encourage sustainable practices, and continue to break ground in transparency, technology and citizen engagement. Join us as we celebrate the achievements of hard working public servants and lay out a vision for not just the future of the Village, but the future of innovation in local governance. RSVP to Cathy Cameron at ccameron@southorange.org or 973 378 7715 extension 2. The address will also be viewable online live and on SOMAtv.  


Semester Wrap-up: Lessons from Seton Hall MPA students

Last night was the last class of the semester for Strategic Management Collaborative Governance, the class at Seton Hall University I've been co-teaching with Professor Dr. Matt Hale. If you remember from the beginning of the semester, the idea of the class was to provide future public managers and leaders with both a conceptual and practical understanding of how government, especially local government, works, and how the institutions can be improved by approaching it with a different mindset, one with a heavy focus on accessibility, innovation and technology. The students performed brilliantly.Below are a few tweets that I sent out as the students made their final presentations as they each were assigned a town and tried to get one local ordinance passed, many from The Citizens Campaign best practice model ordinances. The students brought some incredibly valuable lessons to the class, both from good and bad experiences trying to get something done in local government.    Our @SetonHall Master's students presenting trying to pass @CitizenCampaign ordinances this semester. @NJpoliticsprof pic.twitter.com/8aoiDyJurV — Alex Torpey (@alextorpey) December 9, 2014 Lots of students saying they were passed btw many departments/people trying to get their ordinances passed #MPALessons @NJpoliticsprof — Alex Torpey (@alextorpey) December 9,...


Speaking at POLITICO's What Works Summit in Washington, DC

I had the distinct pleasure to join Garrett Graff from POLITICO, and Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, Brenna Berman, the CIO for the City of Chicago, Mayor Helene Schneider of Santa Barbara on a panel talking about technology innovation in cities. The event was part of POLITICO's What Works Summit. Click below for the video!    


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