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.

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!    


Happy Election Day - Find your polling place

This is reposted from Veracity's website, find your polling place using the handy dandy tool below! (Or contact me in South Orange, and I'll drive you to the polls).


Alex Getting Out The Vote at Montclair State University

On Tuesday, I was invited to come speak to a class of journalism students at Montclair State University that works in partnership with Wired New Jersey and the NJ News Commons. Although we got to cover a little about my story, the reasons why I ran, how to build a successful and constructive relationship among local media, citizen and government, and some of the incredible opportunities that exist for change in local government, we also spent some time talking why it's so important to get involved, even just through voting. Wired Jersey students recorded a brief PSA about voting that's embedded below. Enjoy! (And don't forget to vote on Tuesday!)  



Alternate water source selection, lots of fun in South Orange, and more

The fall is off to a busy start in South Orange! Not only do I have the distinct privilege of having been appointed as an adjunct faculty at Seton Hall University, getting to co-teach master of public administration students about how to creatively think about ways they can approach governance from a more transparent and technology-focused perspective, but we've been very, very busy in town! Here are a few highlights. Most importantly, an issue that many of us have been concerned about, and have been working on for a long time, is finally coming to some decision points. We've all been less than pleased, to put it lightly, with the performance of the East Orange Water Commission. As we near the end of our contract with them, we are now able to publicly pursue alternatives. We held a community meeting last week to discuss this, and you can find all the backup material, the memo our counsel has produced for us on the options, video of the meeting, and lots more information by clicking the image below: On a completely different, and much more fun note, this past weekend in town was packed with amazing events. On Saturday, we started off with the Newstead 5k...


Seton Hall Professor Partners with South Orange Mayor to Offer Innovative Course in Public Administration

 SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Seton Hall University and South Orange Village officials announced today that this fall, Seton Hall will be offering a unique public administration course focused on transparency, data use and collaboration. Pairing an experienced professor and a young mayor, the university is poised to offer students a chance to tie academic work and learning to the real-world impact possible from that.  The graduate course, Strategic Management for Collaborative Governance, will be co-taught by Political Science and Public Affairs Professor Matt Hale and South Orange Village President Alex Torpey. The Master of Public Administration program course will be a pilot this fall, with plans to expand it in the future. The course will bring in leading public, private and nonprofit sector experts from the open governance movement for a series of guest lectures and discussions on specific ways that local government can be more transparent and open.  Students will then conduct local research projects and community outreach in Essex County with a goal of implementing the actions recommended by open government experts. Through the course, students will focus on applying newer concepts of open government to managing, overseeing and working in a public agency.  “This is such an...


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