It isn't surprising that people with talent and leadership ability are thinking twice about participating in politics and government, turned-off by the finger-pointing and partisan gridlock that contribute to the shear difficulty of getting anything constructive done.That is why The Citizens Campaign has constructed an alternative to today's dysfunctional politics, one that provides a safe civic space welcoming citizens who want to improve their city or hometown free of negativity and political wrangling.
The Citizens Campaign yesterday announced the formation of Newark Civic Trust, marking the occasion with the 36 selected Newark Civic Trustees coming together with key strategic partners at a kick-off meeting to be held this evening at PSEG headquarters. The Trustees were chosen for their leadership ability and commitment to working together developing and advancing evidence-based solutions that benefit the City. The Newark Civic Trustees are committing themselves to work together to “leave their city better than they found it” and are guided by three principals: that solutions benefit the city above all, are cost-effective, and are evidence-based — all wrapped in a “no blame” ethos. The Trustees volunteer to serve for a term of at least one year and their responsibilities also include governing their Trust, including prioritizing their own issues and recruiting new Trustees so the Trust continues to thrive well into the future.
The Citizens Campaign says Perth Amboy’s public schools have a 60 percent graduation rate. But, the campaign suggests the school district can raise the rate by using a tested and proven code of conduct that includes discipline, mentoring and internships and more. “We received a positive response so I’m really hopeful and excited about the difference that we’re going to be making,” said Civic Trustee Lisette Lebron. That approach is called the Civic Trustee Initiative. A hallmark of it is not pointing fingers. “That starts taking over the conversation. You have to be able to harness that emotion and say, ‘What can we do?’” Lebron said. “People are running for the exits from the civic arena,” said The Citizens Campaign Chairman Harry Pozycki.
Last winter, Trenton's planning board approved a series of recommendations to address the issue of flood control for the city's building projects and redevelopment. Business as usual? Not quite. The resolution the board passed was based largely on work done by representatives of the Civic Trust Initiative, an innovative project of the nonprofit advocacy group known as the Citizens Campaign.
An initiative that has empowered dozens of citizens to find solutions to problems will be expanded statewide after pilot programs in Trenton and Perth Amboy found success. The Citizens Campaign, a nonprofit advocacy group that has led efforts to pass state and municipal pay-to-play rules, launched the Civic Trustee initiative as a way for residents to work together and address issues facing their cities.