All of the candidates were asked to answer the same questions about themselves and their political stances for East Windsor Patch. Patch will be running these candidate profiles up until the election.
ANNA LUSTENBERG CANDIDATE PROFILE
Name: Anna Lustenberg
Education: Attended FDU & Rider University; Certificate in Leadership, the Wharton School; Certificate in Community Relations, Boston College.
Occupation: Retired Verizon External Affairs Director; Part-time grant writer - Princeton YWCA; President, Anna Lustenberg Consulting, LLC
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected.
My name is Anna Lustenberg and I moved to East Windsor in 1986 as a result of a company transfer to my new Government Relations office in Trenton. In that role, I broadened my network to include Legislators and key business leaders. I am a Graduate Fellow of Leadership New Jersey where I spent a year studying New Jersey public policy issues throughout the state. I've attended FDU and Rider University. I've also completed certificate programs in Leadership at The Wharton School and Community Relations at Boston College. I have served on the NJ League of Municipalities Economic Development Committee and continue to serve on the Mercer County College Foundation Board where I chair the Nominating and Governance Committee. I was an East Windsor Township Councilwoman from 1994-1997 and also served three years on the planning board. I bring experience to the Council my network of municipal resources from around the state and the ability to work in a bipartisan manner.
2. What do you think distinguishes you from other candidates? What do you bring to the table?
I bring experience and a wealth of stakeholder resources. For example, I have served on a non-profit's board of directors with Peter Cocoziello, CEO of Advance Realty. Advance has taken on the task of bringing in new businesses and updating the Windsor-Hights Shopping. I have a great deal of respect for Peter and his company and I'm so pleased that this project is in his hands. I also bring years of experience working with municipalities around the state. When I see how our Council meetings are conducted and how they are conducted in other areas, I believe I can make solid suggestions for improvements. The one thing that distinguishes me from the incumbents is that I will be an independent thinker with a number of suggestions for creating efficiencies in our Municipal Government.
3. What are the most pressing issues facing the community today? How would you approach and resolve these issues?
Taxes, the number one response from residents is that taxes are too high, no exceptions. The first thing I will recommend is to cut the pay for Council Members from $10,000 a year to $5,000. There are 7 Council members and this would result in an annual savings of $35,000 which could be used to reduce taxes or save an critical Township employee's job. Operational efficiencies that result in tax savings. For example, our website was ranked 296th in a Monmouth University published poll entitled, "NEW JERSEY E-GOVERNMENT: BEST PRACTICES FOR MUNICIPAL WEBSITES; A project of the Monmouth University Polling Institute and the Graduate Program in Public Policy." West Windsor ranked 3rd and offers a great model of an efficient, user-friendly website. Our website is not user friendly. In order to read a copy of a resolution or ordinance scheduled for a Council discussion, you must travel to the Municipal Building to look it up on a clip board. In West Windsor, when you access their Council's agenda, online, each resolution or ordinance, to be discussed, has a link with the full copy of that item. Open and Transparent Government: Televise council meetings for the benefit of residents who cannot attend these meetings. Televising the meetings would provide open access for residents to view Township meetings on their own schedule. Create a liaison to the School Board. The school budget is the largest part of the tax bill and the East Windsor Township Council should create an open line of communication with the School Board. Perhaps there are some shared services that the Township can utilize. Residents are told that the school is the largest part of our tax bill and there's nothing that can be done about that. Well, I don't buy that. There are many things that can be done but, first, we need to open up the lines of communication. Finally, I worked in government relations for many years prior to my retirement in 2012. Knowing the best practices of other municipalities and how they conduct business is a level of experience that I will bring to the East Windsor Township Council. I love my town and want it to be the best it can be!