In January, the Ewing Observer focused on how Ewing’s mayor and council form of government has evolved over the last 20 years.

Part of that article’s focus was on the intense need for a hands-on mayor who can be a driving force of change. That need was fulfilled in Mayor Bert Steinmann.

But Bert — who we are blessed to have in this role — won’t be able to fill it indefinitely, and his shoes will be mighty hard to fill, absent some change.

You see, we are blessed to have a full-time mayor at less than half time salary in Bert. But, I worry about Ewing’s ability to attract that kind of talent in the coming years.

Bert was willing to take on the role after a long career. That career is what supports him and his family.

As former councilman, Pete Guzzo indicated in that same article that Ewing needs the leadership and daily stewardship of a directly-elected mayor. But that leadership can’t be a secondary commitment in the life of a future Ewing mayor.

I believe Ewing residents have begun to recognize the value of having someone at the helm full-time. It is maybe why Bert was the first man to successfully gain reelection in the 20 years since Ewing moved to this form of government.

Up till now, we haven’t had the benefit of someone full-time in the role and now Ewing citizens know that it matters and that it works.

I’ve seen first-hand what having a strong presence in town hall, in the community, and in the county mean for our town. Having a leader with a vision that we all share is essential to our future.

It is why as a council we’ve begun thinking about the future and how we can ensure resilience in our leadership for the coming years — both in the role of the Mayor and Council.

It is the reason we have taken up what former Councilman Mike Coryell recommended recently — a deep look at our need for full-time leadership in our future mayors.

That will, quite candidly, include a conversation about compensation. You see, the mayor and council’s salaries have not changed in the 20 years since the township moved to its new form of government, while the duties, responsibilities and expectations have exponentially increased.

As a beginning step in that process we’ve compiled information from our sister municipalities in our region, and around the State of New Jersey.

Our conversation is just starting with a first discussion at the end of February. We need your thoughts, your ideas and your recommendations on how to ensure that Ewing’s future remains secure in our future leaders. Please join us for our upcoming meetings and weigh in on this important discussion for our town!

Jennifer Keyes-Maloney,

Ewing Council President