The change at the city elders' helm means that Talmadge's eight-year run is over. Talmadge, who remains Third Ward Councilwoman, told "Local Talk" that her historic tenure will be unlikely surpassed in the foreseeable future.
"We did some talking among ourselves in November," said Talmadge. "I felt it was time for me to step down, given the upcoming election. It's a full-time job being council president."
Talmadge was referring to the May 12 nonpartisan council elections, where her seat and those of First Ward Councilwoman Andrea McPhatter, Second Ward Councilwoman Jacquelyn Johnson, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Sharon Fields and Fifth Ward Councilman Lonnie Hughes are up for city voters' decision.
Talmadge is also a key official in the East Orange Democratic Party Committee - a distinction which brought Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman and city native Leroy Jones to City Hall.
Talmadge, who has sustained the longest tenure as an East Orange African American councilwoman, said that she and her nine colleagues are going to rotate the council presidency amongst themselves. That rotation starts with Holman.
Holman, who first attained her Fifth Ward Seat in 2005, becomes the ex-officio member of all 10 city council committees plus its labor negotiation team and the East Orange Board of School Estimate.
Holman by being ex-officio, usually has no vote on committee decisions except for possible tie breakers. She, while as councilwoman, has been on five of the committees.
Council President Holman also becomes the council's liaison to Mayor Lester Taylor III and an official city spokesperson. She also remains a youth program specialist in the Essex County Division of Citizen Services.
Holman, once the standing ovation for her and Talmadge subsided, noted the unity among the council that she had inherited from her Third Ward colleague.
"There's cohesiveness among us," said Holman. "I'm looking forward to working with the (mayor's) administration to continue what we've started."
Taylor, upon receiving time-honored permission to enter and speak in the council's annual reorganization meeting, made good his vow to keep his remarks brief. The mayor cited his establishment of a multiagency Quality of Life enforcement committee and a comprehensive overhaul of the East Orange Water Commission as examples of progress in his first year as East Orange's chief executive.
"I'll go into more detail," said Taylor, "in my State of the City address Jan. 20 at the Cicely Tyson School Auditorium."
Holman and the reorganized council approved a temporary budget - a quarter of the expired Calendar Year 2014 spending plan - through March 31. The new year's payroll schedule and cash management plan were also approved.
All 10 council members approved "Local Talk," for the sixth straight year, as one of the city's official newspapers.
Ten of the well-wishers came from among the audience to congratulate Holman, Talmadge and colleagues during the public hearing of citizens. The speakers include incoming Essex County District Three Freeholder Britnee Timberlake and the outgoing Carol Y. Clark.
Timberlake and Montclair colleague Brendan Gill were named by fellow freeholders as their president and vice president Jan. 1. They, Bloomfield's Cynthia Toro, Newark's Wayne Richardson and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo (D-Roseland) were sworn in just after noon New Year's Day.
Representatives from five insurance providers - Horizon, Health Republic, Oscar Insurance, United HealthGroup and AmeriHealth - will be present to describe details about their low-cost plans offered through the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.
Hundreds of uninsured and low-income residents of East Orange and surrounding are expected to attend. Last year, similar events were successfully held at East Orange General and Campus High School with the goal of enrolling people in one of the health insurance plans if they chose. At both enrollment days, residents had the opportunity to speak with Certified Application Counselors who helped applicants review, understand and compare all plan options and costs.
"As a community healthcare provider our goal is to help our citizens obtain access to care," said East Orange General interim President and CEO Martin Bieber. "Bottom line is we want to make it as simple as possible for people to obtain insurance."
In order to qualify for a low-cost plan offered by the five insurance providers, attendees are encouraged to bring the following: Social Security numbers, birth date, last three pay stubs or W2 forms, information about additional income, policy numbers for any current health insurance plans and information about any other health insurance an individual could get from an employer. People 65 years and older are reminded that they do not qualify, since they already are insured through Medicare.
Other community groups which helped promote the event included: Caribbean Medical Mission; The City of East Orange; FamiCare; New Hope Baptist Church; Jamaica Organization of New Jersey; Coalition of Caribbean American Commission; Elmwood United Presbyterian Church; Grenadian American Organization of NJ; Guyana American Heritage Foundation; Help Jamaica Medical Mission; Hispanics for Progress; Jamaica Nurses Association and the NAACP, Oranges and Maplewood.
For further information about enrolling in one of the plans using resources provided by East Orange General Hospital, call 972-266-4700.
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