A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood Thursday, July 9, 1998 Page 3
By WILLIAM MCMEEKAN, JR.
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
"I learned how town government really works on the day-to-day level, and I learned that it takes a lot of time to get things done," according to Elan Arbitsman.
Elan, a Westfield High School stu- dent intern with Westfield Mayor Thomas C. Jardim this past year, first met the Mayor while both were working hard on the campaign trail. "It was in town," recalled Elan. "He was running for office handing out flyers. I was handing out flyers, too...for the other candidate."
As part of the internship, the high school junior spent five months, five hours a week, working with the Mayor. He often worked overtime. Elan sent out letters, checked e-mail and telephone messages, and directed comments and complaints to the cor- rect departments.
"A lot of things get done in the Town Council by compromise," Elan observed. "Before this, I just thought things got done. I really didn't know how it all worked.
Elan was President of the high school's Young Republicans Club while serving in the office of Westfield's Democratic Mayor.
The irony was not lost on Elan's fellow Young Republicans. "You should see the comments in my yearbook," he said. "But when it comes to my role in town government, it doesn't matter."
After participating in the YMCA Youth and Government Program and spending a semester as an intern for Republican State Assemblyman Ri- chard H. Bagger, Elan was deemed an ideal candidate to assist in the Mayor's office.
"Because of all that has to be done, it's important for me to have an intern," Mayor Jardim said. "Elan has been great. He knew the ropes from his previous experience, and really helped me fill in the gaps.
"I gave Elan a lot of self-directed tasks and he took on the challenge," the Mayor added.
Elan said fielding telephone calls for the Mayor's office was one of the most educational aspects of the job. "I learned to interact with the public and developed new communication skills," he said.
"I used to be shy on the phone, but not anymore," the student observed.
In addition, he said he particularly enjoyed the opportunity to follow up on inquiries about grants for the town.
"It's been good for both of us," said Mayor Jardim. "It's been a good edu-
WHS Student Helps To 'Fill in the Gaps' In Town Government
cation for Elan. He's been able to see a lot of things not everyone gets to see. It's also been good for me. There is a lot of work to do and Elan has been great at helping out."
When his internship concluded at the end of the school year, Elan was surprised by a job offer from the Mayor. "Right now, we're revamp- ing the town web pages," said Mayor Jardim.
"Darryl Walker and Carrie Hanson were keeping it up, essentially volun- teering their time. We felt we needed someone who could devote a bit more time to it and that's where Elan came in," he revealed.
Working under Webmaster Mr. Walker, Elan is now expanding and improving every aspect of the town web pages.
"I really like web design," said Elan. "I would be doing it anyway. But instead of doing pages of my stuff, I'm working on these pages which are a good source of town information."
"It's a fabulous opportunity," agreed Elan's mother, Sharie Arbitsman. "The town is depending on him."
In addition to his work for the Town of Westfield, Elan keeps busy as a member of the "Y" Leaders Club, a delegate in the Model United Nations program, and a manager of the boys' lacrosse team.
This fall he will assume the role of the Westfield High School mascot, the Blue Devil.
Admitting that he gained valuable experience by working for the town, Elan said, "I'm really interested in politics and government now. I'd like to do something related to it in the future."
Elan may even find himself cam- paigning in downtown Westfield again sometime — for himself.
Mayor's Charity Gala Slated for November 6
The 1998 Scotch Plains Mayor's Charity Gala will be held on Friday, November 6, at the Shackamaxon Country Club in Scotch Plains be- ginning at 7 p.m. This will be the eighth annual event and will be hosted by Mayor Joan Papen.
During the event, one man and one woman, along with an organiza- tion, will be recognized as Volun- teers of the Year.
For further information, please call the Scotch Plains Recreation De- partment at (908) 322-6700.
'Y' Leaders Club Helps Red Cross Canister Drive HELPING THEIR COMMUNITY…Members of the Westfield "Y" Leaders
Club recently volunteered their time to help the Westfield/Mountainside Chap- ter of the American Red Cross with its Canister Drive. Pictured, left to right, are: front row, Rob Chernela, Marie Cacace and Alicia Picou and, back row, Courtney Corigliano, Dina Gordon, Hugh Sinclair, J.D. Flynn, Nikki Candelore, Yair Ghitza, and Bill McMeekan Jr.
The Westfield "Y" Leaders Club, under the guidance of William McMeekan, recently assisted the Westfield/Mountainside Chapter of the American Red Cross with its Canister Drive this year.
The Leaders Club coordinated its efforts with Red Cross board mem- ber Warren Rorden of Rorden Real- ity to distribute canisters to all mem-
ber businesses of the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Rorden's business served as the pick up and drop off point for the canis- ters.
The Leaders Club volunteers offer their services to local non-profit or- ganizations within town to assist with short-term projects. The group works from the Westfield "Y".
Preparations are Underway For Third Fanny Wood Day
Plans are underway for the third an- nual Fanny Wood Day celebration which will be held on Sunday, September 27, from noon to 5 p.m.
Mayor Maryanne Maryanne S. Connelly and the Fanny Wood Day Committee announced that the event will be modeled on last year's success- ful street fair.
It will be held in the center of the commercial area of Fanwood at the inter- section of South and Martine Avenues, and in the surrounding streets, which will be closed to automobiles for the event.
Children's rides, entertainment and attractions are being prepared for the event.
The Fanny Wood Day Committee is an all-volunteer group dedicated to es- tablishing better relations and improv- ing downtown Fanwood through an annual street fair.
The group's current goal is to en- hance Fanwood's downtown by pur- chasing and dedicating a street clock to celebrate the millennium.
Anyone interested in being included in the Souvenir Program may call Pam Sayles at (908) 889-9384. The deadline
for purchasing advertising space is Sat- urday, August 1. All proceeds go to- wards the Fanwood Millennium Clock.
The committee is also taking appli- cations for craft vendors. The fee is $75 for a 10-foot by 10-foot space. There is an early registration special of $10 off for those who register before Tuesday, September 1.
For more information or to receive an application, please call Neil Schembre at (908) 322-6066.
Susan Jacobson Receives County Chamber Promotion
Westfield resident Susan Jacobson, a four-term member and former Presi- dent of the Westfield Board of Educa- tion, was promoted to Vice President of membership services of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.
"Susan has worked tirelessly on be- half of the chamber and her efforts have been a key factor in the growth we have enjoyed over the past few years," said Chamber President Jim Coyle.
"I'm looking forward to using this opportunity to develop new initia- tives to better serve our members," said Mrs. Jacobson.
The new Vice President has a strong track record for developing initia- tives for the chamber, according to Mr. Coyle. One of her duties is to serve on the editorial board of Union County Inside Business. In that ca- pacity, she recently proposed a monthly restaurant review column entitled "County Cuisine."
During her four years at the cham- ber, Mrs. Jacobson has been involved
in a wide variety of activities. These include recruitment and retention of members, directing the Industrial Training Institute and the Elizabeth Education Foundation, and coordinat- ing the chamber mentoring program.
Prior to joining the chamber, Mrs. Jacobson worked as a consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education's Division of Adult and Occupational Education and was a legislative advo- cate for the Educational Media Asso- ciation of New Jersey.
She also worked as an accountant and office manager for the Ronald P. Jacobson Certified Public Accoun- tant office.
Mrs. Jacobson is a former President of the Union County School Boards Association and a former member of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey School Board Association.
In 1991, she served as a New Jer- sey delegate to the White House Con- ference on Library and Information Services.
TEA FOR TWO…Eileen Raska, Library Media Specialist at Coles Elementary School in Scotch Plains, recently hosted a Thank You Tea for the school's "guest readers." Twice a month, guest readers, including both retired citizens and Rotary Club members, volunteer their time to read to elementary school students. Pictured are guest readers Peg Brandsma and Emily Robinson.