The Citizens Campaign's Initiatives in Newark
The Citizens Campaign’s core mission is to recruit citizens from outside of the political establishment and empower them to participate in the leadership of their communities by teaching them skills and a solutions-focused “no-blame” approach.
Beginning in 2006, Citizen Leaders in Newark have utilized The Citizens Campaign’s Power Platform of tools and training to positively impact their community and have worked to introduce innovative evidenced-based solutions that continue to benefit the Brick City.
Early successes came in November of 2006 when, working in collaboration with then Mayor Cory Booker and his administration, citizen leaders were the driving force behind several executive orders that led to expanded citizen empowerment and enhanced transparency and accountability in government. The Ban on Mayoral Campaign Accepting Employee Contributions, the Ban on Fundraising on Public Property, the Developer Disclosure of Political Contributions and the Creation of the Position of Inspector General Executive Orders were signed.
At the same time, The Citizens Campaign designed, developed and conducted a survey of Newark’s Civic Health and found that out of 37 boards and commissions, 27 were vacant. Thus, The Citizens Campaign, was instrumental in the passage of the Open Appointments to Boards and Commissions Ordinance. Without an open application procedure for appointments, qualified community residents were neither informed of openings nor able to apply. As a result, seats on municipal boards and commissions were often left vacant. This ordinance fostered a means for ordinary citizens to participate, thus strengthening the City.
Citizen leaders were also the driving force behind the City’s adoption of a Pay-to-Play Ordinance. The“Pay-to-play” ordinance limits campaign contributions by professionals and business entities to candidates, local and county political party committees and PACS, 12 months prior to entering into a professional service contract.
And the momentum continued…
In January of 2007, The Citizens Campaign, continuing to work with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, hosted a Leadership Summit inviting residents to answer a “Call to Service.” This summit provided an opportunity for City government to reach out to its community in a way that fostered cooperation and encouraged civil service.
Later that year, engaged citizens in Newark assisted in creating Newark’s first Environmental Commission. This Commission direct studies, performs energy audits, promotes long-term environmental planning, preserves open space, educates residents and obtains grant funding for various projects.
In 2011, citizen leaders successfully worked for adoption of a Redevelopment Pay to Play Reform Ordinance. This ordinance helps ensure that redevelopment agreements are reached through a fair and impartial process by severing the link between grant of redevelopment rights and political contributions.
Citizen leaders have also identified ways to save the city’s tax dollars via adoption of The Citizens Campaign’s Best Price Insurance Law. Adopted by Newark, in October of 2012, the Best Price Insurance requires that local governments and school boards purchase all insurance services and coverage through a fully competitive procedure based on a publicly advertised request for proposals. It also requires that if the lowest quotation is not selected that a detailed explanation shall be provided. It further mandates that the public entity consider the cost of insurance through a joint insurance fund or the State Health Benefits Plan.
The Citizens Campaign is committed to the City of Newark and is proud to be playing a role in empowering Brick City residents.
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
The Citizens Campaign is now accepting applications for the Civic Trusteeship in Newark.