Montgomery Twp. Committee 2019 Reorganization

Posted on January 7, 2019

JAFFER & GURAL SELECTED FOR MAYOR & DEPUTY MAYOR

The Montgomery Township Committee emphasized their commitment to transparency, growth and improvement in government, and continued quality public service at their reorganization meeting January 3rd. Sadaf Jaffer was selected to serve as mayor and Catherine Gural was chosen as deputy mayor for 2019. Ms. Gural and Marvin Schuldiner were sworn in to new 3-year terms on the governing body. The other two members of Township Committee, Ed Trzaska and Kamran Quraishi, continue on-going terms of office.

The Montgomery mayor and deputy mayor are chosen each year from among the Committee by the vote of all five members. Each Committee member is elected in staggered fashion to serve for 3 years.

The Honorable Gurbir Grewal, Attorney General of New Jersey, administered the mayoral oath of office to Mayor Jaffer. Deputy Mayor Gural was sworn into office by Joseph Fidler, Esq., while Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker swore in Committee member Marvin Schuldiner.  Honored guests included Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Assemblyman Roy Freiman, Middlesex County Freeholder Shanti Narra, Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine, Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter, Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed Khairullah, Rocky Hill Mayor Robert Uhrik, former Rocky Hill Mayor Ed Zimmerman, Franklin Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad, former Montgomery Township Mayors Louise Wilson, Cecilia Birge, Don Matthews, and former Montgomery Township Deputy Mayor Brad Fay.

Mayor Jaffer was first elected to the Committee in 2017. She is now the first South Asian woman to serve as a mayor in New Jersey. Professionally, she is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University and has a PhD from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Last year she emphasized citizen engagement and inclusivity in her committee role and served as a liaison to the Montgomery Township Environmental Commission, Wildlife Management Committee, and Shade Tree Committee. She expressed her optimism for the future of Montgomery.

“From my experiences in local community organizing and public service, I have concluded that it is indeed the people who make Montgomery great. The people of this community are kind, caring, and generous. I see my role as Mayor to not only serve the people of this community but also bring them together for purpose of the common good and promote the synergies that result when we work together,” Mayor Jaffer said.

Deputy Mayor Catherine Gural, a mother of three who has given volunteer service to many non-profit organizations including Autism Speaks, Special Olympics and the National MS Society Walk, works as a Strategic Initiatives and Business Enablement Manager, Banking/Brokerage Operations and Client Services with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. She will serve as liaison to the Board of Education, Board of Health, Open Space, and Veterans Memorial Committees. She congratulated Sadaf Jaffer upon her appointment, expressing confidence in the new mayor’s exceptional interpersonal skills and leadership abilities.

“I believe that with the appointment of Mayor Jaffer, there is an opportunity to bring her experience as an educator and academic to what has been a traditionally “managerial” role, largely occupied by attorneys, or executives in other industries like pharma or finance. Mayor Jaffer is really great at making personal connections, and reaching out to groups of people to bring them together. It’s one of the skills I admire most about her. She is a natural leader. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are committed to working as a team,” Deputy Mayor Gural stated.

New Committee member Marvin Schuldiner, who works as an Accredited Professional Mediator and an Arbitrator, has also served as vice-president, treasurer, and trustee of two homeowners associations as well as president of the Franklin Township Library Board. He will serve as liaison to the Budget & Finance Board, Library Advisory Board, and Shared Municipal Court Subcommittee. He emphasized the importance of collaboration to bring new ideas to the table in his first year as an elected official.

“Montgomery has such a great future.  We have a wonderful quality of life, top-notch schools and a diverse citizenry.  But like anywhere else, we have challenges to overcome.  The Township Committee in 2019 has a nice mix of fresh ideas and an understanding of our history.  Working together, we can come up with solid ideas to meet these challenges,” he said.

Committee member Ed Trzaska is serving his third term as a member of the Montgomery Township Committee since 2011. He has served three of those years as mayor and two as deputy mayor, as well as acting as a liaison to many boards and commissions. This year he will be Twp. Committee liaison to the Board of Fire Prevention, Recreation Committee, and Transportation Advisory Committee.

Professionally, Mr. Trzaska works as Director of Customer Insights at Otsuka Pharmaceutical. After congratulating the new mayor and welcoming the new members, he reflected on the accomplishments of recent years, as well as upcoming goals.

“In 2019, I look forward to focusing on the issues that I am truly passionate about – open space, roads and infrastructure, our police department, and of course, our parks.  There are many other important issues to deal with, but these represent the foundation of our remarkable community and deserve our attention,” he stated.

Kamran Quraishi joined the Township Committee upon the resignation of Mayor Mark Conforti in August, to serve for the remainder of 2018. Upon the resignation in December of Committee member Patricia Graham, Mr. Quraishi was again appointed to fill the remainder of Ms. Graham’s term, which runs through 2019. Mr. Quraishi last year served as a liaison to the Zoning Board. This year, he will work with the Economic Development Commission, Environmental Commission, and Landmarks Commission. Mr. Quraishi works as a quality assurance analyst and in his spare time is a founding member of the Montgomery Knights Cricket Club.

After praising the dedication of the Montgomery Police force and the safety of the town, Mr. Quraishi said how impressed he is with Montgomery’s residents who volunteer on Montgomery’s committees and boards and work on various municipal projects.

Mr. Quraishi expressed heartiest congratulations to new mayor Jaffer.  He also praised the Township’s professional staff, stating, “Finally, I would like to thank our Township Administrator, Donato Nieman, our clerk Donna Kukla, our CFO Mike Pitts and the Township Attorney for helping me when I have questions and for all of the hard work they do to keep the township running like a well-oiled machine.”

The reorganization remarks, video/photos of the meeting, and the 2019 meeting dates of the Montgomery Township Committee may be found on the Township website under Elected Officials

(https://www.twp.montgomery.nj.us/elected-officials/). More photos found at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/sM1EXNvVEpwaVXV1A

Photo Caption #1: Sadaf Jaffer is sworn-in to become the mayor of Montgomery for 2019, as her husband and daughter look on.  Her mayoral oath was administered by NJ State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Photo Caption #2: Members of the 2019 Montgomery Twp. Committee at their Jan. 3 Reorganization Meeting are (l to r): Marvin Schuldiner, Deputy Mayor Catherine Gural, Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, Kamran Quraishi, and Ed Trzaska.