Milestone planning starts now

Wikipedia The former Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock facility was a big part of Kearny’s history.
The former Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock facility was a big part of Kearny’s history.


It’s still a year and two months away but Kearny is gearing up now to mark its 150th anniversary.

Kearny was formed initially as a township in April 1867, just two years or so after the Civil War ended, and it was named for the Union Gen. Philip Kearny.

(Kearny was reclassified as a town in January 1899, following a referendum held that month but municipal officials are taking their historical cue from the legislative action that carved out its territory from portions of the then-Harrison Township.)

No doubt local historians will offer much more enlightenment on how all of that came to be as the town’s sesquicentennial draws closer but, in the meantime, Kearny is taking steps to ensure that the commemoration is given the proper attention.

To that end, Mayor Alberto Santos announced at last Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting that he has “asked our UEZ consultant Linda Kraus D’Isa to submit a proposal” for promoting this milestone.

Santos said he saw no need to put out a Request for Proposals because “we know, based on past events she has worked on for us, what the cost is likely to be” – expected to be under the town’s public bidding threshold – and because “we have not previously identified any other potential provider – either from Kearny or from outside Kearny – for that type of service at the price level we are expecting.”

Both Santos and town CFO Shuaib Firozvi said that under state laws regulating public contract bidding, Kearny’s bidding threshold tops out at $40,000 so, presumably, that is the ceiling for the proposed fee that will be part of D’Isa’s proposal.

That proposal – if and when it is received – will be reviewed by the town attorney and then put before the governing body for consideration of a contract award, Santos said.

In the meantime, at the mayor’s request, the council has given its approval of what the mayor characterized as a “partial list” of the members of the town’s “150th Anniversary Committee: 2017” who will be entrusted, as per the resolution, to “organize a town-wide, year-long appropriate celebration ….”

Santos said the committee will also be asked “to put together a fundraising proposal” to help raise private funds to help pay for the celebration. Much of that effort is expected to target the local business community, he said.

Of the current 19 committee members, four are elected officials – Council members Jonathan Giordano (Second Ward), Carol Jean Doyle (Third Ward), Susan McCurrie and Michael Landy (both Fourth Ward).

Rounding out the list: Barbara Toczko, Walter Petrosky, Paul Shalvoy and Julie McCarthy (retired library director) are members of the Kearny Museum Committee; Joseph Slavik, town historian/zoning board member; Barbara Krasner, author who has written about Kearny; William Styple, expert on Gen. Kearny; Joshua Humphrey, town librarian; Michael Bayer and John Adamski, Kearny High social studies teachers; Margaret Bixler, retired teacher and Community Garden committee; Edmund Shea and (Harrison educator) Kevin Barber, members of local service organizations; and Linda Kraus D’Isa.

“We will probably be adding other members as we go along,” the mayor said.

– Ron Leir 

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