Political Capital: Maplewood, NJ

The town of Maplewood New Jersey is a great example of a community with abundant political capital. Political capital is how community members and political figures use organizations, connect with each other, and voice their opinions to benefit the community. Maplewood’s town members have the opportunity to be very active in the decision making of the future of the community. Town meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of every month to discuss various topics. There are five minutes designated to the public at the beginning of every meeting, and in this time people can openly speak about issues. At the end of the meeting the issues are once again discussed and plans to fix them are made. The Township Committee meetings are held by the five members of the committee, who are elected every three years. In the last town meeting, the implementation of parking on public roads was discussed. The committee worked on arranging a new policy that would minimize parking and commuter fees by 25 percent.
During the first week in January, the Township Committee meets for an annual reorganization. During this meeting, they elect one of the five members to serve as mayor for a one-year term who will be considered the head of the municipal government. The Township Committee is responsible for passing laws that affect the township, setting policy, and overall directing the Township. The township staff, under the direction of the administrator, carries out committee decisions and provides day-to-day services.

Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (2015). Asset Building and Community Development. Washington, DC: SAGE Publications.

Maplewood Township, New Jersey (2016). Retrieved from http://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/index.aspx?nid=216