Lindsay Brooks, an eighth grader at Grover Cleveland Middle School, took a crash course on what it’s like to be mayor recently.
Lindsay’s parents won the chance for her to shadow Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing in a silent auction at the Taste of the Caldwells in the spring. “Mayor for a Day” is a popular auction item at the Caldwell-West Caldwell Education Foundation’s signature fundraiser.
Dassing, who began her first term in January after serving on the council for many years, said she and Lindsay spent about four hours together earlier this month attending to mayoral duties.
Next, they headed to Borough Hall for a department head meeting. Issues on the agenda included health insurance, the 2011 capital budget and the 2012 budget planning process.
The meeting was attended by Caldwell Police Chief Kurt Dombrowski, Department of Public Works Director Mario BiFalco, Tax Collector Ida Renne, Court Administrator Marilyn Reeves, Borough Administrator Paul Carelli, Construction Department Head Paul Milani, Acting Clerk Lisa O’Neill and Health and Human Services Director Maria Burak
After the meeting, Lindsay spent one-on-one time with Dassing in the mayor’s office, opening mail and learning more about the elected position.
The final stop for the day was Somewhere in Time, an independently owned retail shop on Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell. There, the mayor and Lindsay chatted with shop owner Debbie Hickey about initiatives for the downtown.
“I think it was a positive experience for her,” said Mayor Dassing about her time with Lindsay. “She is a very poised eighth grader!”
Meanwhile, Brooks summed up the experience by saying: “A mayor's job is very cool!"