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July 1, 2009 > New Planning Commissioner for Newark

New Planning Commissioner for Newark

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Meenu Gupta

Janet Drews was appointed as the replacement for Planning Commissioner Grace Santana at the City of Newark Council meeting on June 25.

"I had the opportunity to interview 12 outstanding individuals, it was a difficult decision," said Mayor David Smith. The Council unanimously approved her appointment. TCV spoke to her; an excerpt from the interview follows.

TCV: What do you hope to achieve as a Planning Commissioner?

Drews: The Planning Commission is a valuable intermediary between the public and the City Council. As a Planning Commissioner I would like to work proactively to help Newark continue to move forward with growing housing needs, to care for the future of established residents and for new residences. It is exciting to see the number of new businesses that have been moving in the City of Newark. I would like to help encourage more new businesses into moving into the City. I would also like to participate in the update of the General Plan and assist in monitoring the General Plan to make sure it still fits the needs of the City of Newark. I would like to help encourage the public's participation in the community meetings.

TCV: What made you apply for the position?

Drews My volunteer work with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) gave me a wonderful opportunity to work with some passionate volunteers who served as team leaders for their districts. I met hundreds (literally) of Newark residents who took the class. My work with the Chamber as an employee and a volunteer gave me the opportunity to see more of the business community. I wanted to take the next step and to become more active in serving the City of Newark and its community.

TCV: Please tell us a little about your career?

Drews: Currently, I am a Metrics Analyst at GE Security, formally InVision Technologies, located here in Newark. I have worked in the Customer Operations Department for over 7 years. Prior to that I have worked at the Newark Chamber of Commerce; co-owned Acorn Training Group (taught MS Office classes), and I also worked at a Pharmaceutical Company for 15 years in the Pathology/Toxicology Department.

TCV: How long have you been a Newark resident?

Drews: I have lived in Newark for 25 years. I have been an active volunteer in the City since 1995. My first contribution as a volunteer started with being the Administrative Coordinator for 5 years for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) when it first started. I have been a member of the Graffiti Abatement team for 8 years; Newark Rotarian since 2002 and President of the Rotary 2008-2009; I have also been active in the Newark Chamber of Commerce as an Ambassador and on the Board of Directors and the Executive Board; Member and on the Board for the Newark Library League; seasonal volunteer work for the Viola Blythe Community Service Center, for the League of Volunteers, Newark Education Foundation, Music in the Schools, Newark Day Judge for the Kids Parade.

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