FANWOOD — Mayor Colleen Mahr and the borough council saluted Tom Kranz on Monday night for his many years of service, including as a member of the council and, most recently, public information officer.
Calling him “a man about town” and a “wonderful writer” who has “served this community in so many different positions and for so long — both seen and unseen,” the mayor presented Mr. Kranz, who has served as public information officer since March 2021 and is retiring at the end of this year, with a proclamation honoring his 25 years of community involvement, including two terms on the council and his ongoing service with the rescue squad. He “served really well” as public information officer, the mayor said. But “the time has come for people who work really hard all their lives to take some time for themselves — and that’s what Tom is going to do now.”
Mayor Mahr praised Mr. Kranz for “putting Fanwood’s information out there really fast.” She said that, in a small town, “I can tell you how important it is to get our news out there,” adding that, “we tend to get crowded out at times” by bigger towns.
Mr. Kranz, who moved from Philadelphia to Fanwood 30 years ago, thanked the mayor and council and municipal staff for their support and said that it has been a “privilege to serve this town for 25 years.” He will be replaced as public information officer by Paul Peyton, who Mr. Kranz called “a lifelong journalist” who worked for many years at the former Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times (now Union County HAWK) and The Westfield Leader. “He knows the geography,” Mr. Kranz said, “and will be a great asset.”
In other business at its final meeting of the year, the council approved a resolution designating the library as a book sanctuary. During the governing body’s agenda meeting two weeks ago, Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell said that, “people not having access to all types of literature is bad.” Book bans, as have happened in other states, “lead us down the wrong road,” she added. Mayor Mahr said at that December 4 meeting that book bans “restrict thought.” She said the booksanctuary designation will ensure that the Fanwood Library is a place “where everyone can read books that have been banned elsewhere.”
Other libraries in the area, including Westfield, Maplewood and South Orange, have made similar designa-tions. At this week’s meeting, Ann Minski, president of the library’s board of trustees, said the book-sanctuary designation “is an important thing for us” and will allow the library to “serve all of the members of Fanwood with the literature they would like to read.”
Mayor Mahr spoke for several minutes as she wrapped up her fifth term at the helm and prepared to be sworn in for a sixth term next month. She said, “the year ahead will be a busy one for us,” pointing to the coming budget discussions, the completion of the new library by late spring and conversations about the board of education’s planned referendum on a bond ordinance next September that would finance a variety of items related to the increase in the student population and classroom space constraints. “It’s been a privilege to be the mayor of a really great town,” she said.
The governing body’s reorganization meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 3. Besides the mayor’s swearing-in, Councilmen Jeffrey Banks and Anthony Carter will be sworn in to new, three-year terms at that meeting.