Township Committee Welcomes Kamran Quraishi, Madrid Approved as Mayor after Conforti Steps Down
The New Montgomery Township Committee. From left: Kamran Quraishi (R) (appointed in August to fill a vacant seat on the committee), Sadaf Jaffer (D), Mayor Christine Madrid (R), Duputy Mayor Patricia Graham (R), and Ed Trzaska (R).
The Montgomery Township Committee went through a quarter three realignment at its meeting on August 16, as it designated the town’s new mayor and deputy mayor for the rest of the year and welcomed its newest member.
Official steps were necessary after Mark Conforti, longtime volunteer and mayor for 2018 in Montgomery, announced on August 2 he was stepping down and leaving the state to live in Florida with his children and grandchildren.
Christine Madrid, who was appointed as the township’s deputy mayor in January, was approved as the mayor for the remainder of 2018, Madrid was previously mayor of Montgomery in 2015, when she was re-elected to her current three-year term. She will be running again this November along with the new Committeeman Kamran Quraishi, who fills the Republican seat vacated since the resignation of Mayor Mark Conforti.
“I look forward to serving as mayor for the rest of 2018, and we welcome Kamran to the township committee team. We will continue to protect and enhance our exceptional quality of life in town and make our fellow residents proud,” Madrid said.
Meanwhile Committeewoman Patricia Graham was approved as the township’s deputy mayor to fill Madrid’s previous position. Graham was mayor of Montgomery in 2016, when she was re-elected to the committee.
Minutes before Madrid was sworn in as the mayor on August 16, she announced that along with Quraishi two other residents were nominated for the vacant seat on the committee: Planning Board Chairman David Cheskis (who unsuccessfully ran against Sadaf Jaffer for township committee last fall) and Richard Chang.
Quraishi is a longtime Pike Run neighbor of Committeeman Ed Trzaska, who served as mayor of Montgomery in 2017, and a 19-year resident of the township. He is a member of the township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment but to be a committeeman he must resign from that position.
Quraishi is a graduate of Karachi University in Sindh, Pakistan with a bachelor’s degree in business. He has worked in IT for nearly three decades and has experience with large firms in leadership roles with systems validation, testing and in quality assurance, among other areas. He believes there’s room to incorporate more software and technology into new township projects, including the recently-presented plans for the new municipal complex at the former ConvaTec site.
Quraishi’s wife and older son could not attend on August 16, but his younger son Ryan and several friends, including neighbor Bobby Krishnan, came to the meeting for his swearing-in by former mayor and Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire.
In an interview with The News just after the meeting, Quraishi explained the turn of events that led him to seek more of an opportunity to become proactively involved in township affairs. He was the victim of a bias incident as earlier in the year, in front of his Pike Run home, a piece of pork roll was thrown on his vehicle’s windshield (Quraishi is a Muslim).
“Earlier this year, my family and I experienced a bias incident at our house. While it was deeply unsettling, the comforting, supportive, and positive response from my neighbors, police, and our local elected officials was nothing short of remarkable,” he said.
The township committee discussed the issue at meetings and passed an anti-bias resolution this spring. Later, Quraishi sat down with Mayor Mark Conforti and had a discussion on what ways he could assist the committee and township officials, and how best to move forward from the incident. With Conforti’s unanticipated resignation the opening for his committee seat presented a new option.
“The mayor (Conforti) reached out to me and I told him I would like to be more involved. He guided me in the last few months. I am humbled and honored that my new colleagues on the governing body and the Montgomery Republican team have given me the opportunity to serve on township committee. I will do my best to make our town an even better place to live, work and raise a family by keeping taxes low, our neighborhoods safe, and our community a welcoming place for all,” Quraishi said.
He believes the current committee has done a great job of keeping municipal taxes low, as 19 to 20 years ago he recalls taxes going up a few hundred dollars every year. While keeping taxes from going up is a top priority, the newest committeeman looks ahead for November’s election and long-term plans for Montgomery.
“It is a pleasure to be running for a full 3-year term on the committee, along with Mayor Christine Madrid. Christine and I are excited to bring forth new ideas that build upon our team’s core governing principles - doing more with less, protecting public health and safety services, and preserving open space and our rural character,” he said.
The August 16 appointment of Quraishi and the positions of mayor and deputy mayor for the committee were approved with no opposing votes, however Committeewoman Jaffer, a Democrat, abstained from voting on each of those items.