Highland Park Borough Councilman Jon Erickson, 67 years old, died on Sunday, October 16, succumbing to the lung cancer that up until a week before his death never stopped him from carrying out his council responsibilities with an energetic commitment. A service of remembrance will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 1 p.m. at the Highland Park Senior Center, 220 South Sixth Avenue.
On council since 2002, Jon was a strong, steady, progressive voice that “focused on transparency and the effectiveness and efficiency of the governance process. His extensive expertise, but his deep knowledge of municipal government was an enormous asset to the borough,” said Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler.
As a council member, Jon chaired the Highland Park Borough’s Finance Committee and served on the town’s Capital Planning & Project Review. He also was the council representative to the Community Development Block Grant Committee and the Mayor’s Digital Data Task Force. Jon was also crucial in the development of the municipality’s Park Partners Grant Program, which rewarded citizen innovation with seed money to turn ideas into action.
He held a bachelor of arts in Urban Planning from the University of Oregon and a PhD in Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers. Born in Seattle and raised primarily on the Oregon coast, he came to New Jersey to go Rutgers – and stayed. He held a variety of planning and economic analyst positions in Oregon and New Jersey including stints at the New Jersey State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy Commission, the Public Advocate, New Jersey Future, and the Department of Environmental Protection.
Despite his illness, he continued to serve as an associate professor at Kean University, where he taught teaching courses in environmental management, urban planning, collective bargaining and public policy. While at Kean, he conducted research on homelessness, fiscal stress, state and regional planning, economic and fiscal impact analysis, racial segregation, and financial management.
A formal obituary will be forthcoming.