Township Council Minutes
February 10, 2004
The Regular Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance.
MOMENT OF REFLECTION in recognition of the men and women fighting terrorism and those who have lost their lives defending the freedom we all enjoy
Open Public Meetings Law Announcement
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow, Mr. Elms, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Guenther
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor DeLaRoche; William Ruggierio, (Business Administrator Designee); Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk; Sherry Jenkins, CFO; John Dorsey and Peter King Township Attorneys.
President Rattner: Before I open up the public portion I want to move up the legal reports because we got good news today at about 3:00 pm and Mr. Dorsey, do you want to give us the news?
Mr. Dorsey: I am pleased to say that the Interverse Enterprise lawsuit against the Township challenging the RRAA zone in a total different area, it was challenged in where Mt. Olive Complex owned 1,200 acres. We were totally sustained today. It was a very interesting opinion. We are going to get a tape of that opinion for you. Essentially, every action that the Township has taken over a long period of time, such as, participating in the farmland preservation program, in participating in the acquisition of what now is almost 1,500 acres over the last five years, went into the Courts ultimate determination that the Smith Farm tract which is 100 acres without any environmental concerns such as wetlands, stream encroachment, rivers, or anything of that nature should have applied to it the RRAA and of course that decision is terribly important in connection with our condemnation case to acquire that tract for which we have an outstanding grant from the County for $500,000. So it was a good victory today and I appreciate everybody’s support. Lisa faxed me two or three times, a whole lot of documents I needed and Chuck McGroarty and Frank Banish, our planners, did a fine job.
President Rattner: Thank you very much. (applause).
Earl Spino, Flanders-Netcong Rd.: I am here as a citizen to congratulate the Township and John Dorsey in this decision – winning event. This is just another case that he has won that everyone said he wouldn’t win. It was done for the betterment of the Township and I am sure the Town will be better off and I urge the Council to continue with Mr. Dorsey as Town Attorney because he’s won cases that people have said he wouldn’t win. Put your personal philosophy aside because I know that there are probably going to be people who come up after me either now or at the end, I probably won’t be here at the end who are going to tell you why they personally might not want Mr. Dorsey at the Township Counsel but if you are going to do, and you are all sworn to do the best for the town, then I think the best you can do is have the best possible attorney and that is John H. Dorsey. The other thing that I would like to talk about before I go is the fact that these are your personnel people and not the Mayor’s. I think that was a very unfortunate statement. I think they are all professionals. They all do their job the best they can. They may not do it the way you want them to do it but they are professionals. I think if they were given the budget and told what was wanted of them, they would have done that to the best of their ability. We have a budget now that’s not 16 points above where it should be and you don’t have to start from the beginning. You might be able to start even. I just think that it was an unfortunate statement that the Mayor made. He continues to say that there they are YOUR people. They are not your people. They are the Township’s employees. They are his employees until he changes them.
President Rattner: Thank you Mr. Spino, any one else for the public?
Questions on Bill List?
Mr. Perkins: This is relatively simple, Mr. President. Just looking at Page 6, there is an item on there for a signature stamp which I would assume was the original signature stamp, the rubber stamp that was ordered for me when I thought I was going to be council president and I would ask that the Township seek reimbursement from me directly for $35.95 to pay for that rubber stamp since it is not the taxpayer’s responsibility.
Mrs. Lashway: I was just going to keep to use in the future or use any time that you dictate a memo. I’m starting to collect signature stamps. It will be used. Unless you want to…
Mr. Perkins: I’d feel better reimbursing.
Mr. Elms: I had a question on Page 18 under the recreation trust, Enzo’s Pizzeria to cater a management course? Is that something we should be charging to the recreation trust?
President Rattner: Why you are asking now is so that they can go back, look at the voucher, see if they can come up with an answer by the time we get to the bill list. I do believe that the administration did ask that we try earlier. If you can get in and look at your bill list and give them a little time, it’s only fair. To expect them to know every single detail, we expect to have it readily available but if they get it earlier in the day or the day before, optimally, that would be better so we can complete answers. She should find it by the time we get to the bill list. If not, we’ll have to get back to you after the fact.
Mr. Buell: I had several questions and the responses I got back from the administration was that Jim Lynch was to respond. Is this the appropriate time for Jim to respond?
President Rattner: We can do it when we actually do the bill list. This gives them a little time to think about it -- for people who didn’t. Hopefully they have most of those. I know I only had two questions which were given to me prior to the meeting. If there is no one else, we’ll move on to approval of the Minutes from previous meetings.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS
November 25, 2003 Present: Mr. Scapicchio Mr. Spino, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins,
Mr. Guenther, Mr. Rattner
Absent: Mrs. Miller
December 23, 2003 Present: Mr. Scapicchio, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins,
Absent: President Guenther Mr. Spino, Mrs. Miller
Mr. Guenther moved for approval of the Minutes and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
Mrs. Labow: Can I ask a question about the Minutes? If you read them, can you still approve them? Or do you actually have to be at the meeting?
President Rattner: Mr. Dorsey, if you actually listen to tapes, you can actually vote on the Minutes?
Mr. Dorsey: Yes, you can do that. Normally council people do not vote for the Minutes unless they were present but if you listen to the tapes, then you can vote.
ROLL CALL: Passed
Mr. Elms abstained on all
Mr. Guenther abstained on December 23, 2003
Letters from Mt. Olive Sports Organizations
1. Letter received from the Mt. Olive High School Cheerleaders regarding donations towards their squad.
Resolutions, Ordinances, Correspondence from other Municipalities
2. Resolution received January 23, 2004 from the Borough of Wharton Indicating Support for Financial Reinstatement of the Regional Efficiency Aid Program. (REAP)
3. Resolution received January 23, 2004 from the Borough of Wharton Calling for Rescission of Specially Adopted New Rules N.J.A.C 5:75A, Fire Service Resource Emergency Deployment.
4. Resolution received January 23, 2004 from Washington Township Amending Chapter 217 Zoning, and Chapter 175 Subdivision of Land of the Code of the Township to Establish the Village Age Restricted Housing Overlay Zone and to Rezone Certain Properties from the OR/I Zone District to the Village Age Restricted Housing Overlay Zone.
5. Resolution received January 23, 2004 from Allamuchy Township Regarding the Principal Permitted Uses in the “OR” Zoning District and a New Section 601K. Governing “Age Restricted Residential Developments as Conditional Uses in the “OR” District.
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
6. Letter received January 20, 2004 from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Regarding Digital Driver’s License.
New Jersey State League of Municipalities
7. Letter received January 20, 2004 from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding a League Labor Relations Seminar on February 26, 2004.
8. Letter received January 20, 2004 from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding a League Labor Relations Seminar on March 23, 2004.
9. E-Letter received January 23, 2004 from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Public Laws of 2003.
10. Letter received January 26, 2004 from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding a dinner to be held for League members on February 18, 2004.
11. Letter received January 29, 2004 from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding a League Seminar to be held on March 11, 2004.
12. Notice received February 6, 2004 from Jacoby & Meyers regarding Ersilia L. Caberson, vs. Mt. Olive Township, Greenleaf Motor Express, Inc. and Michael M. Hunt, John Doe and Jane Doe; order to file a late notice of claim.
County of Morris
13. Notice received from the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Morris Conducting a Seminar on February 25, 2004 regarding multiple projects.
Letters from Legislative Representatives
14. E-newsletter update received January 21, 2004 from Congressman Frelinghuysen.
15. Email received February 4, 2004 from GovConnect News regarding the posting of important information regarding Smart Growth Initiatives.
16. Letter received January 20, 2004 from the Department of Environmental Protection Granting a Stream Encroachment Permit to Deer Field / Rezamir Estates.
17. Letter received January 26, 2004 from the Department of Environmental Protection regarding a summary sheet outlining the application process and timelines for both the new Municipal Permit Requirements while maintaining the Clean Water Protections and goals of the new rules.
18. Letter received January 27, 2004 regarding an application from the County of Morris for a General Freshwater Wetlands Permit and a Minor Stream Encroachment Permit Due to the construction activity within the 100 year Flood Plan. (replacement of Bridge No. 1103, Manor House Road Bridge over South Branch Raritan River).
19. Letter received January 28, 2004 regarding terms for the application from the County of Morris for a General Freshwater Wetlands Permit and a Minor Stream Encroachment Permit (replacement of Bridge No. 1103, Manor House Road Bridge over South Branch Raritan River).
20. Letter received January 23, 2004 from Chester, Ploussas, Lisowsky Partnership, LLP regarding the Sewer Extension Application for Woodfield at Mount Olive, Section IIIA, Mount Olive New Jersey.
21. Letter received January 23, 2004 from Chester, Ploussas, Lisowsky Partnership, LLP regarding the Sewer Extension Application for Woodfield at Mount Olive, Section IIIB, Mount Olive New Jersey.
22. Letter received January 23, 2004 from Chester, Ploussas, Lisowsky Partnership, LLP regarding the Sewer Extension Application for Woodfield at Mount Olive, Section IIIC, Mount Olive New Jersey.
23. Letter received January 26, 2004 from Comcast regarding updated digital programming.
24. Letter received January 30, 2004 from the State of New Jersey, Division of the Ratepayer Advocate regarding the Application of Mt. Olive Villages Water and Sewer Company, Inc. for the approval of an Amendment (Library).
25. Letter received February 5, 2004 from the State of New Jersey, Division of the Ratepayer Advocate regarding the Application of Mt. Olive Villages Water Company, Inc. for the approval of an Amendment (Library).
26. Letter received February 5, 2004 from the State of New Jersey, Division of the Ratepayer Advocate regarding the Application of Mt. Olive Villages Sewer Company, Inc. for the approval of an Amendment (Library).
27. Invitation received January 29, 2004 for the 1st Annual Food Tasting to Benefit “Safety Town” on February 9, 2004 at the Skylands in Randolph.
President Rattner: We have 27 items of Correspondence. Does anybody have any questions?
Mr. Elms: Item 12. I read the package that was given to us. Apparently this person is now filing for a late notice of claim on accident on Route 206 because the traffic light wasn’t working, they are going to sue Mount Olive Township? Isn’t that the State’s responsibility, John?
Mr. Dorsey: That was the one from Jacoby & Meyers. If this is on Route 206, that is a state highway but generally we would not expect Jacoby & Meyers to know that so they simply sue everybody.
Mr. Elms: Well they didn’t sue the state.
Mr. Dorsey: I’m being facetious but obviously they don’t know that it is a state road and obviously the state has jurisdiction and not the township unless there is some unusual circumstance that we don’t know about.
Mr. Greenbaum: Perhaps we should write to the lawyer for the plaintiff and indicate that they’ve committed malpractice after the motion is denied by the law division.
ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING
Ord. #1-2004 Bond Ordinance Providing for Improvements to the Water Utility in and by the Township of Mount Olive, in the County of Morris, New Jersey, Appropriating $151,000 Therefore and Authorizing the Issuance of $151,000 Bonds or Notes of the Township for Financing the Cost Thereof. (installation of meter pits)
President Rattner opened the hearing to the public on Ord. #1-2004.
President Rattner closed the public hearing.
Mrs. Labow moved for approval of Ord. #1-2004 and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
Mr. Perkins: Mr. Mayor, last time we discussed this ordinance, we talked about the possibility of including
the balance of the non-metered accounts in the Goldmine section. Do you have a status on that? Or is it just
to meter up everything but that? Mr. DiGennaro had given his report that until the Toll Brothers’ facility was
done, that he was skeptical to put meter pits up in the Goldmine section. I had asked him, through your
office, to take a look at that – at the possibility of getting them in because you are looking at a few years
down the road and at least we’d be able to meter that area. This is the same amount of money so I’m
assuming that we haven’t moved any further forward?
Mayor De La Roche: No, we haven’t.
Mr. Perkins: Thank you.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner declared Ord. #1-2004 as passed on second reading and directed the Clerk to forward a
copy to the Mayor and publish the notice of adoption as required by law.
ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING
Ord. #2-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Requiring the Posting of Informational Signage Relative to Development.
Mr. Buell moved that Ord. #2-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a meeting be
held on March 16, 2004, at 7:30 at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive,
NJ, for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and the Clerk be
directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of law. Mr.
Guenther seconded the motion.
Mrs. Labow: I have a question on the last page, section 7, “violation of this ordinance” yadayadayada,
down at the very last line it says, “fined up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail.” Is there a time limit? Do they have
so many days to comply? Is it $1,000 a day?
Mr. King: If I can answer, that is from statute by statute, a municipal ordinance can be up to those limits.
Those are the maximum limits that the judge could sentence someone to.
Mrs. Labow: So it’s not a per diem fine? It’s just for one offense.
Mr. King: Actually, it can be per diem. It’s per day so if someone did not put a sign out and they were told
by the zoning officer to have a sign, the zoning officer could say it’s per day. So each day that there is a
continued violation, you could have up to $1,000.
President Rattner: It’s like a parking ticket. If you park illegally on the wrong side of the road, the next day
they give you another ticket.
Mrs. Labow: Should we have a timeframe in this, or no?
Mr. Greenbaum: Each day is a separate violation.
Mrs. Labow: I didn’t see where it says that in here that it’s for each day.
Mr. Greenbaum: Every time the violation is issued, it becomes a new violation.
Mr. Elms: First you put them in jail for 30 days and then you fine him $1,000 a day that he is in jail.
Mr. Greenbaum: Did you know that you can go to jail for speeding? It’s in the statute.
Mrs. Labow: So we don’t have to actually specify how many days he has to comply.
Mr. King: It’s up to the judge.
President Rattner: If you think it’s too hard, you go to court and plead mercy and say it wasn’t too bad.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
Ord.#5-2004 An Ordinance of the Township Establishing Fees and Rates for Off-Duty Police Officers.
Mr. Guenther moved that Ord. #5-2004 be introduced by title and passed on first reading and that a
meeting be held on March 16, 2004, at 7:30 at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road,
Mount Olive, NJ, for public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said ordinance and the
Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said ordinance in accordance with the requirements of
law. Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA:
Resolutions on the Consent Agenda List are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Township Council and will be approved by one motion (one vote). There will be no separate discussion or debate on each of these resolutions except for the possibility of brief clarifying statements that may be offered. If one or more Council member requests, any individual resolution on the Consent Agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.
1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Use of Various Purchasing Contracts.
2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Contract with Morris Land Conservancy 2004.
3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Supporting “National Bone and Joint Decade 2002-2011.”
4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing a Reduction in Performance Guarantees Posted by Millbrook Estates (Dara/Hovnanian – Rt. 206).
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer’s Agreement (Preliminary Major Subdivision and Site Plan Approval) Between the Township and Woodfield at Mount Olive in Connection with Section III-C.
6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Re-execution of an Agreement Between the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, Trust for Public Land and the Township of Mount Olive.
7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Appointing ___________ as Acting Chief Financial Officer and Authorizing a Professional Services Contract to Him for Such Services.
President Rattner: Number 7 will be removed since we have not resolved that issue to our satisfaction yet. Are there any other resolutions on there, 1 through 6, that anybody would like to have taken off and discussed separately?
Mr. Guenther: No. 5.
Mrs. Labow moved for approval of Resolutions 1-4 and 6 and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
RESOLUTIONS NON CONSENT
5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Execution of a Developer’s Agreement (Preliminary Major Subdivision and Site Plan Approval) Between the Township and Woodfield at Mount Olive in Connection with Section III-C.
Mr. Guenther: My issue with this was the same as with that before when we are dealing with any particular land, I do not see a map. The map that was in there delineated prior sections. I’m very visual. I need to see something to see exactly what areas that they are developing.
President Rattner: Are you saying that it is the wrong map that was attached?
Mr. Guenther: I believe so from what I could figure. From what I know of that development, that map was either Section I or Section II.
Mrs. Lashway: What I gave to you was the tax map that I have available to me. Until this is signed and filed, that subdivision won’t be reflected on a tax map.
Mr. Guenther: They have those maps in the planning department that delineate the different sections. Those should be attached to anything we consider.
Mrs. Lashway: So you want a copy of the planning board site plan map attached to the developer’s agreement?
Mr. Guenther: So I can see what it is that we are talking about.
Mrs. Lashway: Okay.
President Rattner: One thing on this, the Clerk will try her best but if we find it, any time before Tuesday at 3 o’clock so if you notice that the map isn’t there.
Mr. Guenther: I understand. I’m late on this. I just wanted to comment that in the future, I would like to see it. I’m talking about when they come in phases. The large developments are coming in with phases I, II, III, IV, V. That is going to happen with Morris Chase if it ever gets built.
Mrs. Lashway: So I’m going to be attaching the big site plan maps.
Mr. Guenther: I think they can find a way of reducing it. I’m sure they deal with that all the time in the planning department.
Mrs. Lashway: The map making machine in the planning department is really not working so any maps I’m having to make, I’m having to go off-site to make copies of.
Mr. Guenther: I think on a multi-section development, I think we should see what we are talking about, what we are approving. There’s got to be a way that we can do this. I’m sure for other meetings that they’ve had, considering all of the approvals, they’ve done some reductions of those maps.
Mrs. Labow: Can I make a suggestion, that they have the huge maps that they bring in that we can put on a board and we can all look at it so we don’t have to go through the copying?
Mr. Elms: There’s an engineering copier in the budget.
Mrs. Lashway: Which may not come until July or August.
President Rattner: It may not even get approved.
Mr. Elms: I just thought I’d mention it.
Mrs. Lashway: I’ll do the best I can.
President Rattner: What’s your pleasure, Mr. Guenther? Do you want to hold this up?
Mr. Guenther: No, I’m not going to hold it up. I just wanted to make a comment.
President Rattner: Do you want to move it?
Mr. Guenther moved for approval of Resolution No. 5 and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
President Rattner: Seeing no one from the public, I’ll close the public portion.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
Resolution to Introduce the 2004 Budget.
Resolution to Introduce the 2004 Sanitation Budget.
President Rattner: Next, I think we’ve talked this to death, I don’t think we need anything else, it’s the Introduction of the Budget. Today is the statutory date. It is the introduction. This is the starting point, at least the starting point for the Council, and we are planning, again, on having a public hearing on Saturday, the 21st, hopefully. We’ll be able to get most of the departments that we feel are necessary to answer the questions. The ones that can’t make it, we’ll schedule it during the workshop because we are not going to try the extended time of four or six weeks like we’ve done before.
Mrs. Labow: Don’t we have to vote on No. 7?
President Rattner: We removed it. Thank you. With that, can I get a motion to Introduce the 2004 Municipal Budget.
Mr. Buell: I think that we now need to introduce the recreation trust fund budget into this document before we introduce it, don’t we?
President Rattner: Why? We are going to be making a lot of different changes. This is just to make the statutory date. Then we are going to go, after we get the budget the way we like with all the cuts, we have to send it down to Trenton, set up a public hearing, wait until they okay it and then we’ll have the public hearing and approval. At that time, we’ve working the schedule. Mr. Ruggierio, even prior to his starting in his official capacity as the business administrator, will be attending budget hearings, which I think is very important that he is up to speed, hear the same questions and the same stories from the departments as we do.
Mr. Elms moved NOT to Introduce the 2004 Budget. No one seconded the motion.
President Rattner: It dies due to the lack of a second to the motion.
Mr. Guenther moved to Introduce the 2004 Budget & Solid Waste Budget and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
Mrs. Labow: I have a question. This is just a meeting the date thing. It doesn’t mean anything else. It’s meeting a date required by law.
Mr. Perkins: You still have to come on Saturday at 9 o’clock.
President Rattner: And read through that big book. You are going to be tested. Not this Saturday, the 21st.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously with the exception, Mr. Elms voted No
Mrs. Labow: If we didn’t introduce it, could we still have budget hearings?
President Rattner: Until the state gives you a letter, you don’t have to worry. Just like if we didn’t get the budget on the 15th, it’s not the end of the world.
1. Approval of Raffle Application #2019 for WMC (West Morris Central) Ice Hockey Booster Club, Inc.; Amendment to Bingo License #2013 for K of C Council 6100 Fr. Joseph A. Cassidy Council; and Raffle Application #2020 & 2021 for Chester M. Stephens School Community Assn.
Mr. Greenbaum moved for approval of the Raffle Applications and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
Mr. Guenther: Why is West Morris Central applying to us for a raffle application.
Mr. Greenbaum: Because it’s happening in our town.
Mrs. Lashway: You apply for the license in the municipality where you are holding the drawing and they are having their event at Flanders Valley Farms.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
2. Bill List.
Mr. Elms moved for approval of the Bill List and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion.
Mr. Buell: Three of them relate to Jim Lynch to respond. One is the service contract for Avaya Pitney Bowes. What are those services? That is question one. Question five is, I saw the invoice for the long distance calls and wanted to know where they were and number twelve, fuel for police vehicles. Why a separate charge?
Mr. Lynch: Question number one, Avaya does the service on our telephone systems. They are our maintenance contract for software for some of the digital ports and circuitry circuit packs system. Also some of the newer handsets. We did a telephone upgrade last year. All that is rolled in and it’s a monthly expense. That’s for support and service. The Pitney Bowes’ check is a quarterly bill. The postage system that we have in the building is leased. We pay for that quarterly. That also includes the scale that goes with the unit out at the receptionist desk and that’s where larger units that don’t go through the machine can properly have postage put on them. The next question is number five, Mr. Buell? Check 0323, I believe that is for ACC Business. The first page of that bill is the invoice. That is a bulk phone bill. What it does is it consolidates all the call listings. I was a little unsure of your questions so if you would like more explanation of how the charges are listed in that bill, I’d be glad to research that and talk to you about it.
Mr. Buell: I would. Yes.
Mr. Lynch: If we could sit down and talk about that, I really didn’t have an opportunity to go through the entire bill today. What was the next question?
Mr. Buell: Number 8, Federal Express/UPS charges, where are the controls on Federal Express and UPS?
Mr. Lynch: Federal Express and UPS are used by a variety of departments in the building for express shipment documents. I’m not exactly sure of what controls are on that system. I know our zoning department uses certified letters through the postal service. We do bulk mailings. Our regular mailings, tax bills all go through the postal service. As far as Federal Express and UPS, those shipments are done, I’m assuming and maybe Sherry can help me with this, for documents of high priority. That’s done on a supervisor’s basis in each department. I do review those bills and those bills have been customary to the township since I came on board.
Mr. Buell: But as far as you know, there is no one that reviewed and looked at this recently in terms of whether or not we are using these over night expresses for priority items.
Mr. Lynch: No, I haven’t reviewed it. It’s the hands of the supervisor by department.
President Rattner: Mrs. Jenkins, why don’t you explain how they get reimbursed because it goes through about four sets of eyes before any voucher gets paid so if anybody used Federal Express, the department has to sign, the department that received the material, then it goes to your office and then to the business administrator’s office. So they all have to look at it, right?
Mrs. Jenkins: Yes, exactly.
President Rattner: We have different things that have to be Federal Expressed. There are enough people looking at it. What would be interesting if you want to see what is happening, if you take a period of time, ask to go down the vendor list and see how many there are and see if they make sense, what was being sent. It’s probably the right way to do it.
Mr. Buell: There’s a theme to all of my questions. One of my questions that Jim is going to respond to, I’m sure, two of them, we’ve got fax lines. We are paying $800-$900 a month for. I wonder why we have fax lines, why they cost us that much per month. I have a question in terms of, I saw a large number of Verizon wireless bills throughout this whole thing. I have some real questions at this point in time whether or not we have a lot of telephones out there that we may or may not need and whether anyone is looking at this, the overall control of a lot of issues and a lot of things, for instance, long distance telephone calls. I’ve been dealing with Jim going back and forth, but we have no control on our telephone calls, long distance calls out of this building. It’s going to cost us about $6,000-$7,000 to buy this software just to sort so we can check, I think, I’ve got to talk to Jim about this at some point in time but we have no controls on this and I’m concerned about a lot of areas where I see that we do not have the appropriate amount of controls and another area is the fuel depot in the back. We just need to put more controls particularly in a very lean budget year. I’ve just got a sneaky suspicion that over the years we have lost control of a lot of expenses in this building. I think that is the overall theme of a lot of the questions I’m asking.
President Rattner: I’m just saying that the process does have at least four sets of eyes on almost every bill.
Mr. Buell: Number 12.
Mr. Lynch: Check 45371, that bill I believe was for $17 and change for Mt. Olive Exxon. In the event that there is a failure with our municipal fuel depot, Mt. Olive Exxon is the default site for municipal vehicles to get fuel. When that happens, we simply take a statement from them and we process it for payment. The night in question, I think that occurred on December 23rd, I believe we did have a situation where the filter clogged on our system.
President Rattner: Just a follow up on that, who files the tax refund form to make sure we get the refund because governments don’t pay the highway federal taxes which is now pretty close to about 30% and there is a process that you go through. That wasn’t the only one, you found one for $17 or $20 and there was one for $100.
Mr. Buell: Actually there was one for $17 and one for $130.
President Rattner: That’s why when you see a bill, we pay about $1.08 a gallon because we don’t pay taxes and obviously the $17, I don’t know if it is worth the paperwork but if you go through a process you may be able to accumulate over the course of six months and then put them all in together and have maybe $.30-$.40 a gallon, it comes to a lot of money. That is just something to look at. I just thought about it now.
Mr. Greenbaum: You can save enough to buy another digital camera.
President Rattner: I bet you that there aren’t going to be any digital cameras that are being purchased.
Mr. Buell: Number 13.
Mr. Lynch: Number 13, I did go around and I have verified facsimile lines in the building. There are 13 fax machines in the building, portions of the building are required to have their own fax machine – the Clerk’s office for confidentiality that they can receive on as well as Administration. The Police Department has four machines that they receive on. The Health Department has a machine that under the new HIPA guidelines they are required to have that machine closed to public view and they have to shut it off at night. There are other departments in the building, Planning and Zoning and DPW utilize two machines. The Building Department because of the volume of information that they receive. It was explained that they have a machine in their area. I can give to you a further breakdown and tell you exactly where all of them are. That bill is a bundled bill. In that large $800 bill, there are fax lines bundled in there as well as some phone lines for the building. Certain phone lines, when we did the phone change over and went to a more stream lined billing system, ACC Business and Bridgecom, certain lines didn’t get changed over because they are tied to parts of this building, whether it be the 911 system or there are parts of our phone system that are tied to alarm lines for water and sewer for pump stations that we did not change over expressly for having that direct link to Verizon. We can always break the bill out further for you but that’s, in the short time today, that’s the answer I have for you.
Mr. Buell: That’s fine.
President Rattner: Jim, one of the things when we go over the budget, one of the things we’ve been doing for years, is actually looking at the expenses by some of these vendors for these machines for the whole year, looking at how much it is because when you accumulate, especially different departments, then when we go over the budget, that is the appropriate time to start asking if we really need it and does it make sense to cut it out. I think we just heard, some things we just can’t based on confidentiality and security type reasons. It’s just real easy. The Mayor doesn’t want his mail coming in on the Council’s fax machine and we don’t want ours going in there.
Mr. Lynch: I’m sure there can be an audit done to see if there is ability to consolidate. I should add, some of the phone lines that are associated with the bill that Mr. Buell questioned are dial up lines for the police department for information that is put over an internet system for bulletins as far as child welfare updates. I forget the exact terminologies. I can provide that to you but there were a couple of lines in that bill associated with the police department that have to, as I was told by one of the lieutenants, they do have to remain intact.
Mr. Buell: And the wireless phones?
Mr. Lynch: This was the portion that took me the longest which is why you didn’t get a response before the
meeting tonight. I did audit all the phones that I could find. I believe it to be thorough. What I did, you’ll be
getting an itemized list of who has Nextel phones in the building and who has Verizon phones and who has
pagers. The way it broke down, mostly DPW utilize Nextel because of the two way radio communication
process and Water & Sewer and Buildings & Grounds in specific, all employees have Nextel for
communication purposes due to the nature of the work they are involved in. They are singular in number so
with mowers and pump stations and the gases they deal with and chemicals, that seems to be where we have
most of our Nextel. There are 31 currently in operation that the town pays for. Some of those are associated
with OEM, some with the Fire Marshall and that’s a hands capability to talk to the fire departments that also
support their own Nextel bill. There are four active pagers and there are 26 cellular phones that fall under
Verizon bills within the building and those are more in the departments of tax assessor, more or less of the field
enforcement and the office staff. I’ll be forwarding that to you with the names of the employees and the
departments where those phones belong.
Mr. Greenbaum: Were you able to identify that all of the phones which are currently being used are being used
by current township employees? If there are phones that we are still paying for that are being used by people
who no longer work for the township?
Mr. Lynch: There are no phones being used by people that are no longer employed by Mount Olive Township.
There was a phone for the planning position and administration is checking into that phone. I believe it has been
turned off and that bill was terminated when Mr. McGroarty left at the end of December. Then there was a
phone that I believe Mayor Licitra held. I am not exactly sure of the status of that phone. The most current one
was Mark DiGennaro. That phone was turned in and has yet to be deactivated. Those are the three outstanding
phones. All of the phones are in active use by current township employees. I can tell you that some are rotated
when departments such as Court have an on call basis. So that not all employees carry phones. There is just one
phone and it is simply rotated. I send this to Council for everyone’s review.
Mr. Buell: Thank you very much Jim.
Mr. Elms: I had a question on page 18, we catered a management course from a pizzeria. I’m not questioning
the fact that we need to get those courses catered but is that a proper charge to the recreation trust?
Mrs. Daggon: On December 26th starting at 9 am the day after Christmas, I taught a lifeguard management course here. It was a Red Cross course. It went until 4 pm. Part of the course fee that we charge the ten people who attended the course included their lunch. That’s the bill for it.
Mr. Elms: Who was taking the course?
Mrs. Daggon: There were a number of our lifeguard staff and other people from the Red Cross who wanted to take that course. I’m an instructor for that course. They pay for it. We are just paying Enzo’s from the trust fund. They paid me $40 a person to take the course, it was $5 for the registration card, $15 for their book and then their lunch.
President Rattner: Is that proper use of the recreation trust fund?
Mr. Elms: And what was the fun bug for?
Mrs. Daggon: Fun bugs are for the water exercise program at the beach. They are steppers, like stair steppers.
Mrs. Labow: The fun bugs, that is not capital?
Mrs. Daggon: No, each item is a little less that $300 or about $325 and that is not capital.
President Rattner: The other one, I’m not sure what it was, I just noticed, they had it marked, it has Mt. Olive Library reimbursement for construction. I would expect that when we have anything for reimbursement, this was actually to the Library. They are not here, it wasn’t a minor amount. Do you know if we were just paying them back for some money they expended out of their funds?
Mrs. Jenkins: Exactly. That is exactly what it was. There was like 7 or 8 different things that they paid for that we are reimbursing them for.
ROLL CALL: Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: We don’t have any old business listed, do we?
Mr. Elms: I’d like to make a motion that we reopen the Mayor’s appointment of Garafalo & Pryor as Township Attorneys.
President Rattner: For what purpose?
Mr. Elms: So we can re-vote.
President Rattner: For what purpose? Do you think it is going to be different?
Mr. Elms: I don’t know.
Mrs. Labow: Can we do that? I second it.
President Rattner: Now that it’s seconded, now what? Take a vote.
Mr. Elms: Discussion or vote?
Mr. King: You can discuss and then vote and then a public portion.
Mr. Greenbaum: I have a point of order. I haven’t seen a…, I think it is totally out of order. I don’t believe the Mayor has resubmitted the name of Garafalo & Pryor prior to today. It’s not on the Agenda as an item which was up for discussion. There may have been other people who would have liked to have come and discussed this issue from the public, and I think it is wholly inappropriate at this time to discuss this issue and if in fact, the Mayor would like a re-vote, or Councilman Elms would like a re-vote on Garafalo & Pryor, it should be done through the proper channels, the Mayor should resubmit the name of Garafalo & Pryor so that it is on the Agenda so that all of the public has the right to comment on this particular issue if they so choose.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum made mention of a point of order. So I want to get an evaluation of the point of order.
Mr. King: It’s a resolution, it was thought of, it should have been placed on the Agenda so that the public could comment on it. So Mr. Greenbaum is right and I stand corrected.
Mr. Elms: I was criticized last year for asking why they had put two different items on the Old Business portion for reconsideration. One was the resolution about authorizing the Mayor to approve the thing for the sewer system for Toll Brothers. That was run through Old Business and there was another instance and I was told that as long as it had been discussed before that it was perfectly logical to bring it up again and bring it up for a vote.
Mr. King: It could be brought up on a vote if at the time of the first vote, it was maybe carried to the second time and that time was announced to the public that was there for the first time.
Mr. Elms: It was defeated twice.
Mr. King: I don’t know what you are speaking of.
Mr. Greenbaum: I’ll tell you how fundamentally flawed this motion is. Bob Elms, a Councilman, has made a motion with regard to the approval of an individual. It’s akin to me making a motion for approval of Dorsey & Fisher as the Township Attorney which clearly is not a Council appointment. It is a Mayoral appointment with qualification by the Council. Councilman Elms has overstepped his bounds by acting on behalf of the administration to get this pushed through. This is the Mayor who does not have a voice here, who cannot make a motion here. The Mayor can resubmit to Council during the appropriate timeframe to have Garafalo & Pryor voted on again, I would assume, if he can do that but this motion is procedurally defective.
Mr. Guenther: I think Mr. Elms is wrong. I was present last year. I don’t think there was every any item as Mr. Greenbaum rightly pointed out or Mr. King. It was something that was introduced for discussion. The first time it was ever voted on was under Old Business. That portion was strictly to bring up matters, and I’d be willing to go through the Minutes of the past public meetings and I think that will bear that out.
Mr. Elms: I think Bernie has a short memory because he was the one who counseled me that he could bring up anything under Old Business that had been discussed before.
Mr. Guenther: But not for a vote. Not for a vote.
Mr. Elms: I’m speaking. I let you finish. What I made a motion for was to vote for the advice and consent of the Mayor’s appointment. I didn’t say I was going to appoint them.
Mr. Guenther: Point of order! Point of order takes precedence, Mr. President. You cannot made a motion for the administration. You can’t make a motion that has not been proposed, plus, it has been voted on before. It’s not a matter of bringing it up again. It’s been voted on and it was voted down. I think Mr. Greenbaum is right and Mr. King is right that it needs to be reintroduced by the Mayor.
Mr. King: If I can, any Council person can make a motion but the substance of that motion would have no effect because, again, it is the Mayor’s appointment. Can you make the motion? Yes. Can we go through the process? Yes. But it would have no purpose.
President Rattner: If the Mayor wanted to resubmit a name, what would be the proper mechanism?
Mr. King: He should resubmit it to Council. Council President will draw up the Agenda. It would be place on the Agenda. It would then be submitted to the public. The public would be able to review it. Those that are interested in that issue would come here and it would then give them the opportunity to have public comment on it but could Mr. Elms make a motion? Yes, he could. If it was voted on, it would have no effect or bearing because it would be essentially improperly brought motion.
President Rattner: Okay, the Mayor is patiently waiting with his hand waving so I will recognize him for a short comment.
Mayor De La Roche: Just so the record is clear, I’ve never withdrawn that application, right. Obviously what was voted against was the confirmation of it, not the application itself.
President Rattner: Thank you, Mayor. Where do we go now?
Mr. King: If the Mayor wants to resubmit, I would suggest that the administration, as you do in preparation for the next meeting, is put it on the Agenda.
Mayor De La Roche: Well, there was a full discussion on this before and the only thing that was denied was the confirmation so I don’t know what further discussion would be necessary. So, this is Mr. Elms. I’m not getting involved. This is Mr. Elms.
President Rattner: Mayor, okay, I let you speak. I guess really, the issue comes up, is this now a separate action. The Mayor has made a pick. It was put on the Agenda. It was advertised. It was discussed. It was voted on and it was voted down at that time and it died. That really finishes it at that time. He has to actually resubmit through the proper channels and get it back on the Agenda and then when it has been duly advertised then we’ll have that time again.
Mr. King: That is correct.
President Rattner: And I’m going to take the attorney’s advice on that so what do we do with the motion that’s been, they made a motion and it was seconded so where do we go with that now? What’s the proper way of…
Mr. King: I would ask if he would like to withdraw that motion.
Mr. Elms: No.
Mr. King: Then take the vote.
Mr. Greenbaum: I’ve a motion to amend. I believe that the vote should be to appoint Dorsey & Fisher as Township Attorneys since it has no bearing effect at any way as it has been ruled and that is my motion to amend. Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
President Rattner asked for a ROLL CALL on the Amendment.
Unknown: Public Comment?
President Rattner: On the amendment, do we have to a public comment?
Mr. King: No.
President Rattner: We will when we get back so we know what we are voting on.
Mrs. Lashway: Roll Call on the amended motion?
President Rattner: The motion to amend the motion.
Mr. Elms: Point of order. His motion to amend is an appointment that is the Mayor’s appointment.
President Rattner: You are saying that the other motion is improper so we are just continuing, the other one doesn’t have any bearing because it doesn’t hold any substance.
Mr. Elms: Then why take a vote?
President Rattner: You forced it.
ROLL CALL: Mr. Buell – Abstain
Mrs. Labow – No
Mr. Elms – No
Mr. Guenther – Yes
Mr. Perkins – Yes
Mr. Greenbaum – Yes
Mr. Rattner – Yes
President Rattner opened it up to the public on the amended motion. The motion has been amended to approved John Dorsey as the Township Attorney.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: You know I’ve been coming here for 14 years but I think this is about the lowest point that I’ve seen this body come to. I don’t understand what is going on here. This body is Congress and you are the President. This town is governed the same as the federal government and it is the Council or legislative body’s responsibility to pass the laws and it is the Mayor, the executive branch of the government, to not set policy but to execute. That is what executive means – execute the policies that are prescribed by this body and there are a number of checks and balances that are set up at both the federal level and in our town. One of those checks and balances is advice and consent. It is the Mayor’s obligation to appoint an attorney. It is the Council’s obligation to review that appointment and decide whether it wants to agree or not agree. If the Council deems that it doesn’t want to agree, there is nothing the Mayor can do about it. It is completely out of place, in my belief, and Bob, you are a friend of mine, but it is out of place for a member of the legislative body to be proposing to that same body an appointment that is clearly the Mayor’s function to do. We have checks and balances. Nobody on this Council should be appointing who the attorney is. It is purely the Mayor’s responsibility and what makes this even more incredulous is the fact that Mr. King is put in the position tonight of having a conflict of interest. He really can’t rule fairly either way on this issue. I would suggest, Mr. Elms, that you withdraw your first motion and end this foolishness. Thank you.
Mr. Elms: I would like to answer you, Rich. My answer is that I did not make a motion to appoint. I made a motion to take a vote on advice and consent and that is the Council’s responsibility.
Mr. Bonte: But you made a motion…
President Rattner: We are not going to batter back and forth.
Mr. Bonte: I’ll address you, Steve. The motion then, basically, I have to agree with Mr. Greenbaum. The motion, in reality, can’t exist because there is no appointment recommendation from the Mayor to vote on. So I think we should just end this before we look even more ridiculous.
Mayor De La Roche: As I indicated before, I have never withdrawn the application for Garafalo & Pryor to be the Township Attorney so the only thing that is being discussed here is advice and consent and that is why it is being called for a re-vote. It’s possible that Council members may have changed their opinions but I guess we’ll never know because apparently this conflict of interest that Mr. Fisher or Mr. King is put into position has made a ruling and I’m not sure that he is in an appropriate position to make a ruling. Mr. Greenbaum does not represent this body, he is solely one member of the Council so I don’t know where you get the ruling from but that’s my personal opinion. I’ve never withdrawn the names of Garafalo & Pryor.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum is one voice of seven up here and his opinion counts just as much as the six other members that are up here and has the right to voice his opinion on any issue that comes before the board.
Earl Spino, Flanders-Netcong Road: I think Mayor Elms is usurping the public’s interest in this by having this done as not part of a written agenda but done at his own behest to appoint his former personal attorney to a position of considerable influence in the township. Secondly, the attorney that the Mayor has chosen is one that was involved in the very court case that we spoke about today early on and it was a loser and a loser in another large case against this town. The man represents developers. I don’t think I would want that. As a citizen I wouldn’t want an developer’s attorney representing this township. I think the Mayor does an injustice to all the council people by letting Mayor Elms make this resolution. It should be part of the Agenda…
Mayor De La Roche: I think you ought to correct him because we know very well that the rules indicate that there should be no insults coming from the floor and he is out of order and you should correct him Mr. President. You referred to him as Mayor Elms.
Mr. Spino: I apologize Mr. Elms but he made the appointment. He made the suggestion of having the vote. He made the suggestion of having the vote.
Mayor De La Roche: No he did not. He asked for a vote. He asked for a vote.
President Rattner: Mayor, this is the public portion.
Mr. Spino: He made the suggestion of having the vote without it being on the Agenda the way it should be done. You talk about ethics. I don’t think that is a very ethical thing to do.
Mayor De La Roche: Coming from you, that is amazing.
Mr. Spino: Thank you. Thank you very much. What did I ever do?
President Rattner: The insults are going the other way. Now, stop it. We are not here to insult the public. That’s just an inservice to everybody. Would anybody else from the public like to address the Council on this issue?
David Scapicchio, Flanders-Netcong Road (from the audience): Are we talking about the appointment of Dorsey & Fisher or Garafalo?
President Rattner: The motion has been modified. We are talking about the motion that Mr. Elms made that was then amended by a majority of the Council. That is what we are talking about right now.
Mr. Greenbaum: As far as I understand it, the original motion is dead. It has been amended to what is currently on the floor and that is what we are discussing. There has been up or down on it.
President Rattner: Mr. Elms, I’ll let you have the final comment.
Mr. Elms: In order to end this charade and circus I will withdraw my motion.
Mrs. Labow: Second.
Mr. Greenbaum: That is improper. The motion on the floor, Mr. Elm’s motion is dead. We voted on the amendment to the motion. The amended motion in on the floor. It is my motion which is on the floor and I will withdraw my motion if the second to my motion also withdraws their second.
Mr. Guenther: I guess I seconded it. I’ll withdraw.
President Rattner: Okay, we backed out of that one. Any other old business? Any new business. Can you wait for you comments? We’ll get any other comments later if you have other comments.
Mayor De La Roche: No, it’s new business. Isn’t that what you just asked?
President Rattner: You have a regular section in the Agenda for Administration. Now you want to bring up?
Mrs. Labow: Steve, I don’t think you called for Administrative Matters. You skipped over it.
President Rattner: Okay, I’m sorry. Go ahead Mayor.
Mayor DeLaRoche: Council President Mr. Rattner and members of the Town Council, I asked to be recognized in order to inform the Council and the public of my decision to withdraw my nomination of Garafalo & Pryor for the position of Town Attorney. I do this reluctantly because it continues to be my belief that the Garafalo firm will provide competent and thoughtful legal services to Mt. Olive Township. The Garafalo firm is non-political and is staffed with consummate professionals. Our township ordinance provides that the Mayor appoint the Township Attorney with the advice and consent of the Township Council, my role is to select an appointee and your role is to confirm. Many of you have said that you would not withdraw advice and consent for political reasons. You claim that you are not simply protecting John Dorsey. You have urged me to provide the name of another attorney or another law firm to you. You said that you would give advice and consent of a qualified alternative to Mr. Dorsey as presented. I intend to test this assertion and to hold truth to what you have said. Will you approve my appointing for Township Attorney or will you say no everyone except to Mr. Dorsey. With those introduction remarks I hereby nominate and appoint Mr. Donald Scarinci Esq. as Township Attorney. Mr. Scarinci is a partner in the firm of Scarinci and Hollenbeck. Both Mr. Scarinci and his firm are incredibly deep and accomplished backgrounds in Municipal Law. They represent 72 different districts that I am aware of at least and we are not even going in to all the other specialties that the firm does provide. Mr. Hollenbeck is a Republican, Mr. Scarinci is a Democrat. I ask the Council to stand behind the words that you have spoken. I ask you to grant advice and consent to this appointment of Mr. Scarinci. The citizens of Mount Olive have elected each of us to carry out our duties in an honest and responsible way. We are accountable to the public for our positions. This thing I ask you to do is simple and routine. I provided you with a resolution, you are asked to vote on which simply reads:
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive, County of Morris, State of New Jersey that advice and consent to the appointment of Donald Scarinci, Esq. as Township Attorney for a one year term ending December 31, 2004, be is hereby granted.
And so as they say in basketball, the ball is in your court. Will you act responsibly and provide advice and consent or will you continue to take the position that no Township Attorney must be anyone other than Mr. Dorsey. Thank you. I have already provided you with copies of the resumes of Scarinci and Hollenbeck, but I have copies here if anyone else wants to see. I think that you’ll find that since 72 districts consider them to be qualified, you’ll be a little hard pressed to tell me that they are not qualified. So with that I will offer you the resumes of Scarinci and Hollenbeck and I ask that you take a vote on it.
Mr. Guenther: Point of order. Same point of order again. Why couldn’t he have shared this information with us before? At last passed a resume around so we can consider it. But he dumps this on us at the end of the meeting at 10:30pm in the administrative portion.
President Rattner: This board never, and I would consider it an absolute insult if he really intended us to consider that tonight. If he thinks he can just pull up a name without any review which is our job and vote on it; if he is saying that is who he is going to recommend, we get the resumes and everything else, and it will be put on a future…
Mayor DeLaRoche: Mr. Rattner; I am sure you will recall that I gave you the resume maybe a month ago of Scarinci and Hollenbeck, I gave you copies of resumes that everybody and I proposed, among them a number of different law firms. So you have had it for more than a month.
President Rattner: We are going to look at specific things. There is a certain amount of work. This person was never considered for this position. I think it is also interesting that a board that you consider your own, obviously this is a political thing because you take a very political firm; I don’t think anybody would deny that, but that’s the game we are in, you tried getting them in on a board where you can pick all the people except for one and you couldn’t get it through there and now you come back, it would be considered. If you think at a 10:40 at night, that you think you could just bring this in, like this and think that in the dark of the night that we are going to approve something, that is an injustice to anybody in the public that may have different comments. They have just as much right to know what is going on; every citizen has the same right. I take it as an insult, that you think that you can just bring this out and say I am now going to ask you to appoint this person right now, you have heard the name before; well that’s great, I have heard a lot of names before.
Mayor DeLaRoche: You haven’t heard it, you had a copy of the resume, and the public is here now to make any comments they want. There is no limit on the amount of time that the meeting will continue.
President Rattner: For this position?
Mr. Greenbaum: It is very interesting that we should get the firm of Scarinci and Hollenbeck at this time. As you mentioned they were submitted before Planning Board. I have never seen the resume mentioned with the appointment Township Attorney. I have seen the resume with regard to the appointment of Planning Board Attorney. On the night that Scarinci and Hollenbeck was nominated by the Mayor for the position of Planning Board attorney, representative of Bob Menendez’s Office, Democrat of Hudson County, was in the audience with Scarinci and Hollenbeck.
Mayor DeLaRoche: That’s untrue.
Mr. Greenbaum: Fine, it’s untrue, but he was introduced to at least two of the democratic council people who were sitting in the audience, so you can say it’s untrue, he was here. During the time frame that they were considered for Planning Board, it was decided at that point in time by the Mayor’s own Planning Board that Ed Buzak was a more appropriate choice for Planning Board than the Scarinci and Hollenbeck firm. To date we have seen potential appointments from the Mayor of all political related law firms. I agree with you whole heartedly that to try and push this through at the 13th hour this evening is an insult. Plus, what the heck did we just go through for an hour that Rich Bonte had to stand up if the Mayor who had a prepared speech this evening withdrawing the Garafalo and Pryor firm, was prepared to withdraw them in any instance and had a prepared statement on Scarinci and Hollenbeck. What are we doing here? We are playing games and just because the Mayor says I am testing you, that don’t mean it’s so. You know what? I am sick and tired of the Mayor pulling stuff like this. This is ridiculous, it is not the way to run a business and it is certainly not the way to run Mount Olive Government.
Mayor DeLaRoche: I am assured that you’ll correct us because as I understand it Mr. Dorsey was State Senator for the Republican party, he has also been involved in politics his entire life. He was appointed by a republican Council unanimously. So this politics to me, this issue that you raised, I gave you a non-political firm which you denied. Now I gave you a firm that’s split one Republican, one Democrat. This still does not want to be voted on. I didn’t give you somebody who was a State Senator for the Republican Party, I gave you a law firm that represents 72 districts, many of which are republicans, many of which are democrats, many of which have independent constituencies. So I have given you another law firm because you said you would confirm if they were qualified, I have given you a firm that represents 72 districts. You tell me now that advice and consent are not being withheld for political reasons. I think it is pretty clear, I think the public understands it. You can mash your teeth and grind them. It doesn’t change the fact that I have given you another law firm that is split between Republicans and Democrats.
President Rattner: Mayor, this is getting ridiculous. You are starting to repeat yourself, and you can say it twenty more times; the Mayor is saying that we’re just playing political. I will just say and I am speaking for the Council and I want to cut the discussion on this. I didn’t say we weren’t going to consider it, however this is a public meeting, duly advertised required to have an agenda at the public meeting, out a certain time. I am not a lawyer, I don’t know if it is illegal to bring it up at this time. But I can tell you one thing; it is not living under the spirit of the law to try to allow the public to know what is going on. You can say whatever you want, but this game was just played because you think that maybe you can bully us, or maybe you can circumvent something, but the spirit of the Open Public Meetings Law is to make the public aware of what is going to be considered. The public was not, you
President Rattner (cont’d): had this prepared, there was a game for a while. Was the game just to make it later so that maybe there would be even less people in the audience and just the press?
Mayor DeLaRoche: Absolutely not, as you know this is a qualified law firm. I just wanted to know if I could get your advice and consent on it.
President Rattner: This is not a time to do it. Garafalo is a qualified firm. No one ever said they are not good attorneys. We just felt that they were inappropriate for Mount Olive. We will take it under consideration.
Mayor DeLaRoche: Are you saying that they are qualified?
President Rattner: I am saying that anybody who passed the Bar...
Mayor DeLaRoche: Why was it withheld then? Why was the advice and consent withheld?
Mr. Guenther: Because they represent developers that’s why, and we’ve been fighting development in this town for a long time.
President Rattner: Because of conflicts because of experience. There are a lot of doctors; you go to your doctor, but you go to a specialist in a certain area.
Mayor DeLaRoche: That is what I just presented to you is a specialist. I just presented a specialist to you.
President Rattner: I just want to end this now, obviously if you put up the name we have to consider it. We have to put it on a future agenda. That I already said we would do. That is not good enough for you. You said right now make a snap judgment.
Mayor DeLaRoche: No, I didn’t say that
President Rattner: Yes you did.
Mayor DeLaRoche: Okay.
President Rattner: Can I just end this discussion now?
Mr. King: Mr. Mayor, if Council voted on it, it would be an illegal vote because it has to be presented, put on the agenda under the Open Public Meetings Act, the agenda has to be given out to the public so that any people in the public or any people in the town can come here and give comments either for or against the act. So even if the Council did vote on it, it would essentially, if it was challenged in court, it would be thrown out, it would be found a violation to the Open Public Meetings Act.
President Rattner: So in other words you are telling us that the Mayor is asking us to do something that in your opinion at this time is in violation of the law?
Mr. King: Yes.
President Rattner: That’s great. And you are an attorney.
Mayor De La Roche: With a conflict of interest, I might add.
Mr. Guenther: He is still our Township Attorney, okay.
Mrs. Labow: I have a question.
President Rattner: Mrs. Labow.
Mayor DeLaRoche: That’s up for the Judge to decide I believe.
President Rattner: Mrs. Labow has the floor, you won’t even let your own people speak.
Mayor DeLaRoche: Well I don’t know you just let Mr. Guenther speak without being recognized.
President Rattner: You’ve interrupted enough. I just recognized Mrs. Labow. Mrs. Labow has the floor.
Mayor DeLaRoche: I didn’t hear you recognize her, but I didn’t hear you recognize Mr. Guenther either.
Mrs. Labow: I have the floor right now. I just want to ask a question on the reorganization meeting. When the appointments were put up as specific like Garafalo & Pryor, I don’t remember that the public had an opportunity to come up and question or discuss anything at that time. Do I just not remember that part?
Mr. King: There was a public session. I think one of the members of the Public, Mr. Bonte came up and commented. Every public meeting there has to be a public portion.
Mrs. Labow: Okay. I just want to make one correction to something Mr. Greenbaum said. The person that was from Congressman Menendez’s office was a female and she did not represent to me that she was there as a representative from Menendez’s office. She was introduced to me from Jackie from Scarinci and Hollenbeck’s office, that she works in Menendez’s office, not a representative from Menendez’s. That was not my understanding, it was a female.
Mr. Greenbaum: I understand that, that’s fine.
Mrs. Labow: I just wanted to make that correction.
Mr. Greenbaum: I am sure she just had an interest in coming here on a Tuesday evening.
President Rattner: Any more mundane old business or new business? Okay, moving right along.
Library Board Liaison Report
Mrs. Labow: We meet Wednesday, tomorrow night.
Recreation Liaison Report
Mr. Elms: I discussed it before.
Board of Health Report
Mr. Guenther: There is no meeting. They meet every quarter. They will meet in April.
Planning Board Report
Mr. Greenbaum: Thursday night.
Board of Adjustment Liaison Report
Mr. Perkins: Routine matters, Mr. President.
Open Space Committee Report
Mr. Elms: They are continuing on their quest for tying up open space.
Legislative Committee Report
Mr. Elms: Nothing.
Pride Committee Liaison Report
Mrs. Labow: Just really quick, they are talking about possibly having either the students at VoTech in Denville or at the High School or at County College possibly designing certain areas where they want to do some improvements like landscaping, where they go for landscaping education and there are some areas in town where people can adopt-a-spot so I’ll get the list for that for next time.
Board of Education Liaison Report
President Rattner: We were both there (J. Buell). They actually, I guess it depends on how you look at it, had some good news.
Mr. Buell: The School Board received instead of $10.5 million, $14 million plus for the renovation and building of the high school which will reduce the taxes considerable as part of the package and the School Board will not increase, one of the decisions they made was not to take of the additional dollars to increase the cost of the building but stick with the cost of $46.9, the initial cost, so it will be a reduced cost to the public – a very considerable cost reduction to the people
President Rattner: I think what they reported which is really good news, we need the schools and I think we do, the State will provide one-third of the cost of the school. The reason why we got more than a lot of other township’s, as a percentage, is there is a different ratio when you do renovations. New construction is 25% of the applicable costs and I think with renovations it can go as high as 40%. It’s something, I hope people get out and vote so it’s not a minority of the population that is controlling our taxes in the future of our school system.
Lake/Environment Issues Committee
President Rattner: We have a meeting tomorrow night. It’s the first one of the year.
Safety Committee Liaison
Mr. Guenther: That hasn’t been called either. I haven’t heard about a meeting.
Richard Bonte, Budd Lake: When Mr. Spino got up earlier, he congratulated Mr. Dorsey on the latest victory for Mount Olive. I just want to also congratulate Mr. Dorsey though he is not here but Mr. King, if you would just pass that on to him. Once again, it was another wonderful victory upholding our land use ordinances that we have in this town and the planning of good development for this community. With that in mind, I just wanted to alert the Council of a couple of things that are imminently happening. Sparta is on the verge of passing an ordinance to take 960 acres and put them in a 25 acre zone in order to protect that land and possibly by the end of this week or the beginning of next week, Governor McGreevey is most likely going to take 100,000 acres of Highlands land and issue a building moratorium on it in an effort to curtail development.
President Rattner: Are we in it?
Mr. Bonte: I’m not sure but I do want to pass something on to you that I think you will find invaluable if you don’t know about it already. There is a website called www.gsenet.org and you can sign up for a daily newsletter that usually has anywhere between 15 and 30 pertinent environmental news items that are collected mostly from the State, some Federal and it comes to you every day. It is unbelievable what is going on and what you will find out and I think you will find it very useful in what you do here to let you know what is going on. Incidentally, Crown Tower was on there two months ago. I didn’t submit it. I don’t know who did or where it came from but they keep up on everything that is going on and they get this information out. It’s like a clearing house. I think you will find it very useful. Thank you.
Mrs. Labow: I just want to say that I apologize for seconding Bob’s motion and wasting all of the Council’s time this evening. I had no idea that the Mayor was going to make his appointment and I just want to apologize.
Mr. Guenther: I would just appreciate in the future if you would gavel the Mayor in because I held myself back from making any comments. He interrupted you and other Council members several times without being recognized. That is the only reason I had my outburst and I apologize for that.
Mr. Perkins made a Motion to go in to Executive Session and Mr. Perkins seconded the motion. All in favor, none opposed (11:00 pm).
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Salary increases for non-union personnel.
Toll Brothers Sewer Negotiations
Motion to go into Open Session at 11:30 pm made and seconded. All in favor, none opposed, the Meeting was opened to the Public and adjourned at 11:31 pm.
Steven W. Rattner, Council President
I, LISA M LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on March 23, 2004.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk