Springfield Newsletter – January 12, 2015

COMMUNITY
For a current listing of Springfield events, check out my Calendar at http://calendar.shehady.us!

–  Springfield municipal offices will be closed Monday, January 19th, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  They will re-open on Tuesday, January 20th.

–  The Springfield Senior Citizens Club will have their monthly meeting this Thursday, January 15th at 11 a.m. at the Chisholm Community Center.  The Springfield Senior Citizens Calendar for January 2015 is online at http://zszs.us/SNJSrCz. Please share with family, friends and neighbors.

–  Please join us on Monday, January 19th at noon in the Springfield Municipal Building, 2nd Floor, for the annual Martin Luther King Day Vigil for Peace & Understanding.

GOVERNMENT

– The Township Committee meetings for January are scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, January 13th at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, January 27th at 7:30 p.m.

– Our Agenda for the meeting, tomorrow, January 13th includes two ordinances, twelve resolutions, and a handful of discussion items.  The ordinances include one “housekeeping” ordinance that codifies the salary ranges for our non-union employees and another ordinance that provides for background checks of our volunteers/employees that work with children or in a recreation activity.  Among the resolutions, we are assigning a new Police Officer as a Detective, appointing a Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator, facilitating the purchase of new bus stops through New Jersey Transit, and confirming the appointments for a number of attorneys/professionals for various boards.  I am very concerned about those appointments because yet again, they are on track for approval without due diligence and review of the “professional service contracts” the resolutions reference.  I raised this issue several times with the Democratic majority of the Township Committee for awarding contracts without previously reviewing them.  It seems they are fine awarding political contracts without reviewing them first, but I intend to vote against them unless I see the necessary documentation first.  Under discussion items, I’ve raised a concern brought to my attention by residents of Battle Hill Avenue that vehicles travel on the road that are extremely “heavy” or “high”.  I’d like to propose that our Engineering Department in conjunction with the Traffic Bureau consider drafting an ordinance with height/weight restrictions so that large trucks are not traveling down the residential road as a cut-through to avoid Meisel Avenue and Morris Avenue.

Also being discussed, but in “closed” Executive Session are a tax appeal filed by Baltusrol Golf Club, contract negotiations with one of our employee unions, and downtown redevelopment negotiations.  One item also added to the Agenda with no detail by the Mayor is a request for an “Alternate Township Attorney”.  For nearly 20 years, Springfield has had only one Township Attorney and has no need for an additional attorney.  I am very suspicious of this proposal and especially so because the Mayor has been approving legal bills up to 6 months late so we can’t properly account for the actual legal costs.  I find it foolish to consider additional expenses when we don’t have sufficient justification for this, and we are unclear about the actual total billable hours put in by our current Township Attorney.

– Many residents, as evidenced by the overwhelming number of signatures on a petition online, are calling for the resignation of Springfield’s new Mayor David Barnett who was selected by his colleagues on January 1st.  This stems from charges filed against David Barnett by the SEC for accounting fraud and concerns about his integrity to govern as Mayor and be in charge of the Finance sub-committee.  Over 300 residents have signed a petition asking him to resign and for the Township Committee to select a new Mayor.  If the SEC says you can’t be an officer or director of a public company for ten years, how are you allowed to be an officer or director of a municipality?  I voted against his appointment and signed the petition as well.  Details about the charges and the petition if you are interested in signing and sharing with others are at the following link:  https://www.change.org/p/barnett-resign-replace-the-mayor  The public is always welcome to attend our Township Committee meetings, so join us tomorrow, Tuesday, January 13th at 7:30 p.m. in the Springfield Municipal Building to let him know how you feel.

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