At Springfield's Township Committee re-organization meeting on Jan. 1, Committeeman Ziad Shehady caused a bit of a stir by claiming irregularities involving the approval of several resolutions authorizing the awarding of contracts to six professionals to be employed by the township in 2013.
Mr. Shehady voted against the resolutions, claiming no one had seen the actual contracts nor was there a COAF (Certificate of Available Funds) to cover the costs. This last, in fact, has been issued and was irrelevant to the resolutions themselves.
A review of the documents may clear up any questions. The form of the resolution is the same for each position and clearly states its purpose is to authorize the drawing up of a contract between the Township Committee and the professional it is intending to employ.
Part of the process of the Reorganization is for the Committee to approve the nomination of the professional. As clearly stated in the Resolution itself, Local Public Contracts Law NJSA40-A:11-1 et seq. "requires a resolution authorizing the award of a contract, etc."
First the professional must be approved by the Committee, then the resolution publicly authorizing the drawing of a contract must be passed, then the contract can be drawn up confirming the details. Last year's contract between the Township and Jeffrey Lehrer for legal services was not done until July. To insist on seeing the contracts prior to having the necessary approvals is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
The procedure as observed was not only perfectly proper, it was legally required, and is exactly the same order of events that has been followed for years, including Mr. Shehady's time on the committee as member and chair.
I hope this explanation of the process, made clear by a simple reading of the resolutions themselves and past practices, rebuts any accusations of impropriety made at the January 1 meeting.