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Springfield Week in Review

A look back at the notable goings on in the township in recent days.

Springfield Republicans File for Recount

Following a close election marked by unusual circumstances due to Tropical Storm Sandy, Springfield Republicans have asked the courts to once again go over the ballots. This week, Springfield Republicans filed paperwork with the Superior Court of New Jersey in Union County requesting a recount of the ballots cast for the four candidates for Township Committee. The Union County Board of Elections certified the results on November 26, 2012. David Barnett and Margaret Bandrowski were declared winners by a narrow margin, with Bandrowski has beating incumbent Jerry Fernandez by five votes.

Springfield Parent Protests Newly Implemented Teacher Gift Policy

In a letter to the Editor, an anonymous Springfield parent decried recently enacted changes to school district policy. This year, parents have been told not to collect gifts for teachers as they have in the past. The edict follows other school mandate considered by some parents to be draconian and against the natural state of youth and childhood, including the end of Halloween parties and rules surrounding treats at school. 

Wake Me Up on January 2nd: Grief and the Holidays

What can you do when the holidays aren't happy? Patch blogger and grief councilor Lisa Athans offers advice for coping for holiday seasons that fall shortly after the loss of a loved one, reminding those who are grieving to be extra good to themselves at this time and to be gentle and take care of yourselves and those around you who also may be grieving during this holiday season.

BART FRAENKEL December 15, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The following was written by outgoing TC member Marc Krauss. During the course of 2012, the configuration of the board changed from an autonomous board, appointed by the township committee to a board comprised of the governing body and four health care professionals. The township committee, by adopting Ordinance 2012-17, which essentially amended the board configuration and provided flexibility in the BOH meeting schedule. The benefits of having the governing body on the board along with health care professionals proved to be a great combination. It is political spin such as this that creates distrust in elected officials. The autonomous board he referenced was comprised of health care professionals appointed by the governing body who had AT LEAST as much professional knowledge IF NOT MORE.. In order to replace the entire board, the Republican majority voted to disband the BOH (board of health) and change the structure so that the TC members were now BOH members along with newly appointed health care professionals. The past chairman of the BOH, who was replaced, had been appointed by Shehady, so he can't say that it was a political appointment. But since the BOH members felt their obligation was to the residents of Springfield and not to a political body, they were disbanded. Hopefully this issue helped swing the recent election and will allow level heads to return the BOH as it was. An autonomous board of healthcare professionals doesn't have a political agenda.
Shane Ronan December 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Mr. Fraenkel - "The autonomous board he referenced was comprised of health care professionals appointed by the governing body who had AT LEAST as much professional knowledge IF NOT MORE" Really? Please share their credentials if you are going to make an statement like this.
BART FRAENKEL December 16, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Shane, are you suggesting that previous members of the BOH, appointed by Mr. Shehady and other TC members, were appointed despite not having professional health care experience or knowledge?
Shane Ronan December 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Perhaps I am, but you are the one that claims they were "health care professionals...who had AT LEAST as much professional knowledge IF NOT MORE" care to back that up?
BART FRAENKEL December 16, 2012 at 07:00 PM
I guess the previous chairman having a title of doctor implies something other then being involved in health care? Come on Shane, its one thing to be zealous with your highly biased opinions in support of Shehady but its quite another to question the credentials of people who served and were appointed because of their professional abilities in health care.
Shane Ronan December 16, 2012 at 07:56 PM
You mean Dr. Shah, who holds a PhD and not an MD? Seems you are the one that needs to be educated.
BART FRAENKEL December 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM
You forgot to include his field of expertise. And now we have 5 TC members, not a single one with anything close of his experience, so how does that make things better?
Shane Ronan December 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM
And you forgot to mention the two members at large and two alternates, three of which are medical doctors and the last being an EMT. Having the TC Members on the BOH provides an opportunity for the TC members to have a great understanding of the events happening in town.
BART FRAENKEL December 17, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Shane, as someone who was appointed to the BOH by Shehady, I can understand that you feel somewhat obligated to defend this whole scenario. But are you now suggesting that if the TC members aren't on a particular board, they will not have a 'great understanding of the events happening in town'? Those are your words. And if you honestly feel that way, then it would only make sense that the TC members are on every single board so that they have an understanding of the events happening in town. By removing independent people who, I will repeat, all have some type of health care professional experience, and replace them with elected officials who DO NOT have health care experience, doesn't make sense. This was a political power play using a smoke screen of being in the best interest of Springfield. Terrible decision as it pertains to the best interest of Springfield--good decision if you're part of the group that wants to control every aspect of what happens in town. Apparently the residents, even if by the slimmest of margins, saw thru the smoke.
BART FRAENKEL December 17, 2012 at 04:22 AM
One last comment. Mr. Krauss, as the chair of the 1st meeting the new board held, would not even allow one of the newly appointed health care professionals ask a question. Can you or anyone else explain what that was all about or how it was in the best interest of Springfield?
BART FRAENKEL December 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM
It may have been an innocent mistake, as you say, but since he wanted to ask questions about the proposed change from the Westfield Dept of Health to the Madison Dept of Health, the outcome isn't so innocent. And if we go along with the suggestion that it was an innocent mistake of not understanding the rules, how did the TC members who appointed the new health care professionals feel the board would benefit from their appointments if they were not allowed to make statements or ask questions. It appears their presence was suppose to be simply window dressing while the TC members limited the information being disseminated to the public.

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