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Public Invited to Township Committee's Monday Night Workshops

Informal meetings meant to give residents chance to speak on issues in an informal setting.

 The new Township Committee meeting schedule has split the Legislative Session (which is held on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 7:30 in the municipal building) from the Workshop session. ThIs was done for several reasons. 

The previous schedule resulted in TC meetings that sometimes went for several hours which meant residents with matters to discuss had to sit through lengthy statistical reports from department heads with no real opportunity to interact with them or the Committee. By moving the Department Head reports to a separate meeting, the Tuesday legislative sessions will be more efficient and productive without going late into the evening and the single Workshop meeting will more open and flexible. 

The Workshop meetings are held in the Firehouse at 7:30 p.m. on the Monday before the first Tuesday Regular session. The sessions are In the Joseph Pepe Training room on the second floor. Contrary to what has been said by Mr. Krauss in the Patch, the Firehouse parking lot is lit and the door is open. The meetings, although not televised, are audiotaped, so there is no attempt to hide anything. Just come in and either take the stair or the elevator to the second floor. No one should feel intimidated into not attending.

The first meeting followed the previous pattern of reports by each department head, but the public also had the opportunity to interact with both the reporting officials and the TC members. This resulted in an informal and productive exchange of information and ideas. In future the process will be refined; since the statistical reports are furnished in advance to the TC members, we will have read them prior to the meeting and the discussion in public can be on broader topics and the meetings shorter. You are invited to attend and engage In productive talk with your township officials with no restricting rules. Open discussion is encouraged.

Please join us.

The next Workshop meeting at the Firehouse will be on Monday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 PM.

Kevin M February 05, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Margaret, you are a mature, intelligent woman. Yet, instead of sticking to the facts you decide to use this as an opportunity to throw a jab at Mr. Krauss. Why don't you take the high road and stick to the issues? Have you ever heard the saying "two wrongs don't make a right"? I am glad to hear the Monday meetings are audio taped, although I think video taping & televising is the better choice especially to promote the transparency of our local government. But I do have one question, how does one go about listening to the audio tapes? Are they available online or do I have to go to Townhall between 8-4, M-F to listen?
natalie February 05, 2013 at 02:54 PM
This seems like a way to make comments from our Springfield population less noticeable and less "official". Comments from the town's population thereby are not part of the "legitimatized" Township Meeting; nor are they made at the official site of the Township Meeting. Subsequently they are absent from view. Also they are not included in the televised program of the township meeting. It seems that this is a good way to hide the good ideas and concerns of the people.
Marc Krauss February 05, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Ms Bandrowski, any meeting with more than 2 committee members present is formal. You start the meeting by reading the Open Public Meetings Act, take attendance, make a motion to close, the meeting is recorded & notes taken by the municipal clerk. Changing the venue to a “less formal setting” doesn’t change the formality of the meeting. Excerpt from the statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act (Sunshine Law) states: “The Legislature, therefore, declares that it is the understanding and the intention of the Legislature that in order to be covered by the provisions of this act a public body must be organized by law and be collectively empowered as a multi-member voting body to spend public funds or affect persons' rights; that, therefore, informal or purely advisory bodies with no effective authority are not covered, nor are groupings composed of a public official with subordinates or advisors...” By having 1 meeting on Monday night for several hours and a short 15 minute meeting on Tuesday you are limiting public dissemination of information. I find it ironic that you expect the pubic to attend 2 meetings and come into town hall and listen to a recording rather than conducting 1 meeting in town hall and televising on the Public Access Channel. That is neither efficient, productive or forthright.
Marc Krauss February 05, 2013 at 05:43 PM
With regards to Department Head Reports; the reports are for the Township Committee through the Township Administrator and as committee member you should be knowledgeable of what’s going on in town and ask the appropriate questions. The Department Heads are busy enough and should not be subjected to questions from the public, that’s what you are therefore; otherwise what is your purpose with regards to the reports if the Department Heads are answering the questions for you? I refer you to the Township Ordinance 2-12.5 “The Township Administrator shall coordinate the activities of all municipal departments and shall secure from the various departments periodic reports on the operation of such departments, including but not limited to inventory, receipts, disbursements, personnel matters and general operations. Those Department Heads or Township Officials, if any, who are now or hereafter required by Statute to render periodic reports to the Township Committee, shall file a copy of their reports with the Township Administrator. “
Shane Ronan February 05, 2013 at 06:32 PM
If you intend to hold meetings at the firehouse going forward. I strongly urge you to have a camera system installed so that the meetings can be recorded and as well as broadcast live as the meetings in the committee chambers are. Without doing so, you are adding artificial roadblocks to the dissemination of information to the public.
BART FRAENKEL February 05, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I agree with Shane in regard to having a camera system installed to record the Monday sessions. In years past, prior to any meetings being recorded, it wasn't an issue. But since the Tuesday meetings are now recorded it is reasonable to have the Monday sessions recorded, too. But I also believe the Monday sessions are important because without them the discussion amongst the TC members is somewhat limited when left to a single Tuesday discussion. Plus, if there are issues or questions that arise from a TC member on Monday, they can be answered on Tuesday by the proper authority.
Marc Krauss February 05, 2013 at 09:12 PM
I disagree. Why should they waste taxpapyer money on another recording system when a perfectly good one is in town hall? Just move the meeting to Tuesday night and call it a working group meeting prior to a regular township meeting. TC members shouldn't wait and ask questions on Monday night only to wait for a response on Tuesday. If they are askings questions prior to meetings they will have a majority of the answers when they attend and they also don't have to have the answer on Tuesday from the proper authority. Usually the proper authority is in attendnace. Department Heads, CFO, and Township Administrator. Besides they all receive the meeting packets on Friday from the municipal clerk and have the whole weekend to read them and to fire off questions to the proper authority via email. I always received a response long before the meeting. They should also return to streaming the meetings live.
Voter February 06, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Kevin M is Shehady. No doubt.
ASquared Video Productions February 06, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Here we go dems wanting to spend spend spend and possibly raise taxes
ASquared Video Productions February 06, 2013 at 01:15 PM
As Mr. Krauss stated earlier why would you install a 2nd camera system CCTV systems are expensive
Shane Ronan February 06, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Actually, the camera system installed in the committee chambers was not particularly expensive and having one in the training room at the fire dept could solve multiple purposes, allowing other groups that use the space record training sessions or other meetings.
Kevin M February 07, 2013 at 01:32 PM
You think I am Shehady because I question the transparency of my local government? Oh, I forgot. Anyone who speaks out against current practices is accused of being Shehady. I'll take it as a compliment. And if you notice, Margaret never responded to my question about how to listen to these so-called audio tapes. I suspect she has no idea.
Kevin M February 07, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Simple solution. Use a standard video camera, tape the meetings, download the video and post it on the township website for all to see. Isn't this what the school board does?
Bob Groder February 07, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I actually agree that a video camera should be installed for the monday meetings. While I do agree but I also want to point out that up until about 5 years ago no township committee meeting was videotaped so I had read. Please correct me if I am wrong. I understand people cant make both meetings but I for 1 like the new format and it has nothing to do with politics. I cant make them all either but the reason I like the separate meetings is because I honestly felt on tuesday they took too long and by the time people Like Sandy Wenger wanted to ask a question in public comment he was forced to sit through 2-3 hours before being allowed to speak. Often he left early and didnt get to speak. How is this fair to the puclic either? Everyone should have a chance to speak no matter who your political affiliation is. Sandy in my opinion is very informative with some of his questions. He isnt taken seriously which is a shame as I think he has a lot to say. He doesnt always make sense but once you get past what I call his "sandyism" he really does care about Springfield. Any way you slice it no matter who is running the TC meetings people will complain. After all we all pay taxes in this great town and WE ALL are entitled to our opinions. I agree with part of the statement by Mr. Krauss. Maybe a camera can be installed but regardless I love this current format & I hope it stays no matter who is in control of the TC moving forward.
Bob Groder February 07, 2013 at 03:11 PM
I dont see why the big fuss as many years ago no meetings were recorded. I cant make them all Like i previously. For example I am able to make it on monday the 11th but am out of town for the 12th and cant attend. I dont feel anyone is attempting to hide anything from the public. I find it ironic speaking of hiding things from the public that I just found out the turf field and land swap deal has issues and will cost more. I dont want to make this political but since the republicans do it as often as they can I want to point out that it was the republicans who pushed this in 2012 and to me 1 of the reasons why they lost the election. Now I found out that the BOE will incur at least another 250k for land as part of that land swap at the top which could make this turf field project overall to become a disaster. Since I dont have all of the facts I wanted to just bring it out to the public to watch out for higher taxes due to additional costs for the turf field WHICH MANY LONG TIME CITIZENS didnt want. It should have been brought to the voters but wasnt as the republicans know it would have lost in a heartbeat.
Bob Groder February 07, 2013 at 03:14 PM
I honestly dont care who hides on the patch as its just a waste of time. If shehady is doing it im at the point where who cares? If he allgedely is doing it let him do it. People think he is doing it so my attitude is to ignore people who hide and post under alias names. It just proves people on the patch act like children at times as lots of people dont post under their real name.
Bob Groder February 07, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Kevin M. standard video camera is fine by me. In fact the republicans often bring a camera to the meeting and tape to post on their own web page. If they care as much as they claim they do about the township of springfield why not offer these tapes to the town for free? again if there is nothing to hide why not release these tapes so EVERYONE can see them and not just republicans on shehadys and other pages of theirs?
Curious February 07, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Sandy doesn't always make sense? That's really the pot calling the kettle black.
B Freeman February 07, 2013 at 07:28 PM
What tapes on whose webapges are talking about? Go look and provide the links if you don't mind. It is township's responsible to do it. The Democrats chose not to video record the most important meeting where the real discussions happen. Why are they so afraid of having the public see them actually discuss town business. Some open government we have now.
Shore Girl February 23, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Well what is the deal about the land swap? Does anyone want to enlighten the people of Springfield?
Nota Whistleblower April 14, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Although I attended my first meeting, I watched the replay on cable and re-confirmed what I thought I saw/heard- A lot of topics on the Pre-Agenda do not actually get discussed at the Tuesday meetings. They just rattle off a list of agenda #s and motion to approve the ones they already agree on as a group. They do not read all of the topics. While town Citizens Such as Sandy may come off as someone sticking his nose into all town business, he has that right and the right to hear every topic read before it is put to motion.
County Watchdog April 15, 2013 at 02:17 AM
When you vote them in, you vote in the power they invoke.
County Watchdog April 15, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Sandy Wenger is a caring Springfield Citizen! I met him on Tuesday and he was a gentleman to myself and husband. I follow both the County and local township level for anything to do with improvements, Education, Children's programs, Sports recognition etc. I too feel they lumped a bunch of pre-agenda topics/motions into a group, approved all but one and then just read that one out loud.
County Watchdog April 15, 2013 at 02:41 AM
While Sandy inquired about banners and signs and Fema workers shows he is involved in all aspects of the town. He inquired about the Fema program and was told a 140k bond was issued and the 140k bond was used and the program was over. Looking back to Mr. Shehady's post December 2012, it stated that the town had secured a 140k bond from FEMA for 9 workers plus $3,600 each in surplus. The February post confirmed the workers were cleaning up the parks and Hurricane Sandy debris and it was stated the program is over. Did it start in February & End in Early April? The numbers do not match up. 9 workers x approximately 10 weeks x $16/hr= approximately $57,600????? Sandy mentioned to us that he was friendly with the workers and they originally thought they were getting 6 months of work.

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