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Township Committee Holds 2013's First Work Session Meeting

New format and schedule for public meetings starts tonight.

Tonight, Jan. 7, Springfield's Township Committee will hold its first work session meeting since 2009. 

The meeting, to be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Fire Department headquarters, is an informal meeting where upcoming government actions will be discussed. The Committee will vote at their regular meeting the following night, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. at town hall. Members of the public are invited to attend both meetings. 

Under the schedule of government meetings presented at the Jan. 1 reorganization meeting, workshop meetings will take place once a month, on Mondays preceding second Tuesdays of each month. Regular meetings will be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, for a total of three monthly meetings. 

The functions of the work sessions were absorbed into the twice a month regular meetings in 2010. In 2011, the Committee held four monthly meetings, all on Tuesdays, again without a work session before returning to bimonthly meetings in 2012. 

Bob Groder January 08, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Shane: I stand corrected where the meeting was held but it was in the same building. as for the parking the lot was empty and lots of parking was available tonight. also as for the buzzing in situation there was a sign on the door which said to walk in as the door was unlocked. all of the issues have been addressed about it being difficult to attend the meeting at the fire house. access was easy for the public between the entrance & also the buzzing in wasnt necessary since the door was unlocked as for me making my own blog or patch article I see no need to do so but if i chose to do so id open it up to comment to anyone. that was my only point that all patch articles should allow comment. i attend these meetings only because i care what goes on in town and NOT FOR POLITICAL REASONS. those of you who were there and heard my comments 100% of them were on the issues at tonights meeting including my stating for the record that this meeting format was relaxed and quite ez to talk to anyone including the police chief or anyone else reading reports. in fact mr. amlen allowed public comment on every speaker and we didnt have to wait until the end of the meeting to comment. i recommend any citizen in town interested in what goes on to attend these meetings. they are very informative. ALSO THE MEETING WAS RECORDED AND ANYONE CAN REQUEST A COPY FROM THE TOWN CLERK!
Bob Groder January 08, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Last but not least a former member of the township committe came to the meeting aprox 1/2 way through it and recorded the rest of the meeting with his video camera so if anyone missed the meeting im sure that portion of it will be posted somewhere on the web. If that isnt political i dont know what is. by the way I have no problem with anyone recording the meeting but i was accused of being political but i see the same old same old from the republicans side. Lets just say we agree to disagree and leave it at that.
Bob Groder January 08, 2013 at 04:22 AM
most of what you said makes sense springfield resident with the exception that im political. i go to the meetings strictly for keeping in touch with what goes on in town. town hall has court on monday evenings which is why it wasnt used for tonights meeting. the buzzer wasnt necessary as the sign said to enter and the door was unclocked and there was ample parking. i agree that i wish we had an independent board but as they say it is what it is, this is the system that has been in use in this country for hundreds of years and isnt going away anytime soon.
Committeeman Jerry Fernandez January 08, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Bob so much for your comment on I just want to be nice and not make negative comments anymore. Yes I made a video, because the only recording was an audio. I have always used a video for meetings that I could not get from the TV. Why you think it is political is beyond me. Mr Groder next time please take the time to ask me if you would like, I sat right next to you.
Committeeman Jerry Fernandez January 08, 2013 at 03:46 PM
I also came in late because, I attended the meeting held at the library on the Charter Study. If you would of asked me
Catherine Flynn January 08, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Maybe you can answer these questions. Does the Charter Study Commission have set days, time, and location for their meetings? Are they open to the general public? Where can we see the listing of dates, times and locations of their meetings in advance so we can plan to attend?
Committeeman Jerry Fernandez January 08, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Good questions, I did video the meetings and plan on broadcasting them very soon. I know you can call the town clerk for time and dates. The next meeting will be Jan 14 I believe at the annex building at 7:30pm. They are open to the public.
Sprinfield Resident tired of the bickering January 08, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I'm not sure what Bob's issue is with Jerry's videoing the meeting. As far as I'm concerned the entire thing should be video taped not just audio recorded. So many other towns have their meetings on public access so it always amazes me when people are so against it. Why not get our public access channel and the youth of Springfield involved and ask them to record the meetings. Not only would it be valuable to the residents of Springfield but get our youth involved in civics and the true political process. Let's all get off our high horses and work together to make some real change in Springfield!!
GoodTimesBadTimes January 08, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Perhaps one of you former committeemen or a present committeeman can answer this for me. In order to run for public office in a municipality such as ours, what paperwork must be filed or disclosed? Where can these documents be inspected? Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my question.
BART FRAENKEL January 08, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Yes, Jerry was at a Charter Study meeting, sitting next to me. Any interest (Jerry) in mentioning what we heard there?
Brett Biebelberg January 08, 2013 at 06:42 PM
"[A] former member of the township committe...recorded the rest of the meeting with his video camera... If that isnt political i dont know what is." "by the way I have no problem with anyone recording the meeting" So you're accusing someone who wanted to record the meeting of being "political" but you have no problem with people recording the meeting? Now that sounds like it makes sense...
BART FRAENKEL January 08, 2013 at 06:42 PM
A person simply needs to secure a certain number of signatures on a petition to be listed on the ballot. The number of signatures needed depends on whether the person wants to run in the general election against the 2 primary parties (Democrats or Republicans) or if the person wants to run in a primary against one of the primary party candidates. The Union County clerk's office can provide the details.
Bob Groder January 08, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Jerry you will notice i didnt use your name & i defended your ability to tape at a meeting but personally i dont appreciate being taped when i speak at a meeting by anyone other than the township. I have nothing to hide but see no need for duplication of the process. To me this is just a form of intimidation to try and scare the democrats from speaking at the meeting and to be quite blunt its quite disruptive. before you came to the meeting It was a very comfortable meeting. once you turned on the recorder i found it to be disruptive. it is your right to do as you wish. I just dont agree with you for doing this. If you want to talk to me at a meeting maybe we can talk this out and not get brought into the drama between the parties. i only go to meetings to keep informed as i asked several vital questions before you were in attendance including a dialogue with chief cook. I am not there to get into political drama but the more tactics the republicans want to offer Im not going to sit there and just take it. I just go to meetings to mind my own business, keep informed and make sure my taxpayer money is well spent. i have no other agenda. I cant say what the purpose of videotaping was. only you know what this was for.
Committeeman Jerry Fernandez January 08, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Oh Bob there was no duplicate video since there was no Video being made for the public. When you speak in townhall the whole town sees it and anyone can record it off their tv. It has nothing to do with paries and not sure why they would feel intimidated? I wanted to tape it, and had some people who could not attend and want to see it Bob
Bob Groder January 08, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Im willing to just drop it and accept you at your word jerry. I dont agree with it but like i said in other comments its your right to do so. we wont always agree on some issues.
Brett Biebelberg January 08, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Bob, this morning you said: "by the way I have no problem with anyone recording the meeting" Now, you're saying: "i dont appreciate being taped when i speak at a meeting by anyone other than the township"
Committeeman Jerry Fernandez January 09, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Bart I think I may just post the video of that meeting for the public
GoodTimesBadTimes January 09, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Thank you for responding Bart. You're telling me that the number of signatures you can get allows you to run for office? That's it? Seems hard to believe. One would think that a proper background check to eliminate unfit candidates and financial disclosure to rule out conflict of interest would be in order for such a position. That would mean that someone with a mental illness, a criminal record or someone with a personal financial interest in the business of the township could run. Unless I'm missing something here, that's absurd. Would this be something that the Charter Study Committee should look into?
Committeeman Jerry Fernandez January 09, 2013 at 01:42 AM
So the Monday meeting was over 2hrs and the Tuesday meeting was 15 minutes, why couldn't all this be done in one meeting 2hrs and 15 minutes?
Shane Ronan January 09, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Can someone explain why there is a separate meeting outside of the standard Township Committee meeting at all? Meetings held in the Committee chambers are recorded and broadcast on the Townships television station, while meetings held elsewhere are not, could that be the reason? What is it the current majority has to hide?
BART FRAENKEL January 09, 2013 at 02:14 AM
In previous years when this was done the separate meeting was referred to as a work session where TC members could discuss various issues that were on that week's agenda or ask questions so they were better prepared to vote on them during the Tuesday session. In some situations a department head was asked specific questions the following day so additional information was available to the TC members before they voted. Other towns have work sessions prior to the regular session for the same reason. This was the norm prior to Shehady's time as mayor. Since the public is not excluded and it enables TC members an opportunity to discuss the issues, I believe it is in the best interest of the township. Union, for example, meets prior to the regular session for the same purpose. In Springfield its done the day before. I sat on the TC while both methods were used and I found it more beneficial to be able to hear what the other TC members had to say rather then the limited discussions that took place without them. I didn't like eliminating discussion among the TC members, but since it was procedurally acceptable I dealt with it. This, too, is procedurally acceptable and I don't believe there's any alterior motive. Unless of course someone wants to make it political.
Shane Ronan January 09, 2013 at 02:22 AM
If it's not political and there is nothing to hide, then these meetings should be broadcast LIVE on the Internet like the regular Township Committee meetings and should be placed on the Township public access station like all other meetings. Or better yet, just hold the two monthly meetings and discuss EVERYTHING there.
BART FRAENKEL January 09, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Obviously you're not willing to accept a reasonable explanation so it appears that now you're becoming political. The municipal court is in session on Monday evenings, so unless the ability to televise the meetings is available somewhere else, a recording will have to suffice. If there is a place to hold the meetings where it can be televised, then I would think it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe you can suggest it at the next meeting without the innuendo of them wanting to hide something.
Michael A Dzikowski January 09, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Are you people just going to continue to disregard Mr. Barnett ? This is crazy ! And he is on the Finance Committee as well ? Springfield residents, wake up ! regardless of what party you belong to (which I personally could care less about) This isn't a parking ticket he is paying - it's fraud ! "Cooking the books" and he is going to handle our town's funds ! At least replace him on the Finance Commitee with Huber
Shane Ronan January 09, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Bart, this isn't about making this political, this is about thinking outside the box. If they were concerned about Open Access to the meetings they would simply hold them on the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday prior to the regular meeting when it could be held in the Chambers. Why does it have to be on Monday? If they were concerned about Open Access they would have contacted the person who installed the system in the Chambers and had it installed in the meeting room at the firehouse, or they could have set it up on a laptop with a simple USB camera. They could do away with these workshop meetings if they couldn't hold them in a more public fashion, but they chose to do none of these things. Perhaps they have nothing to hide, but they certainly haven't put in any effort to making the meetings more open, which in my book leads to further questions about their intentions.
BART FRAENKEL January 09, 2013 at 03:34 AM
So apparently a meeting that is open to the public isn't open enough for you. Okay, I just don't agree with you. But this was never an issue prior to Shehady changing the process and limiting the amount of discussion between the TC members. In my opinion that was not in the best interest of the township. I prefer an open public meeting where elected officials can discuss issues instead of the limited discussions under the previous administration.
Bob Groder January 12, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Mr. Dzikowski. I can see your point but instead of making it just here on the patch id say come to a township committee meeting and express your opinion there on the record. I always say what I have to say at TC meetings and in 2012 I was very vocal about some issues and quiet on others. I dont blame you for being angry and I think its important to let people in town hall know how you feel. I am giving Mr. Barnet a chance to prove himself on the committee as from my dealings with him I have found him to be a professional. The allegations he was charged with were basically settled out of court with no admission of guilt. the public has condemed the man without being proven guilty. I cant pretend to know what went on but its also quite possible he was set up but since he was never proven to be found guilty all im asking is for people to give the man a chance. also he cant make any decision without the rest of the TC's input when it comes to finance. plus Anthony Cancro is the township administrator and is an able man to handle this towns finances. The bottom line like me when im not happy i speak out to the TC at the meetings. I welcome you to do the same. If people dont speak out in person to the TC nothing will ever be done when it comes to any issue. ie. lots of complaints on the garbage collection issue online but not a lot speaking out at the TC meetings.
Michael A Dzikowski January 16, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Bob - I agree with you and have been to many TC meetings. I was even there when they were swearing in the new members . I wanted to first hear how Mr. Barnett would address the issue (which he knew about for years and never disclosed -first character flaw) and give the professional a chance to resign himself or at the very least step down from the Finance Committee. He did neither. Since then I have been upset that I have not been able to attend the last few meetings as my schedule has been quite busy. I did however expect an uproar from many but was sad not to hear or see any other members of the community speak out. This is an outrage - and in an era when everyone is watching Wall Street types walk away from their crimes - I'm shocked to see no reaction. By the way, almost all allegations that are settled end without admitting or denying charges. It is nothing new. The SEC has routinely included a “without admitting or denying” clause in its civil consent agreements at the request of defendants since at least the 1970s. The Center for Public Integrity reviewed more than 100 of the SEC's settlement agreements from 2010, and in every case the defendants ended the lawsuit without admitting guilt or denying charges. Check this link to learn more about the process and then tell me if you would let these men manage your money even though they admitted no wrongdoing. http://www.publicintegrity.org/2011/03/24/3772/sec-extracts-fines-not-confessions
Michael A Dzikowski January 16, 2013 at 03:53 AM
The bottom line Bob is that this man is BARRED FROM SERVING AS OFFICERS OR DIRECTORS OF A PUBLIC COMPANY FOR 10 YEARS (Yet good enough to sit on the TC ?) . And is accused of fabricating and backdating contracts and other documents to facilitate the fraudulent accounting. And you want to give a guy like this a second chance with our town's finances ? I can't believe the Mayor would allow this . I don't care who takes over as I do not care about political parties (especially at this local level ) - Huber, or the Mayor himself....but Mr. Barnettt can't and should not be on that Committee This is serious and he made it seem like he was paying a parking ticket. I'll end with this Bob (and hopefully we'll see each other at a TC meeting) If it wasn't such a big deal , why wait for two years after the election to discuss it ? I think you and I both know the answer to that question.
Michael S. Dzikowski January 16, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Michael, Thank you for attempting to alert Springfield residents to the truth about Mr. Barnett. http://www.businessinsider.com/sec-complaint-against-streetcom-2012-12#ixzz2HK55Zmrn http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2012/2012-270.htm http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2012/12/newly_elected_springfield_comm.htmlMr. Bob Groder (not to slight Mr. Bart Fraenkel) is simply an addicted blogger who routinely misuses the Patch and its important facility to reach out and share facts. His EMPTY CONTENT is intended to sway opinion to his confusing cause with no genuine interest in truth or ethics. "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul". -- George Bernard Shaw

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