All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: January 21, 2021
A. OPENING OF REGULAR MEETING
1. Call to Order
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by Mayor Forstenhausler. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate and electronic notice of the meeting has been provided by posting written notice of the time, date, location, and to the extent known, the agenda of the meeting in Randolph Township. This notice was posted on the Bulletin Board within Town Hall, it was filed with the Township Clerk, and it was provided to those persons or entities requesting notification. Notice was also provided to the Randolph Reporter and the Morris County Daily Record on December 2, 2020, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on November 12, 2020. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph and the Daily Record on December 10, 2020. The time change for this meeting was posted on January14, 2021 on all the entrance doors at Town Hall, posted on the township website and in TapInto Randolph. The time change was also emailed to the Randolph Reporter and Daily Record on January 14, 2021 and advertised in the Daily Record on January 16, 2021 and in the Randolph Reporter on January 21, 2021.
2. Roll Call
Councilwoman Carey -via Zoom
Councilman Loveys -via Zoom
Councilman Nisivoccia -via Zoom
Councilman Tkacs -via Zoom
Councilwoman Veech -via Zoom
Deputy Mayor Potter -via Zoom
Also Present: Township Manager Steve Mountain and Township Attorney Ed Buzak from Buzak Law group (via Zoom)
3. Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Forstenhausler led the Pledge of Allegiance.
B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Township Clerk Luciani read the following statement into the record:
Council is now open to the public. If you plan to address the Township Council please bear in mind that you will be asked to limit your comments to six minutes. Should you reach the five-minute mark, you will be advised that you have one minute remaining. If you go past the six-minute mark, your microphone will be muted.
Joshua Weiner of 21 Davis Avenue wanted to briefly address an issue that he believed was important to the town regarding committee assignments. He stated that both he and Dr. David Timpanaro; individuals who were Democratic Candidates in the 2018 and 2020 township elections, were removed from the Municipal Alliance Committee and were not provided any rationale or reasoning for the removal. He stated that he was disheartened to learn of this decision as it was his first year serving on the committee. He had hoped to continue his civic duty of volunteering and helping the community and council become a better town.
He explained that when he had gone to the Township Council to find out why this decision was made-he admitted he expressed some anger-he did not receive a response. He stated that when he followed up again, Mayor Forstenhausler replied that Mr. Weiner had made the decision a political issue and that he would not engage in a political discussion with him.
Mr. Weiner stated that he did not make it a political issue; it was the council that made it a political issue. He asserted that the Township Council had for years been using nonpartisan boards and committees as farm systems for republicans and rejecting qualified democratic applicants who want to serve their community.
He added that even if he had made it a political issue, which he stated he did not, it was the Mayor’s job to respond to him as he is a resident first and a candidate second. He explained that as a resident and a prior volunteer, he wanted an explanation for his removal from the Municipal Alliance Committee. Rather than being given the courtesy of a phone call, he stated that he received a terse, harsh, and unnecessarily rude email. He explained that he and the council could have their disagreements on policy on the campaign trail, but once the campaign was over the council are his elected representatives.
He stated that his team ran a campaign on the basis of bipartisanship and having bipartisan committees and a bipartisan council, he suggested that if the shoe were on the other foot he would not act in a similar way as the council. He inquired about what it might suggest to democrats in the town, that their democratic candidates, himself, Jeannette Hernandez, and Dr. David Timpanaro, whom 45% of the community wanted to elect to the council, were not able to serve on local committees because they had the audacity to run against the council.
He continued to state that he typically does not get angry about these things, but in this case, the decision reeked of rank partisanship to him and that it was intolerable in a small community and should not happen. He stated that the council should want the best and the brightest individuals who want to dedicate their time on the committees. He added that he clearly demonstrated those qualities by volunteering and running for Township Council twice.
He cited Dr. David Timpanaro’s holding of a Ph.D. in Human Services and 20 years of work in the field and explained that Dr. Timpanaro was taken off the committee just as he was and that they had both received the same response via email. He stated that as a resident he expected more from the council and that their actions were unacceptable.
He continued his comments by explaining that Democrats and Republicans could have their disagreements on policy, but at the end of the day, the council is his elected representatives, a fact that he accepts. What he could not accept was being rejected, ignored, and being told he was not allowed in. He then cited the council candidates’ use of stating that Democratic candidates lack requisite experience in the town, even though the council won’t allow them the opportunity to serve. He stated that he was angry, though he does not like to be, and that he was trying to be careful with his words because to this day he still has not been provided rationale or reasoning for the decision.
He referred to his removal from a previous committee in 2018, sharing that after that decision Councilman Loveys was courteous and called him to inform him that he was not selected. While he did not agree with the reasoning for the removal, he did not speak about it because Councilman Loveys acted rightfully as a representative. He added that any action that would be done now in response to his removal would be too little too late because it clearly would be contrived. He wanted to share his disgust with the situation because he felt that this was an issue that involves more than just him and Dr. Timpanaro, but the many democrats under this council. He hopes that in the future the council will see differently and will allow those who want to serve to do so, regardless of political affiliation or whether those individuals choose to run against them in a political election.
Hazel Ball of 236 Dover Chester Road thanked Manager Mountain and Mayor Forstenhausler for having the Police Chief reach out to her and discuss her incidents. She also shared that a police officer picked up the defaced Black Lives Matter sign from her property to run it for fingerprints; she hopes the police will be able to get results by next week. She also thanked them for the extra police patrol around her home, and on Inauguration Day, and noted that she did not see extra patrol on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She shared that on Martin Luther King Jr. Day she held a gathering at her home; 40-45 Randolph residents attended. she stated that it was a nice gathering held to remember what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for and the dream everyone is committed to pursuing in the community. She plans to hold this event every year, as she did not know of anything the town does to come together on that special day and welcomed the council to attend next year.
She referred to the incident she recounted during the 2021 Reorganization Meeting regarding the man driving a tesla with a trump sign attached, who yelled an expletive and directed an obscene gesture towards her. She shared that she had been approached by the Daily Record to discuss her experiences. She wanted to state for the record, that although she had some Biden and Harris signs on her property, she and her husband did not believe the incident of harassment was due to political beliefs; it was a racist bias offense directed towards them.
Dr. David Timpanaro of 450 Quaker Church Road started his comments by identifying that he is a Randolph resident and a constituent. He believed it was important to state this because he had been called out in an email from Mayor Forstenhausler and in similar calls for attending meetings for political purposes.
He believed it was important to express that he is a resident because the claim was degrading, and he wanted the mayor and council to know that it was demoralizing. He stated that he did run as a candidate and that it was his right to do so, but he was not on this call as a candidate. He explained that in an email and at the last council meeting he was accused of being political when what he was expressing was his experiences within the township, which included being targeted and harassed for having a Black Lives Matter sign.
He stated that he had been accused of spray painting his Black Lives Matter sign and that the accusation essentially ignored the fact that there is racism, bigotry, hate, and anti-Semitism in the township. He did not deface his sign and stated that silence fell over the incident and people got away with blaming him for it; which said a lot about the town.
He referenced the experiences Mrs. Ball shared and stated that although he did not experience as many incidents as her and her family, he did experience things differently. He shared that he was not a person of color, but he was trying to do his best to be a team member and a supporter. He shared his experiences of a Jeep driver directing an expletive at him and announcing that all lives matter, and white lives matter towards himself and his family. He cited his experiences with his Black Lives Matter sign being vandalized and having a bottle thrown at it, and a recent incident of a pickup truck shouting all lives matter through a pa system driving past his home with his family inside. He stated that these were incidents of targeted harassment and that he had it on camera and has posted them to his Facebook page which believed many of the council members were familiar with. He explained that the incidents being brought up are issues and that calling him out as seeking a political agenda ignores the issues that exist and turns a blind eye to them.
He stated that the purpose of his call was not about Mayor Forstenhausler and explained that because Mayor Forstenhausler was the head of the council it was why he was directing his comments to him. He informed the council that it was not his goal to offend them in any way, and apologized if he ever did so, as he knows he can be blunt. He explained to the council that they are public servants who signed up and fought for their positions as elected officials; while they might not agree with many of the things he had to say, they are in the seat to hear and respond to his concerns. He stated that his family was scared, not as scared as many others dealing with serious incidents, but they are being targeted as his home is located on a busy road. He begged for the council to protect the township and everyone in the community and asked them to treat community members as residents and constituents, not just as Democrats and Republicans. He pleaded for the council to see past the issues that have happened in the past and to acknowledge the issues that are happening are real.
Dr. Timpanaro referred to the statement Mayor Forstenhausler denied making at the June 4, 2020 council meeting, “we didn’t know this even existed,” stating that his statement was on the record. He suggested that Mayor Forstenhausler may not have meant for the statement to be interpreted the way it has and asked the other council members for their stance on the comment when referencing racism, bigotry, hate, and anti-Semitism. He once again stated that the statement was on record and that anyone could OPRA it. He wanted to know what all seven members of the council found political about him coming to speak about his experiences and asked the council to respond and act.
Township Clerk Luciani informed Dr. Timpanaro that he was at the five-minute mark of his allotted time.
Dr. Timpanaro continued his comments by asking what the township would be doing differently, knowing that his family and several other families in the town are facing these issues. He asked Councilman Loveys to explain what changed from two years ago when he told Dr. Timpanaro that he should be on the MAC. He also asked about the post that Mayor Forstenhausler wanted removed from the Randolph Residents page that was an advertisement for a food drive from the Township Council during the pandemic; he wanted to know where the council members stood on the issue. He stated that his comments were not an attack and that it was important to discuss so they can put their issues aside because the township needs a team and togetherness.
Township Clerk Luciani informed Dr. Timpanaro that he had reached his allotted time and that she would have to mute his microphone.
Meredith Ross of 40 Misty Mountain Road commended Mrs. Ball for her bravery. She informed the council that she was the founder of the Randolph Partnership Endeavor for All Citizens’ Equality (PEACE) and that she had the pleasure of attending Mrs. Ball’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day gathering, which was held safely with everyone wearing masks and being spaced appropriately. She was glad that the police responded positively to Mrs. Ball’s fear of the incidents that have occurred. She asked about the type of training that was given in terms of what defines a bias crime, what it looks like, and how to respond to one. She asked this question because the response to a bias crime is not always the same. In some cases, it has been reported to her that the police have responded supportively, and in other cases, unsupportive comments would be made.
She believed it was important to value what a person is saying and to understand the hurt and pain of how difficult it is to report such incidents. She added that the Township Police were excellent; she just wanted to make sure everyone was aware and clear on what defines a bias crime, particularly now that there is an increase in the number of incidents of hate across the country. She stated that she wanted to make sure that everyone knows what a bias crime is, how to identify it, and how to report it, and that there would be an option to report it anonymously. She believed that this was important so everyone can learn how pervasive the problem is so that the township can be effective when addressing each occurrence of bias crime; her dream and hope is that there would be none.
Mayor Forstenhausler directed Mrs. Ross’s question to Manager Mountain as he oversees the Police Department. Manager Mountain thanked Mrs. Ross for her questions and informed her that he would arrange for the Police Chief to contact her to provide her with specific answers. He shared that the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office would be holding a forum about bias crime reporting to educate communities in the county. The forum will better inform individuals about how the process works and how such crimes can be reported. He did not have the forum information on hand and informed her that he would communicate the information to her; the forum would be taking place virtually on January 25.
Mrs. Ross asked Manager Mountain to ensure that the forum is posted on the township website. Manager Mountain informed her that he believed it was already published on the website, but if it was not in a prominent place, they would place it appropriately.
Seeing and hearing no one further, the public portion was closed.
C. MANAGER’S REPORT
Manager Mountain reported the following:
COVID-19 Update—The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Randolph has spiked over the past six weeks. Since the last regular council meeting in December, the township has had 384 new cases reported, including 10 new confirmed cases today. The township’s total number of cases is now up to 1,128. The majority of the cases continue to stem from social gatherings and close personal contact. He emphasized the importance of avoiding group gatherings, even small ones, and deferring discretionary travel until the spread of the virus has been mitigated.
COVID-19 Testing—Morris County continues to offer several different options for COVID-19 Testing.
At-Home Testing—The county is offering free at-home testing kits for symptomatic homebound individuals. Test ordering is available through the county-administered testing portal that can be found on the Morris County website.
Walk-up Testing—A walk-up facility is open at the County College of Morris Student Center. The CCM Testing Facility is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and is managed by a third-party vendor hired by Morris County. Residents interested in getting tested at this location must make an appointment for the test through the Morris County testing portal.
Additional Remote Testing Facilities- On the county website information is provided about other remote testing facilities available in Morris County, including the other county-administered site at ZuFall Health Center in Dover.
COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout—COVID-19 vaccination rollout is now underway. The rollout has been slow due to limited supplies being provided to the state for distribution to vaccination sites. Nonetheless, the state has moved from phase 1A which included health care workers and emergency first responders to phase 1B, which includes individuals over the age of 16 and 64 who have specific underlying health issues. Information for how residents can sign up to be notified of when appointments become available can be found on various websites including the town, county, and state websites. The state has also announced that it will be opening a statewide call center to assist individuals who do not have access or the ability to use electronic means for arranging appointments.
Currently, the primary vaccination site in Morris County is the mega-site established at the Rockaway Mall. There are a number of other private providers locally who are also administering shots. Information on vaccination locations can also be found on the town, county, and state websites. Once the supply of the vaccine begins to increase, it is anticipated that many individuals will be able to visit their doctors to receive the injection. Vaccinations for the general public will be part of a later phase anticipated in the spring which will be coordinated through medical facilities, county, and municipal locations, and private pharmacies, and other health providers.
Recreation Project Update
Freedom Park Baseball Field—Work has begun on the planned improvements to the Freedom Park Baseball Field. Currently, the contractor is installing the undersurface drainage in the field. The final stage of the project will be completed sometime in March or April-weather permitting. They are estimating 5 weeks from the final laying of sod to the timeframe when play can resume on the field.
Brundage Park Field Lighting Replacement—Township Engineer Paul Ferriero and Township Parks and Recreation Director Russ Newman are in the process of setting up the pre-construction meeting with the contractor for the project. The work is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
Budget Update—He reported that he is currently working with Township Chief Financial Officer Darren Maloney on putting the final touches on the 2021 proposed budget. The budget books will be in the council’s boxes by no later than Thursday, January 28. He will be sending out an email to the council to confirm when the books are available. He reminded the council of the first budget work session scheduled for Saturday, January 30 at 8:30 a.m. Additional work-sessions are scheduled for Thursday, February 4 at 5 p.m. and Saturday, February 20 at 8:30 a.m.
CDBG Grant Applications—Included in the Combined Action items for this meeting, are two separate resolutions for local non-profit Community Development Block Grant Applications. These applications are similar to applications the council has supported in the past. The first is an application submitted by Morris Habitat for Humanity in support of their regional neighborhood revitalization program. The grant funding being requested could potentially be used in support projects in Randolph. The second is a separate application submitted by Morris Habitat for Humanity in support of funding they are seeking towards the construction of units planned for the former EA Porter site. The third is an application submitted by Avidd Community Services of New Jersey in support of funding they are seeking for the installation of a generator at the Group Home they manage in Randolph and a new boiler for the administrative office building.
The Community Development Block Grant rules require the agencies applying for the grant funds to present their applications to the municipality in which the proposed project is located and for the governing body to act on the corresponding authorizing resolution. Representatives of both Habitat and Avidd are on the call tonight if you have any questions about the applications before acting on the resolutions in Combined Action.
Councilwoman Carey shared that she received a COVID-19 test at the County College of Morris Testing Facility. She found that the site was well run, organized and professional; they were doing a great job at the facility.
She also shared that she informed Manager Mountain of resident requests for posting COVID-19 vaccination data, specifically how many people in the community and state have been vaccinated; she referred to Manager Mountain to confirm if this data was available. The residents requesting this data believed it would help people feel a little reassured if they see the number of vaccinations going up.
Manager Mountain confirmed that the township has inquired about the data. Presently it is not available for local jurisdictions to post; the hope is that this will change down the road.
D. APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES
1. Approving the Regular Council Meeting Minutes for December 10, 2020
Councilman Tkacs made a motion to approve the Regular Meeting minutes for December 10, 2020. Councilwoman Carey seconded the motion and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Potter
E. COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS
Item #5, R-32-21 Approving the Shared Services Agreement with the Township of Mendham for Randolph Township to Provide Animal Shelter Services—Councilman Loveys commented that it was great news to see that Mendham Township was back on part of the service agreement even if it was not full service. He asked Manager Mountain if the township had heard anything from Mendham Borough. Manager Mountain informed him that they had not yet heard back from the borough, he did express that he was happy that Mendham Township was interested in the version of animal services support.
Item #25, R-52-21 Refund for Registration Fee for the Spring Artworks Program 2020—Councilman Loveys stated that he knew this resolution was added in later than the others; he brought attention to a typo on the certification page, if it had not already been corrected.
- R-28-21 Release of Road Opening Bond to Arthur Knox—10 Chestnut Hill Road—Resurfacing of Driveway—$500.00
- R-29-21 Authorizing and Supporting the Application to the Community Block Grant (CDBG) Program for Morris Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Revitalization/Aging in Place Program for the Rehabilitation and Improvement of Homes of Morris County Senior Citizens to Improve Mobility, Accessibility, Energy, Efficiency and Safety
- R-30-21 Authorizing and Supporting the Application to the Morris County Home Investment Partnership Program—2021 HOME Grant—Phase 1—Building 1 and Building 2
- R-31-21 Authorizing and Supporting the Application to the County of Morris for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Avidd Community Services of NJ for the Improvement of a Special Needs Group Home for Adults with Development Disabilities
- R-32-21 Approving the Shared Services Agreement with the Township of Mendham for Randolph Township to Provide Animal Shelter Services
- R-33-21 Refund of Ice Hockey Registration Fee to Susie Sharkey—$500.00
- R-34-21 Release of Escrow Funds to Block 42, Lot 106—768 Route 10 West, LLC—$3,888.03
- R-35-21 Release of a Road Opening Bond to Priscila Feliz Solar—15 Willow Avenue—Resurfacing of Driveway—$500.00
- R-36-21 Release of a Road Opening Bond to Matthew Karr—3 Cedar Terrace—Resurfacing of Driveway—$500.00
- R-37-21 Release of a Road Opening Bond to Ray Regimbal—4 Blanchard Ct. -Connection to the Township Water System—$500.00
- R-38-21 Release of Road Opening Bond to Cash in a Flash Home Buyers—13 Lawrence Road—Connection to Township Water System—$500.00
- R-39-21 Amending Resolution No. 291-20 Approved on November 12, 2020—Meeting Dates for the Year 2021
- R-40-21 Release of Road Opening Bond to Andrew E. Hall—12 Country Lane—Connection to Township Sanitary Sewer System—$500.00
- R-41-21 Release of Road Opening Bond to Michael Moss—29 Meadowbrook Road—Resurfacing of Driveway—$500.00
- R-42-21 Authorizing Contracts with Certain Approved State Contract Vendors for Contracting Units Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-12a
- R-43-21 Authorizing Contracts under the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council (MCCPC) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-11(5)
- R-44-21 Authorizing Contracts under the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey Cooperative Pricing System (ESCNJ) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-11(5)
- R-45-21 Authorizing Award of Items Previously Rescinded for Contract #20-A (Sporting Goods)
- R-46-21 Release of a Road Opening Surcharge Fee to Peter Ponzi—174 Park Avenue—Gas Connection
- R-47-21 Authorizing Contracts Under the Somerset County Cooperative Pricing Council (SOCCP)
- R-48-21 Authorizing Contracts Under the New Jersey Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NJCPA)
- R-49-21 Authorizing Contracts Under the Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission Cooperative Pricing System (HCESC)
- R-50-21 Authorizing the Rescission of a Portion of Contract No. 39 (Furnishing Trophies and Plaques)
- R-51-21 Approving Appropriation Reserve Transfers
- R-52-21 Refund to Nancie Ludwig for Registration Fee for the Spring Artworks Program 2020—Canceled due to COVID—$416.00
- R-53-21 Release of a Road Opening Surcharge Fee to Michael Tepperman—19 Arnold Drive -$850.00
Councilman Nisivoccia made a motion to approve the Combined Action Resolutions. Deputy Mayor Potter seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Potter
F. UPCOMING EVENTS
COUNCIL ONLY—Hearts and Hammers Gala—Virtual—February 25, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Pre-Show starts at 6:45 p.m.)
G. ORDINANCES: INTRODUCTION
1. Ordinance No. 01-21—Amending Article VIII, Stormwater Control Ordinance, of the Land Development Ordinance
BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Amending Article VIII, Stormwater Control Ordinance of the Land Development Ordinance of the Township of Randolph” be introduced, read by title by the Township Clerk and passed on first reading.
BE IT RESOLVED, that said Ordinance shall be further considered for final passage at the meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Randolph on the 18th, of February, 2021 at 5 o’clock in the evening, prevailing time, at the Town Hall in said Township, at which time and place all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard concerning said ordinance.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Township Clerk be authorized and directed to advertise said Ordinance in full or by summary with the notice of introduction thereof, in the official designated newspaper according to law.
Manager Mountain informed the council that this ordinance incorporated the changes that are required with the passage of the state’s Green Infrastructure Rule. The changes pertain to the township’s stormwater regulations. An overview of the changes was presented to the council back in December by the Township Engineer; this ordinance memorializes the changes outlined during that presentation.
Councilman Tkacs made a motion to introduce the ordinance. Councilwoman Carey seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Potter
H. DISCUSSION ITEMS
1. Manager’s Goals for 2021
Manager Mountain explained that the 2021 Manager’s Goals Memorandum had been distributed to the council and the public, therefore he would not take up time by reading it aloud. He began by explaining that although the goals are called the Manager’s Goals, they are reflective of the goals of the council and the township organization. He takes on the role of working in conjunction with the township staff to work on these activities and move forward with the goals.
He explained that the township’s budget is always the number one goal on the list as it is where all the other goals start from. If the township is not in a sound financial position it is difficult to achieve any of the other goals on the list. The budget goals outlined are very similar to past years, with the exception of additional challenges that had to be managed. The goals listed include balancing the community’s short term and long-term needs, minimizing tax impact, maintaining a triple bond rating, and delivering municipal services. He stated that although this year presents its challenges, he is pleased that the township is in an overall strong financial position that can pull the community through this year and the next. He believes the township organization will be able to develop a budget everyone will be pleased with.
Another top goal for the organization is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manager Mountain explained that the township would continue to work on managing the spread of COVID-19 and would continue collaborating with higher levels of government to ensure that the vaccine rollout is effective and efficient. He explained that the township would be working very closely with partners to examine trends and what will happen in the coming months. He added that the township was fortunate to have a great Health Department as it enables the town to do quite a bit in the response process.
He continued highlighting some high profile/important infrastructure projects the township has been working on. He explained that the EA Porter Site Remediation project was a goal that he, Township Attorney Ed Buzak, the township’s engineering and planning offices, and partners at the Morris Habitat for Humanity, had been working towards for quite some time. The project is complex and has required a great deal of coordination; the goal is to get the project to the last stage of completion, which he hopes to report on by the end of the year.
He briefly touched on the progress of the Randolph Route 10 corridor intersection. He shared that he, the township staff, and the council have been working with the state Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) to make progress on the Route 10 corridor intersection.
He concluded by sharing that the township will be able to work on a number of infrastructure projects as the focus can hopefully begin to shift from COVID-19 to addressing infrastructure initiatives. He stated that the council had set up a couple of different workgroups to respond to new state initiatives, these workgroups include the cannabis workgroup and the environmental workgroup. He plans to work closely with the group members to advance the initiatives associated with those programs.
He stated that the goals for 2021 were an ambitious list and that the objective is to always put more things on the list than is believed can be accomplished, however, he would be satisfied if the township makes progress on a significant portion of them.
I. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Township Clerk Luciani once again informed the public of the six-minute time limit. She stated that individuals reaching the five-minute mark would be notified of their remaining time. Individuals exceeding the six-minute time limit would have their microphones muted. She informed the members of the public who previously spoke that they used their allotted time in the previous Open to the Public session. She asked if there were any additional members of the public wishing to speak.
Seeing and hearing none, the public portion was closed.
J. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilwoman Carey reported that she was the council liaison for the Library Board of Trustees. She attended the Library Board of Trustees meeting on January 14. During the meeting, a reorganization was held; board member Roy Squillario was appointed as president. The board discussed data related to the library’s daily patron count and monthly circulation. She explained that in the months between March and June, patron count and circulation had dropped significantly. In December, the library reported that they were almost back to their count and circulation numbers from before the pandemic. She added that it was great that many people were taking advantage of the library’s alternative services and shared that the library plans to increase its use of social media to further promote its services.
She reported that members of the Randolph PEACE were leading an initiative to get residents to donate new children’s books on topics of diversity and inclusion. The library reported that 170 books had been donated in the previous week.
She concluded her report by sharing that she had reached out to Manager Mountain to organize a time for himself and Township CFO Darren Maloney to join a Library Board of Trustees meeting to give the new members an overview/introduction on library operation finances.
Manager Mountain informed Councilwoman Carey that he would notify her the following day about whether they will be joining in a February or March meeting.
Councilwoman Veech responded to Mrs. Hazel Ball’s invitation to a future Martin Luther King Jr. Day gathering, stating that she would be happy to join the celebration or look into different ways for the community to celebrate.
She attended a Traffic Advisory Committee meeting, during which new leadership was selected and the DOT was discussed. The committee also discussed school bus passing complaints. She informed the public that police officers would be patrolling to find the individuals breaking these traffic laws. She explained that the speed reduction sign on Old Chimney Road near Shongum Road was receiving positive attention. The traffic sign displays a thank you when drivers reduce their speed to the 25-mph speed limit. She suggested that this type of traffic sign might be a better approach to traffic signage in the future.
Councilman Loveys echoed Councilwoman Veech’s response to Mrs. Ball’s invitation, stating that he would be happy to join her event and felt that everyone was in this together. He shared that he felt for her family and anyone else who experienced similar experiences to the ones she recounted and added that there was no place for those acts. He again stated that he would be happy to join the event and that if she did not mind, he would also like to drop by to greet her.
He responded to the comments Dr. Timpanaro directed towards him by offering to meet with him to discuss the issue as he has always been responsive to the community. He stated that if he was strictly focusing on Dr. Timpanaro’s qualifications, they have if anything increased since 2018 however; there are other things that play a part in serving on committees. He would not go into further detail during a public discussion, but he would be happy to meet with him and Mr. Weiner privately.
Concerning some of the comments Dr. Timpanaro and Mr. Weiner made, he agreed wholeheartedly differences between republicans and democrats, or any differences that the council should have with people whether they be Democrats or Independents regarding policy or the way policy is implemented, he stated that he doesn’t think there is anybody on the council that doesn’t believe that to be a healthy situation. Councilman Loveys believes those disagreements should be civilly debated and that people can agree to disagree but to suggest that those were the reasons that they were not reappointed to a committee was flat out wrong. Councilman Loveys again stated to Dr. Timpanaro and Mr. Weiner that he would be happy to meet with them both.
He reported that the Board of Health held their reorganization meeting on January 11; he thanked Councilman Nisivoccia for attending in his place. He shared that Dr. Ronald Millman would be serving as president of the board, and Norma Jacobs would be serving as vice president.
He participated in a Recreation Advisory Committee held via Zoom on January 14. During the meeting, Joseph Nazzaro was appointed as chairperson and Vic Viscomi as vice-chairperson. He reported that the committee discussed the lights at Veterans Community Park; once the lighting issue at the park was resolved the lights would be turned on approximately 15 minutes before sunset and turned off by 10 p.m. Manager Mountain informed him that the issue had been resolved.
During the Recreation meeting, the committee discussed the levels of decreased participation in 2020. He shared that registration for spring sports and day camp had begun; the committee hopes that participation will increase as things settle down with the pandemic. He also shared the senior activities, such as card playing and sewing, would be limited to small groups of eight. He will report on more developments as the committees’ work progressed.
Councilwoman Carey responded to Mrs. Ball’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day invitation saying that she would love to attend any celebration or event.
Councilman Tkacs echoed previous responses to Mrs. Ball’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day gathering, stating that he would be honored to attend.
He reported that the Planning Board held their reorganization meeting on January 11; the board members selected Art Lee as chairperson and Myra Sesko as vice-chairperson. During the meeting, the Planning Board gave their approval for the modified building plans for the Gateways Apartments.
He reported that the Parks Advisory Committee held their reorganization meeting on January 12; the committee members selected Paul O’Malley as chair and Janet McMillian as vice-chair. The committee discussed several Eagle Scout projects for the parks, particularly for Veteran’s Community Park. The projects include benches, planting boxes, a tool shed, and bike racks. Additionally, they are planning to complete a few upgrades to Randolph Park Beach; these upgrades include snack stand renovations, upgrades to the first aid station, and replacing railroad ties with a better solution.
Councilman Nisivoccia began his report by responding to Mrs. Ball’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day gathering invitation, stating that he would be happy to attend.
He reported that he attended the recent Board of Health meeting in Councilman Loveys place. During the meeting, the board discussed COVID-19; much of their discussion was covered in Manager Mountain’s report. He mentioned again that Dr. Ronald Millman was selected as president of the board.
He attended a meeting with the Liberty Tree Committee, in addition to attending a Trails Advisory Committee. He reported that the Trails Committee had selected Phil Sheehy as chair. He shared that the Trails Committee had assembled a newsletter which Director Newman forwarded to Township Clerk Luciani for publishing on the township’s various communication channels.
He had attended a Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce meeting earlier in the day and commented that he was happy to see that business appeared to be improving as the attendance for the meeting was more than average. He also attended a Traffic Advisory Committee meeting. He concluded his report by echoing Councilwoman Carey’s comments on the efficiency and safety of the COVID-19 Testing site at the County College of Morris.
Deputy Mayor Potter echoed previous responses to Mrs. Ball’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day gathering invitation, stating that she would like to be included. She reported that she met with the DISC in addition to attending the recent Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce meeting. She could not report on her remaining committees as they had not yet met.
Mayor Forstenhausler started his comments by sharing that he had spoken with Mrs. Ball on multiple occasions. He informed the public that he would be sharing Mrs. Ball’s recommendation of inviting all residents to discuss racism and bias during town halls, with the DISC. He thought it was an excellent idea and appreciated her input. He added that he looked forward to participating in her Martin Luther King Jr. Day event next year.
He and Manager Mountain attended a teamster meeting with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) Commissioner, Senator Bucco, and several engineers and professionals from state, county, and local levels. He shared that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the township’s ongoing efforts to improve the intersections on Route 10. He reported that the extension of the left-hand turn lane on Route 10 had finally been completed; the hope is that improvements to Canfield Avenue will continue to move forward.
He shared that the township was planning to work on widening the road south of Route 10 with the assistance of the property owner and the county. Additionally, the state has plans to rework the Route 10 intersections during the completion of work on other major Route 10 projects projected to be completed over the next few years; the township engineer will be working very closely with the state. He reported that the Dover Chester Road intersection required further study and discussion with the DOT.
He shared that the DISC members participated in a virtual Zoom Diversity and Inclusion Workshop. The workshop was conducted by an outside trainer recommended by the Morris County Human Relations Commission. He stated that it was two hours well spent and that he believed it would help the DISC as the committee continues to do move forward and do its work.
He read the following statement on behalf of the DISC:
The DISC would like to issue a statement denouncing the attack on the capitol building and update the community regarding the length of time necessary to issue a final report.
The Randolph Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee’s mission is “to work toward the goal of eliminating acts of bias based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity in Randolph by understanding the causes and identifying solutions...” The expressions of hate during the attack on the capitol by individuals and groups carrying confederate flags and wearing offensive, anti-Semitic clothing highlights one of the reasons our mission is so important.
We condemn the individuals and groups who hold or stand behind the confederate flag. Our reason is this flag was never the official flag of the Confederate States of America—it was only used as a battle flag during the Civil War. The contemporary usage of this flag is connected with racism, slavery, white supremacy, and the terrorization of African Americans and people of color.
We also forcefully reject the individuals and groups attacking the capitol who used anti-Semitic symbols and language such as “6MNE” (acronym for six million Jews is not enough) and “Camp Auschwitz” extolled on clothing (reference to Nazi concentrations camps). We know that these messages can trickle down into our community, our schools and into our homes. We denounce these symbols and language as to not allow the normalization of this hate speech here in Randolph and our country.
The following is a status update:
- We are currently reviewing recommendations from our town halls that were held during the last 6 months. We are thoughtfully and meticulously reviewing each individual recommendation. We are carefully vetting the suggestions among all 11 of our committee members. Our committee consists of 7 Randolph Township elected officials and 4 Morris County Human Relations Commission members.
- We are fortunate to have access to Hanover Research without costing the taxpayer additional dollars. Hanover is working in parallel to our work and we are hopeful that their survey and subsequent results will both enrich our findings as well as provide other recommendations that we can put forth to the Randolph community.
- Our committee continues to meet a minimum of once a week to continue our important work.
- Additionally, we would like to point our community to the state report issued in October of 2020 ”An Anti-Bias Vision for the Next Generation” by the New Jersey Interagency Task Force to Combat Youth Bias to the Governor and Attorney General. This New Jersey Interagency Task Force was established in August of 2019 by Executive Order No. 78. In November of 2019, the task force announced a series of listening sessions. From these listening sessions, and 14 months after their initial organization, the task force issued their October 2020 report with recommendations. We find this state issued report and recommendations optimistic in our local effort. Without state support, Randolph would have difficulty in implementing recommended modifications.
Our committee is working diligently and is excited about creating Randolph’s future roadmap to lead us to a community where all are accepted, supported, and treated fairly and where we continue to educate and promote inclusion for all residents of Randolph Township.
K. EXECUTIVE SESSION
WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 (N.J.S.A. 10:4-12) permits the exclusion of the public from a meeting under certain circumstances; and
WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, in the County of Morris, and State of New Jersey, as follows:
1. The public shall be excluded from the Executive portion of the meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
RTEA and RTSEA Negotiations Update
3. As nearly as now can be ascertained, the matter or matters to be discussed at this time will be disclosed to the public at such time and under such circumstances as are prescribed by law.
4. At the conclusion of the Executive Session, the Council may or may not reconvene in public session for the purpose of taking formal action.
Councilwoman Carey made a motion to move into Executive Session at 6:25 p.m. Councilman Tkacs seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Potter
Deputy Mayor Potter made a motion to close the Executive Session at 6:38 p.m. Councilwoman Carey seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Potter
Councilman Tkacs made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:58 p.m. Councilwoman Veech seconded the motion and following roll vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Potter