All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: March 29, 2007
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Mayor Obremski. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate 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 Morris County Daily Record and the Randolph Reporter on January 5, 2007 by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on January 4, 2007. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Morris County Daily Record, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and in the Randolph Reporter on January 11, 2007.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Also present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak
Mayor Obremski led the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, expressed concern over participants of the skate park not consistently wearing helmets. She asked if there was a way of discerning who is registered to use the park and methods of policing the park for safety.
Jodi Federico, 9 Country Lane, stated that, as a mother of two handicapped children, she is in favor of the proposed pool, especially utilizing the zero depth entry feature which would be very beneficial to those with handicapped and the elderly.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilman Metz attended the Traffic Advisory Committee meeting where there was discussion of entering a float devoted to teen driver safety in the Freedom Festival Parade. The Councilman also expressed concern about driving conditions at the high school, particularly during the afternoon dismissal.
Mayor Obremski suggested Councilman Metz relate his concerns to the Traffic Advisory Committee for further discussion, and Manager Lovell noted that it may be worthwhile to broach the subject at the next Board of Education meeting.
Councilman Alpert attended the Open Space meeting where there was discussion and overwhelming support for the recently adopted Garden State Preservation Trust resolution.
Councilman Algeier distributed copies of an article that he found worthwhile from the League of Municipalities Magazine dealing with the Highlands issue.
Councilman Napoliello attended the Municipal Alliance Committee meeting where they discussed a scheduled presentation dealing with stress management for children at the middle school. The RAP program is asking Town Hall to display artwork created by their participants dealing with smoking. The Councilman also noted that the MAC Committee is offering to donate funds to the Traffic Advisory Committee to help with their teen driver safety program.
Councilwoman Price stated that she has received positive feedback from residents on the Annual Report. The Councilwoman reported that the Parade Committee has already received some funds from local businesses for the Freedom Festival, and some bands have been contacting the committee expressing an interest in performing.
Mayor Obremski stated that State Farm Insurance has agreed to donate money to be used to display the teen driver safety initiatives on one of the billboards in town during the month of October.
Councilman Metz noted that John Herold Jewelers has donated the use of their billboard for the same purpose during October.
Mayor Obremski also noted that he has been in contact with the high school Athletic Director regarding honoring the various high school teams that have enjoyed notable success this year during an upcoming Council meeting.
COMBINED ACTION ITEMS
Deputy Mayor Mitsch made a motion to approve the Combined Action Items. Councilwoman Price seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
A. 2006 Budget Reserve Transfers
WHEREAS, various 2006 bills have been presented for payment this year, which bills were not covered by order number and/or recorded at the time of transfers between the 2006 Budget Appropriation Reserve in the last two months of 2006; and
WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-59 provides that all unexpended balances carried forward after the close of the year are available, until lapsed at the close of the succeeding year, to meet specific claims, commitments or contracts, incurred during the preceding fiscal year, and allow transfers to be made from unexpended balances which are expected to be insufficient during the first three months of the succeeding year.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, in the County of Morris, that the transfers in the amount of $15,000.00 are made between the 2006 Budget Appropriation Reserves.
|Water & Sewer, S & W||$15,000.00||Morris Twp. Sewer Treatment, O.E.||$15,000.00|
(1) Special Affairs Permit, Beef Steak Dinner on May 5, 2007, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Randolph Chemical Engine Company #2, 340 Route 10, Randolph, NJ
(2) Off-Premise 50/50, Randolph High School Forensics Parents Booster Association, April 22, 2007, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Meadow Wood Manor, 461 Route 10 East, Randolph, NJ
(A) Staff Review of the Pool Committee Report
Manager Lovell noted that the Council had requested that he and his staff review the work of the Pool Committee as well as the study conducted by Water Technology. The Manager undertook such a study focused on the funding plan, operating budget, and a calendar for development with the assistance of Michael Soccio, Finance Director, and John Van Brunt, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, as well as Jack Kraft, Bond Counsel. Salient points of this study include:
- The need to obtain a waiver of the 5 percent cash outlay from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
- Bond Counsel’s recommendation to increase to a 5 percent interest rate
- Bond Counsel’s recommendation to issue bonds backed by the full faith and credit of Randolph Township
- Township Attorney review of a 1996 ordinance for pool utility and recommended amendment
- Department of Community Affairs requiring tangible evidence, such as a petition, showing interest in the pool demonstrating pool will be self-sustaining
- Earliest opening of a pool will be Memorial Day 2009
- Increase project bond amount from $5.1 million to $5.5 million to account for construction inflation and provide flexibility for unforeseen costs
- Creation of a staffing schedule and a salary and wage budget for the pool
- Operating expenditures developed based on comparable pools in comparable communities
- Creation of a schedule for repayment of debt for the pool
- Positive cash flow in first year due to initial membership fees plus interest earnings from fund balance account
- Caution during year nine when debt reduction becomes accelerated for five years
- Debt schedule may not be the plan ultimately utilized but will be determined by the market at the time
The Manager’s summary comments on the study included:
- Success of the pool is predicated on memberships and a successful business plan
- Additional revenues possible from parties and special events
- Numbers show a positive cash flow using a very conservative financial approach
- Urgency in getting a petition to the public to determine interest, probably utilizing the town’s web site
Councilman Metz asked about discussions with Bond Counsel focusing having an amortization schedule for 23 years instead of 20 years and the possibility of arbitrage financing to get favorable interest rates.
Manager Lovell responded that arbitrage financing would be of value to the township with the flexibility it creates.
Councilman Algeier stated that he believes Randolph is served by very good financial professionals. He also noted that the involvement of the Department of Community Affairs is very positive in that, if they grant approval for the project, it’s a very positive statement toward the viability of the project. The Councilman also stated that the bar set by the DCA that will demonstrate resident interest in a pool is also positive in that, if enough residents do not show an interest in becoming members, then the project would most likely not be something that the Council should move forward with.
Mayor Obremski asked if the petition would include non-residents of the Randolph or be limited to residents only.
Manager Lovell responded that he envisions beginning with a resident base and see how close to 1000 residents respond positively.
Councilman Napoliello expressed his opinion that the township staff did a fine job with the study and thanked Manager Lovell, Mr. Soccio, and Mr. Van Brunt for their efforts.
Councilman Alpert mirrored the sentiments of a job well done and asked if there was a timeframe in place for responding to the petition.
Manager Lovell responded that he would like the Council to authorize the initiation of the petition program at this meeting. He will then move forward with getting the proper documentation on the web site. The Manager stressed that this document would not be a referendum, just simply a tool to determine what the membership base would be. The 1996 ordinance from the previous pool utility needs to be amended and will come before the council for action. The Manager is looking for a May 3 deadline for responses to the petition. At that time, if there are sufficient responses, he will look to introduce a bond ordinance followed by scheduling a meeting with the Department of Community Affairs.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch asked what would happen if there were not enough positive responses by the May 3 deadline.
The Manager responded that if that is the case, he would not introduce the bond ordinance at that time.
Councilman Metz made a motion authorizing the Manager and his staff to move forward with the process of identifying membership numbers. Councilman Napoliello seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
The Mayor opened the meeting to the public for comment.
Charlotte Buerhaus, 52 Misty Mountain Road, indicated that she believes a pool would be a great asset to the community and she plans to sign the online petition.
Doug Bratman, 2 Winchester Terrace, indicated that he is neither for nor against the pool. He participated in a petition drive and delivered those petitions currently available to the Manager signed by residents who would like to see this issue on a referendum. He strongly urged the Council to approve a referendum on the issue of the pool.
The Manager indicated that he will provide copies of the petitions to the Council.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, read the following letter into the record:
“I am writing regarding the proposed pool. I am not against the pool, but I know that a referendum on the proposal is unlikely to pass, as many people feel that there is no guarantee that it will be self-supporting. However, it occurs to me that there is a way to ensure that it becomes a self-supporting utility, and that is to sell subscriptions in the utility much as sewer improvements are subscribed by the affected homeowners.
At $5,000,000.00 approximately for the cost to build, only 1000 subscribers are needed at $5,000.00 each to guarantee that no tax money will be needed to build. This can be bonded by the Township with a pay period of up to 20 years at the low municipal interest rate. (If someone does not wish to pay interest he can front the $5,000.00.) Annual fees will be additional to pay for upkeep and operating expenses, of course, but since the pool construction costs must be amortized, the cost of membership per year should not be higher, and the ownerships should be salable, maybe at an appreciated value, when not wanted anymore by the current owner.
I have one more concern. Unless the pool will be operated by the township to benefit the entire population, not just the members (for instance, for swim lessons and/or swim team practice in the mornings administered by the Recreation Department, with abatements of fees for need as at present), it is necessary for the pool cost to include the value of the land, which now belongs to the township and may be used by any resident. Also, incidental expenses such as that of moving the Dog Park must be included in the cost of the pool.”
Howard Schoenberger, 12 Rickland Drive, read the following letter into the record:
“Honesty and openness are very important if we are to have faith in our public officials and the work they do for us. Unfortunately, it appears that we are lacking both with regard to a proposed pool. Personally, I don’t care if a pool is built or not built—I just have a problem with the process.
Towards that end of openness it would be a great idea if ALL town meetings were videoed and put up on the town webpage so that those that don’t have the time to come to these meetings could see what goes on and become more involved in the process. Technology would allow this to be done at almost no cost and since these meetings are open and the courts have ruled they may be video taped this should be a no brainer.
We have been told that a pool will be 100% self funding. All along I have found that to be highly questionable and unsubstantiated. It is my understanding that a committee of people that wanted a pool was formed, and the town gave them money to hire a consultant to document that a pool would be self funding. Well, having been in management consulting for 15 years I know quite well that it is highly unusual for a group to retain a consultant that they would pay to come out with a conclusion that they did not want. In simple English—the entire process was biased! I am certain that if the town gave the same amount of money to a group of people that did not want a pool that they could find a consultant that would present findings that it would not be economically feasible.
Next, I read in section 7 of the bonding ordinance that, and I quote, ‘The obligation shall be direct, unlimited obligations of the township, and the Township shall be obligated to levy ad valorem taxes upon all the taxable real property within the township for the payment of the obligations and the interest thereon without limitation of rate or amount.’
I also read in the bond counsel advice that the Pool Utility is supposed to obtain $100 deposits from a minimum of 800 families BUT they now want to not do that. Why? IF this thing is really self-funding that should be required.
Last time there was a pool referendum and it passed the council wanted $100 deposits, they were collected, I don’t know if they made their target or not.....but they were all returned because the council decided the pool would not be built.... Why not do that this time as well? Is it because there is fear that when it comes time to write a check it would prove that there really is not enough interest to financially support this venture?
Call me stupid, but that sure does not sound self-funding to me. I read that to say that if at some time the people that want this pool decide not to fund it that I and everyone else in the town will be forced to pay for it. That is not the definition of self-funding.
Then there is the issue of openness, this is a capital expenditure of over $5.5 million with substantial ongoing operating and maintenance costs. This is a very large capital expenditure and future commitment, and while the town council might have a legal right to decide to spend this money I believe they have a moral and fiduciary responsibility to bring an expenditure of this magnitude to a vote of the residents. That would be the morally correct approach.
Bottom line, don’t lie to the residents that this thing is self-funding if there is no guarantee that it is. If you want to go ahead and build a pool that is fine, but I find it to be a total farce the way this is being handled.
The honest and open way of handling this is to put it to a vote of all the citizens of Randolph and let them decide if they want a pool. Alternately, if there is no vote and this is to truly be self-funding then there should be a commitment by enough people that want a pool to pay for it. In the neighborhood where I grew up we had a self-funded pool. Anyone that wanted to join bought a bond that was initially about $10,000. In addition to that they paid annual dues. When they no longer wanted to belong they sold that bond (at a profit or a loss depending on demand) to a new person that wanted to join the pool. If there were no people that wanted to join they were stuck with that bond until a new member was found. That is the definition of self-funding. A wish and a hope that enough people will always be interested in a pool is not a valid method of self-funding.
In closing, I urge the council to 1.) Open this to a vote of all citizens to decide if the town should have a pool. 2.) Be honest, and either explain that this may very likely not be self funding and that taxes may have to be raised at some point to pay for it, or make people buy an equity stake in the pool before moving forward if the claim of self funding is to stand.”
Karen Funk, 19 Knollwood Terrace, expressed support for the pool and for the work done by the Pool Committee. She noted that residents in support of a pool would be willing to write a check in good faith of their support. While a referendum would show residents both for and against the pool, only a certain low percentage of the population is needed for the pool to be self-sustaining, therefore a referendum is not necessary.
David Glasser, 19 Tulip Lane, commended the Manager for his work reviewing the pool report. He also reiterated the fact that a referendum is not needed when only 8 to 10 percent of the population is needed for a self-sustaining pool. The proposed online petition would be a good indication of the support for the pool, and he plans to sign the petition and would write a check for membership if necessary. He recommends surveying other adjacent towns for membership in the pool.
Julie Hooper, 71 Everdale Road, suggested people have access to the pool at the YMCA for year-round swimming and lessons.
Adam Zyto, 18 Alpine Drive, thanked the Manager and Township Council for their efforts in providing a fine quality of life in Randolph. He asked the Manager if there was any independent study done to ensure the $5.5 million will be enough to build the pool and asked if the Manager was comfortable with that $5.5 million figure.
Manager Lovell responded that the pool consultant came in with the $5.1 million figure, he has faith in the consultant who has been in the business for a number of years and has a reputation to uphold in the state, and he has faith that she has presented her best estimate.
Mr. Van Brunt echoed the Manager’s sentiments that the pool consultant is at the top of her field and they have built a safety net by figuring on the $5.5 million cost.
Nancie Ludwig, 14 Lookout Road, stated that she believes a referendum is necessary so as not to split the town. She read the following letter into the record from a resident who could not be present at the meeting:
“Twenty-five percent of the projected pool members are families from out of Randolph in order to make this pool viable, but Randolph taxpayers will have 100 percent of the liability. The pool will be closer to $5.5 million rather than the $5.1 million projected, or 8 percent more if I read that correctly, and that is before it goes out to bid.
I question whether the 5 percent rate of interest is realistic if we go into an inflationary period. After all, we are in an unusually low interest cycle now and the pool will be fully funded for five or so years if I understood the funding scheme.
I don’t remember the numbers, but was it less than 400 people who even answered the town’s pool survey. In any event, it was certainly many less people than we needed to join the pool to make it viable. I’m also wondering how many Randolph families are members of the township lake and how many are from out of town. Will the township’s lake continue to operate, and if so, will that be viable should a pool be built or will it cost the taxpayers more money each year.
Finally, I think this should go to referendum. It’s not only a big ticket item, but it will be utilizing some of the very limited and open and sewered land we have in Randolph.”
Jeff Riggs, 9 Knollwood Terrace, is in favor of a pool. He sees it as a central gathering space for residents. He thanked the Council and Pool Committee for their work and careful consideration given to this project.
A resident asked if the pool could be made a year-round pool.
Linda Johnson, 41 Valley Road, Chairman of the Pool Committee, emphasized that an outdoor pool is a completely different entity than an indoor pool. Bridgewater had tried to have an indoor pool, and it is the only pool that she is aware of in the state that failed and she outlined the reasons for that failure. She noted that indoor pools are available at the YMCA and the County College of Morris. Mrs. Johnson strongly stated that the entire process has been an open one at all levels of approval, the staff review has confirmed the Pool Committee’s report, and she offered the Pool Committee’s support and assistance for the online petition. She noted that a referendum would not provide any usable data to be used to determine whether this project goes forward since the pool does not need 51 percent of the population’s support, only 8 or 9 percent is needed.
The public portion of the meeting was closed.
Councilman Algeier read the following letter from Lisa Sisco, 16 Bonnell Lane, into the record:
“I am not able to attend your Town Council meeting this evening, but would like to express my support for the Randolph Township pool. It is my understanding that some residents in Randolph would like to see the pool project fail.
A few weeks ago, I was approached in Randolph to sign a petition that would put the pool to a referendum. I asked the woman why she is against a self-sustaining pool. Her response was that she already had a pool in her yard, pays for lake rights each year, and her family doesn’t need a town pool. This is not a good reason to keep others who would benefit greatly from having a community pool. The fact that some other residents would not be using this pool isn’t a valid reason to keep others from having the option when it presents no financial burden on the taxpayers.
My family has been members of Streeter Pool for the past 7 years. We would welcome the opportunity to join a pool in our own Township of Randolph and to keep our money in Randolph. A community pool would be a great addition to the recreational facilities o of the town with no cost to people choosing not to use it.
Please help these plans move forward. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Councilman Algeier also noted that the following document was widely distributed via email and he read it into the record:
“Neighbors: Please come and listen to the pool review that was done by our Town Manager. It is important to listen and ask questions during the public portion of the Town Council meeting. The pool has been listed in the capital outlay at $5.2 million in this year’s budget that has not been voted on yet by the Town Council. It is important that we come to the meeting to ask questions and to check the town web site for additional information that will be posted there by the Town Manager about his report, http://www.randolphnj.org. Please reply to this e-mail if you are able to attend the Thursday evening Council meeting at 8:00 p.m.”
Councilman Algeier stated that the information in the preceding email is inaccurate and misleading when it refers to a $5.2 million expenditure in the budget for a pool.
C. 2007 Municipal Budget
Manager Lovell summarized the questions and answers presented to him regarding the budget as follows:
- Sale of municipal assets—Randolph participated in a region auction and the proceeds came to $37,271.00
- Increase credit card processing amount—Court and Recreation both use credit card processing with increasing use
- Why not use credit cards for taxes—Randolph’s fee for payment of taxes by credit card would be astronomical
- Court and salary wages have been listed
- Court contractual—Pays the cost of a stand-in judge when unanticipated absence occurs
- Court interpreter—Court is required to have interpreter available—cost for interpreter varies from year to year
- Retirement of Engineer—Most likely by end of 2007, after which re-organization of the department will occur
- Buildings and ground contractual services—Private sector is hired to maintain HVAC systems, janitorial services, copy machines, exterminating services, fire alarms, and fuel pumps for all municipal buildings
- Planning contractual—Work being done on zoning amendments in Mt. Freedom
- Board of Health salary and wages—Promotion of Mark Caputo, downgrade of full time position to part time position, increasing public nurse’s hours
- Health Department Flu Clinic—$10,000 request reduced to $5,000.00
- Recycling contractual services—Contractors needed to haul away various recycled materials
- Other insurance—Represents general liability, professional coverages, employee bonds
- Snow Removal Trust—cutting $100,000 out of the budget due to mild winter and few snow events
- Does Board of Education pay for use of turf field—No, but they do reimburse the town for lighting costs
- Purchase of vehicles—A purchase order has been cut for the replacement of three vehicles
- Interrogation recording software—For new equipment for a second interrogation room recommended by the Attorney General’s office
The Manager then reviewed comments and questions from the public and his responses to them as follows:
- Resident recommendation to lay off four full time employees—Downsizing occurred in 2003 and further reductions will result in reducing services in certain areas
- Debt service—the Township is in the process of evaluating long term debt against short term—it is constantly evaluated and action will be taken in the best interests of the township
- Reserve for uncollected taxes—anticipated large commercial tax appeals play an integral role in increasing the amount for reserve for uncollected taxes as opposed to possible spiking tax rates or bond anticipation notes which would compromise Randolph’s AA+ bond rating
- Ratables—No applications have come in for a proposed large commercial venture on Route 10 as of yet—a minimum of two years before site is ready to open for business—Randolph can expect a flat growth rate this year
- Police comparison—The ratio of officers per thousand population is no longer viewed as the best measurement for personnel requirements—demographics and demand for police services is a more appropriate measurement
- Communications desk—Randolph hopes to become a partner in the Morris County plan to centralize dispatch county-wide
- Mt. Freedom improvements—A feasibility study on the Millbrook/Woodlawn extension is vital, and other improvements are still being considered
- Sussex Turnpike sewers—funding for this project is available in the sewer surplus
- Mt. Freedom downtown improvements—viewed as a special assessment project to be done in conjunction with Sussex Turnpike improvements
- Sidewalks—A grant from the Community Development Block Grant Program will be used for improvements linking the apartment complexes with the Fernbrook Elementary School
- EA Porter—Clean-up of the property must be undertaken and then a decision will be made on how to utilize the property
- Community policing—Since police are the most expensive employee, the addition of police officers while insisting on reducing taxes is not attainable
- Does Randolph’s budget exceed the CAP rate—No, Randolph is well under the CAP
The Manager asked the Council to consider the information and provide the Manager a sense of direction in order to put the budget into final form.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch commented on the fact that out of 550 municipalities in New Jersey, Randolph is one of only six that have attained a AA+ or better bond rating and thanked the Manager and Finance Director for their guidance and conservative approach to the financial matters of Randolph.
Mayor Obremski suggested holding a special meeting after the Council has had a few days to analyze the information presented.
A special meeting date was set for Monday, April 2, 2007, at 7:30 p.m.
D. Skate Park Fees and Charges
Manager Lovell stated that John Van Brunt, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, recommends implementing a $15.00 lifetime registration fee for residents and non-residents to use the skate park. The Manager will introduce an amendment to the ordinance at the next meeting.
REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR APRIL 5, 2007, REGULAR MEETING
The Manager reviewed the proposed agenda for the Council.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
There were no reports at this time.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Mayor Obremski stated that he would briefly open the meeting for public comment for the third time.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, expressed interest in an analysis of what it costs to own the skate park and asked if parents are required to approve their child’s application and take liability for their child.
Manager Lovell replied that he believes parents sign the waiver form for their children.
Adam Zyto, 18 Alpine Drive, noted that he has not heard the Council address the suggestion made numerous times by Mrs. Stewart for alternate ways to fund the pool project. He also expressed disappointment that the Council has not thanked those residents who seem to be opposed to the pool for their efforts as they have seemed to thank those residents who favor the pool.
Mayor Obremski responded that Mr. Zyto is entitled to his opinion, however he was personally offended by comments made by Mr. Schoenberger earlier when he said the Council did not act openly and honestly on the pool issue. In his opinion, the Council has done a good job disseminating the facts surrounding this emotional issue, they will continue to evaluate the information provided and come to a decision they feel is in the best interests of Randolph, as they have been elected to do. Residents are welcome to come and speak to the Council.
Maria Martorana, 1 Wilkeshire Boulevard, asked about Ordinance 9-96 that is being amended.
Township Attorney Buzak stated that it’s a clean-up item on an ordinance that was used when the pool was being considered in the past. It is no longer valid as it references a date for the collection of membership deposits. The amendment will drop that language.
Mayor Obremski closed the public portion of the meeting.
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 following portion of the meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
A. Water Agreement with MCMUA B. Personnel Items
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 closed Executive Session, the Council may reconvene in public session for the purpose of taking formal action on matters discussed in closed session or on any other matter as permitted by law.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch made a motion to move into Executive Session. Councilman Alpert seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Councilwoman Price made a motion to move out of Executive Session. Councilman Alpert seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 10:50 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani
E X E C U T I V E S E S S I O N
An executive meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order by Mayor Obremski.
Present for the executive session were:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Township Manager Lovell
Township Attorney Edward Buzak
The Clerk was not present at the March 29, 2007, Council Meeting. Following are minutes provides by the Township Attorney for the Executive Session that evening.
Manager Lovell advised the Council that he received a list of allegations from the FOP concerning Police Chief Dean Kazaba and that he is in the process of sorting them out. There was originally a list of approximately 26 claims which was expanded to 31 written claims plus certain oral claims. They were given to the Township Attorney, Edward Buzak, for review as well. Typically there is a single charge that is made, investigated, and disposed of. With in excess of 31 written charges, it will take some time to investigate them. Manager Lovell indicated that he had begun to interview appropriate officers during the course of his investigation.
Attorney Buzak reviewed for the Council the framework in which the allegations being brought by the FOP would be examined. Some of the allegations are potential violations of Rules and Regulations which, if substantiated, would result in disciplinary charges, while other allegations involved more general management issues. Since the Chief reports to the Manager, both types of allegations are appropriate subject matter for review. The consequences of the validity of the allegations, however, are different. Those related to disciplinary matters will be handled in a disciplinary mode, while those related to management issues will be handled differently.
Councilman Alpert stated that in his experience of law enforcement, he had not previously seen a situation where the number of allegations being made within a police department or by a union organization were so great.
Attorney Buzak continued to review the general process to be followed as it relates to disciplinary matters. It is the Manager’s function to investigate the charges and determine whether the charges are sustained, not sustained, or unfounded. The Manager can also exonerate the Chief. The standards that must be met for each of these dispositions are set forth in Attorney General Guidelines and in the Randolph Police Rules and Regulations.
Attorney Buzak explained that if any of the charges are sustained, the Manager will then establish a level of discipline and advise the Chief of the disposition of those sustained claims. The Chief then has the opportunity to request a hearing. Since the Manager is investigating these charges, it was likely that the Manager would appoint a Hearing Officer who must be a member of the bar in the State of New Jersey according to the Ordinance governing the operation of the police department. The Hearing Officer’s determination can then be appealed by the Chief to the Law Division of the Superior Court. The Law Division reviews the matter de novo and can also accept additional evidence.
The Manager reported that he will continue to investigate the charges and hopes to complete his final investigative report within the next 4 weeks.
MANAGER LOVELL’S EVALUATION
Released May 1, 2008
WATER AGREEMENT WITH MCMUA
Do not release.
Donna Marie Luciani