All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: August 12, 2010

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:02 p.m. on Thursday, August 12, 2010 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Mayor Sally Rinker presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2010, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present was Township Attorney John Ursin.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

At 6:03 p.m. Mayor Sally Rinker asked for a motion to go into Executive Session. Council Member Richard Carson made a motion to close the meeting to the public and enter into executive session. Motion seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert with all members voting in favor.

The Acting Municipal Clerk read the following resolution to go into executive session:

WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

  1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.
  2. The general nature of the subject matters to be discussed is:
    1. Personnel matter regarding the Township Manager position. Executive Session minutes will be released at the conclusion of the matter.
    2. Personnel matter regarding the Municipal Clerk position. Executive Session Minutes only with respect to the successful candidate hired for the Municipal Clerk position will be released at the conclusion of the matter or upon the offer of employment to the successful candidate.
  3. It is anticipated that the above-stated subject matter will be made available upon final decision.
  4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

The Township Council entered into Executive Session at 6:04 p.m.

The meeting was reopened to the public at 7:08 p.m. Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present was Township Attorney John Ursin.

Salute to the Flag

The Mayor led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Township Attorney John Ursin stated the Township Manager, Andrew Katz, resigned his position as Manager today and further stated there is a motion to appoint Gerald Giaimis as Interim Manager effective immediately. The Council has directed Mr. Ursin to negotiate a contract with Mr. Giaimis.

Council Member Harry Shortway made a motion to appoint Mr. Gerald Giaimis as Interim Manager, seconded by Council Member Richard Carson.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Council Member Harry Shortway read a statement regarding his purpose in proposing a referendum regarding Ordinance #10-18. Council Member Shortway asked to withdraw Ordinance #10-18 from further consideration by the Council; and stated he does not consider this withdraw a defeat.

Township Attorney John Ursin suggested to the Council that the motion should be to not adopt the Ordinance, which would end it from further consideration.

Council Member Harry Shortway made a motion not to adopt Ordinance #10-18, seconded by Mayor Sally Rinker.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Ordinance #10-18 failed

At this time Council Member Michael Pier stated that due to the recent resignation of the Township Administrator and being told it was due to the actions of the Mayor, he would like to adjourn this meeting and would like to look into actions to see what sanctions can be brought forward. He could not concentrate tonight on the issues. Council Member Pier stated he was making a motion.

Mayor Rinker stated that Council Member Pier could excuse himself, that the public is here and the Council needs to carry on a meeting.

Council Member Harry Shortway asked to adjourn the meeting and carry the agenda to the next meeting.

The Mayor stated the Council has business to take care of regardless of how one Council Member feels.

Township Attorney John Ursin stated there are a number of issues on the agenda that have timeliness associated with them. The one issue that should be addressed before Council Member Pier’s motion, are Executive Session minutes that had changes to them that need to be adopted. Before a second to Council Member Pier’s motion can be considered.

Approval of Minutes

June 24, 2010 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Harry Shortway
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

Mayor Sally Rinker made a comment to amend these minutes. Mayor Rinker stated there was a reference in the minutes that is a discrepancy. The Mayor asked the Acting Clerk to reflect that in the minutes as an amendment.

Mr. Ursin stated that would be a superseding motion to amend the minutes; and asked if there would be a second to that motion. Council Member Carson recused himself, as he was not in a part of that Executive Session. Mr. Ursin stated that Council Member Carson could make a second for the purposes of voting, but he would have to abstain from the vote. Council Member Carson made a second to the vote.

A roll call vote was taken:
Council Member Carson voted “Abstained”
Council Member Pier voted “Abstained”
Council Member Seufert voted “No”

Council Member Shortway stated that it was only fair for him to abstain from this. Mr. Ursin stated that since Council Member Shortway was there, he has the option of abstaining, and the issue is whether the minutes accurately reflect what happened in closed session.

Council Member Shortway voted “No”

Mayor Rinker asked for the question again. Mr. Ursin stated the question is whether to adopt the minutes with the amendment that the Mayor made to them. Mayor Rinker stated that her vote is “Yes” Because they do not reflect, unless the amendment is made, what happened in Executive Session. Mr. Ursin stated it is difficult to vote on Executive Session minutes because their contents should not be revealed to the public until they are voted upon and approved, once they are voted upon and approved, then they should be released to the public. That leaves the other motion on the table for consideration, which is adopting the minutes as is.

Mr. Ursin stated if there is going to be any discussion about the minutes, then the Council should recuse itself to closed session to discuss the issue, because the contents of closed session minutes cannot be discussed in public.

At 7:21 p.m. Mayor Sally Rinker made a motion to close the meeting to the public and enter into Executive Session. Motion seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert with all members voting in favor.

The meeting was reopened to the public at 7:25 p.m. Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present was Township Attorney John Ursin.

Council Member Harry Shortway made a motion to come out of Executive Session, seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert. All members in favor.

The Township Attorney stated that in closed session there was a discussion of the minutes, there was an amendment to the minutes. Mr. Ursin asked if there could be a motion to adopt the minutes as amended in the Acting Clerk’s possession.

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to adopt the Executive Session Minutes for June 24, 2010 as amended in the Acting Clerk’s possession. The motion was seconded by Council Member Harry Shortway.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Richard Carson, Michael Pier

Council Member Michael Pier stated that the motion is on the table, and would like a vote. Mr. Pier stated that with everything that is going on, he cannot give everybody undivided attention that they’re due.

Mr. Ursin stated that if there is a motion to adjourn this meeting based upon the Manager’s resignation, the motion would have to make it clear as to when the agenda items were carried to. Also, anytime you open a public meeting there is generally public comments and the reason for that is the action items on the agenda, if there’s not going to be any other action items then the Council could make that decision, but normally when you open a public meeting there’s public comment. If there are no other issues, that will be left to the Council’s decision. Council Member Pier stated to schedule it to the next session; Council Member Shortway seconded.

Mayor Rinker stated that if the three remaining Council Members as a quorum could go on with the meeting tonight, she would prefer to do so. Council Member Carson stated he would like to make a comment as a point of order, emotions are running high due to the events of the day, however, the particulars will be ironed out in the forthcoming weeks; the Council needs to maintain a steady and level-headed direction.

Mayor Rinker asked if there was any other discussion.

Council Member Valerie Seufert stated that she was not feeling well herself, and that she was in agreement of adjourning the meeting.

Jessi Paladini asked if she could have a point of order. Mayor Rinker approved. Ms. Paladini stated the public is here for a meeting and it should be opened to the public.

Mr. Ursin stated that if the meeting is not open to the public, then the Council is not allowed to take action. Mr. Ursin further stated that he understood Ms. Paladini’s point, however the remedy is invalidating any of the actions taken. Ms. Paladini did not agree with his statement. At this time Council Member Pier asked the Acting Clerk and the Mayor to call for a vote. Council Member Richard Carson asked the Township Attorney for any recommendation that the public must be heard.

At 7:30 p.m. Council Member Michael Pier stated if a vote was not going to be called, then he would see them at the next meeting and left the meeting.

Mayor Rinker stated there is legal Council here and everyone needs to calm down. The Township Attorney stated if you don’t vote on that motion, it didn’t pass. Council Member Carson advised the Council to take a breath and let cooler heads apply, just think for a minute and then follow through. Mr. Ursin asked if the Council would like to call for a five minute break.

Mayor Rinker asked the Acting Clerk for a roll call to vote. Council Member Carson asked for the motion. Mayor Rinker stated the motion was on the floor and seconded to cancel the meeting—to adjourn the meeting and to carry all the items to the meeting of the 26th.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway
Nays: Richard Carson, Sally Rinker
Absent: Michael Pier

At this time Council Member Harry Shortway left the meeting.

At 7:33 p.m. Mayor Rinker stated that Council Member Valerie Seufert will be leaving since she is not feeling well, there is no quorum and the meeting is cancelled.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Bates
Acting Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: October 14, 2010