Minutes: August 30, 2011*

Township Council Special Work Session

The Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Brian Lynch presiding. The purpose of this Work Session was to continue to amend the Township Code as required by State Statute within 90 days after the new governing body was sworn in on July 1, 2011.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on August 26, 2011, 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 Daniel Kadish, Pat Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present was Mayor Vic Marotta, Township Attorney Kevin Kelly, and Special Attorney John Ursin. Council Member Eddie Dunn arrived at 8:17 p.m.

Salute to the Flag

The Council President led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Council President Lynch read the title of the proposed ordinance and explained that the Township Code must be revised for the new form of government. He asked Mr. Kelly and Mr. Ursin to lead the discussion.

Proposed Ordinance

An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, amending and supplementing Chapter 1 “General Provisions” and Chapter 5 “Administration of Township Government” of the code of the Township of Vernon.

Mr. Kelly deferred to Mr. Ursin to start the page-by-page review since the last work session. Discussions were held on the following subjects:

Page 4, Section D—he advised that some of this section was addressed on page 7. He noted that the reference to “written” could be done by fax, email, etc. The following wording “filed with the Clerk at least 48 hours in advance” will include “if possible” to account for emergencies.

Page 8-F on Executive Session Minutes—Mr. Ursin explained how those minutes are approved and then how they are released. Mr. Kelly explained how that should be done periodically (see page 9) F-4 will be amended to reflect the authority for redacting will be the Township attorney.

Page 9 Section 5-7 B—there was a discussion on when the cut-off for presenting items for the agenda should be, as well as the issues of agenda preparation, posting, and distribution. It was decided that the cut-off would be Tuesday before the Monday meetings.

Page 13 C & D Non-attendance policy for Boards/Commissions (without cause)—per Citizens Services Act. The secretary of the board must notify the Clerk of attendance records, who must then notify Council of the non-attendance

Page 17 Section 5-30—goes into detail about each department reporting to Administration—there was discussion on under whose authority the Bureau of Animal Control should fall.

Page 18 and 19—Office of the Clerk

Page 20 - 23 - 553 & 554, as well as 5-47—Department of Finance—discussions followed on whether this should be separate as there is no separate Treasurer and both functions fall under the CFO.

Mayor Marotta noted that 5-46 does not allow for the possibility of a Director of Finance, which is separate from the CFO, which could include staff for the MUA. Mr. Kelly and Mr. Ursin advised that they would consider how to address this issue.

Page 24 Public Works—5-56, 5-58, 5-59, and 5-60 listing divisions under DPW. As they do not currently exist, Mr. Ursin advised that this section could be deleted entirely. Doing so would also eliminate concerns the Mayor raised with keeping it with civil service rules.

Page 25/26 Department of Planning and Development—the Director of Planning can be deleted (5-64)

Council Member Eddie Dunn arrived at this time: 8:17 p.m.

Page 26 Department of Public Safety—it was noted that the Division of Fire Safety could be delegated through a shared services arrangement.

Page 28 “L”—a discussion on whether this could be removed as it was already covered in “E” and possibly in “J.”

Council President Lynch asked for a 5-minute break.

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Eddie Dunn
All members were in favor.

Meeting resumed at 8:40 p.m.

Open to Public Comments

Gary Martinsen—applauded the Council for moving the meeting agenda preparation by up one day as he felt it would be easier for the public. He felt it was good to have many departments under Administration. He was glad that the Council was considering issues now and for the future.

Closed to Public Comments

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Eddie Dunn
All members were in favor.

The next section covered was the 7 “Boards and Commissions”

Page 28 Environmental Commission—a statutory Commission and from existing ordinances. Mr. Lynch asked if the Mayor would appoint the chair of the Commission. Mr. Ursin advised that, yes, the Mayor makes the appointment.

Pages 29-32 Open Space Committee—not currently in existence. The Mayor asked if it was necessary to have this. The discussion on this included funds collected from 2000-2005 that have not been utilized, and that the voters rejected re-instating the collection of those funds.

Page 32 Historical Preservation Commission—Mr. Ursin advised that the balance of these ordinances are preserved in Chapter 330 for the Historical Preservation Commission (page 46).

Page 34 Board of Recreation—5-102 will be reworked by Mr. Ursin and Mr. Kelly to reflect the activities provided/undertaken. This Board would have less of a role than other towns as the Township has a full-time Director of Recreation.

There was a discussion on Boards vs. Commissions and budget concerns.

Page 37 - Section Four—Defined Contribution Retirement Program (DCRP)—this is a state-mandated program. The Township Engineer can be removed, as there is no full-time person.

Page 38 Section 5 - Parks and Recreation Areas - 413-5 Permits, Appeals—the discussion was relative to background checks. An appeals process will be added.

Page 46 Section 8 - Chapter 244—was deleted as part of Open Space, but not needed at all with the removal of Open Space.

Mr. Kadish and Mr. Rizzuto advised that they could meet with Mr. Ursin and Mr. Kelly to finalize these changes and bring forward a finalized version to the Council at the 9/12 meeting for introduction with a 2nd reading on 9/16.

Open to Public Comments

Gary Martinsen—spoke on the Open Space issue. He was sure that residents would not want an additional tax.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no one wishing to speak, Mr. Lynch closed the meeting to public comments.


Council Member Pat Rizzuto moved to adjourn the Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Eddie Dunn made the second; all were in agreement. The work session was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: September 12, 2011