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

Minutes: March 31, 2014*

Township Council Special Meeting

The Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 31, 2014 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Brian Lynch presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on March 25, 2014, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Salute to the Flag

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

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Mayor Vic Marotta, Township Business Administrator, William Zuckerman, Township CFO, Elke Yetter, and Township Attorney, Kevin Kelly.

Public Comments

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Bonnie Rubin, Highland Lakes, read from a prepared statement. Ms. Rubin stated that the statute regarding salary ordinances pre-empts the Faulkner Act and the ordinance must go on the ballot. Ms. Rubin discussed the timeline regarding the petition about ordinance 14-01. Ms. Rubin requested that the question regarding ordinance 14-01 be placed on the ballot. Ms. Rubin requested that all meetings of the Township Council be televised on the township’s website.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Council President Lynch asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members were in favor.

Executive Session

The Township Attorney, Kevin Kelly, read the resolution for Executive Session:

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 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 are:

a. Pending Litigation—Ballot N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7)
b. Personnel—General (N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 8)

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to adjourn into executive session:
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

The Council adjourned into executive session at 6.36 p.m.

Close Executive Session

Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to return to open session:
Motion: Dick Wetzel
Second: Daniel Kadish
All members were in favor.

The Council returned to open session at 7:15 p.m.

Items for Discussion

Council President Lynch requested that Township Attorney give a report.

Township Attorney, Kevin Kelly, reported on the executive session item regarding potential litigation-ballot. Mr. Kelly advised that on February 14, 2014 the Township received a petition from the Committee of Petitioners regarding ordinance 14-01. Mr. Kelly sated that the Committee of Petitioners made a demand to repeal ordinance 14-01 under the powers of the Faulkner Act. Mr. Kelly pointed out that the Committee of Petitioners then in their same letter again reiterated the demand for repeal of ordinance 14-01. Mr. Kelly acknowledged that in the last council meeting, Mayor Marotta joined the request that ordinance 14-01 be repealed. Mr. Kelly indicated that since both sides have requested a repeal of ordinance 14-01 there is no longer a case or controversy. Mr. Kelly stated procedurally that the Council could vote to accept the will of the parties involved or place the item on the ballot. Mr. Kelly opined that the Township could repeal ordinance 14-01. Mr. Kelly noted the Council could have taken action last week when Mayor Marotta made his request but that the Council chose to wait as that item had not been presented to the public on that agenda.

Council President Lynch requested a motion to repeal Ordinance 14-01.

Motion: Dick Wetzel
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

Council President Lynch asked if there was any discussion:

Mayor Marotta indicated that he believed an ordinance was required. Mayor Marotta indicated he thought it was in the best interest of the community.

Council Member Kadish commented that he believed four out of five members of the members of the Committee of Petitioners should sign the letter. The Township Attorney opined that was not a requirement of the law.

Council Member Murphy stated that while the Committee of Petitioners and the Mayor may want this, it is beyond the petitioners and the Office of the Mayor. Council Member Murphy indicated there was a group that was actively campaigning for the Mayor to get his raise and questioned what would happen to them. Council Member Murphy questioned if those persons were being disenfranchised if this item was not put on the ballot.

Mayor Marotta discussed the possibility of a citizen’s committee or a professional corporation being utilized to determine the salary of the Mayor. Mayor Marotta questioned if the Township could not find a qualified candidate in the future, that perhaps the Township would have to revert to a Township Manager form of government which the voter’s had rejected previously. Mayor Marotta indicated the issue of the new form of government is not finished as demonstrated by the administrative code and the issues of the Mayor’s salary.

Council President Lynch noted that the letter from the Committee of Petitioners was in clear plain English with no ambiguity. Council President Lynch stated that if the petitioners and the Mayor agree this should not go to a ballot, who was the Council to stand in the way of that.

Council Member Rizzuto stated that he concurred that if the parties agree, there is no conflict to be resolved.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish w/comment, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Jean Murphy

Council Member Kadish stated that he wanted his vote to reflect this was for the introduction of the Ordinance.

The Township Attorney was directed to and indicated he would draft an Ordinance for the repeal of Ordinance 14-01.

Salary Ordinance for Non-Union Employees:

Council President Lynch requested a motion to discuss the salary ordinance:

Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

Council Member Wetzel commented that two salary ranges, purchasing agent and business administrator had extremely wide ranges and questioned the gap.

CFO Elke Yetter stated the ranges were broad because these positions could be either full-time or part-time. Council President Lynch questioned if this would affect people in their current positions. Mayor Marotta explained that any raise given to an employee would have to be in the municipal budget. Mayor Marotta further explained these ranges were established to give reasonable pay rates within the marketplace. Council Member Kadish indicated he would like to see separate lines for full-time and part-time positions. The Council discussed the various pay ranges for the positions. The Council discussed broadening the ranges and lowering the minimum salaries for some positions. The Council discussed the 2 percent cap in relation to providing raises to employees. The Council discussed changing the ranges and having the ordinance re-drafted and presented for the next meeting. CFO, Elke Yetter, was directed to make the requested changes.

Council President Lynch as for a motion to table this ordinance until the April 14, 2014 meeting.

Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinance

Council President Lynch requested that Township Attorney, Kevin Kelly, read Ordinance #14-06.

Ordinance #14-06: An Ordinance to Repeal Township Ordinance #14-01

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance 14-01 with a public hearing to be held on April 14, 2014.

It was moved by Council Member Dick Wetzel, seconded by Council Member Patrick Rizzuto to introduce Ordinance #14-06 upon first reading with a public hearing to be held on April 14, 2014.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Jean Murphy

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance 14-06 with a public hearing to be held on April 14, 2014.

Adjournment

A motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Kadish, seconded by Council Member Rizzuto with all members voting in favor.

The Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 7:56 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren E. Kirkman, RMC
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: April 28, 2014