Saturday, July 18, 2009

HONESTY IN POLITICS PLAINFIELD STYLE

Mahatma Gandhi said " There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle"

Not too long ago I posted my opinion about the action of the Union County Regular Democrats in Roselle where members of the Council had connived with Roselle Park to eliminate the position of the CFO in favor of "shared services".

Although the action was meant to be a punishment for Adrian Mapp's opposition to the Plainfield machine and for the Roselle's mayor's opposition to the leadership of the county party, my ire was not due to the personalities involved. Despite comments by various anonymi, I was and still am upset by the underhandedness of the action. The lack of rationalization and the presentation of a de facto fait accompli.

This past week our local administration tried to pass a similar unethical and questionable resolution trying to divert millions of dollars to a favorite developer for a equally questionable project by calling a Special Council Meeting on short notice. Fortunately the Council members supported by a public uproar should enough concern that the Administration cancelled the Special Meeting again without notice.

The city's charter has specific requirements for the calling a special meeting. That apparently was circumvented by the posting of a "FOR INFORMATION ONLY" PUBLIC NOTICE in City Hall. This was a deliberate attempt to circumvent the charter for an at best unethical action.

The exception to the notification requirements of the "Public Meeting Act" are contained in 10:4-9

10:4-9. Notice of meetings; exceptions.

a. Except as provided by subsection b. of this section, or for any meeting limited only to consideration of items listed in section 7. b. (10:4-12) no public body shall hold a meeting unless adequate notice thereof has been provided to the public.

b. Upon the affirmative vote of three quarters of the members present a public body may hold a meeting notwithstanding the failure to provide adequate notice if:

(1) such meeting is required in order to deal with matters of such urgency and importance that a delay for the purpose of providing adequate notice would be likely to result in substantial harm to the public interest; and

(2) the meeting is limited to discussion of and acting with respect to such matters of urgency and importance; and

(3) notice of such meeting is provided as soon as possible following the calling of such meeting by posting written notice of the same in the public place described in section 3. d. above (10:4-8), and also by notifying the two newspapers described in section 3. d. by telephone, telegram, or by delivering a written notice of same to such newspapers; and

(4) either (a) the public body could not reasonably have foreseen the need for such meeting at a time when adequate notice could have been provided; or (b) although the public body could reasonably have foreseen the need for such meeting at a time when adequate notice could have been provided, it nevertheless failed to do so.


What part of the above was applicable to the scheduling a Special Meeting?
Will we hold the present administration accountable for its attempted violation of the public trust?

1 comment:

  1. Doc,

    It is mainly because of public outcry that the so-called "special meeting" was cancelled. We need to hold this administration accountable for this and other attempts to circumvent the city charter as well as openness and transparency, although, in this case, the motives were pretty "transparent." Why is it that, in the 21st century, they are always late to the party and unaware of deadlines? It simply defies logic, at this point. Thank you for posting the city charter requirements. It will take continued public advocacy as well as the conscientious objection of the city council to stop this continued nonsense and flouting of the law.

    Rebecca

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