CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Michael Kelly has issued a public statement in regard to the "call to action" signs removed from residential lawns that occurred on Friday morning.
TAPinto Chatham reported on the removal of the signs, which oppose the township's affordable housing plans, after hearing from citizens.
Robert Hoffmann, Chatham Township administrator, had reportedly ordered the DPW to remove the signs, but clarified that he meant from public property only - after the signs were removed.
Here is his full statement from Mayor Kelly:
I regret the misunderstanding that resulted in the removal of lawn signs belonging to the group Stop Overdeveloped Chatham on Friday.
The signs were back in the possession of the group by 1 p.m. the same day, and I along with several other members of the Township Committee have offered to help replace signs this weekend. Removing signs from in front of homes was unintentional and should not have happened.
The Township Administrator has explained the miscommunication between himself and the DPW that resulted in the unintended removal.
The Township does have a decade-long practice to remove signs from certain public properties including the municipal building where they might be misconstrued as a public endorsement of a candidate or issue. This practice has been in effect for at least five years — through four mayors and two township administrators — that I personally am aware of. The intent was to have the DPW remove signs from those few municipal properties, especially where a nearby ”Chatham Township” sign could appear to give them official endorsement.
Mr. Hoffman has acknowledged that his instructions to the DPW should have been more clear. I regret the misunderstanding, apologize for its impact, and thank you for your understanding of what was an unintentional mistake.
Michael Kelly, Mayor