CHATHAM, NJ - One piece of business that the Chatham Township Committee approved on Thursday night was the expenditure for a Fourth of July fireworks display.
But the verbal fireworks were on display during a contentious meeting, where Bailey Brower Jr. lashed out at fellow committee member Katherine Abbott, intimating she was behind resident Sarah Fechtner's legal challenge to the committee.
In the end, the vote to adopt an ordinance that would vacate a walkway easement between Linden Lane and Pine Street was tabled until the township committee's next regular meeting on April 24.
Fechtner of 3 Rolling Drive hired an attorney, who sent a letter to the committee, challenging their legal right to vacate the walkway easement that was agreed upon in 1957. Retired township attorney, Carl Woodward, returned to offer his advice while current township attorney, Albert Cruz, recused himself from the proceedings.
Sarah Fechtner explains why she is against the ordinance and the legal argument in video below
The ordinance has been fraught with legal glitches from the start. The ordinance had to be reintroduced after it was determined that Brower posed a conflict of interest. Brower recused himself from discussion, but then decided to weigh in against the advice of Woodward, claiming Fechtner was "Abbott's hand maiden."
Woodward advised the committee to table the issue because he needed more time to go over the letter handed him that day by attorney Joseph E. Murray of Schiller & Pittenger, P.C.
Carl Woodward, former township attorney, advises committee to table ordinance
A number of residents from Linden Lane and Pine Street came to the meeting to voice their support for the ordinance, which would vacate the 8-foot wide, 721-feet long walkway easement.
Michael Kelly, running for a seat on the committee, gave his opinion in the video below
Mayor Kevin Sullivan makes opening remarks before opening up to public comment on ordinance below
Committee member Abbott defends herself against claims by Brower that she is orchestrating resistance to the ordinance through Fechtner.