Minutes of the November 13, 2013 Meeting of the Consolidation Study Commission
Board of Education Meeting Room
Cedar Avenue, Scotch Plains
The meeting was called to order at 7:04. Mr. Parisi read the Open Public Meetings Act notice and called the roll. Those present were Dr. diBattista, Mr. Juckes, Mr. McCarey, Mr. Molenaar and Dr. Saltzman from Fanwood, and Ms. Dreikorn, Mr. Lange, Mr. Wiener and Mr. Parisi from Scotch Plains. Mr. Nagy and Ms. Hoynes, alternates from Fanwood, were also present as was Mr. Arthur, alternate-designate from Scotch Plains. Mr. Thompson was absent.
In addition Eugene McCarthy attended for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, a non-voting commission member.
Ms. Dreikorn and Dr. Saltzman moved and seconded approval of the October 9 meeting minutes, which were unanimously approved by those in attendance at the October meeting.
Mr. Parisi asked Marc Pfeiffer, consultant to the Commission, to report on the responses to the RFP, received by today, the due date. Mr. Pfeiffer opened the three bids received. The first was from Government Strategies Group in New Providence, with three other consultants. The bid was in the amount of $115,000 with certain conditions, and a $375 per meeting fee after the requisite included meetings. Mr. Pfeiffer concluded that all the necessary documentation accompanied the bid. The second bid was from Center for Government Research in Rochester New York, together with a New Jersey consultant, GovWorks Consulting. The bid was in the amount of $85,000 with a $1500 per meeting fee after the requisite included meetings, for personnel from Rochester, and $500 for GovWorks. Mr. Pfeiffer concluded that all necessary documentation accompanied this bid also. The third was from Jersey Professional Management in the amount of $17,450 for an update of its 2010 report. All necessary documentation was included in this bid also.
The Commission discussed the process for evaluating the bids and decided to charge the existing five member RFP committee with doing an evaluation and reporting back to the Commission at its December meeting. Mr. McCarthy suggested the bids be emailed to all Commission members. Mr. Parisi said he would do that. Mr. Wiener asked if it was possible to change to the lowest responsive bid if we at first select a higher bid but cannot find the funding for it. Mr. Pfeiffer answered affirmatively, since we are using an EUS process.
Mr. Nagy then requested that a report on the recent Joint Meeting proposal be added to the agenda. All agreed. Mr. Parisi then asked Mr. Molenaar to provide an update on the proposal. Mr. Molenaar reported that the takeaway for the Fanwood Council from the public meeting at which the Joint Meeting was described was that more public education should be done on the issue. He expects that more public meetings will be held in Fanwood on the topic. The Commission asked further questions of Mr. Molenaar. Ms. Hoynes asked about the reaction from the Scotch Plains Council. Neither Mr. Molenaar nor Mr. Wiener had personal knowledge of that reaction.
Mr. Parisi then provided the Commission with an update on its insurance application, reporting that the process is very slow and no quotes have yet come in.
Dr. Saltzman updated the Commission on her research into funding sources, providing a list of possible places to turn. She noted that some require tax-exempt proof from the IRS and some also will not accept applications directly from organizations seeking funding – instead the organization needs to be sponsored by a member of the donor fund. The Commission thanked Dr. Saltzman for her efforts.
The meeting was then open to the public. Michael Lewis from Fanwood noted that JPM’s initial report did not address consolidation so in his view it would have to do more than update its prior report. Mr. Parisi thanked Mr. Lewis for his comment. There being no further public comment that portion of the meeting was closed.
The Commission set January 8, 2014 as its reorganizational meeting. Its last scheduled 2013 meeting will be on December 11, 2013 at the Board of Education offices, at 7 pm.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned on motion made, seconded and unanimously approved at 8:12 pm.
The Commision was formed in June 2013. It is charged with overseeing a study, by an independent contractor, on the benefits and costs of consolidating Fanwood and Scotch Plains into one municipality without either losing its identity as a community.
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