Government

Stipend Debate Delays Vote on Revised South Orange Charter

December 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Renewed debate over stipends for trustees and a change in titles delayed action on the village charter at Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The board voted, 4-1, to table approval of the charter. Trustee Sheena Collum, who served on the Charter Review Committee before being elected to the board, voted against the delay. Trustee Deborah Davis Ford was absent.

Three changes to the charter, which sets out the South Orange municipal government structure, had been included in the document. One, which would drop “township” from the village’s name, is not controversial. However, a provision that would pay trustees an $1,800 stipend and the village president a $2,400 stipend drew angry comments from several residents during the public hearing.

Sign Up for E-News

“This should be a volunteer job,” Stephanie Kennedy told the board. “I can’t see why the trustees should be paid … you should be proud to volunteer for the village.”

Leslie Pogany said that she has not seen a lack of candidates for the board. “When you put a pay scale on something, it takes a little bit of the heart out of it,” she said.

Some residents who spoke said they were made aware of the changes to the charter through emails and letters to the editor published in local media, including The Alternative Press, from former Trustee Michael Goldberg, who opposes implementing the stipends and changing the titles of elected officials.

The third proposal would change the board to the village council, rename trustees as councilmembers, and give the title of mayor to the position of village president. That provision prompted a call from Trustee Mark Rosner to revisit the idea of changing the form of government.

All three of these proposals were voted on in a nonbinding referendum in November 2011 (read story here). The question on paying stipends passed by a handful of votes, the question regarding changing the titles of village officials passed by a margin of 400 votes, and residents overwhelmingly approved of dropping “township” from the South Orange name.

Collum said she was concerned by both the timing and the completeness of the information distributed in the days leading up to Monday’s meeting. “I’m going to commit myself to giving a full version of what the charter review process was,” she said before speaking at length about the committee’s work.

“I will be reaffirming what the community asked this board to do,” she said of her support for the charter revisions.  “I encourage my colleagues to support this charter and move forward.”

Rosner noted that with the adoption of a policy that allows for trustees to put in for reimbursement of expenses, the stipends are less of an issue. His concerns centered on the village form of government. “I personally would like to see us go back to the charter review,” he said.

“I personally have no interest in looking at our form of government,” Collum countered. “Let’s do something with this charter review – vote it down if we must … it’s like ‘Groundhog Day.’”

Levison proposed separating the controversial revisions from the rest of the charter. “I do not believe in stipends,” he said. “It’s a back door in being able to support political campaigns.”

After the ordinance was tabled, the trustees directed village counsel Stephen Rother to prepare a second version of the charter for a vote. This version would drop the two controversial provisions. Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said the trustees could vote on the charter with all three items at its Dec. 23 meeting, and if that was defeated, they could then introduce an ordinance for the amended charter.

Both Collum and Rother noted that even if the charter with the stipends were approved, the charter stipulates they would not go into effect for the current terms of any sitting trustee. Given the legislative process required to approve the charter, which must be voted on by the state Legislature, “it could take years for this to happen,” Rother said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Maplewood Police Blotter - Four Thefts Reported, Two at Wawa

January 19, 2017

January 11 - Theft; At approximately 2:30 p.m., a female customer had her wallet stolen from the QuickChek after leaving it on the counter.

January 11 - Theft; At approximately 4:45 p.m. a female shoplifted a purse from a store on Maplewood Ave.

January 13 - Theft; At approximately 10:00 p.m., an employee of Wawa had their cell phone that was left on the counter ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Home Burglary and Attempted Burglary on Same Day Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 14

Burglary - A Duffield Dr. resident reported that sometime between 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, actor(s) unknown entered her residence and removed several items, including silver candle stick holders. The Detective Bureau is investigating the incident.

Attempted Burglary - A Harding Dr. resident reported that sometime ...

Community Coalition on Race MLK Observance Event Reminds SOMA Residents to Stand Together and Speak Out

January 19, 2017

The following is from the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race

On Monday, January 16, the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race hosted the 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance at Columbia High School in Maplewood for the first time. Hundreds of people of all ages filled the auditorium to honor Dr. King through music, a sharing of interfaith readings and ...

South Orange Public Library Activities - Jan. 19 to Jan. 25

Children's Room

 

Friday, Jan. 20

 

10 am -Seton Stories

 

Monday, Jan.  23

 

3:30 pm - Minecraft -ages 7+

 

Tuesday, Jan. 24

 

11 am - Toddler Storytime

12 Noon - Homeschooling Social

 

Wednesday, Jan. 25

 

10 am - Babies Storytime

Adult ...

Temporary Ice Rink Installed in South Orange's Meadowland Park

The following is from the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs

South Orange Village has installed a temporary ice rink in Meadowland Park for the winter months inside the tennis court area adjacent to the Baird.

The rink is open to South Orange residents with a current Recreation Department Membership I.D. and their guests. The guest fee is $5 per person per day.

Upcoming Events

Thu, January 19, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University, South Orange

Learning to Fly

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_dcd4869c222de7d05057_acg_womens_jan_19

Thu, January 19, 12:00 PM

Convene Midtown East, New York

ACG New York Women of Leadership Summit

Business & Finance Food & Drink

Fri, January 20, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University, South Orange

Learning to Fly

Arts & Entertainment

Women's March on Washington: Why, and Why Now

January 11, 2017

As Donald Trump’s inauguration draws near, a number of groups are planning various events and rallies – perhaps most notably, the Women’s March on Washington. I have read a number of opinion pieces and spoken to many people about the March, and several questions and criticisms seem to consistently arise. I would like to address two of the major themes.

(Q) The election is ...

Planning for Maplewood Village's Growth

In a few days, the Maplewood Planning Board will continue hearing an application to allow inclusion of a new restaurant in the Clarus Maplewood development. The restaurant is planned to be 4,000 square feet with seating for 150 or more at peak hours. The application brings to the fore both the excitement and challenges of improving commercial space in Maplewood Village.

Two significant related ...

A Buyer's First Steps

So you think you may want to start house hunting in the Spring....Here are the first steps to take.

Know how much you can afford.  It's a waste of time to look at homes that are not in your price range. Talk to a few mortgage brokers to see who has the best interest rate and packages and what price range is best for your budget.

Contact me at www.homesnearnyc.com or talk ...

'March on West Orange' to be Held on Saturday

January 19, 2017

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Residents of West Orange and surrounding areas will gather in front of Town Hall at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday for a “March on West Orange” in order to publicly demonstrate that “no matter what the federal government says, our town welcomes and hopes to create greater equity for people of all genders, races, religions, sexualities, cultures and ...

‘Sister’ Women’s March Planned in Westfield Saturday

January 19, 2017

WESTFIELD, NJ — A march in Westfield Saturday is one of six planned throughout New Jersey in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. planned that day. According to organizers, the marches are “meant to send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women's rights are human rights.”

Organizers are planning ...

Scotch Plains JCC Deemed Safe After Bomb Threat

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey was closed for a short time after preschool began there Wednesday morning due to a bomb threat. A bomb squad swept the building for explosives and no bomb was found, according to Lt. Jeff Briel of the Scotch Plains Police Department.

“This is another in a series of bomb threats to JCCs up and down the ...

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. to Boycott President-Elect Trump’s Inauguration

January 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) issued the following statement today (Jan. 17) announcing his decision to boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration:

“I have the deepest respect for the office of the presidency, something that cannot be said for President-elect Trump. His actions and statements have consistently been below ...

South Mountain YMCA Camps Host ‘Beach’ Parties on Jan. 21; Other Fun-Filled Reunions on Jan. 28

South Mountain YMCA Camps Host Jan. 21 ‘Beach’ Parties; other fun-filled reunions showcasing summer 2017 opportunities to be held Jan. 28

Take a break from the short days and frigid temperatures of winter and head to a beach party! On Jan. 21, the South Mountain YMCA camps are hosting free summer-themed celebrations so campers can reconnect and introduce other friends to the ...

SOMA Dems to Hold First Meeting on Jan. 18 at Ricalton's Village Tavern

SOMA Dems, a newly formed South Orange/Maplewood-based group focused on grassroots activism on behalf of important issues and electing progressive political candidates, will hold its initial organizing meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Ricalton’s Village Tavern, 19 Valley Street in South Orange.

The purpose of the meeting will be to both ...