Religions and Spirituality

Bernards Twp. Committee to Meet Monday for Mosque Case Issues; Deputy Police Chief Hiring On For Tuesday

The Bernards Township Committee, Jan. 3, 2017. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - A special meeting of the Bernards Township Committee to discuss issues related to the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuits against township officials, alleging discrimination in the rejection of plans for a mosque in Liberty Corner, has been scheduled for late Monday afternoon, Jan. 9.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in open session and immediately adjourn to a closed door executive session to discuss issues related to the mosque-related legal matters.

The Township Committee is scheduled to return to open session at the end of the legal discussion. Official action may be taken by the Township Committee after returning to open session, according to the township.

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The Bernards Township Planning Board cited land use issues when a vote was taken in December 2015 to reject plans for a 4,250-square-foot mosque on just over four acres off Church Street. The lawsuits filed during 2016 by the US DOJ and ISBR allege that the mosque application was treated differently than that of another house of worship would have been, and that the basis for the rejection was religious discrimination.

New deputy police chief

On Tuesday, the Township Committee's first regular meeting of 2017 is scheduled to begin in public at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The agenda is posted online and includes a motion to promote Bernards Township Police Capt. Michael Shimsky to the new position of Deputy Police Chief.

The position, new to the Bernards Township Police Department, was created last year after current Police Chief Bobowicz reminded the Township Committee in May that he already is four years beyond the standard 25 years of service for police retirements.

He said then he had no definite date to retire at that point, but he has been looking ahead to post-retirement employment opportunities.

"I am going to be leaving soon," Bobowicz told the Township Committee during his report regarding key retirements within the department that took place last year.

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