Government

More 'Open Government' is Targeted in Township and Borough

7ecee74886e91757cb4d_craig_o_brien.jpg
Raritan Township Committeeman Craig O'Brien Credits: Curtis Leeds / TAPinto Flemington file photo
e7961dfa2754b936b969_betsy_driver_2.JPG
Flemington Councilperson Betsy Driver Credits: Curtis Leeds / TAPinto Flemington file photo
7ecee74886e91757cb4d_craig_o_brien.jpg

RARITAN TWP., NJ – It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

In both the township and in Flemington, that’s what advocates of more open government are saying about their efforts to improve government transparency.

“Openness and transparency form the foundation for good government,” said Raritan Township Committeeman Craig O’Brien. “As elected officials we have an obligation to be transparent and allow the debate to happen in front of the public. I’ve seen too many bad decisions and groupthink happen behind closed doors. Once in a while, someone needs to pry open those closed doors and let some sunlight in.”

Sign Up for E-News

At tomorrow’s Township Committee meeting, O’Brien said he’ll propose “four simple and easy-to-implement items with little or no cost that make us more accountable to the public.”

While O’Brien says his motivation is to be responsible to residents, he said officials have other incentives to be transparent. Municipalities are “under pressure” to comply with the state’s Open Public Meetings Act – also called the “Sunshine law” – and the Open Public Records Act, he said, and “towns are being sued” for “improper” practices.

That includes the Flemington-Raritan School District. TAPinto Flemington reported earlier this month that it sued the district in Superior Court to obtain meaningful copies of about $122,000 of legal bills. The suit claims that the district’s failure to properly disclose the documents “creates a justifiable impression that the public trust is being violated.”

O’Brien’s proposals will include limiting last-minute changes to Township Committee agendas so that residents will be better abler to participate in discussions, improved minutes of closed-door meetings and more promptly approving meeting minutes so that they can be made available to the public.

In Flemington, first-year Councilperson Betsy Driver ran on a platform that included more open government. The former journalist is working to return Borough Council to the practice of live streaming of its meetings, something that will require permission from the county Freeholders for access to their Wi-Fi network in the old Historic Courthouse, where Council has been holding most of its meetings.

It isn’t clear whether Council will obtain that permission or not. For years, Freeholders have resisted requests that it post audio of its meetings online to the county website. Freeholder Director Matt Holt says he’d allow posting audio only if computer security experts can show him the audio would be secure from any manipulation after it is online.

Tomorrow’s Raritan Township Committee meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building off of Route 523 here.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Flemington/Raritan

Reiner's Conservative Hypocrisy

June 22, 2018

To the editor,

Regarding the recent TAPinto article that quoted Raritan Township Committeeman Lou Reiner about a possible marijuana dispensary being located in his town, I crack up every time he opens his mouth and plants his pseudo-conservative foot in it.

According to the article, this staunch conservative Republican who blathers about the importance of personal freedoms every chance he ...

Reiner Doesn't Speak for Township Committee

To the editor:

In light of the recent letter to the editor from Raritan Township Committeeman Lou Reiner regarding his personal opinion on arming school officials, we felt the need to share our views on his statement.

Mr. Reiner took this position as an individual citizen and not in his capacity as a member of the Township Committee. We wholeheartedly disagree with the notions of arming ...

Trump Border Policy Wrong, Counterproductive

To the editor:

As an educator and a child-advocate, I have been at the forefront of the immigration debate over the past decade. And while I have always advocated for a comprehensive solution, I never thought any opposing plans were morally wrong; until now!

The Trump policy of separating children from their parents at the border is morally wrong and counter-productive from a public ...

A Man of 'Deep Pockets, Sterling Character'

To the editor:

At a meeting of Flemington Borough Council earlier this year, Mayor Phil Greiner described Jack Cust as a man of “deep pockets and sterling character.” He seemed to be attempting to justify his basis for selecting a new redeveloper, after the first two selected by a committee he was part of, or led, failed at the project. Initially the project was to find someone to ...

End 'Gun Free Zones,' Harden Soft Targets

To the editor:

In response to the Governor's recent signing of legislation restricting law-abiding gun owners to 10 rounds of ammunition and rejecting calls to address the uneven playing field existing vis-à-vis some single mom alone with her child fending for herself against some armed assailant packing who knows how many rounds is something a Politburo thug would appreciate! The ...

Voter Turnout in Raritan Township

To the editor,

We want to share our admiration for all of the Raritan Township residents who came out to vote in the June 5 Primary Election. Additionally, we want to say "thank you" to our Democratic supporters for their votes.

As we look to the General Election on Nov. 6, we reflect on the importance of this election for our children, seniors and all those in between as we ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Flemington Public Library, Flemington

Coding Camp at Mediatech

Education

Tue, June 26, 9:00 AM

Flemington Public Library, Flemington

Coding Camp at Mediatech

Education

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Flemington Public Library, Flemington

Coding Camp at Mediatech

Education

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Reiner's Conservative Hypocrisy

June 22, 2018

To the editor,

Regarding the recent TAPinto article that quoted Raritan Township Committeeman Lou Reiner about a possible marijuana dispensary being located in his town, I crack up every time he opens his mouth and plants his pseudo-conservative foot in it.

According to the article, this staunch conservative Republican who blathers about the importance of personal freedoms every chance he ...

Driver, Runion, Giles-McCormick, Kick-Off Campaign

June 19, 2018

FLEMINGTON, NJ — Borough Mayor candidate Betsy Driver and Borough Council candidates Chris Runion and Caitlin Giles-McCormick have joined their campaigns in advance of the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

Since winning her campaign to become a Borough Councilperson, Betsy Driver has already passed resolutions to get Council meetings streamed live and videotaped for later viewing; a tuition credit ...