MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Three former Maplewood Police sergeants were officially appointed and sworn in as lieutenants before a crowd of over 200 at a Maplewood Township Council meeting on Monday night at Maplewood Town Hall.
John P. Tutanjian, Dean L. Naddeo and Joshua J. Cummis each received their oath of office from Township Clerk Elizabeth J. Fritzen. Members of the Maplewood Police Department including Chief of Police Robert J. Cimino were present during the ceremony. Each newly appointed lieutenant was sworn in individually and received a loud applause after Fritzen officially swore them into the position.
In other police news, Cimino and the Maplewood Police Department received the Certificate of State Accreditation for Law Enforcement Professional Standards. The award was presented to the department after a vote in November by the Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. Only 70 departments in New Jersey have received this state accredited award.
“I have to say, I accept this for all of our officers. Our officers and personnel work extremely hard to get this recognition. I know that each and every officer holds a certain amount of pride because they know that they took part in such a rigorous process of evaluation,” Cimino said in accepting the award.
In taking part in this process, four officers were recognized for their exemplary work that helped the department receive this award, according to Cimino.
The officers that received what is known as the Distinguished Service Award were newly retired and former Police Captain William Conlin, Captain Robert Dombrowski, Lieutenant John Perna and Officer Thomas DiMaggio.
In other business, the council voted to delay going out to bid on a household trash service program. The drafted resolution, which is expected to be passed at the next meeting, was passed unanimously by the council in a 5 to 0 vote.
The proposed bided contract for garbage disposal within the town received criticism at the meeting from the chairman of the Maplewood Advisory Committee Robert McCoy and a few other Maplewood residents who cited it as not being cost effective or environmentally savvy.
“Ending this process tonight will prevent us from ever learning what would have been possible,” McCoy said before the council delayed going out to bid. “Make no mistake about it. This would be a decisive step; one that would sell Maplewood short on its environmental values."
Deputy Mayor Kathleen M. Leventhal informed the council and the public that the environmental subcommittee recommended for the town to not go out to bid at this time, mentioning that there are other options to explore before a bidding process should begin.
Part of these options requires residents to pay per bag that they dispose of; a system known as "pay as you throw." She added that other towns that have employed this strategy have seen an increase in recycling and decreases in garbage disposal; a topic that all council members brought up while discussing this issue.
Mayor Victor DeLuca said that the town will continue to negotiate with outside contractors so that the council can be put in the strongest position to do what they want and move in a direction that will most benefit the residents and the environment.
Another discussion item at the meeting dealt with drafting an ordinance to prohibit smoking in public parks, playgrounds and recreation areas throughout the town.
While the council agreed that smoking should not be allowed on playgrounds and other recreation areas, there was some discussion about the specifications of non-smoking areas in and around the public parks.
It was decided that the drafted ordniance would prohibit smoking in parks and the sidewalks within the parameters of the parks, but that smoking would be allowed on sidewalks leading to and from and parks and surrounding the parks.
It was also decided in a 4 to 1 vote, with councilman Marlon K. Brownlee opposing, that smoking would be allowed at town sanctioned festivals and celebrations.
The drafted ordinance reads that a $50-$100 fine will be imposed for first time smoking offenders in these sanctioned areas, a $100-$200 fine will be imposed for a second offense and a third and subsequent offense fine would be a minimum of $500.
The next Maplewood Township Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
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