Fanwood/Scotch Plains Consolidation Study Commission Meeting

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SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – At the third regular meeting of the Consolidation Study Commission on Wednesday, August 14th, the Request For Proposal (RFP) and the Funding Committees gave reports and there was a discussion about possibly creating a fiscal agent.

The RFP Committee reported that they had created a draft for a Request For Proposals, seeking the services of a consultant to perform a consolidation study and the funding necessary to pay for those services. The committee, headed by Sarah Dreikorn, provided a rough draft of the RFP that was loosely based on the Princeton RFP. Princeton merged two communities in 2011. The draft was discussed and, as it is close to final, could be presented for approval at the next meeting on September 11.

The Funding Committee reported that Courage to Connect, the state-wide organization, is willing to contribute $5000 to the Commission, no strings attached. Mr. Fred Lange reported that the Committee recommends that the Commission try for both private and public funding to pay for the study.

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The Commission had approached both Fanwood and Scotch Plains with a request that the municipalities consider serving as fiscal agent for the Commission. At Wednesday’s meeting Don Parisi, the chair of the Commission, reported that he had attended the Scotch Plains council meeting on July 16th and spoke at the meeting.

“I told them about the request for them to act as fiscal agent that could take care of whatever funds come into our possession and also act as our procurement specialist for when we send out the request for proposal,” Said Parisi. 

Deputy mayor Colleen Gialanella was reluctant to get involved because there was going to be a time cost to the municipality to devote attention to the Study Commission. The Council directed the Township Manager and the Chief Financial Officer to get involved and sit down with Parisi.

“Nothing has happened since then. My impression is that we are probably not going to be able to count on either municipality to act as fiscal agent,” said Parisi.  There was a suggestion from Ms. Dreikorn, that the Commission could possibly pay one of the towns for their time.

From there the discussion included what it would look like for the Commission to act as their own manager, and hire someone to be a procurement specialist, buy insurance, and to find operating funds.

Under New Business the Commission discussed the use of social media, a Facebook page, the media, blogs and streaming video. There is currently a Facebook page for Fanwood/Scotch Plains Consolidation Study Commission. Also, a member of the Commission will be responsible for posting meeting minutes and agendas to The Alternative Press.

At one point during the meeting Mr. Parisi said: “We are a governmental agency, not a private citizen group. We are not part of either municipality, we are separate, created by state statute.”

The Commission meets the second Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is September 11th and will be held at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education Building at Evergreen and Cedar Avenues. 

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