Government

Scotch Plains Zoning Board Appointee's Qualifications Discussed at Council Meeting

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Kendra Duran was appointed to the Zoning Board by Mayor Al Smith. Credits: John Mooney
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John Del Sordi says protocol is for Zoning Board appointees to submit their resumes to the Council for review two weeks in advance. Credits: John Mooney
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Rose Checchio says that the Council has been lapsed in asking Zoning Board appointees for their resumes. Credits: John Mooney
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"Going forward, let's tighten up the process," said Deputy Mayor Llewellyn Jones. "It hasn't been done, but it's not unreasonable." Credits: John Mooney
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"I have a feeling these appointees will do very well," said Mayor Al Smith. Credits: John Mooney
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SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- At the Scotch Plains Township Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the governing body agreed on most of the resolutions proposed on the agenda, with the exception of RES 2017-41, which appoints Kendra Duran as Alternate #2 of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Councilman John Del Sordi, who said he did not know the prospective Zoning Board appointee, voiced his opposition to her candidacy because protocols had not been followed. Namely, he and the other council members did not receive Duran's resume in advance.

"Vacancies occurred, and we are not informed (of potential replacements)," said Del Sordi, who told the Council that he has been busy.

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"We are supposed to get resumes two weeks before. The Zoning Board, the Planning Board -- people have to be well educated in what they are getting involved in," continued Del Sordi, asking the Council to pull the resolution. "I don't know this Kendra. I'd like to examine her resume and I'd like to follow the town rules."

"Isn't it protocol that anyone who goes on a board has to produce a resume," asked Rose Checchio, whom Kendra Duran questioned about her credentials for Council in a 2014 Letter to the Editor. "Frank Deluca took the test and served as an alternate. I want to thank you for appreciating my concerns."

Checchio, however, voted in favor of the resolution.

"We have a fresh start here," Del Sordi replied. "From this day on, we should follow the protocols. We should adhere to the rules that we have."

"I'd like to see them seated and get training," said Deputy Mayor Llewellyn Jones. "Going forward, let's tighten up the process. It hasn't been done, but it's not unreasonable."

Jones added that he did not recall receiving resumes of appointees under the previous administration.

"We have rules, we should follow them," Del Sordi added. "Years ago, when I was appointed, I submitted a resume. Somehow we have deviated from this. I hold myself to that standard; I have to vote no."

"We appointed people, but I hate to put these people to a different standard," Mayor Smith added. "I have a feeling these appointees will do very well."

Deluca's term would be Jan. 1 2017- Dec. 31, 2017 one-year appointment of an unexpired term. Duran's term would be Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Kendra Duran approached the mic, introduced herself to Del Sordi and the rest of the Council, and discussed her background.

A registered nurse with two advanced degrees, Duran sets up palliative care for people "not quite ready for hospice." She serves as Hospice Director of Clinical & Regulatory Services for the Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey, a non-profit that advocates for home care and hospice agencies.

Duran has five children, three of whom attend Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. She stated that as a voter, she is "independent and not affiliated with any political party."

Ultimately, the resolution passed by a 4-1 vote. Other resolutions were adopted unanimously by the Council on Tuesday:

RES 2017-35: Resolution appointing Labor Counsel – Ruderman, Horn and Esmerado.

RES 2017-36: Resolution in Support of Senate Bill S.2254 and Assembly Bill A.3821 Which Affirms the Language and Legislative Intent of the Fair Housing Act.

RES 2017-37: Resolution authorizing the Award of Contract for the 2017 “Tree Removal, Tree Trimming, and Stump Grinding” services contract to Caffrey Tree & Landscaping, LLC in an amount not to exceed $102,480.00.

RES 2017-38: Resolution authorizing the Award of Contract for 2017 Janitorial Services to Integrity Facility Service, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $23,280.00

RES 2017-39: Resolution authorizing Change Orders # 11 and # 12 for the Scotch Hills Exterior Renovations, for total amount not to exceed $5,600.00.

RES 2017-40: Resolution appointing Robert LaCosta as the PARSA Representative for Scotch Plains for the term of Feb. 1, 2017 through January 31, 2022.

RES 2017-42: Resolution authorizing Award of Contract for 2017 Animal Control Services to Animal Control Solutions in an amount not to exceed $55,000.00

RES 2017-43: Resolution authorizing an Award of Contract to Mott MacDonald for inspection services related to the stream embankment stabilization project at the sewerage pump station property at 1601 Raritan Road in an amount not to exceed $15,000.

RES 2017-44: Resolution authorizing a Change Order for Barton Ross & Partners LLC for Construction Documents for the Exterior Renovations at Scotch Hills Country Club, in an amount not to exceed $2,279.44.

RES 2017-45: Resolution authorizing an Award of Contract to the Finch Fuel Oil Co. Inc. for the purchase of gasoline and diesel fuel from the Somerset County Cooperating  Pricing System, in an amount not to exceed $200,000.00.

RES 2017-46: Resolution amending the notes to the 2017 Schedule of Meetings to reflect live streaming of conference meetings.

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