Government

Stipend Debate Delays Vote on Revised South Orange Charter

a23a225ba5734d06eeb5_BOT_group.JPG
The South Orange Board of Trustees is divided over whether future board members should be paid a stipend. Credits: File photo
a23a225ba5734d06eeb5_BOT_group.JPG

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Renewed debate over stipends for trustees and a change in titles delayed action on the village charter at Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The board voted, 4-1, to table approval of the charter. Trustee Sheena Collum, who served on the Charter Review Committee before being elected to the board, voted against the delay. Trustee Deborah Davis Ford was absent.

Three changes to the charter, which sets out the South Orange municipal government structure, had been included in the document. One, which would drop “township” from the village’s name, is not controversial. However, a provision that would pay trustees an $1,800 stipend and the village president a $2,400 stipend drew angry comments from several residents during the public hearing.

Sign Up for E-News

“This should be a volunteer job,” Stephanie Kennedy told the board. “I can’t see why the trustees should be paid … you should be proud to volunteer for the village.”

Leslie Pogany said that she has not seen a lack of candidates for the board. “When you put a pay scale on something, it takes a little bit of the heart out of it,” she said.

Some residents who spoke said they were made aware of the changes to the charter through emails and letters to the editor published in local media, including The Alternative Press, from former Trustee Michael Goldberg, who opposes implementing the stipends and changing the titles of elected officials.

The third proposal would change the board to the village council, rename trustees as councilmembers, and give the title of mayor to the position of village president. That provision prompted a call from Trustee Mark Rosner to revisit the idea of changing the form of government.

All three of these proposals were voted on in a nonbinding referendum in November 2011 (read story here). The question on paying stipends passed by a handful of votes, the question regarding changing the titles of village officials passed by a margin of 400 votes, and residents overwhelmingly approved of dropping “township” from the South Orange name.

Collum said she was concerned by both the timing and the completeness of the information distributed in the days leading up to Monday’s meeting. “I’m going to commit myself to giving a full version of what the charter review process was,” she said before speaking at length about the committee’s work.

“I will be reaffirming what the community asked this board to do,” she said of her support for the charter revisions.  “I encourage my colleagues to support this charter and move forward.”

Rosner noted that with the adoption of a policy that allows for trustees to put in for reimbursement of expenses, the stipends are less of an issue. His concerns centered on the village form of government. “I personally would like to see us go back to the charter review,” he said.

“I personally have no interest in looking at our form of government,” Collum countered. “Let’s do something with this charter review – vote it down if we must … it’s like ‘Groundhog Day.’”

Levison proposed separating the controversial revisions from the rest of the charter. “I do not believe in stipends,” he said. “It’s a back door in being able to support political campaigns.”

After the ordinance was tabled, the trustees directed village counsel Stephen Rother to prepare a second version of the charter for a vote. This version would drop the two controversial provisions. Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said the trustees could vote on the charter with all three items at its Dec. 23 meeting, and if that was defeated, they could then introduce an ordinance for the amended charter.

Both Collum and Rother noted that even if the charter with the stipends were approved, the charter stipulates they would not go into effect for the current terms of any sitting trustee. Given the legislative process required to approve the charter, which must be voted on by the state Legislature, “it could take years for this to happen,” Rother said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Motor Vehicle Thefts Reported, One Recovered

May 16, 2018

May 7 - Burglary; Sometime during the prior two days, entry was forced to a business on Newark Way.  The keys to a GMC van were then taken from inside the business and the van was stolen.

 

May 7 - Motor Vehicle Theft; At approximately 9:30 p.m., a Jeep left unattended and running in the parking lot of 7-11 on Irvington Ave was stolen. The vehicle was later recovered in ...

South Orange Police Blotter - More Than 10 Vehicle Burglaries Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of May 14

Auto Theft - A Roland Ave resident reported that sometime between 10:30 pm, Thursday 5-10-18 & 7:30 am, Friday 5-11-18 actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2016 Mitsubishi), which was parked in his driveway of his residence at the time.

Burglary to Auto - A Vose Ave resident reported that sometime between 10:45 pm, Wednesday 5-2-18 & 8:00 ...

Food, Fun, Music and Murals at MayFest in Maplewood on Sunday {Photos}

May 22, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Crowds came out to enjoy MayFest on Springfield Avenue on Sunday, with plenty of food, live music and performances, and a chance to see the new murals and meet the artists who created them, as well as local residents Michael and Viktorija painting their mural “I Am Maplewood." 

Thank you to Carl Patterson of CP Photo Op Photography for use of ...

South Orange Community Pool Will Not Be Open Memorial Day Weekend; Opening Day Planned for June 2

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Community Pool will have a delayed season opening, and will not be open Memorial Day Weekend, according to an update from the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs.

According to the Recreation Department, "weather issues, both the early spring snow and the ongoing spring rain, have caused delays in the construction project underway to ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, May 23, 12:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

The Purposes and Rhythms of Jewish Living

Education Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, May 25, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, May 25, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sun, May 27, 11:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Memorial Day Colloquy: What We Honor and How We ...

Other

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Uniacke Named Bridges Outreach Executive Director as Bhatt, Tulloch Announce Retirement

May 18, 2018

SUMMIT, NJ - Bridges Outreach, Inc. Executive Director Lois Bhatt and Deputy Executive Director Bethany Tulloch have announced their retirement and, effective May 29, Richard J. Uniacke will begin his tenure as the Summit-based nonprofit's new Executive Director.

Uniacke, who will become just the organization's third executive director in three decades, was ...

Bus Accident in Livingston Kills One Wednesday

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston police are investigating a fatal bus accident in the township Wednesday afternoon.

The police department has confirmed a death in the accident, which occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of Latham Court and South Orange Avenue.

As of 4:30 p.m., detectives were still on the scene investigating the crash. A full report has not yet been released ...

Phase II of the Stuyvesant Avenue Streetscape Project Set to Begin in Union

May 22, 2018

UNION, NJ – A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday morning for Phase II of the Stuyvesant Avenue Streetscape Project which is set to begin soon.

“Phase I is complete and everyone loves it,” said Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio.  Florio said construction on the south end of Stuyvesant Avenue, from Morris Ave. to the cannon turnaround near Elmwood, should be complete by ...

DAWN of a New Day: New Treatment Insights Shared at Atlantic Health's 18th Annual 'Stroke Symposium'

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Time is of the essence when it comes to identifying and treating symptoms of stroke and it’s widely accepted that the sooner treatment is provided the better the outcome will be, however new research suggests that all hope isn’t lost for certain types of stroke victims whose symptoms aren’t treated until later in time after last being seen as ...

2nd Annual Theater in The Park Returns to Founders Park in South Orange on June 3

May 22, 2018

The 2nd Annual Theater in The Park is coming to Founders Park on Sunday, June 3, from noon to 4 p.m.

Bring your blankets and chairs, grab some food and fun from one of our vendors and enjoy one or all of the performances by local talent. The event is free and open to everyone who wants to stop in and enjoy some entertainment.

Founders Park is located at 265 Valley St. in South ...

Career Change for Working Moms Presentation at Millburn Library

The Millburn Free Public Library is pleased to offer a program on changing careers for working moms, presented by local career coach Tracey Gutierrez. This program will be held on Thursday, June 14 at 7:00pm.

Are you looking for a career change that better fits the lifestyle you want? Do you leave your children every day to slog away at a job you don't enjoy? You CAN escape from an unhappy ...

Third Annual South Orange Food Stroll & Pub Crawl is Sunday, May 20

The South Orange Food Stroll & Pub Crawl is back!

On Sunday, May 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the South Orange Village Center Alliance hosts its third annual South Orange Food Stroll & Pub Crawl, a tasting event that showcases the diverse restaurants and unique retailers in our Village Center.

With the purchase of a wristband, you'll stroll and sample delectable bites and ...