Letters to the Editor

Help Right a Wrong. Critical Employee Being Let Go in South Orange

During my time of the Board of Trustees, one of my proudest accomplishments was helping to hire our new Village Clerk, Robin Kline.  Coming to South Orange, Robin had big shoes to fill from her predecessors, Lynn Cuccinello and Marj Smith, both of whom served the Village well for many years.  However, after just a short period of time, it was quickly apparent that Robin Kline was "the real deal".  She not only spoke about organization, transparency, efficiency, customer service, ethics, hard work and professionalism - she lived it - every single day.  The amount of information she processed, including meeting minutes, ordinances, resolutions, legal notices, OPRA requests, correspondence, liquor licenses, elections, licenses and permits, just to name a few, was staggering.  However, she kept on top of all of it, followed through on everything and never let a ball drop.  She did all this while simultaneously maintaining a positive attitude towards customer service to everyone who entered Village Hall, and handling all requests with grace and professionalism.

So, it was all the more stunning when the Board of Trustees (which includes the Village President) posted a job opening for the Village Clerk's job on the Village website on August 19 and issued a statement on August 20 stating that "the Village Clerk’s appointment and service to the Village will end on September 30, 2013."

The statement went on to say that "The Board has expressed a fundamental opposition to tenure and is exploring its options at this time". However, there are a few keys facts that make this statement baffling, at best, and possibly illegal, at worst:

Sign Up for E-News

•               A Municipal Clerk is granted tenure after FIVE years of continuous employment.  Robin Kline was hired in 2010 and her initial three year term ended on August 1, 2013.  A reappointment NOW would not provide tenure until 2015.  Robin could EASILY be reappointed now, while the Board of Trustees simultaneously works with the State Legislature to reform tenure over the next two years.

•               The State statute provides that the "clock resets" after a 60 vacancy in the position.  So, Robin COULD take a 60-day leave of absence and then be reappointed, which would start the five year clock back to the beginning, giving the Board of Trustees five years to work with the State Legislature to reform tenure.

•               The Board of Trustees statement that they have a "a fundamental opposition to tenure" was never discussed publicly.  Similarly, there was no resolution voted on which stated this opinion. (Certainly not during the six years I served on the Board nor over the past 3 months after my term ended.)  Yet, the statement says that "the Village Clerk’s appointment and service to the Village will end on September 30, 2013".   In essence, the Board of Trustee took action in Executive Session, which is in violation of the Open Public Meeting Act.

•               The declaration of a "fundamental opposition to tenure" will likely decrease the pool of qualified applicants who apply for the position to replace Robin.  After all, who would apply for a job with the knowledge that they too will be let go in 3 years, regardless of their performance?

As word has gotten out about this, residents, former colleagues, former Board members and respected members of the community have rallied around Robin on Maplewood Online and via an online petition that is being circulated:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/robinkline/

Through this dialog, many constructive suggestions were made which would allow the Village to retain an indispensable employee, while simultaneously addressing the stated "fundamental opposition to tenure".

For the sake of fairness, please sign the petition and contact the Board of Trustees directly (BoardofTrustees@southorange.org) to express your disappointment in this decision and request that they reconsider and immediately reappoint Robin Kline as Village Clerk.

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Incidents of Teen Assault on Saturday Night

February 22, 2017

February 18 - Simple Assault, At approximately 10 p.m., officers responded to a report of an individual on the train tracks. Upon their arrival, they discovered several groups of juveniles in the area of the train station and Memorial Park.  A 17 year old was taken into custody for assaulting another juvenile.

February 18 - Simple Assault, At approximately 10:45 ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Car Stolen from Parking Deck at 3rd and Valley; Arrest for 'Defiant Trespass' on Seton Hall Campus

Auto Theft - A Valley Street resident reported that between 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 and 3:21 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11, actor(s) unknown stole his vehicle (2011 Toyota) while it was parked in the residential parking deck located at 3rd and Valley.

Adult Arrest - Defiant Trespass - James Wise, a 19 year old South Orange resident was arrested on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at ...

South Orange Village Center Alliance Holds Annual Meeting

February 18, 2017

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) held its 2017 annual public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at Boccone South in South Orange.

At this meeting, the SOVCA Board of Directors discussed the successful, and less successful, ventures of 2016, presented new event sponsorship opportunities for  2017, and opened the floor to residents and business ...

'Outdoor Movies Indoors' Begins this Sunday at The Woodland in Maplewood

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Sunday, Feb. 19, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the SOMA Film Festival will show the movie “Moonrise Kingdom” at 7 p.m. at The Woodland (60 Woodland Rd.) in Maplewood.

This event, which is a part of Maplewood’s “Outdoor Movies Indoors," is free to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_0b4c3592cfc3c560ce23_town_hall_logo

Thu, February 23, 8:00 AM

Town Hall Deli, South Orange

Town Hall Deli Celebrates 90 Years with Special ...

Thu, February 23, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University, South Orange

Learning to Fly

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_0b4c3592cfc3c560ce23_town_hall_logo

Fri, February 24, 8:00 AM

Town Hall Deli, South Orange

Town Hall Deli Celebrates 90 Years with Special ...

Fri, February 24, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University, South Orange

Learning to Fly

Arts & Entertainment

Five Everyday Objects That Could Set Your House on Fire

The most cost effective approach to managing risk is to be proactive about reducing hazards and preventing accidents. When it comes to home fires, the most common causes of loss might not be what you expect. Less obvious dangers like the five detailed below actually cause more losses than major events, both because small risks may go unnoticed and because they occur frequently.  

Laptops ...

Make Your Bathroom Sparkle

Make Your Bathroom Sparkle

When preparing to sell your home, it's important to make your home look as clean and new as possible. Shining up the bathroom is a must! Here are a few pointers to help your bathroom sparkle.

Replace the caulk. A simple and inexpensive fix to moldy, dis-colored caulk is to scrape it off and re-apply. Keep in mind that old silicone caulk will prevent new ...

Livingston's ARC of Essex County and National Council of Jewish Women Receive Nearly $40,000 Toward Government-Sponsored Projects

February 23, 2017

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston-based non-profit organizations ARC of Essex County and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) were among 36 non-profit community organizations and 13 Essex County municipalities that received part of a total of approximately $5 million from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program this ...

Montclair Drifters Women’s Organization Leave Coats on Parking Meters for Those in Need

EAST ORANGE/ORANGE, NJ - Anyone in need of a warm winter coat was in luck in East Orange and Orange this past weekend, thanks to the generosity of a few thoughtful women.

East Orange First Lady Bibi Taylor, Orange First Lady Dr. Karma B. Warren and members of the Montclair Chapter of Drifters, Inc. sponsored a unique coat giveaway program modeled after a program originated in Nova Scotia.

Westfield Homeowner Says Official Warned Her ‘Wall of Love’ Must Go

February 21, 2017

WESTFIELD, NJ — A sign reading “love trumps hate” posted by homeowners Valerie Latona and David Contract on their fence on Rahway Avenue have been ripped down, spray-painted, slashed and shot with what appears to be an Airsoft gun. Now it's in its third iteration since November after damaged signs were replaced, it's accompanied by a “wall ...

Chatham Middle School Moms Appear on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' to Talk About Emphasis of Islam in Class

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham moms Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer made their case about the Chatham Middle School's 7th Grade "World Cultures and Geography" class on national television's "Tucker Carlson Tonight" show, which aired on the Fox News Channel 9 p.m. Monday night.

The Chatham residents told how they questioned the emphasis on Islam in the class at the ...

SOMA Action to Speak Out at Payne Town Hall

February 23, 2017

Residents of Maplewood, South Orange, and surrounding communities will hold a rally at Maplewood Municipal Building (574 Valley Street) on Thursday, February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. The rally, which is being sponsored by SOMA Action, will precede a Town Hall Meeting featuring Congressperson Donald Payne (D-NJ 10th District). Representative Payne’s meeting with his constituents begins at 7:30 ...

Foreign Policy Program at Maplewood Library

Maplewood Library to Sponsor Foreign Policy Association Discussion Group

For the second year, Maplewood Memorial Library will be sponsoring Great Decisions, a program of the non-partisan Foreign Policy Association (FPA) and America’s largest discussion group on world affairs. The program is free and open to all.

Participants receive a briefing book providing an overview of important ...

SOMA Film Festival Announces Schedule for Inaugural Kids Program

This year the SOMA Film Festival is excited to present the inaugural “Kids Program” at Maplewood Theater on Sunday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Kids Program will show short animated and narrative films, including some local talent for children ages 4 to 10 and their parents. 

"As a member of the community, and a father of an 8 year old daughter I wanted to bring ...