SPRINGFIELD, NJ – The Township’s Social Media Policy generated the most debate at the Township Committee meeting Monday. There is an existing policy and changes to it were discussed at the meeting. Administrator Ziad Shehady disagreed on a few points about the policy put forth by the Township’s Attorney and as a result he asked the advice of the Township Labor Attorney. The Labor Attorney had concerns about the consistency and legality. Mayor Stampoulos said she had full confidence in the Township Attorney and thought the Social Media Policy was sound.
The Township attorney stated that “the policy is the end result of reviewing policies across the State.” At the end of an exchange between Mayor Diane Stampoulos and Shehady, the Mayor told the Administrator to “move on”.
Later a vote was taken on the new policy. It passed 3-1 with Township Committeewoman Geri Bujnowski being the lone dissenting vote. Deputy Mayor Vassalo was on vacation.
The Police Chief reported on a new program started in Union County called C.L.E.A.R., Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery. This test pilot program started in June. The goal according to Chief Cook is “to alleviate the epidemic of heroin and other opioids that help create these addictions”. Under the program, the Chief said no one will be turned away: The Police will find you a program. Sadly, the Chief reported there was another overdose victim recently in the community.
Township Committeewoman Dubois said “I’m so happy to hear of this program. This goes right along with what I have been talking about …seeing the signs of addiction”. At the Joint Meeting of the Township Committee and the Board of Education, Township Committeewoman Erica Dubois asked the members of the Board of Education to adopt the Stigma Free School District proclamation supporting elimination of stigma associated with mental health issues.
At the May 1, 2017 Township Committee meeting, May 2017 was proclaimed MENTAL AWARENESS MONTH “…in the Township of Springfield and by this action, join the nation in raising awareness of mental health issues and, by sharing personal knowledge and experience of what living with mental illness means, we can reduce the barriers and stigma associated with individuals seeing mental health treatment recovery.” It will be reviewed by the Board of Education at a future date.
The Chief also reported overtime levels had been decreased by 50 percent due to a higher staffing level.
Fire Chief Carlo Palumbo said he was “…happy to report the new grant writer had helped the department to secure a $12,000 grant to upgrade safety equipment.” He also said the fireworks went off safely at the Township’s Fourth of July festivities and the Township is half way through the inspection process.
On other topics, Township Administrator Ziad Shehady showed the Pool House renderings. The bid specs will be issued on August 2 with a deadline to return a bid August 15.
Under new business two ordinances dealing with parking on Township streets were approved unanimously.
The Township Committee accepted the retirement of Detective Lieutenant Judd Levenson. He is a thirty eight year veteran of the force and a resident of Springfield.
A part time position was approved for the Engineering Department, which is consistent with the Chief Engineer Sam Mardini’s policy of policy for the past nine years of hiring a college student in engineering.
All are invited to attend “National Night Out” sponsored by the Police Department. It is scheduled for Tuesday August 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Meisel Park.
Other department heads were unavailable to report.
The Township Committee Committee will hold one meeting in August on August 15.