SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Springfield Township’s Committee’s first meeting in February might have been one of shortest on record at just over 20 minutes.

With only one ordinance on the agenda for second reading, no ordinances for first reading, and no one commenting during the opportunities for public comment, the meeting seemed to finish almost before it started. Some residents, including former Mayor Jerry Fernandez, arrived late and expressed surprise that it was already over.

Nevertheless, it could be described as the calm before the storm, insofar as township administrator Ziad Shehady alluded to a “packed agenda” for the February 28th meeting, without elaborating. Mr. Shehady also spent time discussing preparations for the introduction of the Township budget for 2017, which is scheduled for the committee’s March 14th meeting.

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In his report, Mr. Shehady noted that he and Chief Financial Officer Michael Quick had completed their meetings with all department heads, and have received the first drafts of their budget requests. “Michael Quick and I still have to go through another 30% of the departments, that don’t answer to a particular department head,” noted Mr. Shehady. He expects a second round of budget review after that is complete, after which it will be submitted to the finance subcommittee.

Later in his report, Mr. Shehady also noted the commencement of efforts to hire a new firefigher for the fire department, to replace retiring firefighter Jason Ropelski.

Chief of Police John Cook also reported on what he described as a “table top” meeting with the Board of Education at the high school, on the response to the December 12th bomb threat to the school system in Springfield. The meeting concerned “not what went wrong, but what could have been better,” in the words of the Chief. The meeting was attended by all the school district principals.

The Committee also received a report from Mr. Quick on the temporary budget, as well as an additional report from Chief Cook on police department budget highlights.