Government

Citizens Voice Their Opinions At Recent Council Meeting

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Vernon Township council members discuss matters. Credits: Alley Shubert
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VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ - A recent topic of discussion at the Vernon Township council meetings has circulated around the current lawsuit the town is facing based on a violation of Civil Service Laws.

Click here to read the previous article by The Alternative Press. 
The 10-page document issued by the New Jersey Decision of the Civil Service Commission on Jan. 24, stated that the Township of Vernon had a 45-day notice to pay back the two employees who were laid off.
 
The township failed to acknowledge these circumstances, and based on page eight of the documentation, the township can be issued up to $10,000 in fines.
 

During public participation, resident Jean Murphy, a licensed real estate broker, spoke to the council.
 
“Prior to October 15, 2011, the Fire Department checked homes for carbon monoxide,” Murphy said. “I am troubled at the fact that for the past year and a half people were paying their $55 dollars without their homes being inspected,” in regard to a $55 fee citizens pay for normal inspections.
 
“Is the township aware that Tom Van Gorder had a license for zoning?” asked Murphy to the council.
 
Tom Van Gorder, a fire official, and William Hendrickson, a fire prevention specialist, were the two who were laid off from their positions.
 
Councilman Patrick Rizutto told Murphy the matter needs to be discussed with Mayor Victor Marotta, who was absent at that night’s meeting.
 
Van Gorder spoke to the council and public by stating, “The township has some serious stuff and the council needs to be addressed. It is your duty. Only you can act on serious issues to run a town efficiently.”
 
Several citizens voiced their opinions over various topics during public participation.
 
Mary Ellen Vinchiconti presented a letter to the press and council for a reinstatement of the beautification committee.
 
Vinchiconti had called Rizutto out by stating, “I think its unacceptable and Councilman Rizzuto, you can form committees.”
 
“If it be needed,” said Rizutto.
 
Vinchiconti had then claimed that Rizutto told her twice they cannot form committees.
 
Bonnie Rubin had commented on what councilman Brian Lynch had spoke at the previous town meeting about, “The press not reporting about the good things,” in the township.
 
Rubin’s suggestion to Lynch and the council was to have the televised meetings available on the website.
 
“I think it would be a very positive thing to have transparency and it would be good for the township, council and residents,” Rubin concluded.
 
Justin Annunnziata, a Vernon Township High School junior who has regularly been attending the council and board of education meetings spoke of the board of educations’s budget process and stated, “It is disconcerting to see the enrollment go down and taxpayers' money go up. I believe the board of education should have a fiscally prepared budget.”
 
Rizutto said, “This has been an ongoing issue,” since he and other council members had attended the recent board of education meeting during the process of their budget workshop.
 
Vickie Smith, a teacher at the high school approached the council, specifically addressing Lynch, and stating his words at the board of education meeting were, “People of the township would be upset if the taxes go up.”
 
“The board does work very hard but the teachers do too,” Smith said. “The state took $1.7 million from us.”
 
“The board of education thought our comments were highly appropriate,” said Rizutto. “I spent 15 years on the board of education and eight of them as president. There was no intent in anyway to put ourselves where we do not belong.”
 
Lynch, who was laughing at Smith’s comments, later apologized to her by stating, “I had to laugh over the fact that I would ever make a threat. No one from the council has ever gone to board of education to make a budget. There is not one part of me who even wants to take $1 from any school or student.”

 

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