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Caucus Meeting 3/17

I was not able to attend due to the time change but this is a review from Tom Cassel.

There are 3 ordinances on the next week’s agenda.

One of these ordinances is to increase water shutoff fees specifically.  Due to proposed changes to the ordinance, that will be tabled to the following meeting.  Klineburger announced that he would not be at the next Commission meeting.

The major ordinance coming up is for the approval of the redevelopment plan for the Dydee Site.

During the public portion I asked about the provision in the ordinance allowing the commissioners to renegotiate the original contract as well as the financial agreement.  I asked why this was necessary and the mayor stated that there are some additional provisions that may be needed.  He also said that there is a contract and possible no amendments would be made.  My main point was that as a town putting up $6 million in taxpayer money for infrastructure, we needed to make sure that there would be adequate revenues from the units.  The mayor emphasized the need for a timeline as something he would like.  I agree with that.  I offered to give them any help they needed as they figured out what steps to take going forward and got a quizzical look from Commissioner Dougherty.

They discussed the bids relating to the Bettlewood sewer reconstruction project.  Apparently there were several issues relating to whether or not the bids were properly prepared.  In the end, the Solicitor recommended going with the lowest bidder, Underground Utilities of Linden, NJ for approximately $3.6 million which appears to be approximately $1 million under budget.  The second bidder has raised certain objections to the low bid.

There are 2 appointments coming up next week.  Bonnie Richards was recommending the general manager of the Cuthbert Manor as a landlord rep on the rent control board.

They stated that based upon the state funding and the current budgets, they may actually decrease the tax rate in the town by one-half of one cent.  They however are still working on the budget. 

Today was the deadline for the revaluation firms to submit bids. In the first RFP, none were received.   The town got one bid.  They will review it.  The mayor suggested that they may want to consider going back out for additional bids.

They are looking at shared services opportunities with Audubon Park but did not elaborate.

The town will be applying for a JAG police grant of $17,592 from the federal stimulus bill.
The shade tree commission will also be applying for a grant.   

Froggies Liquors submitted a request to allow them to expand Sunday hours because their competition is open longer. 

Other than myself (I already stated what I asked about), George Purkins got up to thank the police and public works people stating that the yard looks better.

The meeting adjourned at 4:27

Also attending the meeting were the Inquirer reporter and Photographer.  The commissioners “posed” for the paper.  They are doing an article on the issues relating to towns with the 3 commissioner form of government this weekend.

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29 Responses

  1. After the meeting it was pretty entertaining watching the commissioner pose for the Inquirer photographer. He was standing on top of the podium taking a picture down on them. They looked “in their glory”. Let’s see what the article says.

  2. That’s a little petty don’t you think?

    They didn’t call the Inquirer, the Inquirer called them. They didn’t ask for an interview, the Inquirer asked them. They didn’t ask, “Can we pose for a picture”, the Inquirer asked them to pose.

    Is it absolutely necessary to suck the life out of every little moment in their lives? Are the SO overpaid that they can’t smile for a camera?

    I’ve never met you. Are really that petty?

  3. Yes Tom, you were being petty. Maybe if you made less petty comments people not find you so annoying.

  4. You have totally ignored my last post on important matters like whether they violated OPMA, only to post this. How come?

    I didn’t “suck the life” out of anything. I only put my observation on it. If you notice, I wrote the account of the event objectively (I am sure you will find fault with that too) and waiting to put my personal opinion about the situation in the comments section, so that people could recognize the difference. You didn’t seem to notice that. Jen asked me to write it if I attended so I said sure because they rescheduled the meeting for 4PM and she couldn’t attend. I was home sick today, and bored out of my mind, so I went to the meeting. Where were you?

    You should be thanking me for reporting on the meeting real time so that you know and other citizens can know real time what is going on because in the end, that is what it is all about… openness, tranparency. Are you that petty?

    Tomorrow I will tyr to scan the agenda and engineer’s report and post them here for all to see. In fact, thanks for encouraging me to do that.

  5. You took 15 and half hours to answer 2 “yes/no” questions.

    Your questions required a thoughtful response. I think I answered you questions… Go check.

    You did not write objectively. You put your spin on your observation. Characterizing their photograph as a “pose” is intended to demean the exercise. That’s editorializing, it’s spin… it’s not objective.

    Your comment afterwards was petty. It’s the equivalent of little girl who didn’t make the cheeleading squad…”Oh they think they’re so smart.”

    Grow up.

    Where was I?

    It’s time for me to come clean…

    I’m really an insomniac in Wellington, New Zealand… I just stumbled upon this site and thought, how bad can these commissioner be? And that solictor (I thought you folks called them lawyers?) he should have spur marks they way you ride his a**.

  6. St Evelyn,

    While I am not up on all the laws which is why I have not been posting I have been reading your posts.

    If he is not your solicitor then you are not from Haddon Twp and do not know what is happening in this town except from the posts and articles that have been pointed out to you.

    Are you really coming clean as to where you are from?

  7. “If he is not your solicitor then you are not from Haddon Twp …”

    Is Mr. Cassel from HT?

    C’mon mate, ya can’t have it both ways… (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

  8. Yes as a matter of fact he is and you didn’t answer my question about coming clean.

  9. Mr. Cassel wrote that Mr. Klineburger is “your solicitor” meaning I’m a crony (sp?), and insider or some kind of lap dog.

    My response that he’s not my solicitor, is shorthand for what I wrote in prior posts… I don’t know Mr. Klineburger, I’ve never met him and I’ve spoken to him.

    If you want me to reveal my identity, the answer is, no.

    Because I remain anonymous, you have to respond to what’s been written and not (as you deep down really want to know) who wrote it.

    But I commend your effort.

  10. Not asking you to reveal your identity. I don’t really care.

    You stated you were coming clean as to where you were from. This was obviously not the case and your credibility in my eyes has been diminished.

    I’m sure that does not bother you but the readers may look at your responses in a different perspective.

  11. St. Evelyn, quite honestly I would never provide my real identity to this blog. I would be quite concerned you would be sucked into another Kathy Hogan or Tommy C lawsuit. I also have concerns that providing a email address is just tom much info for Jsawchuk. Jsawchuk, will you be providing email info to Tom Cassell or is this info proprietary?

  12. It was a JOKE!

    I think the readers saw that at the moment… They’re smart enough to use “forensic audit” in a sentence, but slow in the uptake wondering, ‘Is St. Evelyn really from Wellington? Oh dear! St. Evelyn is playing with us’

    You want to know who I am and where I’m from… Not gonna happen… Dwelling on my identity detracts from our (yours and mine) mission…

    …To engage each other in a battle of ideas… where you and Mr. Cassel appear to be unarmed combatants.

  13. Jen, this guy is a joke. He lies. I want to make sure everyone looks his last post on the Redevelopment topic. He is clearly does not care about our town, only about Klineburger our solicitor who is failing to advise our commissioners time after time on meeting the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act. We as a town deserve clean and open government.

    BTW, they did “pose” for the cameras. That is a fact. Sorry that you are all bent out of shape over a pair of quotation marks. You are the one who looks childish in my opinion.

    Our commissioners will do anything to make themselves look good. The good news is that it is totally transparent and the more people read this, the more people see what is really going on. Thanks Randy, Paul, and John for helping improve my credibility in the town. And most importantly, I would like to thank Richard Klineburger for showing our town in a new light.. I couldn’t make this up if I tried to.

    Oh, and St Eve – keep beating me up on how long i take to respond to you because, quite frankly, no one cares, especially me. It is obvious you don’t live in our town or you would have some semblance of knowledge about our history. Do us a favor. Go back into your cave filled with your cousins, the new zealand long tail bats. You see, the only native land mammals in New Zealand are bats. Now that is funny.

    • Mr. Cassel wrote (at 10:23 AM 3/18/2009)…

      “Jen, this guy is a joke. He lies.”

      Oh really? Care to prove that?

      “I want to make sure everyone looks his last post on the Redevelopment topic. He is clearly does not care about our town, only about Klineburger our solicitor…”

      You’re a clear demonstration of … “a lie, repeated often enough, becomes the truth.” I don’t know Mr. Klineburger, I’ve never met him and I’ve never spoken to him. If he were replaced tomorrow, I could care less.

      “…who is failing to advise our commissioners time after time on meeting the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act.”

      Time after time? Please, you may (repeat, may) have 5 instances.

      “We as a town deserve clean and open government.”

      EVERYONE deserves that.

      “BTW, they did “pose” for the cameras. That is a fact.”

      No, that is a lie. Posing and being posed are two different things. Models pose. Public Officials told to, “stand here, you stand there, you lift your head a little higher”, they’re being posed.

      “Sorry that you are all bent out of shape over a pair of quotation marks. You are the one who looks childish in my opinion.”

      Bent out of shape over a couple quotation marks? Mr. Cassel, pay attention. In our language, words and punctuation marks, mean things. A misplaced comma can change the ENTIRE meaning of a sentence. It’s that lazy attitude of yours that makes it soooo easy for you spin your lies.

      “Our commissioners will do anything to make themselves look good. The good news is that it is totally transparent and the more people read this, the more people see what is really going on. Thanks Randy, Paul, and John for helping improve my credibility in the town. And most importantly, I would like to thank Richard Klineburger for showing our town in a new light.. I couldn’t make this up if I tried to.”

      Now that’s not nice… here I am slaving away over my laptop in my dark cave with very little light and you give all the credit to four guys who never heard of St. Evelyn before Monday. I deserve all the credit.

      “Oh, and St Eve – keep beating me up …”

      No worries, mate, no worries!

  14. As stated before I don’t really care who you are or where you are from . You may have knowledge of the laws and you have made for some interesting reading, but I will state again that if you are not from HT you do not know what goes on in this town

    This may have been a “joke” but our residents are smart and know that the internet can be accessed by all over the world so this would not be that farfetched.

    As far as email addresses, not sure if you are referring to the blog or email blast but that is not something I give out.

    • “As stated before I don’t really care who you are or where you are from”

      Then don’t ask

      “You may have knowledge of the laws”

      I don’t…. I may sound like I do, but I don’t and I emphasize this, because I don’t think Mr. Cassel has a knowledge of the law either, but he writes as if he does and he works that image to spin the truth.

      “…and you have made for some interesting reading,…”

      Thank you.

      “…but I will state again that if you are not from HT you do not know what goes on in this town.”

      I started my posts because I objected to the malicious comments made upon someone’s character. If I were in the Quick Check Parking Lot and saw a man verbally acost a woman… any woman, and I stepped in and let him know your behavior is unacceptable and you’re gonna stop now, would you ask, “Excuse me, are you from town?”

      “This may have been a “joke” but our residents are smart and know that the internet can be accessed by all over the world so this would not be that farfetched.”

      OK, now… before you hit the reply button, think about that… I’ve been posting under the same name for three days now. Mr. Cassels remarks have been, mmmm, less than charitable (he’s a joke and a liar)… I post that I’m an insomniac in Wellington, New Zealand who stumbled upon your blog… and that’s not far fetched? Are ya serious? C’mon.

      • If you re- read my posts I have never asked who you are or where you are from.

        Have you been to a town meeting? Have you seen the Commissioners in action? (that is not necessarily a negative) 3 days of viewing a blog obviously does not tell the whole story.

        When the subject is about open and honest communication and someone states “It’s time for me to come clean” …no I don’t think it’s farfetched.

      • I’ve attended one meeting. Mercifully, it was brief.

        I’ve not read the blog for three days… I’ve read them since inception…. I only started posting Monday

  15. Let’s get back to the issues of the town. The most revealing thing in the caucus meeting was that they stated that they might actually decrease the tax rate of our town. I am trying to understand how they are doing this. But the first budget meeting on 2/3 was not advertised as open to the public so we did not have an opportunity to ask at that point.

    There have been articles in the paper that the state is allowing towns to only pay 1/2 of their pension contribution and defer the rest over the following 15 years burdening future tax payers. I sent an email to the CFO clerk to ask if in fact the decrease related to that. John – you can email me too if you want to respond instead of having Denise respond.

    I also know that they refinanced a significant amount of township debt early last year before the collapse in the markets which I commended the commissioners on accomplishing. This may be the main reason for the decrease but they did not elaborate in any way yesterday.

    Transparency is really important as we go forward. I suggested in the past that they prepare a detailed budget to present similar to the school board who gives an excellent presentation. I would encourage all of our taxpayers to go to the upcoming school board budget meeting which was discussed in the Courier today.

    I hope we end up without an increase, just make sure these are legitimate savings without smoke and mirrors or burdening future taxpayers for current relief.

  16. Tom. Does it upset you the school board is cutting teachers and athletic programs but deems it ok to approver a raise for the school board administrators?

  17. First, I thought it was interesting that you would ask me my opinion on something after some of the statements. My email address is tomcassel@gmail.com. I post with my name and have nothing to hide. My phone is listed.

    To your question, it does concern me. What is your opinion? I have a fundamental belief that the best money we can spend as taxpayers is educating the next generation of taxpayers to be better educated than we are. I am fortunate to have received an excellent education and I would want nothing less for the students of our town and all children.

    My high school had a motto that it is important to develop a sound body as well as a sound mind. Athletics are equally important, but remember it is not one or the other. It is both. Cutting athletics is not the answer clearly.

    Relating to the administrators’ raises, perhaps you would like to start a campaign to defeat the budget when it comes up for a vote. If that happens, the Commissioners are required to enact a new school budget. They could require a rollback in administrators’ salaries. I have heard that a lot of people in this town are upset about this issue and this is the only way that I can think of to actually accomplish this. Do you have any suggestions on this? Are you going to to attend the budget meeting and ask questions? In the end, that is the only way to deal with issues like this. Public participation and involvement.

  18. I am going to put up a new post tonight. The subject will be about the School Board. I’m sure people have a lot to say on that.

    Personally, I am very upset that they choose to involve student activites while they give themselves raises. It sounds like a small version of AIG.

    I am hoping I can get to the meeting

  19. Redevelopment was adopted in Haddon Township before I took office. The redevelopment law allows for eminent domain abuse practices. After numerous representation by township professionals on the public record that the eminent domain provisions in the law would never be used in Haddon Township, I agreed that it’s beneficial use for dilapidated properties would be ok.

    I never agreed that eminent domain would ever be used to take good private properties for private redevelopment (“eminent domain abuse”), and I opposed that use loudly and consistently from day one.

    • I’m not trying to play “gotcha”, but is The Township obligated by contract to acquire property by purchase or eminent domain?

      The article I quoted in The Retrospect says they are obligated. Mr. Cassel, while not answering a direct question, seems to infer, no, they’re not obligated

      Thanks in advance.

  20. By the way, thousands of elected officials post on blogs, e-mails and twitters every day, there is no prohibition againt it.

  21. Thanks for the posts Kathy. I would love to have open discussions on here with the commissioners in this forum. It would show a transparency that we haven’t seen so far. As a businessman myself I know that I don’t have all of the answers and the only way to get to the best decisions is through a collaborative process. In the public arena, it includes public participation and input. Blogs, emails, and twitters are just another vehicle to do this.

  22. I just noticed the following in the Public Notices:
    =======================
    Public Notice:

    HADDON TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS

    PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE

    A Special Meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Haddon will be convened on Monday, March 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM in the Meeting Room, 135 Haddon Avenue, Westmont, NJ 08108.

    AGENDA

    Resolution: #2009-044 – Closed Executive Session to discuss on-going negotiations relative to Shared Services with various governmental agencies and Municipalities.

    ———————————

    This is awesome. Instead of meeting in secret, the commissioners did it properly.

    You see, it isn’t so hard guys. Kudos.

    What I have been saying about their actions didn’t have anything to do with this Eve?

  23. I just received the following email from Commissioner Foley in response to a question I had earlier:

    “The budget we’ll be introducing in April reflects a fully funded pension.”

    In my view, this is a positive thing that we as a town are not deferring to future years our current obligations. I appreciate the quick response.

  24. (St. Evelyn asked me a question, I’m responding):

    Elected officials are obliugated by their oath of office to do what’s in the best interests of the public they were elected to serve.

    That obligation trumps any interpretation of a contract that would require them to do otherwise.

    An elected official is NOT obligated by any contract provision to act against the public’s interest.

    If elected officials determine that eminent domain abuse is against the public interest, they are not obligated to engage in it.

    In the national news right now, AIG is crying that they have a contractual obligation to pay $165-million in bonuses. This is nonsense. When a contract is challenged for having provisions in it that are patently unfair, unconscionable, and contrary to the public interest, the offensive provisions can be (and routinely are) challenged and set aside by the courts.

    Elected officials do not take an oath of office to be held hostage to every provision of every contract, without challenge or objection Their oath and obligation is to act in the best interests of the public.

    No court can compel local elected officials to engage in eminent domain abuse practices.

    Public officials can take a public position that eminent domain abuse practices are clearly offensive and contrary to the public’s interest, and they can refuse to engage in it.

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