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Lawsuit Filed about secret meetings

I receive emails from all posts and I see that Tom Cassel has filed a lawsuit. I have been at many meetings where the question of open communication has been brought up. Lastest example(which I was not present) is the shared service for Audubon Park. It obviously had been discussed since one poster stated that Audubon Park residents knew about it, but the important point being we were not informed of it. If it involves the town the residents have a right to know. 

This has been an ongoing problem since before Teague/Dougherty/Foley and has not changed.

Added 3/24/09

Philadelphia Inquirer



120 Responses

  1. Here is my statement – I will not be commenting on the lawsuit in any way upon advice of counsel.

    Lawsuit Filed Against Haddon Township for Alleged Open Meeting Violations

    On Friday, March 20, 2009, I filed a lawsuit against the Township of Haddon and its Records Custodians for numerous alleged violations of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). OPMA protects the public’s right to proper notice for public meetings, and OPRA protects our right to access public records. I do not seek to gain any money for myself in this action; this lawsuit does not seek monetary damages. The sole purpose of the suit is to stop the violations of the law by enforcing the public’s right to open government. We have requested that the case be heard by Judge Orlando, who is the designated OPRA judge for Camden County.

    Repeated efforts to make the Commissioners aware of the ongoing violations have failed. They made no effort that was apparent to me to stop the violations or to change the way they were conducting the people’s business. In one instance, as alleged in the Complaint, in early February, a budget meeting for our town was held without the required public notice.

    The state of New Jersey is a leader in protecting the rights of its citizens to obtain public records. Still, those laws are of little use unless citizens enforce their rights when the laws are not followed. In the end, my numerous attempts to persuade the town to follow the law fell on deaf ears, leaving me no choice but to ask for the court’s review of allegations of the violations of the public’s right to receive public records and to get proper notice of public meetings.

    By filing this law suit, I hope to begin a new era of good government practices and open government for the citizens of Haddon Township. We, the people, deserve no less.

    On this case, I am being represented by Walter M. Luers of Oxford, New Jersey. Mr. Luers focuses his practice on matters involving the Open Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act. Mr. Luers said, “This lawsuit seeks, among other things, to address a very serious problem in Haddon Township, which is that the Township holds secret meetings without public notice or keeping minutes. One of the goals of this lawsuit is to end that practice, permanently.”

    Thomas Cassel

  2. No comments? No denials? I’m surprised none of the supporters have said a word. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, that this has finally opened some eyes?

  3. I am glad someone finally did something. These guys think they can get away with anything including breaking the law. They seem to forget they are voted in by us to serve our best interest. It certainly has been a disappointment so far.

  4. They said things would change. They haven’t. While some good things have been done (possibly the Audubon Park) the secrecy out weighs the good. Even with the Audubon Park deal, if that is such a good thing why wasn’t it brought out into the open and discussed during the meetings?

    I don’t always agree with what Tom does or how it’s approached but he gave the Commissioners many chances to change their procedures. He also backs it up with facts.

    I see the constant criticism and attacks, especially from St Evelyn, have stopped. That tells me, as a resident, that Tom was right to pursue this. As the above poster said “They are voted in by us to serve our best interest” We only hear what they want us to know.

    By the way, the email blast that Sawchuck sends out has a lot more info on town events. The township website does have a sign up but it’s been up for a year and nothing has ever been sent.

  5. Anonymous (yeah, right) wrote, “I see the constant criticism and attacks, especially from St Evelyn, have stopped. That tells me, as a resident, that Tom was right to pursue this.”

    The only thing it should tell you is that St. Evelyn has not posted on the blog… That’s all it could tell you.

    At 9:05 PM last night Ms. Sawchuck wrote, “Could it be that maybe, just maybe, that this has finally opened some eyes?”

    No. A more likely explanation? March Madness and I had Duke over Texas.

    There is nothing to comment upon.

    Mr. Cassel, through his attorney, filed a lawsuit and will not post a copy of the complaint. He says his lawyer told him not to.

    Oh really? I googled the attorney’s name and found two of his complaints posted to the internet. Here are the URLs


    So why does Mr. Cassel (and if we’re to believe him, his attorney) want to hide his complaint? the opposing side is going to see it anyway… You won’t be letting any cat out of the bag.

    C’mon Mr. Cassel… there’s only 13 hour left in Sunshine week.

    And before I sign off for today (Siena vs Louisville… I gotta check the time) let me say I’m glad he filed the suit. If it helps the commissioners do a better job (not that lowering taxes is too shabby) then great.

    And if the judge says, “not guilty” that’s great too.

    Either way HT wins.

    Go Saints! Beat them Cardinals!

  6. Why the “yeah right”? I think the saying goes people in glass houses….. Are you saying that if a person posts anon it must be Tom or I. I think we have been through this many times. Neither one of us posts as anon.

    The comment about opening people’s eyes was not intended for you alone. We have over 75 visitors a day. Hopefully some are more aware of what is going on in the town.

    “found two of his complaints…” . I’m sure there are many other suits that this lawyer handles that are not published.

    All that is being asked is for open government. It’s a shame that the Commissioners couldn’t have corrected this on their own.

    • Why the “Yeah, right”?

      I think this thread is a bit orchestrated.

      If the two of you were concerned only for the altruistic elements of your arguments , he would of just filed the lawsuit and the two of you would have just let the wheels of justice start to turn.

      But that’s not what you did.

      At 9:12 AM Saturday, Mr. Cassel makes reference to the lawsuit in another thread.

      When that failed to generate the attention you wanted, you made it a “Headline Post” (for lack of better description) sometime in the afternoon.

      When that didn’t generate the attention you (I mean both of you) wanted, Mr. Cassel posted a statement at 5 PM and then for the second time in a day said, “I’m not going to comment on this”.

      Fine… except THAT didn’t get anybody’s attention either SO, you come on at 9 PM and intimate the forces of evil are cowering in the dark of their shame hiding from the white glow of Mr. Cassel’s halo (Alright… I exagerated a little.)… even though he said TWICE, “I’m not going to comment”

      Still, that didn’t bring anyone out, so “Anymous” (yeah right) threw one more bomb to try and get the comments… That post was at 9:54 PM. “Anonymous (yeah right) was so deep into his nefarious plan that he failed to see his first fan’s response 6 minutes earlier.

      Is Mr. Cassel “Anonymous (yeah right)? I haven’t a clue. If you say he’s not, fine.

      My glass house is very intact, thank you, and I’m inside of it resting comfortably in my cloak of anonimity.

      One more thing… 75 visitors a day? More like 2 vistiors visiting 37 times a day to see what St. Evelyn said.

      • First what I did is the same as I’ve done with every other post. It is news about the town. I receive emails of all posts. That’s when I posted the topic.

        There are many attacks but not too many point out the good that the Commissioners have done. Why is that? Is it easier just to bash someone instead of using some thought and say something good?

        I am not really that interested in what you in particular have to say and I do have a life outside of this blog.

      • The lady doth protest too much, methinks

  7. Mr. Cassell is doing us all a favor by filing this lawsuit, he is the only one out of money. If we wins we benefit and it doesn’t cost me a dime. If he loses maybe he will keep quiet and it won’t cost me a dime. I have better things to spend my hard earned money on then frivolous hissy fit i am taking my toys and going home lawsuits.

  8. Just what we need….another law suit….can Kathy Hogan also sue the township over this?

  9. probably maybe she can get a discount if she goes with Tommy C’s lawyer.

  10. First, I want to acknowledge the Lions Club today and the great annual pancake breakfast. It was a great event for a great cause. They do a great job in town and even had free eye exams available today. It was nice to see some old friends there and meet some new people.

    This was the statement my lawyer approved. I won’t comment further on the case.

    “let me say I’m glad he filed the suit. If it helps the commissioners do a better job (not that lowering taxes is too shabby) then great.”

    This is about our commissioners obeying the law, not doing a better job. That actually is doing their job.

    We can better comment on lowering taxes when they actually present a budget. I know that the refinancing of township debt, which I was a total supporter of and said so on the public record, is probably one of the main reasons. I give them credit for getting it done early last year before the entire collapse of the bond market. It also helps that Colonial Bank offers such favorable rates to the town for the Bond Anticipation Notes. Do you know what they just offered? I do, from going to the meetings and reading the packages. That is Linda Rohrer being very good to the town and she and her bank should be commended for that. 2% which in today’s market is really really good for the town. My eyes popped out on the page when I saw that. To put it in perspective, they were half the cost of the next bank in the rate bids. Thanks Linda.

    When looking at the increases in taxes, you need to also include all the fees not just real estate taxes. My sewer bill has gone up 33% in 2 years (my water is Collingswood) for example. I have gotten up at every meeting where they are raising fee income to oppose them. They are just additional taxes. At the Tuesday meeting they talked about whether to increase pool fees. Denise Adams recommended that no resident fees increase only nonresident fees. The head of the pool wanted them all to increase. I say. HOLD THE LINE ON ALL POOL FEES. It is one of the best amenities the town offers and keeping it affordable especially in times such as these is very important to all the citizens of the town.

    Relating to where I posted my post, I put it there just to see how obsessed you were in finding this out. You must be checking this blog 10 or 15 or 20 times a day like a man obsessed to find a post 5 topics down. I put it there for you and you took the bait. It was great. Actually I couldn’t stop laughing.

    Since Jen gets automatic emails of each post (you get that if you put your email address in), I knew she would see it like she said in the previous post. She decided to put the new post up due to its importance and I appreciate that.

  11. St. Evelyn is disappointed The Saints did not prevail over The Cardinals. Oh well. As a great philosopher once said

    Oh Bla Di, Oh Bla Da. Life goes on Bra.

    I see the Minions of Mischief were not watching the B-Ball. Let’s take a look Boys and Girls…

    So did HT get a 2% rate because Linda was nice or becauase the Commissioners are good stewards and therefore HT was worthy?

    Your sewer bill increased 33% in two years. Is that all a rate increase? Did usage increase? How old is the HT Sewer infrastructure? If prior administrations skimped on investment to suppress rates and the current administration has to play catch up, who’s the irresponsible steward?

    If the cost of running a pool (or any amenity) increases, it is not unreasonable to raise the fee of using the pool…. Not raising the fee means someone else will subsidize playtime for others. THAT’S unfair in anytime.

    Now Boys and Girls, let’s turn our attention to Mr. Cassels closing remarks in his post, shall we?

    “Relating to where I posted my post, I put it there just to see how obsessed you were in finding this out. You must be checking this blog 10 or 15 or 20 times a day like a man obsessed to find a post 5 topics down. I put it there for you and you took the bait. It was great. Actually I couldn’t stop laughing.”

    Another example of Mr. Cassel spinning the truth.

    Yes, Mr. Cassel made his post 5 topics down. Yes, that’s where St. Evelyn read it. Yes, St. Evelyn did respond to it. But here’s his spin… HE DOESN’T TELL YOU WE EXCHANGED POSTS FOR 5 DAYS IN THAT THREAD. Why wouldn’t St. Evelyn respond?

    Is St. Evelyn stalking the Blog like St. Evelyn need’s a restraining order? St Evelyn must be… St Evelyn does not insert an email address to get responses, right?…. WRONG! Again.

    TinyURL isn’t the only tool St. Evelyn uses on the web. Another tool to use is http://www.google.com/reader

    Very useful to those of you who want to post but fear using your email address. Just go there, follow the instructions and content FROM THIS WEBSITE appears in the reader.

    So, next time the Minions of Mischief post their proposterous postulations, you can read them without disturbing their lair.

    So, to continue Boys and Girls and unspin The Spin, the Minions of Mischief DID NOT put up a new post to inform, they put it up to get a reaction… and so far not a favorable one.

    St Evelyn’s prediction: It’ll take more than a “speedball” of Cialis and Viagra to keep this subject up.

  12. Jsawchuck
    “No comments? No denials? I’m surprised none of the supporters have said a word. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, that this has finally opened some eyes?”

    …Jen cut the crap, you wonder why people bash you and Tom. The one thing I will say in defense of Tom is he doesn’t write crap like this on the site. He is clear and usually to the point. You being the blog admin should have better manners then this and be more objective. Lead by example.

    On to the lawsuit as I have a few questions. How long does something like this take to go through the courts?

    What can judges do to prevent this in the future if the big 3 are found guilty?

    Could a penalty be levied against either the town or on comissioners if they are found to have violated OPMA?

    Since Mr. K is the town solicitor will he defend the town against this suit?


    • To ask why the supporters can’t come in and give positive feedback and only bash and attack is not an unreasonable question. When the supporters post lies, insults and name calling, my being objective, truthfully, has been tainted.

      I was naive enough to think we might actually have civilized communications in this forum. This has not happened.

  13. According to my lawyer, the wheels of justice actually run quite quickly on a case like this. Hopefully we will have the hearing and resolution as early as April and as late as June.

    There are no penalties against the town for OPMA violations. If successful, the judge will order them to stop the violations. Actually, what we need is more people like me to participate constructively and actively in watching all of their activities. We need people to get out there and speak up when they see things that they have questions about or don’t understand and not be afraid of the criticism from the insiders. This is what Open Government is all about. Just tell us what is really going on. Let us give you our opinions on your actions. That is the process.

    I would assume Mr. K, will defend the town as our solicitor. As a great philosopher once said, “Municipal law is not complex”. But that is obviously up to the commissioners.

    • I had heard of OPMA, but until a week ago, I’d never actually read the Act.

      In my research, I came across, “A Guide To The New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act”. It’s not the law, but it’s a layman’s rendition of the law in a question and answer format. Here’s the link…


      On page 2, Part B, Meetings, it says…

      “The Law requires that public bodies permit all members of the public to attend their meetings. However, the right to attend meetings does not entitle members of the public to participate in the meetings.”

      I reviewed the law and it does say you have the right to attend. It does not say you have the right to participate.

      Why would the law not affirm your right to participate?

      I ask that because you wrote, “Let us give you our opinions on your actions. That is the process.”

      “That is the process”,,,, hmmmm, that’s not what the law says.

  14. Thanks for the reply Tom

  15. Read the law (bold emphasis). It addresses municipalities specifically:

    N.J.S.A. 10:4-12
    a. Except as provided by subsection b. of this section all meetings of public bodies shall
    be open to the public at all times. Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit the
    discretion of a public body to permit, prohibit or regulate the active participation of
    the public at any meeting, except that a municipal governing body shall be required
    to set aside a portion of every meeting of the municipal governing body, the length
    of the portion to be determined by the municipal governing body, for public
    comment on any governmental issue that a member of the public feels may be of
    concern to the residents of the municipality.

    Thank you for making sure that everyone in our community knows and understands that this is the law.

  16. Sure Tommy Boy, let’s use the blog for open communication. I believe you have stated in the past, the blog would be a great place for the commissioners to communicate. Why? Why would they want to do communicate with this blog?
    Anything they do, say, state would wind up in a law suit. Is this what they teach you in the Ivy League school? No wonder why wall street is screwed up, the Ivy Leaguers are running the place.

  17. Awesome! I have a nemisis now! I always wanted one of those! You made my day!

    “I believe you have stated in the past, the blog would be a great place for the commissioners to communicate. Why? Why would they want to do communicate with this blog?”

    Because this blog is quickly becoming one of the best sources of information about our town. Lot’s of people are reading it from young to old. We put out more information here in a couple of days than they put out in a month without it costing the taxpayers a dime. And people can just come here on their own timeframe and read, ask questions, and make comments. So the Commissioners’ input and explanations are invited. We are equal opportunity. No time limits. Open topics. It is all good. Let them contact Jen with some topics to post. She would love that, I am sure. In fact, she welcomes input on topics from everyone.

  18. Hey St. Eve

    Here is a link to the up to date law.


    I think the version you were looking at is out of date. That happens with the law. Do you think any town would have a public portion if this law didn’t exist?

    • Mr. Cassel made a statement today and I challenged it.

      He said, “Let us give you our opinions on your actions. That is the process.”

      I believed the OPMA did not enure a right of participation in public meetings and I provided a link to a copy of the law as published by the NJ State Library. I found out this afternoon the document was dated 2003.

      Mr. Cassel provided a link to a website that provided a similar, BUT MORE UP TO DATE EDITION of the same law.

      If I can point when I think Mr. Cassel’s wrong, I’m honor bound to point out when I think he’s right.

      Mr. Cassel, you were right. I stand corrected.

      Ms. Sawchuk, feel free to use this as the start of your next thread.


    I just got this link to You Tube that I thought was really interesting and wanted to share it with you all.

    Sony played this mind-blowing video at their executive Conference this year.

    It really puts a lot into perspective, especially the importance of education.

  20. Igonor St. Evelyn. It is clearly a shill for the now-exposed corrupt regime of teaguedoughertyfoley.

    Secret meetings. Time limits on public speech. Threat of police detainment/arrest at meetings. Shady “charities” with dubious accounting. Missing moneys. Curious change orders for low-ball bidded projects. TOHIP. BID. BBand. BPark. Attempts to tear down theater. Attempts to build a silly bubble over the pool with tennis courts under a sham claim the poolhouse is falling. Dydee?????????? Fieldstone????? Eminent domain????? Jobs given to political donors. A political-donor-turned-solicitor that bils more than 24 hours in one day. More lawsuits.

    That is the legacy of teaguedoughertyfoley.

    As a longtime HTWP resident I have never seen it so bad. Every question they don’t answer now must be asked at the meet the candidates night next election.

    TeagueDoughetyFoley- bad for haddont township. A mistake never to be repeated.

    Vote them out, get a forensic audit, and fire all of there political appointments. Once the misdeeds are proven yank the pensions these fat cats have padded for their buds. Anyone looked into Dougherty’s benefits package??? that’s gotta go.

    The times they are a changing. Government by the people FOR THE PEOPLE.

  21. That last blog must be Tom. Only Tom the gadfly could have posted that blog. If it was not, have the guts to post your name like Tom and Sawchuk say you should. If not go to the next meeting and confront the Mayor in person.

    Tom waited on line for the Inquirer article to post and after reading it got so enraged he posted the angry blog

    Great article in the Inquirer. How come it is not posted Sawchuk? Wasn’t the article the gadfly was hoping for.
    Please post it Jen. I am still laughing about the gadfly reference.

  22. What is a gadfly? Was Cassel called one in the Inquirer?

  23. gadfly
    One entry found.

    Main Entry: gad·fly
    Pronunciation: \ˈgad-ˌflī\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: 1gad
    Date: 1593
    1 : any of various flies (as a horsefly, botfly, or warble fly) that bite or annoy livestock
    2 : a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism

  24. Ummm, the link is posted.

    Its quite amusing you, of many names, telling someone to have the guts to post their name.

  25. I have been called a lot of things in this blog worse than a gadfly. Actually, I kind of like it.

    It wasn’t an angry post on the Inq site. It was a you need more information post. Huge difference.

    Relating to the earlier post overnight, we clearly have a raging insomniac in our town. Again, I don’t post anonymously.

    BTW, thanks St. Eve. Perhaps you are learning what the commissioners are failing to learn. I do my homework. I don’t file frivolous lawsuits either.

  26. A person who stimulates or “annoys” especially by persistent criticism

  27. Tommy Boy, that wasn’t St. Evelyn congratulating you. Were so happy that you moved into town. Lots of lawsuits, thank for increasing our taxes.

  28. Just think of me as a force of goodness.

  29. Gadfly is an appropriate moniker.

  30. Tommy Exeter, the Inquirer figured you out real quick calling you a gadfly.

  31. I like being a gadfly.

    I just want everyone to see an important fact when you read the Courier article on the one hand and the Inquirer on the other.

    Here is what the Courier said :

    “Mayor Randall Teague said the meetings were held to discuss litigation strategy, not matters that require a public vote, and do not need to be advertised. “He makes these accusations and they’re not accurate,” Teague said. “We’re not denying that they happened. These were meetings with our solicitor which has to do with litigation or potential litigation. It’s not a violation of the sunshine laws.””

    The Inquirer said,

    “The commissioners say the solicitor had met with each of them individually in their own offices, never together.”

    So in the first article he said they did happen and the second it say they didn’t. I thought everyone should see how their story is changing.

    Why are they changing their story? Isn’t freedom of the press great?

  32. sisterg – did you see me at the gym in my t-shirt? come up and say hi next time.

  33. So basically that proves one thing, you don’t know the Inquirer Reporter and they figured you out, but at the same time, you know Laverna Castro and she hasn’t figured you out. Goes to proves the Inquirer probably hires more objective reporters.

  34. This has nothing to do with me. All I did was put up different quotes one week apart from different newpapers. Their story changed. Again, I ask why? Please answer that question.

    Just so you know, the Inquirer reporter previously worked for the Courier but was laid off when they reduced staff. So your “objective” comment makes no sense since he has worked for both.

    • First time blogger. I don’t understand the motivation. Haddon Twp. is a wonderful community, that needs to stand together. I have been employed in the business world, I can’t understand the animosity. People, generally choose to disagree. The problem is that nobody is willing to comprimise for the greater good. What people have to choose is are we a community of haters or a community of people that are working together for a greater goal. I simply don’t think that any of you say “How can I fix it”, it’s more like “How can I play my political agenda.” It takes putting your friend and neighbor first. I just don’t know how you can sit there and say that you are not part of the problem, more importantly be part of the solution. From my understanding, Mr. Cassel will cost the town money with this lawsuit. How does this benefit me and more improtantly help Haddon Twp.? You are costing me tax dollars. For what? Your personal agenda.

  35. Where was Sawchuk tonight?

    All this BS yet she asks no questions?

    She is a fraud—-all this hype but yet she asks not ONE question during a public meeting—Shame on her —-I thought this blog was for real—obviously not.

  36. I don’t need to ask questions to get information.

  37. Cassel stood up at almost every meeting for two straight years asking simple questions about clean government.
    The mayor and both commissioners never answered his questions. When he tried to read a prepared statement pointing out alleged corruption (same statement printed in paper as letter to editor so obviously not outrageous) the mayor had the police sit him down.
    Cassel evidently submitted numerous request for documents (at his expense) in an attempt to get answers to his questons, and those documents were evidently not provided.

    Cassel then went to the meetings and told the commissioners they were not in compliance with the law. Again Randy Teague, Paul Dougherty, and Richard Klineberger (sp?) laughed at him. literally laughed.

    So Cassel did what he told them he would do after 2 years of their games. He sued them to get what he believes he is entitled to by the law. If a judge rules in his favor that settles it. If a judge rules for haddon twp it is Cassel’s own money he loses.

    Wont cost the taxpayer a dime, unless Randy Teague’s administration did break the law. Cassel is not seeking any money.

    To say that Cassel does not have the right to sue at this point is ridiculous. It is the Mayor and commissioners that are being unreasonable in this instance. It just isn’t appropriate to be publicly hostile towards your own constituents.

    Say what you want about cassel, but he asked for these documents and about these meetings for years and was never give an answer. This lawsuit is really the only remaining option he has.

    Cassel has not mentioned any political agenda, and don’t see what this has to do with politics. To save every critic of the administration is motivated by a ‘political agenda’ isn’t fair.

    Where were the critics of lawsuits when the law partner of the town’s solicitor was threatening Cassel with a lawsuit over his outing of their campaign donations?

    Where are the critics of lawsuits when the town sued another town?

    Where are the critics of lawsuits regarding the Sulock issue?

    We live in a nation of laws; if you have a grievance that can not be resolved the only recourse is the court. Cassel gave these commissioners their fair chance to resolve the issue.

    It will be interesting to see the result of the case– then we’ll know who was correct on this issue.

  38. Given how hostile the commisioner and their friends are to citizens seeking clean government I don’t blame Sawchuk for keeping quiet at the meetings.
    She probably doesn’t want to subject herself to the ungentlemanly behavior of the commissioners and their supporters.
    The commissioners and their supporters have turned the meetings into 30 minute campaign rallys at which any nonbeliever is treated with contempt and disrespect. It is so sad.

  39. Have either of the major newspapers (not counting the Retrospect) in the area come to monitor the meetings and report back as to why the citizens are allegedly treated with hostility?

  40. No. Have you noticed that all the newspapers in the US are in financial trouble? And how many towns are there in SNJ? Just to attend these meetings, how many reporters would be needed. The Inquirer has exactly one reporter for the entire county which is better than the zero that it used to be.

    We should be grateful that we have the Retrospect to monitor our towns. They seem to be financially stable and I tend to think that the coverage that they give on all the surrounding towns is excellent.

  41. Yes Tom I’m aware of the current economic conditions with the newspapers. Since they already published one article on our towns plight I was just seeing if they could do a follow up and attend a meeting to see how you are treated when you ask specific questions or go over your egg timer. When I say “you” I mean the folks who get up to speak at the meeting.

    I’m sure the Retrospect would do a find job covering but they don’t have nearly the amount of reader the CP or Inq. have.

    I would also think that you are not the best person…or any of us for that matter…to tell the public what the newspaper has the money to do or not. Lets leave that up to the newspapers management.

  42. newspaper did report on time mayor had police silence cassel for trying to read his letter to editor
    courier post ran editorial about the threatened lawsuit against cassel that contained info that had to be leaked from commissioners
    everyone who goes to meetings watches dougherty laugh and giggle at the citizens who ask questions

    it has all been reported and is known. point is they use their supporters and behavior to intimidate anyone that is not on board their political platform from speaking.
    then if anyone does criticize they say it is just a political attack.
    anyone who has gone to the meetings knows exactly what this is all about.

  43. At any given time there are something over 40 pending suits involving the town (and, no, I’m not in any of them).

    In NJ, there is virtually no law enforcement agency at any level that will intervene when citizen allegations of local corruption or governmental wrong actions are made, and the reason given is that they are too strapped for funds, and have to allocate limited resources to bigger fish than small town situations.

    This being the case, about the only thing a citizen can do when they think things aren’t right, and all else has failed, is pay out of pocket to bring an action themselves, which is a very rare thing, particularly in towns like HT where there is so little citizen awareness/participation in local government to begin with.

    If we can ever get on the road to having a more involved community when it comes to interest and participation in how the town is run , the end result of the efforts can be like nothing we’ve ever seen here.

    In communities that truly do thrive, the citizens and elected officials are on the same team. Everything is done out in the open, and a large number of citizens are constantly recruited to partner in the process of of research and review of all sorts of municipal concerns and possibilities.

    These towns do exist, I’ve seen them, and they are marvelous.

    I’m not trashing HT one bit, I love HT, but it is obvious we have a very long way to go to becoming a mature, dynamic, involved community when it comes to the functions of running the town.

    I hope we get there someday.

    One lawsuit I wish we’d drop is the one against Sulock. It’s a disgrace that taxpayer money has been spent for years in a court battle against one of our own property owners who just wants to keep his own property. Good grief. It’s such a sad situation.

    For all the trashing that was done of me for filing lawsuits, I filed one (filed only when all else had failed), and the insiders of the last administration filed a total of five actions against me. People believed the constant drum beat against me that I had filed numerous lawsuits, but that’s life. Water under the bridge.

    Last comment: I think blogs about the issues are good, and blogs about other bloggers, not so much.

  44. I have been to a few events in the past few weeks and have noticed something about this town. The people that have been here a long time are extremely petty and snobbish. This is generations. You walk around like your stink don’t stink. People, you may have been big fish in a small pond, but you ain’t all that any longer. Get over on yourselves. You oldtimers are pissed because that’s the way things have always been but when Tom Cassel or someone else questions things that are wrong, you go nuts. Grow up.

    • To only here 6 years. Well first of all I am happy your now in HT. We have a great school system with a fabulous English department. Perhaps you should register for an evening course.

      • I went to a better school than Haddon Twp. with a better English Dept., Moorestown HS, plus my college choice wasn’t too shabby either. My use of the word ain’t was for effect. Now, once again, get over yourself.

  45. One clarification:
    I did challenge that the last administration was wrong to disallow the citizens the right to vote on a public question (the court agreed with us), and I also challenged that the previous mayor had no right to take over the Board of Directors of the HT Buisness Partnership, and the court agreed with us on that challenge, too.
    Those were specific instances where I had to either let bad government actions happen on my watch, or challenge them, and I chose to challenge them. I felt obligated by my oath of office to do so.
    I and the others who supported those challenges paid out of pocket for those challenges ourselves, because we thought it was important to stand up for our citizens rights.
    Again, everything else was tried first, but when elected officials continuously thumb their noses and refuse to do what’s right, the only choice the public has is to let them get away with it, or stand up to it.
    (This is not directed at the current commissioners, this is about what happened in the previous administration).

  46. So it looks like old Tommy Boy does expect the township to pay for his legal expenses.

    Per the retrospect.
    The suit does not seek monetary damages but does seek compensation for legal fees incurred. Cassel released a statement outlining his motive for the suit.

  47. I don’t think that was ever in doubt. Usually, if someone files a lawsuit they would also expect reimbursement if they win. Wouldn’t you?

  48. No not at all. If the town did something to him personally and violated his personal rights, yes. But in this case Tom is a from for Charlie and friends. So if he loses, who is going to pay for the lawsuit? He does what Hogan did last year and sue to win the cost of the lawsuit.

  49. If the Commissioners didn’t break the law then there isn’t anything to worry about.

  50. Whether the current challenge has any merit or not will be for the court to determine.

    Because it’s the right thing to do, the law allows a citizen to have their attorney fees paid if they challenge their government for wrongdoing, and the court determines they’re right.

    Citizens have every right (some would say “duty”) to stand up to ongoing bad government practices.

    What’s the better alternative? Do nothing?

    • “Because it’s the right thing to do, the law allows a citizen to have their attorney fees paid if they challenge their government for wrongdoing, and the court determines they’re right.”

      Does the opposite apply? If HT prevails, does Mr. Cassel indemnify HT the expense?

      If there are 4 counts to the complaint and it’s a split decision, do they all walk away and pay their own expenses?

      I’m just curious

  51. Tom, you wrote the following, ” do not seek to gain any money for myself in this action; this lawsuit does not seek monetary damages.”
    So why don’t you pay for the lawsuit yourself. Your costing the town money!!
    Over what? Who the hell cares if the administration talked among themselves? I would bet most of the town could care less. Tom, your not an asset now your costing the town money. The money could be spent on something more productive.

  52. I would think that is also for the court to decide.

    What is a from? You may want to register for that English class

  53. Sawchuk – you better read it again.

  54. But in this case Tom is a from for Charlie and friends

    I did three times

  55. Pretty sad state if Sawchuk is putting people down for English. Hogan is wrong. Tom cannot get his attorney fees paid.

  56. It is clear and will become more clear that Cassel is the mouth piece for Abuse, Charlie D. and Dan Aaron.

  57. Hogan is the only attorney to respond to the question on the blog and she has 4 years of scars to prove it (or at least her car tires do). What a ridiculous statement to say “Hogan is wrong”. Keep on writing guys.

    ” 6 years here” Thank you for making that post as the subsequent posts today demonstrate exactly your point. How prescient.

    • I have to admit Tom, I had to look that one up. Now I’ll use “prescient” 3 times tomorrow and hopes it sticks in my vocabulary.

  58. Always glad to teach, and especially when people are willing (and able) to learn. I think that it was a spelling bee word from like 6th grade that stuck. I work all the time with my son on his vocabulary even at 7 just like my parents did with me. It is so critical.

  59. (Responding to discussion above)

    There are specific “fee shifting” provisions in state law for these kinds of citizen suits. Ultimately, the court makes a ruling about fees, based on the facts.

    Usually, each side pays its own fees, but efforts to make the government run right is so important, the law allows the fees to shift to the other side in successful cases brought by citizens.

    Citizens have a right to a redress of grievances against their giovernment, a right so important, they put it in the First Amendment.

    As for the merits of the case, that’s for the courts to decide.

    As for the blogs, I like the comments about the issues, I think they’re interesting. Comments that trash other bloggers are just annoying. I wish that would stop.

    For bloggers who oppose filing the law suit, here’s a question for you:

    Assume this is true:

    You think your local government isn’t following the law, and despite your best efforts, you haven’t been able to get it to change.

    Assume this is true, too:

    You don’t think it’s a good idea to ask a court to decide about it, so that option is off the table for you.

    Question: What would you do instead?

    • If I were really passionate about the issue and court were not an option (or maybe if it were), I’d commit an act of civil disobedience.

      I would go to a meeting and speak about the issue when it was my turn, and the 5 minutes were up, I would not yield… I’d continue speaking until I was arrested.

      I’d cooperate with the arresting officer and as soon as I was released, I’d go to the next meeting and get arrested again.

    • “I will not be commenting on the lawsuit in any way upon advice of counsel.”

      That went out the window pretty quick.

      I’m absolutely delighted you filed this lawsuit… You present your side, they present their side and the judge puts the baby to bed.

  60. Kathy Hogan,
    Question, and if he loses the lawsuit why would the taxpayers be expected to pay for his lawsuit? The state of NJ wants to furlough workers and I believe have given local municipalities the ok to furlough workers. Is the issue is such a concern when someone on the township payroll may have to give up a portion of their salary so we can pay for Tom’s lawsuit. Cassell keeps talking about transparency, I guess a page out of the Obama playbook, but Obama is also trying to reign in these types of expenditures.

  61. The Sunshine Act is not a fee shifting law. So Tom— Hogan is wrong about this.

  62. The court will decide who pays the attorney fees so why are you guys hooting about it? I’m sure Cassel’s attorney will bill the appropriate party. That is a sideshow issue that the commisioners are using to distract from the issue at hand : did they or did they not practice illegal/corrupt government while using the police to silence the few that had the courage to stand up and criticize at the meetings?

    I would think the supporter of TeagueDoughetyFoley would be happy — IF Cassel loses his case you will have plenty of ammunition against any further complaints he makes.

    IF Cassel is proven to be right and it is found that these three commissioners broke the law for 2 straight years while the citizens protested at the meetings to no avail — in that event I hope you will be equally vocal in calling for them to step down.

    Either way this legal issue will certainly let the town know who is right here.

    Town’s legal fees wouldn’t cost so much if their solicitor didn’t havea history of billing over 24 hours in a day.

  63. St. Eve – do you and I actually have something in common? I was about that close to getting arrested a year ago at a commission meeting over the illegal township dump in Ormand Avenue. You should have heard our Mayor screaming at the Chief to remove me from the meeting. Screaming is actually a kind way of putting it. I fundamentally disagreed with how they handled that situation. The Planning board ignored its proper role and Joe Iacovino never stood up for the little guy there. Randy owes him for ignoring his role there (on advice of Planning Board counsel of course). The illegal dumpers were never prosecuted because they are friends with the commissioners. Betty Band, our code enforcement officer who has zero background in this type of situation, puppeted her way through the situation doing what ever Dougherty said. The town NEVER issued tickets for the true problems, only a red herring ticket to say that they had issued one. Fusco, our engineer wrote a report and the commissioners said that the homeowner had to follow it. When he didn’t, they just ignored the report and told the prosecutor to let him off easy. I don’t know if Zizak ever reimbursed the town for those costs which he caused singlehandedly. I believe from what I can see that we still have an unstable hill there. Dougherty threatened a citizen and I was there and saw it in person. A noose was hung which then threatened the same neighbor who complained, and ethnic slurs and threats were made. The town tried to make the excuse that it really wasn’t a noose rather than defend the civil rights of the innocent neighbor.

    It was an ugly ugly situation that had gone on for years and all the guys did was put a band-aid on a cancer that will become a problem in the future of the town. It was so bad that the Mayor did not want me to expose it all. So he shouted me down and order the police chief to remove me. When he got up, I remember vividly how intimidating that bald head is (even though I really like Mark and he a nice good guy). He was just following orders.

    And just so you know, the Mayor has shut me down after 5 minutes and I have asked for extensions which he denied. It hasn’t happened at the last few meetings. I think he has seriously learned not to do that anymore, but as chaiman he has the authority.

    Relating to fee shifting. Generally the Sunshine Law does not allow fee shifting but the Open Public Records Act does. My case involves both. This is actually one of the reasons so few Sunshine Law suits are filed. Citizen Kane has it right that this is just a sideshow.

  64. And Tom shot a cat, who cares?

  65. every time the commissioners supporters are shown to be wrong they throw made-up smears at the critics.
    now they are back on the cat issue.

    I have no doubt if there was any truth to the allegation the police, animal control officer, and p dougherty of public safety would be all over it since it involves cassel.

    there’s no smoke and no fire.

    provide support for your allegation about the cat and why you believe it to be true or stop making libelous posts to detract attention from the sunbeams of truth coming out through the clouds of bad govenment

  66. Wow and I thought everyone hated poor Tommy. He does have a fan club.
    President – itsgetting crazy
    Vice President – Kathy Hogan
    Treasure – Tommy Cassell
    Publicist – sawhcuk

  67. M. Pigpen,

    Tom did not shoot a cat. It was a claim by some woman that walks around the neighborhood with a beer in her hand. Real classy.

  68. On the issue of fan clubs:

    I do not seek and I will not accept nomination to any elected (or appointed) office. (Borrowed from President Johnson).

    Thank you, thank you very much. (Elvis)

  69. how about we stick to the issues
    1) did teaguedoughertyfoley practice illegal and possible corrupt government during the first half of their term
    2) if found guilty should they step down and clear the path for honest government for the people by the people
    3) if found notguilty what does this mean for the critics of the administration
    4) did the planning board facilitate the eminent domain process against sulock and if so why
    5) what is the status of the pang lawsuit filed by pang against the commissioners
    6) status of the poolhouse — it was claimed to be unsafe over 1 year ago is it still unsafe and if so what will we use this summer?
    7) status of theater — it was stated the theater falling and marquis falling and in need of demolition. both still standing so was the RFP issued on the theater for demolition issued in error? The Retrospect article quoted the forces at work as saying marquis had to be removed because it was about to fall. what is going on?
    8) status of the IRS investigation into monetary issued with BID
    9) status of TOHIP
    10) status of questions related to the solicitors bills
    13) status of lawsuit related to police hires

  70. I thought CitizenKane could be Pat Abuse but he is as dumb as a tack. Ask anyone the County has provided for him since day one. I believe it is Charlie b/c we know he tells Tom what to say. Good Luck.

  71. So why did Tom use the defense that some drunk women did this to the neighbor’s cat and not Tom?

    So anon Tom was anon because he knows what he did to that poor cat. Who else would defend him other than himself. Tom you shoot cats…….And Like It

    Shame on you.

    In Haddon Township we love animals

  72. Jen, the anon would be me that defended Tom against the cats. New format and I forgot to add my name. Tom did not shoot a cat and it’s typical childish BS that gets tossed on this board. I wish people would grow up a bit.

  73. Thanks Sean. It shows that neighbors are neighbors, a concept that seems to be lost on here. It just amazes me to see the vile vindictiveness of these people “where community thrives”.

    I actually had a long conversation with the “cat” woman today. She has two young grandchildren now living with her at home, and I gave her my son’s toddler basketball hoop that he has outgrown. She was very grateful. I wouldn’t want to have to live a lot of problems that she has. Today I mostly listened and was empathetic. Sometimes you need to put yourselves in their shoes. It’s called community.

  74. I just want to know what commissioner is always putting Tom down. He is one of the few people who seem to be standing up for us. It must be Randy. Paul is not smart enough to type and Foley only does what the other two tell him to do. Its such a sad state in this town.


    St. Eve wrote on March 18th when discussing the potential about filing a lawsuit –

    “Personally, I’d go the Superior Court route… but be forwarned… the court’s docket is a little on the full side. Auto accident cases generally take 7 years before they see the inside of a court room what with depositions and gathering expert testimony… maybe they’ll fast track your complaint.”

    How about May 8th, 6 weeks from today (unless the township postpones)? So did they fast track it? No. All of these type cases are handled this way. I knew this all along and it is one of the reason I took this route. Quick justice. It’s my style.

    • A couple of other things. “depositions”. Huh? We present the facts. They write a response. Oral arguments to the judge. This is the entire process. There are no depositions in the process. This is why this happens so quickly.

      “expert testimony”. Huh? For what? There is the law. There is a judge. He is the “expert”.

      I just wanted to clarify that for you St. Eve.

    • “I will not be commenting on the lawsuit in any way upon advice of counsel.”

      That went out the window pretty quick.

      I’m absolutely delighted you filed this lawsuit… You present your side, they present their side and the judge puts the baby to bed

      • My comments are not about the details of the suit but about the progression of the suit. Big difference. We didn’t learn this fact until yesterday. So I shared. If it changes, I will post it.

        Does that delight you too? Just kidding but I had to ask for the benefit of the other readers.

      • I can’t be more delighted.

  76. Ms. Hogan stated that people paid out of their own pocket for “good government”. The HTBP paid Mr. Harris’s bills and they then also paid Mr. Filkowski’s bill’s against the town from more than 3 years prior. Check it out. They paid nothing. So much for using tax payers money. They had the control and I guess in the sprit of “good goverment” they spent their money wisely. It was a fight over control, not about how tax payers money should have been spent. The statement is a lie. Just OPRA it.

  77. If more people went to the public meetings, all of the questions like those raised by Citizen Kane could get asked on the public record.

    Few attend the meetings, and even fewer speak up.

    All it would take (but it’s not easy to do) is to get the folks who are there to get up to the microphone, and put any one of the many questions on the record, and try to get an answer.

    It’s hard to get that kind of activism going in Haddon Township, because we don’t have a high level of public involvement in municipal affairs here.

    If our residents could pull together better, we could become hugely more effective as a community.

    We’re not there yet, but maybe some day.

    (Good comments by Citizen Kane and Sean McGrath).

  78. It is interesting that some bloggers are angry with Cassel for filing a law suit. The anger should be directed at the commissioners and the solicitor for failing to follow the laws. If Cassel prevails with the law suit than it is only fair that he should be reimbursed for his expenses. Often the only recourse left to “We the People” is to take our politicians to court, since many of them believe that laws to not pertain to them.

    • “The anger should be directed at the commissioners and the solicitor…”

      No anger need be directed at anyone. Mr. Cassel filed his complaint. The commissioners will file a response. The judge will make a decision. Trash talk won’t boost either sides argument

      “… for failing to follow the laws.”

      Let’s let the judge decide that.

      “If Cassel prevails with the law suit than it is only fair that he should be reimbursed for his expenses”

      What if he doesn’t? Would it reasonable for HT to expect reimbursement for it’s expenses?

  79. Sorry for the typo, it should be “that laws do not pertain to them”.

  80. Unfortunately that is the mindset of some of the people that post. They think that if they insult, attack or spread lies it diverts away from the issue or we will go away. That has and will not happen.

    After all the attacks that have been posted on me and on my family, I respond negatively to a post and now it’s a sad state. I would think it was a sad state because people have to stoop so low and create lies.

  81. sawchuck – as long as you and cassell don’t have to pay, then your a big hero. If you had to put out of your pocket book and pay for the lawsuit I am quite sure that would be another story. The same goes for Tom. Tom and Kathy Hogan will never be happy until the tiny one gets into office. Someone needs to tell remind Hogan and Cassell they lost the last election. The town voted, and since the current administration was more aligned with Gilligan and team, the Hogan and Little one team really lost big,

  82. I have to pay out of my pocketbook every time I pay higher taxes and higher water bills. This has nothing to do with who won and who lost. It’s about doing right by the residents of this town.

    When residents can’t speak up and question the Commissioners without being asked to sit down, getting a sarcastic answer or the ever common “I’ll look into it”and not getting a response, that’s bad. When a resident doesn’t get a fair result from a complaint because they aren’t part of the team, that’s bad. When they enforce the law to some but not to others, that’s bad.

  83. I think Citizen Kane did an excellant job of laying out all the issues in the yesterday post . There are 13 items listed : that say something about how this town is run .

    Thank God for people like Tom and Jen. I am afraid to come to a meeting because the “word on the street” is that speaking out calls attention to you and then ‘things” happen ….I can’t afford that in any way
    What has reinforced this for me is that as many kind and caring people I have encountered in this town ;there are some very nasty,ugly people as well.
    My family was subject to very nasty harrasment years ago and I have no desire to repeat it . Ever

    My guess is that there are others like me …they has encountered something or someone who causes them to be afraid to speak up …

    I don’t know either Jen or Tom .Never met them . I was recommended to this blog by a friend …

    Therefore this blog is the perfect format for someone like me … and I applaud the fearlessness …of jJen and Tom

  84. Sawchuk, Cassel keep up the good work. For those of us that cannot attend the meetings, the blog is a great way to learn about the issues that affect this town. Unfortunately some believe that it is better to belittle instead of addressing the issues. It is easier to disparage rather than supply facts to prove you wrong.

  85. Sawchuk Get off your fat ass and ask any question at a public meeting you wish. You are not in any way neutral; STOP posting your BLOG as neutral when when you post such baseless remarks such as

    “When residents can’t speak up and question the Commissioners without being asked to sit down, getting a sarcastic answer or the ever common “I’ll look into it”and not getting a response, that’s bad. When a resident doesn’t get a fair result from a complaint because they aren’t part of the team, that’s bad. When they enforce the law to some but not to others, that’s bad.”

    Is that personal commentary? That is your opinion…you idiot….please understand the difference

    Yeah you just post it the way you see it….LOL

  86. No word on the people who stood up and paid out of their own pockets for supposedly “good government”. But were paid by business tax payers money for their frivolous lawsuits. I guess it doesn’t matter when you spin incorrect information but you pretend to stand up for “good government”.
    If “good government ” is bringing more frivolous lawsuits against this town instead of working together, I agree more people should come out to meetings. Then people will see that the gadflys just waste time, money and spin what they call the “good government”.
    It is purely political or they need a new hobby.
    Oh, by the way, Mr. Cassell has applied for a job at Rohrer Towers. I guess he needs to be paid to be make a difference in this town.

  87. I think that everyone should know that Tom did not kill a cat. It was a bogus assault by BILL PARK. No one else. To put the blame on anyone else, is just fabrication. Everyone in this town knows. Thanks God we are free of him. Bill and your supporters, guess what no one is listening and we don’t care! Stop trying to project. The only thing that you were good for, causing trouble, milking the town, and blaming others for your corruption. No one has anything to do with the “cat” thing other then him. Tom, you were accused during an election. Bill has always been famous for that. I amy not agree with Tom on all issues but I know that this is a stupid issue and just to let you know I split my vote among all 3 tickets. Thank God he is no longer the Mayor.

  88. I have lived in this town for 15 years. I have seen a supposed “Middle School” built with no windows, and we as taxpayers pay 60% of our taxes to the schools. I am all for education. But, there has to be a lot of fat in that budget. Tom, would you consider running for school board? I feel with you financial background, you would be the perfect person this to fight for us. I wish that I had your knowledge. All I know is that no one is watching them. I am all for education! If you think that Randy Teague is pompous and arrogant, meet Dr. Ravitz. Please, please, consider. We need your input on the schools. I don’t mind paying but to ask parents to pay for pre-k, I think that we lose the most vunerable. Then in second grade, the child is not identified, we will end up spending more money. Please, consider running. You most certainly would have my support. We need someone to explain the budget and get to the bottom of where our money is truely going. You think that the town is secretive, try going to a school board meeting. Please help.

    • The election candidates are already set. Feel free to write my name in. Start a grass roots based campaign. Would I serve, if that happened? Sure. But it is too late to get on the ballot.

  89. First off I didn’t said the Blog was neutral I said my email blast was neutral. The initial post IS neutral. I don’t have to ask questions to see how residents are treated at the meetings. I will voice my opinion and that’s why this blog was started. Its for the residents to voice concerns and ask questions without being on an egg timer or having Dougherty and Klineberger smirk and whisper while you speak.

  90. Cassel’s lawsuit is not frivolous. He asked for 2 years and was met with constant insults and refusal to comply with the law so he did only remaining option. When the Mayor uses the police to silence critics I think waiting 2 years showed extraordinary restraint.

    A select group of people have smugly enjoyed being the ‘in crowd’ under Bill Parks and the same crowd now part of the RandyTeague gang. That crowd of people has been eating at the trough of our taxpayer dollars for years and they are terrified about what’s gonna happen when clean government comes. In 2 years insider jobs gone, and there will be a forensic audit. People know whats been going on and the insiders reading this know what thats about.

  91. If you think the insults will stop the voicing of opinions, this blog or the email blast you are sadly mistaken. I have had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from our residents. Even when some members from the Middle School PTA tried to shut the email blast down by running to the Principal. I rec’d numerous emails advising me to continue, one was from a High School PTA member thanking me for helping to get the word out about an activity.

    So, continue to lower yourselves to insults or creating lies, I will continue to do my best to inform our residents and yes, I will insert my opinion on the blog from time to time.

  92. At 12:57 anonymous wrote:
    “Oh, by the way, Mr. Cassell has applied for a job at Rohrer Towers. I guess he needs to be paid to be make a difference in this town.”

    Here is my previous post relating to this issue:

    BTW, has Joe Iacovino agreed to do this for free?

    First. I did apply and this must have turned the board’s and commissioner’s heads because I am exceedingly well qualified to do this job. I have over 25 years in all aspects of commercial real estate development including select HUD experience. I could do the job with little difficulty. This is not a job I need in any way. In fact, I have discussed issues at the HTHA in the past with the Mayor. They shouldn’t have been surprised.

    Now for the latest . I found out that over 25 resumes were received by the town. I hope that my post helped publicize this and create the flood. It is an excellent thing, but only if there is a truly fair selection process. In fact, for the last 2 appointees, no one other than the 2 insiders who received the jobs, were ever considered. This shows some progress.

    I also found out that two board members of the HTHA resigned last week over the issue of “handing” the job to Joe Iacovino. I don’t know any more than that but it appears that maybe there are some people in our town on boards who are not satisfied with the status quo. This is huge. There are people on the board who really wanted to do the right thing and in the end, made their statement by refusing to continue to having insider appointments. It will be interested to see how this develops.

    Last – anon – how did you find out? Either (1) you are a member of the HTHA or (2) you are an insider to the commissioners. Please tell us. Inquiring minds want to know.

  93. People in this town have big mouths. Your not the only one who knows everything. I am not a member of HTHA or know any of the Commissioners. I voted for the Rohrer, Gilligan, Davey ticket. You should know, because you are not on the in, but you always know the latest dope.

  94. Philadelphia Inquirer

    Mar. 24, 2009

    Shadows amid sunshine in towns with three-person governments

    By Matt Katz

    Inquirer Staff Writer

    A Haddon Township man is suing the township, alleging the governing body had illegal, secret meetings.

    Some residents, political observers, and politicians say that with modern government-transparency laws and political issues that 1950s farm towns would have never encountered, such triumvirates are increasingly susceptible to criticisms of secrecy.

    Because of the way the law is written, things can get a little fuzzy.

    Consider: Two buddies in a small town walk their dogs together, notice a pothole, and decide that it must be fixed. If those buddies happen to be the mayor and deputy mayor – two-thirds of town government – then that conversation is, by one interpretation, illicit, unless a public notice was printed in advance notifying citizens about the dog walk and inviting them along.

    The previous Haddon Township commissioners, though they were elected on a nonpartisan basis, were divided 2-1. Only two members are needed for a quorum or to pass laws.

    The official in the minority, Kathleen V. Hogan, argued meetings were held behind her back, decisions were made in secret, and documents were hidden from her. She unsuccessfully sued the town, saying her First Amendment rights were violated.

    “This three-commissioner form of government can be good theoretically, but unfortunately in New Jersey, with the problem we have with corruption, if it’s one guy running the township . . . it doesn’t matter how hard the person on the outside – in this case me – tries to clean things up, you end up getting outnumbered,” she said.

    The mayor at the time, William Park Sr., described Hogan as an obstructionist. But he said a three-person government could still succeed in making things happen quickly.

    In 2007, three new commissioners were elected, and there was an apparent change of tone. But just as discord in Haddon Township made citizens roll their eyes, too little discord raises at least one set of eyebrows.

    On Friday, local gadfly Tom Cassel filed a lawsuit alleging secret meetings between the township solicitor and the commissioners.

    Legal bills show that the township solicitor charged Haddon Township for at least six meetings and one phone conversation with multiple commissioners. Cassel says at least two commissioners were in on those meetings, which would be illegal because they were never advertised to the public, as required, and minutes were not taken.

    The commissioners say the solicitor had met with each of them individually in their own offices, never together.

    When hanging out with each other, the commissioners try not to talk township business, “because we’re around it so much,” said Mayor Randy Teague.

    Commissioner Paul Dougherty, a lawyer, said that the Open Public Meetings Act, known as the Sunshine Law, relates to laws that are passed without the public in attendance, and that Cassel had failed to cite an example of that happening.

    “Have they done some good things for the town? Yes,” Cassel said. “But they don’t know how to run good government.”

    Years of service (today)* 2.25 year(s)
    Salary at location (2007)** $28,068
    Total salary, all locations** $28,068
    Fund name Public Employees (PERS)

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