Sewer Surplus and Police Consultants Discussed at Scotch Plains Council
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 • 11:49am
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ –The disposition of the supposed sewer surplus and the decision to employ an outside consultant to participate in the discussions regarding a merged police department were the concepts that caused the most debate at the Scotch Plains Council Meeting held Tuesday night, October 16, 2012.
A resident stepped to the mike at the beginning of the meeting to enquire about the sewer surplus. Mayor Mary DePaola explained that the town would only “get a true surplus number at the end of the year, on December 31. Once we close out the year’s expenses, we will then determine what the surplus actually is.”
Town Manager Henry Underhill explained that $349,000 had been carried forward, and he agreed with the Mayor’s comments that at the end of the year” we will see if there is an actual surplus.”
After the main part of the meeting, that covered everything from approving various ordinances in relation to town employee’s salaries, to the new Town Manager’s first official report, the final resolution was read indicating that the town wished to retain the services of an outside consultant to assist with the concept of merging the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police forces.
Councilman Mickey Marcus indicated that after numerous meetings with Fanwood, regarding combine the two police forces, it was proposed to retain the services of The Roselle Group.
“They are headed by a law enforcement expert who is well known to some of our legal professionals and the thought behind the retention of this group is they will provide much needed guidance and recommendations. They will have the opportunity to review what we have been doing and the information we have been looking at and will provide us with guidance and their recommendations to enable us to move forward on this important issue,” said Councilman Marcus. The group of consultants would be retained at $100 per hour with a budget of $4,000 overall.
Councilman Edward Sardicki also spoke on this issue, confirming that “as a tax payer on the committee I know there could be a possible bias from the people involved in the discussion, so it is good to have our information checked by someone from the outside.”
“I am in agreement with what the two councilmen have said, and I agree with the concept of an object set of eyes at this point,” concluded Mayor DePaola.
Democratic Council candidate Colleen Gialanella then stepped to the microphone to express her concern as to why Fanwood was not asked to participate by contributing money towards the cost of the consultants.
“We are the larger entity, we have a larger number of police officers whose lives and careers will be affected, and the goal of all our negotiations is to find and discover the best way to combine the two police forces,” said Mayor DePaola.
Councilman Bo Vastine went on to explain further. “Our fiduciary duty is to the residents of Scotch Plains, to make sure the interests of our residents are maintained, it’s not our duty to protect the interests of Fanwood residents. I think it is responsible for each town to have their own objective third party look at what they are doing.
I hope our counterparts in Fanwood will see this as us doing our duty, not that we are trying to slow down the process.”
During the open comments sections, various other issues were raised by residents, including questions regarding the future of the Frazee House property, and it was pointed out that an additional brush pickup was needed at this time of year.
The Meeting concluded with the Mayor announcing the 22nd Annual Mayor’s Gala, to be held on November 30, at the Shackamaxon Country Club in Scotch Plains. “This evening is a celebration of volunteerism in our community. It will be a lot of fun,” concluded Mayor DePaola.