reorganization move canceled over error
By SHRUTI MATHUR DESAI • Courier-Post Staff • January 13, 2011
GLOUCESTER TWP. — Gloucester Township has nixed its idea of moving up a planning board reorganization from July to this month.
The proposed reorganization, which was approved Jan. 4, was canceled after a Republican appointee to the majority Democratic board brought up legal issues with how the board brought up and voted on the issue.
Dennis Palmer, an outgoing planning board member, said the vote was brought up during the middle of a discussion of another issue, rather than having its own agenda item. Palmer said it was a move by township Democrats to get another party member on the board.
"(Mayor) Dave Mayer doesn't want watchdogs, he wants lap dogs," Palmer said.
As it is, Palmer will be able to stay the rest of his term. Council first has to approve an ordinance and then wait 20 days before moving a reorganization, said Mayer.
"By the time we do that, it's going to be February by the time we pass it," said Mayer. Instead, the council will approve the change in time for the June reorganization, so it is in place for next year's reorganization, Mayer said.
Andy Kricun, chairman of the board, said the way the vote happened was a mistake but the need to move the reorganization is not.
"Moving to the January-to-December calendar schedule to match with the zoning board and council is appropriate," Kricun said. "It is unfortunate that in the attempt to enact that, the proper procedures weren't followed to proceed with the planning board vote."
Kricun said he was not aware there was a prerequisite procedural matter and brought it up to the board because the township asked him to do so.
In 2006, voters approved moving township elections to November, which changed reorganization for council. That same year the zoning board moved their reorganization to January to match the new council calendar.
Kricun said it appeared that planning board members' terms would have to be truncated by six months if the proposed move had happened; instead, Mayer's appointees will have their terms truncated and will start next January instead of this June, Mayer said.
Reach Shruti Mathur Desai at (856) 317-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org