Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 17
 
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
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Township Welcomes Two New Sergeants; Rebuts Critic of Timing

Ellen Gilbert

Monday’s Township Committee meeting was noteworthy for its unusual police presence, and for its brevity.

Police officers Michael R. Cifelli and Christopher J. Morgan, surrounded by their families (including Mr. Morgan’s three-week old daughter), were sworn in as sergeants by township attorney Edward Schmierer. A number of “our finest,” as Mayor Phyllis Marchand put it, were in attendance, including former Police Chief Anthony R. Gaylord.

Mr. Schmierer took the spotlight again later in the meeting, responding to a recent letter to local newspapers from township resident Daniel Harris, claiming that the Township Committee’s April 7 meeting was in violation of the New Jersey State “Sunshine Law” requiring governing bodies to post notices of meetings at least 48 hours in advance. Mr. Harris was particularly concerned because, he said in his letter, the “only major public item on the agenda was a presentation on flood control issues as related to Harry’s Brook — a topic that has roiled township sessions and private discussions among neighbors for decades.” Suggesting that the Township Committee knew “weeks in advance” about a presentation on flooding and flood-water runoff made at the meeting, Mr. Harris said that notice of the meeting appeared on the Township’s website just seven hours before it was scheduled to begin. “The public was not told in a timely manner,” he said, adding “Public discussion was curtailed in advance: shut off, precluded.”

Mr. Schmierer responded to the allegations by saying that Mr. Harris’s understanding of the open meeting law was wrong and that the April 7 date had actually been posted many months in advance, noting that it had not been a “special meeting,” for which advance notice is required. Indeed, he added, the Township was better than most municipalities in posting dates and making its meeting agendas available early. “I’ve suggested to him that he should do the honorable thing and rescind his accusation,” Mr. Schmierer concluded.

A bid award for the Hilltop Park Skate Board Park to Nova Crete, Inc., of South Amboy was approved in the amount of $498,257 on Monday evening, along with a service agreement with Environmental Management Associates for the removal of contaminated water underneath the Department of Public Works (DPW} garage for less than $25,710. In response to Committee member Chad Goerner’s request for a timeline on this project, Township engineer Robert V. Kiser said that although there is a sense that it is “a limited contamination problem,” there is the possibility that additional contaminated materials may be found. Township Administrator Jim Pascale indicated that the project is financially sound, even if follow-up is needed. The DPW Garage, located at 87 Adams Road, is a steel pre-fabricated building put up in the mid-1960s as a temporary facility.

A job fair recently held at the Princeton Public Library attracted a surprisingly large turnout, according to Committeeman Lance Liverman. Some 250 young people ages 14 to 16 attended the event, eliciting a positive response from prospective employers.

Mr. Goerner, who is liaison to Princeton Township’s Sidewalk and Bikeways Committee, announced the “Be Green Be Seen” event to encourage biking and walking as alternative methods of transportation on Saturday, May 10, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at Hinds Plaza.

Township roads that will undergo repaving during the coming weeks, according to Mr. Kiser, include Hemlock Court, Philip Drive, and Woodside Lane.

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