Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 11
 
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
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Seeking Reelection, Township Official Would Study Municipal Consolidation

CHAD GOERNER
Bayard Lane
Princeton Township Deputy Mayor

School Board Disappoints PHS Students by Rejecting Sustainability Measures

ELEKTRA ALIVISATOS
MIMI GABRIEL
ROSS MAZUR
Princeton High School Environmental Club

Relocation of Hospital to Plainsboro Offers Occasion to Clarify Its Name

DAVID REEVES
Snowden Lane

Borough Faulted for Yearlong Delay In Case of Suspended Police Officer

ALASTAIR DAVIES
Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Princeton Filmmaker’s “Aurora Borealis” to Receive Second Screening in April

WENDELL COLLINS
Member, Circle of Friends
The Arts Council of Princeton

Town Topics Readers Asked for Help Finding Family of Scotland Resident

ALASTAIR DAVIES
Dumfriesshire, Scotland

J. Seward Johnson Sr. Charitable Trust Thanked for Gift to Recreation Board

THOMAS ZUCOSKY
Chair, Princeton Joint Recreation Board


Seeking Reelection, Township Official Would Study Municipal Consolidation

To the Editor:

I am writing to ask for support as I seek reelection to the Township Committee this year. While I believe my service the last three years has helped to forge a new direction and has produced results for our residents, challenges and opportunities remain.

I first decided to run for Township Committee with a goal of enhancing the town’s communications and transparency with the public. With the Township Committee’s support, we established an online application for our boards and commissions, making it easier for residents to become involved in their municipal government.

In addition, I established a Citizens’ Finance Advisory Committee to tap into the vast talent of our community and assist the Township on finance-related matters. The committee’s first project to improve budget communication resulted in an easy-to-understand budget overview that can be found at www.princetontwp.org/CAC-Newsletter2.pdf. I look forward to the committee’s continued assistance in assisting the Township during this difficult economic environment.

I have also worked for neighborhood preservation by finding alternative solutions to McMansions that are less restrictive than historic district designation. Recently I have worked with our Princeton Borough counterparts to establish a Joint Sidewalk and Bikeways Advisory Committee to better integrate our planning for pedestrian and cyclist routes.

Over the next term, I plan to continue our efforts to reduce truck traffic on Route 206. In addition, I hope to continue our work to establish alternative modes of transportation for our residents, such as a broader shuttle service operation, and better facilitate pedestrian and bicycle routes throughout the municipality.

Perhaps the greatest area of opportunity and challenge this next term will be municipal consolidation. As one integrated community, a consolidated Princeton can deliver services more efficiently, effectively, and economically. To accomplish this goal, we must remain sensitive to the concerns of residents in both municipalities through outreach and discussion.

On April 27 at 7 p.m. we will have a joint public meeting of Township Committee and Borough Council to hear a presentation from the State Department of Community Affairs about opportunities to consolidate services and/or municipalities. I strongly urge Princeton residents to attend this important meeting.

Thank you for previous support and I hope to continue to earn your support for a second term on Township Committee. Those with questions or concerns may e-mail me directly at cgoerner@princeton-township.nj.us.

CHAD GOERNER
Bayard Lane
Princeton Township Deputy Mayor

School Board Disappoints PHS Students by Rejecting Sustainability Measures

To the Editor:

As members of Princeton High School’s Environmental Club, we have been trying for the last few years to make our school greener by promoting recycling and energy conservation.

The School Board meeting on February 24 was an important event because of the sustainability action plan that was presented. The six main goals would help make the school district more environmentally sustainable. We are truly disappointed with the results of the meeting. The School Board chose not to consider any of the measures. We are aware of the tight budget that the district is experiencing; however, the board did not even consider the no-cost environmental measures. Turning off major appliances and lights in hallways, classrooms, and gyms when not in use would not only conserve energy but also save the district a significant amount of money. That the board did not even consider these options leaves us concerned and frustrated.

As a club, we try to promote being environmentally conscious. This is a difficult task when the school district itself does not promote environmental awareness. If it is not a School Board priority then why should it be a student priority? By rejecting the action plan, the Board missed an opportunity to alleviate environmental ignorance and help promote green practices throughout our schools.

ELEKTRA ALIVISATOS
MIMI GABRIEL
ROSS MAZUR
Princeton High School Environmental Club

Relocation of Hospital to Plainsboro Offers Occasion to Clarify Its Name

To the Editor:

Town Topics has been assiduous in keeping us all informed on news of what was known in simpler times as the Princeton Hospital. Now we learn that construction has begun and the steel is being fabricated off-site.

No doubt signage will be fabricated for the new building. Before it is too late it might be well to think through carefully the implications of the signage. It should represent faithfully the exact nature of the enterprise.

A few years ago the word “University” was added to Medical Center. It would help to identify the university, as there is no university with a medical school in either Princeton or Plainsboro. If it is another university, it should be identified. (Is it UMDNJ University Medical Center, or perhaps the Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center?) Perhaps “University” should be dropped, as it seems pretentious with no university medical school in the area.

As the enterprise has relocated to Plainsboro, it would be more accurate that it be known as the Medical Center of Plainsboro. For reasons of nostalgia a parenthesis could be added, such as “(formerly Princeton Hospital).” Let’s keep it simple and accurate.

DAVID REEVES
Snowden Lane

Borough Faulted for Yearlong Delay In Case of Suspended Police Officer

To the Editor:

Long ago, elected officials too frequently involved themselves in law enforcement issues for political purposes. To prevent such abuse, state law and local ordinances established a strict boundary between politicians and police. The pendulum has swung too far. Now, elected officials tend to avoid even reasonable oversight of local police. In the case of Princeton Borough, that has been at great cost to the taxpayers.

Witness the 2008 rash of indictment, terminations, and resignations of Borough police officers: they cost Borough taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to officers who were suspended, and in investigative and prosecutorial time. Further, the Borough lost its investment in highly trained veterans who left the force. The Borough will have to find and train raw recruits at substantial additional expense.

Had elected officials provided more oversight during the recent tumult within police ranks, these expenses might have been avoided without threat to the integrity of the police department.

A case in point is the recent resignation of Sgt. Kevin Creegan. The Mayor and Council had at least three opportunities to oversee the matter and at each turn avoided doing so.

First, the Borough could have completed an internal administrative investigation to avoid a March-September 2008 delay during which time the County declined to indict Sgt. Creegan but the Borough nevertheless paid him while he was suspended from work at his annual salary of more than $120,000.

Second, the Borough could have prosecuted Sgt. Creegan administratively in September 2008 and not waited for receipt of grand jury transcripts in January 2009, to avoid a September 2008-January 2009 delay during which Sgt. Creegan continued to be paid while suspended from work.

Finally, the Borough could have pressed administrative charges against Sgt. Creegan to create a record of his alleged misconduct, instead of permitting him to resign from the force and keep the more than $120,000 he earned during his year of suspension.

That is not to conclude that Sgt. Creegan was guilty of any misconduct. Without any administrative hearing or criminal prosecution, no one will ever know the truth.

But it is to conclude that, as a result of Mayor and Council’s decision not to timely proceed in the Creegan case, Borough residents spent a small fortune and now will never know what he was accused of, whether he was appropriately investigated and prosecuted, and whether he should have been required to reimburse the Borough for his salary during his year of suspension.

Borough police argue that State regulations and local ordinances bar elected officials from exercising such oversight over their department. That is not true. Elected officials decide to hire individual applicants to the police department. Elected officials decide whether and how to fund the municipal police. Clearly, elected officials have a role in determining whether and how police should be discharged from employment. After all, police are Borough employees.

In sum, it is fit and proper that elected officials inquire into what went awry with the Borough police department in 2008 so that those problems do not linger into 2009 and beyond.

ROGER MARTINDELL
Prospect Avenue

Princeton Filmmaker’s “Aurora Borealis” to Receive Second Screening in April

To the Editor:

On behalf of The Arts Council of Princeton and The Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, I’d like to thank the Princeton Garden Theater and Princeton native James Burke for sharing the Princeton premiere of his moving film, Aurora Borealis, with the Princeton community.

For those who were unable to attend the fully subscribed premiere, we look forward to another screening of the film on Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Robeson Center.

WENDELL COLLINS
Member, Circle of Friends
The Arts Council of Princeton

Town Topics Readers Asked for Help Finding Family of Scotland Resident

To the Editor:

Hello there from the blustery but gorgeous Scottish countryside.

I look after an elderly lady called Eveline over here in the U.K. whose brother lived and worked in Princeton until his death in 1984. She is trying to get in touch with his family and I wondered if I might use Town Topics to put out a request for anyone who knows or knew the Hicks family to get in touch with me. Eveline’s brother was Kenneth Hicks, who died in July 1984, with the service at Princeton University Chapel led by the Rev. Patrick Connor. Kenneth married Barbara in 1977 and from their previous marriages they had seven children — Anthony, Michael, Patrick, Catherine, Marianne, Valerie, and Carol.

If you could help in any way I would be really grateful. I may be reached at alastair@midascomp.co.uk or at Gilnockie Station House, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland DG14 0SG.

ALASTAIR DAVIES
Dumfriesshire, Scotland

J. Seward Johnson Sr. Charitable Trust Thanked for Gift to Recreation Board

To the Editor:

The Princeton Joint Recreation Board would like to recognize the J. Seward Johnson Sr. Charitable Trust for its generous donation to the Princeton Recreation Department. Princeton Recreation was awarded a “Legacy Endowment” of $250,000; the interest from the endowment will be used to help subsidize our financial aid program for Princeton’s in-need children.

The board and the Princeton Recreation Department have long been working toward a stable source of funding for these important programs. This gift will go a long way toward continuing this worthwhile program and, we believe, is an endorsement of the excellent work done by the Recreation Department’s staff and many volunteers.

The board and its constituents thank the J. Seward Johnson Sr. board of trustees for their generosity and their commitment to a better quality of life for needy Princeton residents.

THOMAS ZUCOSKY
Chair, Princeton Joint Recreation Board

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