December 11, 2013
Hon. Frank R. Spatola, Jr., Mayor and members of the
Deerfield Township Committee
736 Landis Avenue
Rosenhayn, New Jersey
(via e-mail only to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Mayor Spatola and Committee members:
After posting a blog entry yesterday regarding my recommended changes to § 5-10 of the Township Code, I received input from blog readers pointing out other areas within that Code section where Deerfield Township could improve. I have revised my suggestions to incorporate those ideas and have posted the revision on-line here.
A very important item (and one that I missed) is that § 5-10E of the Code, as presently written, does not comport with a statutory (N.J.S.A. 10:4-12) requirement that each Township Committee meeting contain a portion "for public comment on any governmental or school district issue that a member of the public feels may be of concern to the residents of the municipality . . ." In my revised draft, I have included two periods for public comment, one at the beginning of the meeting which is restricted to comments and questions on agenda items, and one at the end of the meeting for comments and questions on any issue.
Additionally, my draft revision specifically requires the Mayor to attempt to answer questions offered by citizens at either public session. Unfortunately, many municipalities around the state have adopted an informal policy of refusing to respond to citizens' questions. I hope that the Committee agrees that citizens who take the time to come to a meeting to ask questions deserve the courtesy of genuine answers to their questions.
Another blog reader noted that advance copies of meeting agendas would be much more useful to the public if draft copies of the resolutions, ordinances and reports listed in the agendas were also available on line. I included those suggestions in § 5-10B in my draft revision.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Open Government Advocacy Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ 08875