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Town Ordered To Make Appointment Already On The Books

Lawsuit brought by resident orders the township to appoint a secretary for for a commission that was appointed six months ago, according to a resolution

The township has been ordered by a Superior Court judge to appoint a qualified person to oversee its insurance fund, according to court documents.

But they already have, township officials say.

The order from Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson was handed down on July 27, as part of a lawsuit brought by resident Betsy Cross, of New Bedford Road, a longtime critic of the township’s handling of municipal insurance matters.

Under the order, the township has fewer than 20 days to appoint a secretary of the Insurance Fund Commission, and that secretary will be required to prepare and submit monthly reports to the Township Committee.

Cross in an interview on Thursday said she was happy about the ruling and not surprised.

But according to a resolution passed by unanimous vote of the Township Committee at its Jan. 4 organization meeting, the township had already created the position.

Named in resolution #12-123 are the sitting mayor, Chief Financial Officer Steve Mayer and Jennifer Cinelli, personnel assistant, to the unpaid positions on the Insurance Fund Commission.  

Mayer in the resolution is named as secretary. The mayor is named by office only.

It was not immediately known if Mayer has been creating monthly reports and delivering them to the township committee since his appointment in January, as stipulated by the order.

Oral arguments were heard on the matter on July 27. Named as defendants in the suit were the Township of Wall and the offices of the township clerk, the records custodian and the mayor, according to the order.

No one from the township argued on municipality’s behalf, according to Lawson’s order.

Township Administrator Jeffry Bertrand on Thursday said the township did file papers with the judge, but did not argue the suit.

“We didn’t oppose it because we know that’s a requirement and we’re following it,’’ Bertrand said.

But it appears that may not have always been the case, according to a response from an Open Public Records request response from Township Clerk Lorraine Kubacz.

Cross in Aug. 2011 requested the name and the salary of the secretary of the insurance commission. Kubacz responded in writing that no secretary had been named and no monthly reports had been generated since the commission was established in 2008, according to Cross' request documents, which were provided by Cross.

The township municipal code – the body of local laws and regulations that govern the way the Township Committee is to operate – says that the township committee must appoint three township officials, who may be members of the governing body, to an insurance commission. Those officials serve two-year terms, unpaid, on the insurance commission. They are tasked with overseeing the township’s insurance fund.

Michael Ferrell August 03, 2012 at 07:17 PM
So how significant is this in the scheme of things. Critics will use it to slam those they don't like. SOme will feel they have earned a victory. But as a taxpayer, I wonder how much time and money is spent answering the multitude of freedom of information requests by those determined to find "something wrong", along with the court costs. Was this something that would have been a fine, or indictment, or hampered the township in operation? or was it a simple oversight or miscommunication? I think there are better things to dwell on.
GQ August 03, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Mr. Ferrell, I couldn't agree with you more. Your assessment is right on target.
Allenwoodie August 03, 2012 at 09:02 PM
If you think that getting a democrat in office in Wall Township will significantly change anything then you don't know much about politics on the municipal level. At this level it's more like managing a business than politics in Trenton. They provide specific public services and collect money to do it. As a taxpayer I feel that this lawsuit is only costing us money and in the end no significant change will come out of it. There will be more reports to view through OPRA. The reports will be created by someone that already works for the town so this will either take time away from other important functions or will result in the need to hire someone else to do the work that can no longer be completed because a report has to be filed. It's all nonsense. This woman is not solving any great mystery or uncovering any great conspiracy. She's costing the taxpayers money through excessive OPRA requests and now frivolous lawsuits.
GQ August 03, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Again. I agree.
Jack Horse September 27, 2012 at 05:41 PM
We have had some very good " other party" people on the committee. They could not do anything to change anything because one person can not do the job. We need to replace all the members. This Cross woman is a real problem for the town. If you go to meetings you will find her wasting the committees time and costing a major amout of time and money.


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