Anthony and Teddy thank you for reading their introductory weekly blog. Throughout their campaign, Anthony and Teddy will be writing to their fellow citizens about systemic issues that are a result of a long incumbent and unchallenged Borough council. Because listing problems without providing solutions isn’t an effective means of governance, Anthony and Teddy will also provide potential solutions to these problems. They welcome your comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a resident of North Caldwell, you have the right to know what the council is doing, how the council is doing it, and why the council is doing it. Our current Borough Council has been hesitant to provide residents with appropriate information that would allow each of us to properly understand the what(s), how(s), and why(s) driving their decision making. Instead, the current Council expects the increasingly knowledgeable and interested residents to simply accept what the local government does without proper explanation.
The Council currently meets biweekly to carry out its functions as elected officials charged with representing the residents of North Caldwell. The Council has rebuffed efforts to televise the public portions of its meetings, or to broadcast these meetings on the Internet. Compounding the problem, the Council does not timely publish written meeting minutes or proposed resolutions. In effect, unless you personally attend the evening meetings, which is impracticable for many residents, you cannot learn the what, how, and why, or ask questions for that matter, of the current Council.
New Jersey law requires the Council to publish minutes of the meetings in a timely manner so that residents can know the what, how, and why of their local government’s actions. Technology exists for the Council to publish minutes the evening of the meeting, or to make available video recording of the regular meetings, but the Council refuses to do so. It is 2019 and there is no reason why minutes and recordings of the Council’s meetings should not be published and available directly after the meeting. Indeed, as of May 16, 2019, our Council had not published a single set of meeting minutes for the entire 2019 calendar year.
The issues discussed above are symptoms of local government officials, too long in power, who no longer understand that one of their basic functions is to keep the residents informed. They must keep us informed so that the officials can be held accountable for the what, how, and why. These symptoms should not exist in the first place and our residents should not have to demand that the Council follow the law, i.e., publish meeting minutes.
Anthony and Teddy will always provide an open and transparent government. They will be advocates to have all Council meetings (as well as Planning Board and Board of Adjustment), at a minimum: recorded with the audio and video available to view and download on the town’s website after the close of the meeting; televised and/or broadcasted live on the Internet; and memorialized with written meeting minutes no later than the following meeting.
Paid for by Floria-Callori and Roth for North Caldwell Council
4 Chestnut Hill Road, North Caldwell, NJ 07006