The Township of Scotch Plains passed four resolutions on Jan. 15 to appoint a new township attorney, township engineer and risk management consultant.
Prior to the appointments, Councilman Bo Vastine suggested they be removed from the new business consent agenda in order to be voted on separately.
Vastine expressed that he felt it was important for the township to be transparent with its decisions and to inform the public of the new appointments the township has made.
“One of my concerns, and one of the reasons I wanted to say this, is that even though I do believe all the firms we are going to work with are well qualified, one of the things that we lose with a large turnover on service providers that work with the township is a lot of history experience with Scotch Plains, ” Vastine added.
During the roll call for the resolutions appointing the new township attorney, township engineer and risk management consultant, Vastine was the only council member to vote no.
He added during each statement that is was not the qualifications of the groups, but rather the lack of continuity in service providers.
Mayor Kevin Glover introduced the new township attorney, Judy Verrone, who sat in on her first council meeting Tuesday evening. Verrone is a member DeCotiis, FitzPatrick and Cole, LLP, a law firm out of Teaneck, NJ.
Deputy Mayor, Colleen Gialanella commented on how excited she is to work with Verrone.
“After having sat through many lengthy, lengthy interview with attorneys… I can say very proudly that we have made an excellent selection,” Gialanella said. “Sometimes change can be a very good thing.”
Councilman Mickey Marcus stated he understood Councilman Vastine’s concerns about continuity within the township, but in this particular case the new attorney Judy Verrone will serve the township very well.
A resolution was also passed, to instate Remington Vernick & Vena Engineers, out of Toms River, as the new township engineering firm.
Gialanella said she was energized by the firms presentation during the interview process and that Remington Vernick is more than qualified to serve the township.
“I’m very, very excited to work with them and some of the opportunities this relationship could possibly bring to the township of Scotch Plains,” Gialanella said.
Glover added that he felt the township will be well served with Remington Vernick and he looks forward to the contributions they will make to the township.
“Certainly we would not have put this firm forward if there was not a consensus on the engineering firm,” he said. “As I said in my inaugural statement, we are going to move the town forward, we’re going to have new faces work with us, new ideas, new opportunities.”
The council also moved to appoint a Risk Management Consultant and reinstate the same Bond Counsel that served the township in 2012.
Under new business, an ordinance was introduced to allow the County of Union to replace a culvert on Raritan Road; this ordinance will be voted on at the Feb. 19 meeting.
During the final public comment portion of the meeting, Albert Muller of Ramapo Way questioned the mayor and council if a representative has been chosen for Scotch Plains to act as a liaison to the County of Union.
Glover responded that they are still in search for someone and that none of the council members are available to attend.
Additionally, Gialanella explained how she attended the reorganization meeting of the Freeholders and has been in contact with the Union County Public Information Officer.
“As we move forward its obviously very important for us to make a strong connection with all of the government bodies that exist and are available to us,” she stated.
Gialanella added that she reached out to the Vice chair of the Freeholder board about any possible partnerships and resources available from the county.
The Township of Scotch Plains is still in search of a liaison to the County of Union. Glover asked that anyone interested in the opportunity contact the council.
The next council meeting be held on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the Scotch Plains municipal building.
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