Jackson council members appoint professionals

Staff Writer

JACKSON — Members of the Jackson Township Council approved a number of municipal appointments during the governing body’s Jan. 4 reorganization meeting.

Councilman Mike Kafton voted no on 26 of the 30 appointments made by Mayor Mike Reina.

“I have looked through my packet and I don’t see a letter that you [Reina] sent out to the professionals requesting that they [accept] a 20 percent cut in their pay as township employees have done and [that] will possibly be extended. That is why I am going to vote no on every professional again,” Kafton said.

The councilman said the ranks of Jackson’s municipal work force and services to taxpayers were cut, but the municipality’s professionals (i.e., attorneys, engineers, planners) were not approached as a means of saving money.

Kafton said he respects the township’s professionals and the job they do, but said he believed that if some municipal employees are asked to accept reduced wages (through unpaid furlough days once a week), then everyone should be asked to accept a reduction in pay.

Reina said there has been a 28 percent decrease in professional costs.

“This is due to many reasons,” the mayor said. “There were some tough times in town. All of the professionals were not issued letters. I went and spoke to them.”

Reina said he addressed the concerns of the municipal employees, residents and council members with the professionals.

“They [the professionals] have already been advised that they will not exceed last year’s proposals and hopefully next year we can do 30 percent [savings],” the mayor said. “Right now the professionals’ billing [for 2010] is at a negative 28.3 percent, although there may be some additional billing.”

Reina said residents may examine the professionals’ bills if they wish to do so.

Kafton said the information was not provided to him and he was therefore voting no on all of the professionals.

On the appointment of George Gilmore as township attorney, Councilwoman Bobbie Rivere and Kafton voted no, while council President Scott Martin, Vice President Ken Bressi and Councilwoman Ann Updegrave voted yes.

Other appointments included Jean Cipriani as affordable-housing attorney (4-1); Megan Clark as bond counsel (4-1); Joseph Coronato as municipal prosecutor (4-1); Dina Vicari as public defender (3-1, with an abstention by Martin); Charles Rooney as township engineer (4-1); Remington Vernick and Vena as township planner (4-1); James W. Holzapfel as labor counsel (4-1); Brian Rumpf as Rent Leveling Board attorney (4-1); John Maczuga as affordablehousing planner (4-1); and Kevin Starkey as special legal counsel.