July 31, 2011Is it true that the Concerned Citizens of Roselle Park are suing the Borough? Why?
Yes, The Concerned Citizens of Roselle Park have filed a lawsuit because the organizationbelieves that the municipality has violated the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and thecommon law right of access on two (2) occasions.The first instance happened when the municipality refused an OPRA request for thesettlement agreement between the municipality and Monica Montoya. The municipalityclaimed that the agreement is not in the Borough’s possession. We believe that the NewJersey Joint Insurance Fund (NJJIF) was acting as an agent for the Borough and that themunicipality, not NJJIF, has the responsibility to provide the requested information.The second instance occurred when the organization requested a simple export of themunicipality’s check register to an electronic format from the Munidex software program.An initial request was made where the organization asked for just the check register to beprovided in electronic format. The municipality returned with a demand to have theConcerned Citizens of Roselle Park provide a minimum $400 deposit because themunicipality claimed it would require additional work to retrieve that specific informationfrom what they called a ‘data dump’, which is a simple exporting of all information to acomputer file. The organization returned and asked for the ‘data dump’ so it could do all theadditional work. The municipality returned with the same demand of a $400 deposit.We feel that government should be open, accountable, and transparent and our requestsare aimed to further that belief since what we are asking for concerns taxpayers’ money.
Is it true you are going to cost taxpayers $5,000? I thought you were supposed tohelp the residents, not hurt them.
During the July 14
Mayor & Council meeting, Resolution 160-11 was put on the agendaand the governing body voted and agreed to budget $5,000 to fight our requests. Theoriginal request for the resolution was made by the Borough Clerk and the amount originallyrequested was up to $10,000.The final amount of $5,000 was voted to unanimously by council representatives LarryDinardo, Marc Caswell, Tanya Torres, Modesto Miranda, and Carl Hokanson. As a matterof reference, this amount is twice the amount that the governing body approved to re-opennegotiations with AvalonBay Communities. Even though Mayor Joseph Accardi was notrequired to vote on Resolution 160-11, he nevertheless commented on the issue, “We feelfirmly that we are doing the right thing by expending taxpayer dollars to defend ourselvesin this matter.”
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T h e C o n c e r n e d C i t i z e n s o f R o s e l l e P a r k
Post Office Box 144Roselle Park, NJ 07204www.rp-citizens.org(908) 998-1300