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Commission Opposes Study to Change Cranford’s Government

The committee voted 3-2 on Tuesday to rescind the ordinance from December. Posted by Nicole Bitette (Editor), July 18, 2013 Cranford will not be studying whether or not they should change their form of government, at least not this year, after the committee voted 3-2 to rescind the ordinance to create a commission study to look into the possibility. It was a hot topic at Tuesday’s meeting, several former elected officials of Cranford spoke on how the study was not necessary and time and energy should be focused on other issues in Cranford. However, those opposed felt it was up to the people to make the decision and put it to a vote. Resident John Hrebin said he just did not feel this was a worthwhile endeavor for Cranford. Paul Lacorte, Cranford mayor in 1987, said he feels the town works and he does not want to see a change. While, Mary O’Connor expressed that she is happy with Cranford’s form of government currently, but that it should be put on the ballot for the people. Ed Force, a Cranford mayor from 1989 to 1991, expressed his many concerns with changing Cranford’s form of government, including the costs of both the study and hiring a mayor. He added that a similar study was conducted in 2008 and none of the recommendations were even put in place. “Cranford is doing well,” he said. “Yeah, we have problems,” but changing the form of government is not the answer, he stated. “Let’s work for the people, that’s what we’re here for.” Force and other former elected officials pointed out that if Cranford were to change government and go into a ward system, it would become very political and sort of change the township all together. This is one of the reasons commissioner Kevin Campbell voted no, he said. Campbell said Cranford is well known for being a tight-knit community and the current form of government allows that to be possible. Campbell added that of all the people speaking out on the issue, it’s about 50 to 60 at most. He stated that this is not enough of the population to be interested in the issue and therefore they should not move forward. Commissioner Lisa Adubato clarified that this is not a vote to change the form of government, but a vote to have a study conducted on the township’s options. However, Adubato agreed that a huge part of doing this would be helping residents understand it, which she added is what the committee to study would do.

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Adubato and Commissioner Andis Kalnins voted not to rescind the ordinance and move forward with it. Kalnins believes with the current form of government many projects are put off and not completed as timely due to the constant learning curve from new members coming into Cranford’s government. Dr. Frank Krause said he was speaking on behalf o the typical resident, not a former mayor or elected official. He stated that residents see the township is doing well with the current form of government, so why change it? Should Cranford be reexamining this issue now? Deputy Mayor Ed O’Malley asked. He stated that the current form of government is working, so now is not the time to be spending on this issue. Both Kalnins and Adubato agreed that the township is doing well, but maybe there is opportunity to do better. Mayor Thomas Hannen was the deciding vote to rescind the ordinance, O’Malley and Campbell also voted to rescind and residents cheered at the decision. However, Hannen stated if this township committee does not do this, the next one might, but they are not going to move forward with it.

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