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Lack of Meetings Broadcast Tops List of Discussions

Perth Amboy 9/23/17 Caucus

Councilman
Fernando Gonzalez

PERTH AMBOY – During the public portion, some speakers wanted to know why a topic that has been discussed extensively at previous meetings still hasn’t been resolved.

Resident and Businessman David Caba stated, “I like to look at facts. Some meetings were not on the internet.”

Council President William Petrick responded, “The Board of Education controls when meetings are broadcast.”

Caba then asked if the Council can put an ordinance in place that meetings had to be posted on the internet.

City Clerk Elaine Jasko interjected, “There is a resolution already in place for this.”

Caba continued, “You (the Council) have to table agenda items because of getting them at the last minute.”

Resident Alan Silber came up to speak. He addressed the issue of the Council having a full-time attorney, “Why isn’t the salary range (for this position) on the agenda? Anytime someone is appointed, their salaries should always be on the agenda for public knowledge. I’m glad for this appointment (Peter King for Law Director). This is better than the last person that was appointed.” Silber then half-heartedly added, “The Mayor should also be the School Superintendent with all of her appointments and she’s always on TV. Only 3 people came to the last PARA Meeting. Some towns show their agendas when their meetings are televised. When our meetings are not shown, it gives a perception of censorship.”

Business Administrator Adam Cruz addressed some of these issues, “I’ve had meetings with the School Superintendent and mentioned to him about the meetings not being shown.”

Business Owner Susan Batista came up to speak and told the Council her case (lawsuit against the Mayor, some past administrators and some employees) is going forward. “I have served subpoenas several times and I know how it’s done. I should be going to trial as soon as discovery is over. You also didn’t have any jurisdiction to remove me off of the Zoning Board. Only an ethics board can do that. If you don’t have an ethics board, then it goes to the County. If the County doesn’t have an ethics board, then it goes to Trenton’s ethics board.”

Business Administrator Adam Cruz

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez addressed the issue of why the Council hired their own attorney regarding the lawsuit invovling former Business Administrator Peter Pelissier. “The judge in the case said we have to do our own investigation.”

Council President Petrick said, “The Council received information from the administration regarding Pelissier and we have all the adequate information that we need now.”

Gonzalez still wasn’t happy stating, “We should give the information to the public so the chapter on Pelissier can be closed. This can prevent the law from being broken in the future. The Mayor took us to court and we are not responding appropriately.”

Petrick responded, “Maybe we can set aside a portion of our first caucus meeting in October to discuss the Pelissier matter.”

Law Director Peter King told the Council, “You can discuss anything you want to at that Caucus Meeting.”

Business Administrator Adam Cruz took exception to a remark that Councilman Gonzalez made, “Saying that the law was broken was not an actual fact. That is just Fernando Gonzalez’s personal opinion.”

Councilman Fernando Irizarry spoke next about a homeless warming center coming to Perth Amboy, “This was not discussed at a meeting that I can recall, but it sounds like a done deal. I need the attorney to let us know the process of how this is done. Where is this warming center? And at what stage is it at?”

Councilman Joel Pabon spoke up, “I remember this being discussed at a meeting. I believe it’s a place that the Y brought up.”

Irizarry spoke again, “Does the City Council have any say in this? This should be discussed at the next Council Meeting.”

Irizarry then went on to discuss the money that will be received by the City through the Bridge PILOT program. “The breakdown is a third of the money for tax relief, a third for a firehouse, and a third for debt services. I think the breakdown should be: tax relief, firehouse, and for a garbage truck.” Irizarry asked if there will be representatives present at any upcoming Council Meetings to discuss the City Employee prescription plans.

Irizarry then suggested when presentations involving slide shows such as when St. Demetrios plans were shown, more screens should be placed around the Council Chambers.  This way everyone in the City Council Chambers can see the presentation.

He also made a suggestion regarding supplies of donations for the hurricane victims, “Please buy items in bulk instead of individual items. It will be easier for those who have to ship items so they don’t have to take time to sort through things.”

Councilman Joel Pabon said, “People have been complaining that they are still having problems especially when it comes to street cleanings. They are not only being issued a ticket, but their cars are also being towed away.”

Acting Police Chief McKeon came up to address this problem, “It seems there is a problem with the alternate side of the street parking. Residents should make formal complaints to the police, so these tow companies that overcharge can be investigated. Those are private towers in the retail business. Most of our towers do the right thing.”

Council President Bill Petrick said, “Rules for towing should be posted.”

McKeon added, “Some towers put in dolly fees.”

Fernando Gonzalez spoke up, “Towing has been my pet peeve. Giving a ticket is sufficient. That’s enough punishment. When they are getting a ticket and still get towed, it’s overkill.”

McKeon added, “A horn is blown to give people a warning to remove their vehicles to avoid getting a ticket and getting towed.”

Law Director Peter King suggested, “The City can have an out of town Tow Company that can have a yard inside the City to tow the car to. Some towns just use an in-house police towing.”

Irizarry was happy to report, “The streets are cleaner in the Budapest section of town where residents have come in the past to complain about the lack of cleaning.”

Deputy Police Chief Cattano came up to make some suggestions, “Awareness is very important. On a towing report, a breakdown will be given how much was charged for each item.”

Council President Petrick said, “There is a time span where people are not able to get their cars from the tow companies. It’s an 8 hour period. There’s going to be a new procedure. Towers must take credit cards and give the vehicle owner a receipt. Towers must be available at least 4 hours each day on a weekend so that the vehicles can be retrieved.”

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Perth Amboy Calendar

WED. Sept. 27
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Sept. 28
• Historic Preservation Commission,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Oct. 10
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

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