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In Your Own Words: Change of Government Petition – A “Con” and A “Scam”

17248 According to research by Rutgers University, there are four reasons that motivate people to change their form of government.

1. Growth of the Community: More and better services for an increased population.

2. Frustration with existing government: the lack of responsiveness to citizens needs.

3. Perceived lack of representation: People feel they are not being represented adequately.

4. Political Control: Lastly, but certainly not least is what we are presently experiencing in Gloucester. I quote, “The desire by political factions which are “out” of office to use a change of government campaign to enhance their position. The history of change in New Jersey communities is marked by frequent demands for municipal reorganization by the “outs” since major change in charter results in all municipal offices being vacated and new elections being held.” (sound familiar?)

Now let’s talk about the form of government the “outs” have proposed in a “special election” in June at the cost of thousands of dollars paid for by you, the taxpayers. They want to throw out Gloucester City’s present form of Mayor/Council Administrator form and replace it with a Municipal Manager form of 1923!! This form is so outdated that only 6 municipalities out of the total of 567 in New Jersey are operating under it.

Note: Not one municipality has considered adopting this form of government in the last forty (40) years; that is until now in Gloucester City. The Municipal/Manager form of government of 1923 does not allow initiative and referendum where the people have a voice in local government. This form also does not allow the people to elect a Mayor of the City. The Mayor is appointed by council. This system does not allow any flexibility in the operation of the City.

Did all the people who signed this petition to change to this old form of government understand what they were signing?

This is by far the biggest politically motivated “con” and “scam” that has ever been pulled off on the people of Gloucester City. They are disguising this old Municipal/Manager 1923 form as the modern form of Manager/Council that is presently used in 50 municipalities in New Jersey.

This modern Manager/Council form gives people the power to elect their Mayor. It gives the people initiative and referendum which gives you a voice in the decision making process of local government. It also allows the governing body more flexibility to operate a more efficient government. Why haven’t they proposed this Manager/Council form? This has been one of the forms of government that I have supported over the years as Mayor and as a Charter Study Commissioner.

Now, here’s the “kicker”. The “outs” not only want you to change to a 1923 form of government but if you do vote in favor of this change, there’s another “taxpayer-funded” election that will be held to elect a new Council in July! This old manager form of 1923 only takes 12 weeks which gives them an opportunity to become the “ins” again. The updated Manager/Council form, which gives the citizen a greater voice in their government, takes one year and can be put on next November’s ballot at no cost to the taxpayer. However, the “outs” can’t wait that long.

Let’s keep the “outs” out! Show them we can’t be “scammed”. Vote “NO” on this question of changing our government to a 1923 form of government.

Bob Bevan

Former Mayor

Former Charter Study Commissioner

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