NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

In Your Own Words: Unfair to Mr. Bittmann

A Referendum to adopt a Council-Manager form of Municipal Government for Gloucester City

By Bill Cleary

What a surprising development. Opposing Primary candidates of the present Gloucester City Mayor and Council submitted a petition today (Tuesday) to the City Clerk requesting a referendum be placed on the ballot to change the present form of government to a Council-Manager form of municipal government. The petition contained 260 signatures.

Besides those signatures the names of Maggie Gorman-Kain, Shawn Green,  Noreen Renzi, Wil Levins , Walt Jost, and William Dilks  appeared at the bottom of the petition. Gorman-Kain, Green, Renzi are running in the June Democratic Primary election opposing incumbents Councilmen Nick Marchese (2nd Ward), Jay Brophy (3rd Ward) and Dan Spencer who is backed by the Democrat Club for First Ward council seat.  Levins , is the 2nd Ward Independent councilman candidate, Jost is a former City Republican Mayor, and Dilks is the former city school board solicitor.  Political Donnybrook on the Horizon

Their Press Release reads as follows, 

We, the undersigned residents of Gloucester City, are petitioning the City of Gloucester to adopt a Council-Manager form of municipal government to replace the current system. We propose this new form of municipal government because we believe it would offer the best opportunity for fully representative government and offer the greatest benefit to the residents of Gloucester City.

The Council-Manager form of municipal government establishes a non-partisan representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected City Council. Under this system, the Council appoints several key officials, namely the municipal manager (Administrator), tax assessor, auditor, clerk, treasurer, and attorney. The manager is the chief executive of the municipality and is responsible for appointing department heads, preparing the budget for Council consideration and running the daily operations of the City. The manager serves only at the pleasure of the City Council. The manager would have a voice at Council meetings but no vote. A Mayor is also chosen from among the Council members whose primary duty is to preside over council meetings and perform other ceremonial duties.

A total of five City Council seats would be available for election. Any number of candidates could run for these 5 seats but all candidates would be listed in the same column on the voting ballot. The entire governing body would be elected every four years in concurrent terms. The election would be non-partisan (voting for individuals, not parties). Each voter would vote for any 5 candidates on the ballot. The 5 candidates who received the most votes would be the newly elected City Council.

The Council-Manager form of municipal government offers all residents the opportunity to receive the 5 best and most popular candidates be elected to City Council, regardless of affiliation, party or ward. There would no longer be City wards, each Councilperson would be a City-wide representative. There would no longer be primary elections for these Council Seats. All candidates would be voted upon equally on one general election ballot. Candidates would be voted upon by what they offer in ideas and vision for the City as individuals.

Similar forms of this non-partisan style of municipal government are used successfully in local municipalities such as Collingswood, Haddonfield, Audubon, Westmont, Haddon Twp, Maple Shade and Medford.

We believe the Council-Manager form of Municipal Government offers the best opportunity for fully representative government and we hope you will join us in support of this referendum.

Signed in support of the Council-Manager form of government and in support of a non-partisan form of municipal government,

Maggie Gorman-Kain - Shawn Green - Noreen Renzi –

Wil Levins – Walt Jost – William Dilks -

petition read as follows:

To the City Clerk of the City of Gloucester City:

We, the undersigned, qualified voters in the City of Gloucester City in the County of Camden and State of New Jersey and residing at the places set opposite our respective names do hereby petition that the City of Gloucester City adopt a Council-Manager form of government and that the question below be placed on the ballot for special election to be held in accordance with N.J.S. 40:79.1 et seq.:

“Shall the current form of government for Gloucester City be abandoned and replaced with subtitle 5 of the Title Municipalities and Counties of the Revised Statutes (§ 40:79-1 et seq.), providing for a municipal manager form of government, wherein the non-partisan governing body of councilpersons shall consist of five (5) members whom shall be elected at-large for four-year concurrent terms who shall appoint a municipal manager and who shall select from amongst themselves a mayor, be adopted in the City of Gloucester City?”

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