By Bill Cleary
Opposing Primary candidates of the present Gloucester City Mayor and Council submitted a petition on May 19 to the City Clerk Paul Kain requesting a referendum be placed on the ballot to change the present form of government to a Council-Manager form of municipal government.
If the signatures on the petition are validated there would be a special election to vote on the referendum on June 16 just two weeks after the June 2 Primary, followed by another special election in July to vote on the candidates who would be running at large for council. The terms of the present mayor and council members would cease and they (Mayor Bill James, and council members Bill Hagan, John Hutchinson, Bruce Parry, Nick Marchese, Kellie Ferry and Jay Brophy) would have to vacate their seats by August 11, 2009.
The cost for the
special election (s) is not known at this time. However, it goes
without saying that ballots would have to be printed, and mailed, poll
workers would need to be hired, along with the cost of moving voting
machines from the county election board to the city’s polling sites. Not once but twice.
The Real Deal Democrat candidates who submitted the petition and are causing all this turmoil in the City are Shawn Green, Maggie Gorman-Kain (wife of Municipal Clerk Paul Kain), Noreen Renzi, and Independent candidate Wil Levins.
A public notice signed by Munciipal Clerk Kain explaining this bizarre scenario was posted today on the City’s website. A copy of it appears below.
TO THE RESIDENTS AND VOTERS OF GLOUCESTER CITY
SPECIAL ELECTION CALLED BY CITY CLERK PAUL J. KAIN
Please be advised that a Direct Petition for a referendum to abandon the current form of government and adopt a Municipal Council-Manager form in accord with New Jersey Statues Title 40, Chapter 79, Section 1 et seq. has been received by my office as of Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 4:10 PM.
The question posed is:
“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 Statues (40:79-1 et seq.), providing for a municipal manager form of government, wherein the non partisan governing body of councilpersons shall consist of 5 members who 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?”
If adopted, this form of government shall become operative commencing on a date four weeks immediately following such election; the council members shall be elected at a special election to be held on the fourth Tuesday following approval of the referendum (anticipated to be July 14, 2009); and the new council members shall take office on the fourth Tuesday following their election at 12 noon (anticipated to be August 11, 2009) and shall remain in office until 12 noon of July 1, 2013. The terms of the current governing body shall cease as of 8-11-2009 and their terms of all appointive officials and subordinates shall cease four weeks after organization of the municipal council unless otherwise protected by statue.
I am presently in the process of certifying the signatures included on the petition; 247 registered voters must have signed such petition. A total of 273 signatures have been received. I am also ascertaining the costs associated with this special election for referendum and subsequent special election for councilpersons (if necessary).
According to the statue, the vote required for adoption must be a majority cast as well as at least equal in number to at least 30 percent at the preceding election. Approximately 4200 votes were cast in November 2008; 30 percent would be 1,260 votes in the affirmative necessary for approval. These numbers I must still certify.
I will keep the public abreast of these matters as soon as they are clarified and an official public notice of the time and place of this election shall be forth coming.
Paul J. Kain