By Sara Martino
Gloucester City News
Mayor William James accepted, with regrets, the resignation letter of Councilwoman Kellie Ferry during last week’s Gloucester City Council meeting.
Following the rules of selection of a replacement council member, the Democrat Party Committee met and submitted three names to council.
City Council selected Helen “Lynn” Bucher to serve in the vacant Third Ward Council seat, and Mayor James then swore her in to serve out Ferry’s term, which ends in December 2013.
“Councilwoman Ferry has health problems and it has been very difficult and disheartening for her to give up her seat on Council. Please remember her in your prayers,” Councilman Nicholas Marchese said.
In other business, Council presented proclamations to the Gloucester Catholic Boys Baseball Team and to the Gloucester Catholic Girls Softball team.
The girls accepted certificates from Councilman Daniel Spencer, the Camden County Freeholder Board and State Legislators for winning the 2011 NJSIAA Non Public B State Championship.
Lady Rams Coach Tom Sullivan said they won the title with a 4-0 shutout against Morris Catholic. Kevin Eltznoltz, Kiersten Hughes and Brian Svitak are the assistant coaches.
City Council also honored the Rams baseball team, which won the 2011 NJSIAA Non Public B State Championship with a 14-2 victory over Newark Academy.
The champion boy’s team could not be present as they were playing competition games elsewhere.
Certificates were accepted by the team’s coaches. Dennis Barth is the head coach and Mike Brown, Bryan Barth, Adam Tussey and Bill Gore are the assistant varsity coaches.
Council introduced an ordinance on first reading regulating the salaries of the Gloucester City Uniformed Police Officers. A probationary Sergeant’s pay in 2009 was $74,250; in 2012 it is proposed to be raised to $79,762.
A Sergeant’s pay in 2009 was $85.247 to be raised to $91,576 in 2012. Lieutenant pay in 2009 was $90,975 and proposed to be raised to $97,728. The public hearing on the ordinance will be held on Thursday, October 20, at 7 p.m.
City Solicitor John Kearney said the raises will offset the benefit amounts that the officers pay on their own.
“This was a difficult process,” Mayor James said. “We are glad that the Police Department did see some light. We are still struggling with other city unions. It is a difficult time right now.”
Councilwoman Bucher seconded a motion from Councilman John Hutchinson on an ordinance that will repeal and replace the Loitering Law.
According to the ordinance, the N.J. Supreme Court has determined that the local ordinances concerning loitering have been preempted by state law.
The new ordinance states that it shall be a violation for an individual to lounge or sleep in a street, park, or public place. Lounging is defined as being in the same general area for more than 15 minutes with no apparent reason.
Another ordinance that was introduced refers to maintenance of a “disorderly house,” meaning a premise where any illegal activity occurs or which is subject to more than four legitimate police service calls within a period of six months.
For a first offense the court shall impose a fine of $1,200.
On the second offense, in addition to the fine, the person so convicted may have his or right to operate any commercial business at the location where the offenses occurred revoked for a period of six months.
Recognition was made for a police canine that has been retired. “Eich” will now be a member of Police Sergeant Stephen Burkhardt’s household.