In a marathon session that touched on a myriad of community concerns, the Palisades Park Borough Council signaled a significant shift in local governance, committing to clear up past controversies and forge a path towards better public service.
At the heart of the discussion was Mayor Chong Paul Kim’s bold declaration of a mandate to “clean up” local government, spurred by the controversial legacy of the previous administration. The Mayor cited an ignored County Prosecutor’s Report and proposed a series of policy and procedural changes in the Police Department to address issues. A lawsuit against the former Mayor Chung’s administration was proposed, and the Mayor called for a special counsel to investigate a “hot mic” incident. The Mayor emphatically stated, “I’m here to only work for the best interest of our residents and business owners… I’m calling up all the council members to vote…to fix the mess in the police department…”
Indeed, police promotions proved contentious, with concerns raised about their merit and potential political influence. The Council defended the promotion process, stating promotions were not influenced by politics but based solely on merit.
Economic issues also featured prominently, with the council deliberating on amendments to the capital budget, establishment of base salaries for 2023, and ordinances related to budget management. A member justified an increase in parking fees by saying, “We need this to generate street revenue so we could make sure that we use this for the public for your benefit or secondly save taxpayers money.”
In a display of community engagement, the council approved a resolution allowing the Chamber of Commerce to hold a seatbelt event and discussed plans for an annual street fair. Public participation was actively encouraged, with attendees given three minutes each to express their concerns and proposals.
On a lighter note, the council acknowledged a local business owner’s commitment to maintaining the town’s 9/11 Memorial, which includes providing an irrigation system for the monument’s greenery. Also, updates on the new meter system were positively received, with a council member noting, “We’ve been covering our expenses that hopefully we’ll start to realize positive monies.”
The community was not without concerns, though. A resident expressed discontent with police enforcement around illegal parking. Another resident highlighted issues with water supply and potential contamination following a lead line replacement by the water company. The Council committed to follow up if the water company didn’t respond to demands for a water quality test.
As the Council prepares to move forward, the specter of past missteps looms large. Questions linger over the legality of actions taken during a previous council meeting that violated the quorum requirement, leading the council to authorize litigation on the mat