Old Bridge Township Council Addresses Police Promotions and Nursing Staffing Concerns

The Old Bridge Township Council tackled community issues in their recent meeting, with a primary focus on the police promotional process changes and nursing staffing concerns at local hospitals. The council also recognized exceptional police service and discussed various proposed ordinances, including traffic regulations, construction codes, and fee waivers for nonprofits.

The meeting brought to light concerns about the existing promotional process in the local police department, a system that has remained unchanged for over 30 years. Acting Police Chief Don Fritz highlighted the need for a more robust and merit-based system. The council discussed proposed amendments, including written and oral examinations and a local interview board to evaluate candidates for the ranks of Sergeant and Lieutenant. Council members expressed widespread support for these changes, recognizing the need for an equitable and transparent promotion system.

The proposed promotional process changes were not without opposition. Michael Krinski, Vice President of PBA Local 127a, thanked the council for recognizing the police officers’ outstanding work but voiced concerns over the proposed changes. Krinski highlighted the rigorous nature of promotional exams and urged the council to fix broken processes rather than implement new ones. He also raised worries about potential lawsuits resulting from the ordinance change and called for further discussion.

Another significant topic was the understaffing of nurses in local hospitals. Nurses from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital addressed the council about unsafe working conditions leading to burnout and compromising patient care. They urged the council to support a bill establishing minimum registered professional nurse staffing standards and to consider passing a municipal resolution in support of the bill.

Councilperson Jill DeCaro expressed support for the nurses and indicated willingness to put the resolution on the agenda for a future meeting. Other council members including Erik DePalma, Kiran Desai, Kevin Garcia, Tony Paskitti, and Council Vice President Debbie Walker also voiced support for the nurses and acknowledged the importance of safe staffing in ensuring patient safety.

The council also recognized the exceptional police service of numerous officers and discussed various proposed ordinances, including amendments to the Old Bridge Township Code for traffic regulations and construction codes. Another proposed ordinance sought to amend the waiver of fees for nonprofit organizations, aiming to reduce fees for amended site plans or subdivisions.

Other items on the agenda included a grant application for the local Freight impact fund, the sale of bond anticipation notes, and the continuation of fall leaf collection. Council President Mary Sohor concluded the meeting by announcing the reorganization meeting scheduled for January 1st at noon.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Owen Henry
City Council Officials:
Mary Sohor, Debbie Walker, Dr. Anita Greenberg-Belli, Kevin Garcia, Erik DePalma, Kiran Desai, Jill DeCaro, Tony Paskitti, John E Murphy III

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