Palisades Park Council Tackles Financial Transparency and Appoints Special Counsel for Library Shared Services

In a recent special meeting of the Palisades Park Borough Council, key topics of discussion included concerns over financial transparency and the appointment of special counsel to investigate shared services with the borough library.

At the heart of the meeting was a resolution, initially numbered “2023-209”, which sought to direct the borough administrator to request proposals for law firms to provide legal services, especially in instances of grievances between employees and members of the governing body.

Some Council members took issue with the original resolution’s language, citing a lack of clarity. The debate culminated in the resolution being amended to more precisely convey its intent, and was successfully passed with three affirmative votes.

Another significant development was the discussion around financial transparency. The Council emphasized their rigorous scrutiny of spending, detailing their consistent meetings with the CFO and review of individual expenditure items. In the wake of recent media attention concerning a delayed payment to FedEx, which resulted in the cancellation of the borough’s account, the Council addressed the matter head-on. Disputing claims of deliberate neglect, one council member stated, “FedEx been cancelled, it’s been terminated because the lack of work that we provide, I think that’s absolutely false.” The Council committed to implementing measures to prevent such issues in the future.

The special meeting also saw the motion to hire a special counsel to delve into shared service agreements between the borough and the Palisades Park Public Library. Mark DeMarco from the North Haledon-based law firm, DeMarco & DeMarco, was proposed for this role. After some discussions, DeMarco’s appointment was confirmed, contingent on CFO approval for his rate of pay.

Finally, the meeting touched upon various other points such as the payment of September bills, with a notable inter-fund transfer of $2.5 million attracting attention. This transfer, made a few months prior from the affordable housing account, was used to bridge a financial gap and later balanced after tax revenue for the third quarter was received.

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