Rutherford Borough Council Addresses Community Concerns and Proposes Changes in Salary and Meeting Structure

In a recent meeting, the Rutherford Borough Council discussed a number of issues, including potential changes to the mayor and council salary ordinance, the introduction of council workshops, and various community concerns. The council also addressed several public comments, with particular emphasis on the compensation of crossing guards and the management of local trees and roads.

The meeting, attended by council members Stephanie McGowan, Maria Begg-Roberson, Raymond Guzmán, Matthew Cokeley, Susan Quatrone, Christie Del Rey-Cone and Mayor Frank Nunziato, began with a revision to the agenda. Two appointments were made, notably Sandra Maag’s elevation to the provisional title of clerk one and Kimb Goian’s title change to confidential assistant.

Public comments highlighted dissatisfaction with crossing guard compensation, with resident Bonnie Corkin arguing they deserve more recognition and better pay. Adam Zur criticized the council’s decision to give themselves a 205% raise, and Pete Chero brought up the conditions of Leisure Lane and a local fence, as well as the responsibility for maintaining a walkway to the tracks.

The council responded to these comments with promises of action. The council president expressed appreciation for Corkin’s advocacy for crossing guards, while the Borough Administrator clarified the cost of the trees in question and stated that the borough would address Chero’s concerns about local infrastructure. The President stressed that the salary ordinance was now a discussion item, urging patience as the council deliberated.

A significant part of the meeting centered around the proposal to hold additional workshops to allow council members to engage in open discussions about non-routine items. This idea was met with broad support, with council members emphasizing the need for a more streamlined process. The mayor recommended time for understanding the proposal and formulating questions before further consideration.

Another major discussion point was the mayor and council salary ordinance, which had not been reviewed since 1991. Comparisons were made with neighboring municipalities, and the council president acknowledged the discomfort in discussing salaries but emphasized its necessity. The borough administrator suggested incremental increases with built-in automatic adjustments based on the state’s annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) percentage.

In the consent agenda, the council approved resolutions including a bulletproof vest partnership grant, a contract with a printing company, and a grant for tree planting. The council also expressed gratitude to local scouts, the Chamber of Commerce, and the ambulance corps for their contributions to the community.

Councilman Del Rey-Cone and Mayor Nunziato expressed gratitude for public support at recent events, including the success of the Kip Center and a holiday parade. The council also approved a $50,000 contract to Clark Moan Landscaping for tree planting, despite concerns from a member of the public about outsourcing this task.

Did we get something wrong? Let us know.
Frank Nunziato
City Council Officials:
Stephanie McGowan, Maria Begg-Roberson, Raymond Guzmán, Matthew Cokeley, Susan Quatrone, Christie Del Rey-Cone

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