Franklin renews agreement with Littell Center

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FRANKLIN — The Franklin Borough Council approved renewal of the shared services agreement with the Littell Community Service for $26,000.

“Until we find a better solution, we cannot take this away from our citizens! We want to continue with Hamburg and Hardyston until another viable option is available,” Council mmeber John Postas said.

Borough Administrator Alison Littell McHose said that without extending for another year, residents of Franklin Borough “would have to pay more out of pocket for each event.” President Dawn Fantasia pointed out that the agreement used to be multi-year contracts and she is pleased with the 1-year contact. Fantasia Said,

“We are now in a year-to-year which is better than a multi-year,” she said.

The council has brought up issues with the Littell Community Center at many meetings, indicating it is an old building needing repair and has sought other options including revitalization of the Main Street area and building a Neighborhood House. A borough resident asked if the Neighborhood House would be on a referendum.

Fantasia recommended it and Council is considering it.

Discussion ensued regarding a resolution draft proposal to hire a hearing officer at a rate of $125 per hour. The hearing officer typically would hear and decide disciplinary charges brought up against members of a police department. Noted in the resolution draft is that the Acting Police Chief and Borough Administrator “anticipate the need for a hearing officer in the near future for a police disciplinary matter.”

Postas asked if there would be cap dollar amount.

Attorney John Ursin said he believed the borough’s cap to be $17,500.

Postas asked if the amount could be capped at $5,000 as he was “not comfortable without knowing the end in sight.”

Discussion was tabled until after the executive session, allowing Council to discuss details without the public being present.

After Executive Session ended, Council adjourned and reconvened. At that time, motion to amend Resolution 2018-112 regarding the hearing officer was made to cap the dollar amount at 5,000 and then passed.

Also, after reconvening, the initial salaries for chief of police and Police Captain were set. The ouncil made a point to indicate these are initial salaries.

Dawn Fantasia provided background and justification of Council actions. “Police Chief McInerney was hired at $125,000 back in 2011. Seven years later, we are hiring at $135,000. This is proportionate and appropriate.”

The initial police captain was set at $128,000.

Other ordinances and resolutions were discussed and passed.

One such Ordinance was passed to give tenure to the position of Superintendent of Public Works as allowed by New Jersey state law.

“This ordinance, gives structure and permits the Superintendent tenure after 5 years,” Ursin said.

Council Member Phillip Crabb asked for a definition of tenure.

“The position of Superintendent can only be terminated for good cause, not political reasons,” Ursin said.

Mayor Nick Giordano originally asked a council member to read Resolution No. 2018-111, then decided to read it himself and said,

“It is my pleasure to read this.”

Soon after reading aloud the resolution draft appointing Darlene Tremont from Acting Municipal Clerk to Registered Municipal Clerk, resolution passed and a round of applause followed. Tremont’s appointment is for a 3-year term.

Presentation to Council was given by the Forward Franklin Alliance. Representatives from the Girls’ Softball League were also present to discuss field conditions. Representatives would like Council to support field repair. Various options are being explored, including a grant and assistance from the Department of Public Works.s

Postas thanked all those that came out for Tree Lighting Event and especially Troop 90 for taking and emailing out the pictures with Santa! He also mentioned the meet up for caroling on Saturday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m. at the Hungarian Church. Costumes are encouraged. He pointed out that the House Decorating Contest has 22 entries and winner will be announced Dec 18.

Another Council Meeting has been added for Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. One item on the agenda will be to finalize whether or not Franklin Borough will enter into a Zoning Officer shared service agreement with Hamburg, as the council requested additional information and no decision was reached.

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