The majority of Montclair’s town council — Renee Baskerville, Rich Murnick, Cary Africk and Roger Terry — will seek legal counsel to review statutes regarding the petition and see what further action is warranted. Says Cary Africk, “We have an obligation to residents we represent not to just lay down and be run over.”
Africk says of the statutes: “There is still a lot of confusion — obviously we represent the majority of council and the residents of the town and we want to do what we were elected to do. I’m frustrated because there is important business that needs to be addressed now. There is a study group in place and we can wait for their report. There is no rush.
When asked if he or others in the majority of council knew about the mistake regarding the petition numbers and withheld the information from town clerk Linda Wanat, Africk says “That’s absolutely untrue. It was news to me and the fact that their was a mistake made wasn’t generally known until Thursday.” Africks adds “The number is not a secret. Ira (Karasick) knew the correct number and was surprised the petitioners had been using the wrong number. I wondered why didn’t [Jerry] Fried double check on this before he submitted it?”
“Nobody set this up and furthermore to suggest any of us were waiting for the eleventh hour — who knows what the eleventh hour is when everything keeps changing,” says Africk, who adds in reference to this Montclair Times column, “even gossip columns should have standards.”
When asked if he was concerned about a conflict of interest regarding town attorney Ira Karasick discussing issues regarding the petition with Mayor Fried, Africk didn’t suggest there was, adding of Karasick, “He can give his opinion as to what the statutes are, but he is representing the clerk and can advise Wanat as to what she should do.”
Renee Baskerville has told the Montclair Times she believes there is a conflict of interest.
Notice of a special meeting went out today at noon. The meeting will be held Saturday, at 9 a.m. at 205 Claremont, in the first floor councol chambers. The discussion:
RETAINING INDEPENDENT, SPECIAL LEGAL COUNSEL TO ADVISE THE COUNCIL IN THE MATTER OF AN INITIATIVE PETITION TO CHANGE THE DATE FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS IN MONTCLAIR
* Official action may be taken.
This Special Meeting was called pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Law. Notices of this meeting were sent to The Montclair Times and The Star Ledger on September 14, 2011. In addition, copies of notices were posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building and filed in the office of the Municipal Clerk on aforementioned date. Notices on the bulletin board have remained continuously posted. Pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Law, a potion of the meeting will be set aside for public comment.
By Order of the Montclair Township Council
Linda S. Wanat, Municipal Clerk
September 14, 2011