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Washington Twp. Councilman Questions Lack of Discussion on Board Attorney

Washington Township Councilman Joe D'Urso said the Planning Board should have discussed their decision before picking a new board attorney.

The Washington Township Planning Board voted 7-1 to appoint a new attorney during their first meeting of the year Wednesday night.

The board appointed attorney Robert Wertalik to the position at a rate of $110 per hour. Wertalik previously held the positon "for many years," according to Chairman Gus Calamari.

No mention was made of former board attorney Scott Mooney.

Councilman Joseph D'Urso, who also sits on the planning board and voted against the appointment, questioned why there was no discussion among board members beforehand.

"It's not the way our charter reads," D'Urso said.

D'Urso said he believed the board should have held a discussion and had the paperwork ready before the meeting.

D'Urso had also raised the issue at the previous council meeting, saying there should be more "transparency" in the process. The decision was made by just the chairman and mayor, according to D'Urso.

"I think it should be a board decision," D'Urso said at that meeting.

Calamari said Wednesday they made the decision the same way they normally do.

"I'm following the procedure that the planning board has used for 30 years," Calamari said.

Chairman Calamari and Vice Chairman Bernard Golick were both reappointed to their positions during the board's meeting this week.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Jim Leggate February 08, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Just to clarify: D'Urso also sits on the planning board.
Hugh Rodgers February 08, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Another reason to MERGE. Who needs this constant bad press? New Jersey has too many municipalities. Let's be pioneers...MERGE!!!!
joedursojr@gmail.com February 09, 2013 at 01:07 AM
I appreciate that you identified yourself; I try to do what an elected official is supposed to do, follow the law and not make it up or continue with bad practice. In my opinion we are elected by the people to look after the best interest of the town. The Chair discussed on the phone when I called, that the mayor released the past PB attorney because PB members were complaining about him. No discussion ever took place about complaints; our charter clearly says there needs to be a PB discussion on the attorney. The Chair says “historically if Rudy ( past Mayor) wanted a new attorney the PB went along with it “does anyone ever think that maybe we should start doing things the right way, the legal way or should we just let the same old crowd do what they want? There was not even a discussion on who would be the Chair or vice chair, it was assumed, there should have been discussions from the chair to offer the position out, there was not, this is not a complaint J. Allen Goas-this is an eye opener to anyone who is concerned how this town runs. The chairman said to me “it is good to make a change every once in a while” not sure if bringing back the past PB attorney is a change, it was just decided by the Mayor and Chair for other reasons. I have nothing against the attorney I have everything against the process. We do not even have the proper disclosure forms that all professional need to provide, we all should just start following the proper process.
joedursojr@gmail.com February 09, 2013 at 01:12 AM
I appreciate that you identified yourself; I try to do what an elected official is supposed to do, follow the law and not make it up or continue with bad practice. In my opinion we are elected by the people to look after the best interest of the town. The Chair discussed on the phone when I called, that the mayor released the past PB attorney because PB members were complaining about him. No discussion ever took place about complaints; our charter clearly says there needs to be a PB discussion on the attorney. The Chair says “historically if Rudy ( past Mayor) wanted a new attorney the PB went along with it “does anyone ever think that maybe we should start doing things the right way, the legal way or should we just let the same old crowd do what they want? There was not even a discussion on who would be the Chair or vice chair, it was assumed, there should have been discussions from the chair to offer the position out, there was not, this is not a complaint J. Allen Goas-this is an eye opener to anyone who is concerned how this town runs. The chairman said to me “it is good to make a change every once in a while” not sure if bringing back the past PB attorney is a change, it was just decided by the Mayor and Chair for other reasons. I have nothing against the attorney I have everything against the process. We do not even have the proper disclosure forms that all professional need to provide, we all should just start following the proper process.
joedursojr@gmail.com February 09, 2013 at 01:16 AM
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