Consolidation Study Commission Swears in Members

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD,  NJ - At its first organizational meeting, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Consolidation Commission dealt with many agenda items, including voting in Matthew Juckes of Fanwood as one of the commissioners, and then swearing in 10 of the commissioners and two of the alternates. One alternate was unable to be present, and there is one alternate position yet to be filled.

The commission was established after a submission was made by the citizens’ group called “Courage to Reconnect” led by Fred Lange of Scotch Plains. The five commissioners from Fanwood include: Daniel McCarey, Ann Saltzman, Jack Molenaar, Anthony DiBattista, Matthew Juckes, and the commissioners from Scotch Plains include: Don Parisi, Fred Lange, Phillip Wiener, John Thompson and Sarah Dreikorn. Fanwood alternates are Pat Hoynes and Joseph Nagy and the alternate for Scotch Plains is Bruce Arthur, with one more alternative yet to be appointed by the Scotch Plains Council.

Don Parisi (Scotch Plains) and Anthony DiBattista (Fanwood) were elected as chair and vice-chair. The commission is considering the possible position of Secretary and the idea that a volunteer from the community would be greatly appreciated. It is also possible that the position might be a paid position.

Mr. Parisi submitted a draft of the commission’s bylaws, which was discussed at length. Topics included the manner in which the alternates will vote, quorum requirements, and how Commissioners will be replaced should they terminate their position. It was determined that the term for members would be 3 years.

The issue of procedures in regards to funding was addressed. Mr. Parisi brought up the question of “what the state refers to as a fiscal agent--the person or entity that actually handles the funds.” It was decided that the Commission will approach the Scotch Plains Town Council and the Fanwood Town Council to see if either would become the fiscal agent. They would receive money, hold and disperse funds.  

In response to a question from the audience regarding the Commission and its roll, Fred Lange (Scotch Plains) described the process, saying: “There are several steps involved. First we decide if we want to have the study then we have to get the funding for it and find someone to do the study.”

Lang continued, “If the commission decides that they like the results of the study and would like to step forward then there will be many meetings in Scotch Plains and Fanwood to discuss the merits of the study. At that point we would use the resources of Union County to call a special election on whether or not to adopt the recommendations put forth by the study. If the results are positive then we would have one city or town. If it’s rejected at that point, then that’s the end of it.”

Daniel McCarey (Fanwood) said, “This is the first citizen driven commission on consolidation in the county. It is exciting but a little scary, flying blind as we are. There is no equivalent. This is about consolidation, not just shared services.” 

The commission will meet the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education Building at Evergreen and Cedar Avenues. 

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