January 7, 2015
John Broten and Sam Tropello began their new terms on the Readington Township Committee with actions that confirm their election promises of a pro-development agenda.
During the 2014 campaign, John Broten and Sam Tropello said “we have enough open space” and “developers need a climate where they will want to do business with Readington.” Their first act as members of the Township Committee was to demand seats on the Open Space Committee and Planning Board so they can pursue an agenda of reversing the Township’s accomplishments on open space and changing township zoning to open the town up to developers.
The Township Committee itself is the result of 3 elections over 4 years. It is not meant to change on the flip of a switch.Township government is different than private industry in that many facets of it are controlled by local or State ordinance. The Township relies on the experience of Township Committee and volunteer board and committee members to understand the laws, history, and issues facing the town, and to find solutions that work for the majority of residents. Township board appointments are recommended by the outgoing Committee at the end of the previous year and confirmed by the new Committee at the beginning of the year.
The nomination of Mayor is made by the other Committee members and traditionally is a Committee member who has served at least two prior terms. Broten and Tropello complained that they should have been consulted about board appointments by the outgoing Committee, and wanted to nominate Broten for mayor, despite his lack of any previous involvement in Township government. Broten and Tropello justify this misplaced sense of entitlement by declaring that the residents want a wholesale change in township leadership and direction – even though the majority of residents who went to the polls did not vote for them (see CFR article No Mandate for Change).
Readington’s system of board and mayoral appointment is very much like the system used by all towns in Hunterdon that do not separately elect a mayor, as well as by the Hunterdon County Freeholders, the State Legislature, and the US Congress. Incoming members never get to be Freeholder Director, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, etc., in their first year nor do they get to choose their own committee assignments.
By their actions, Broten and Tropello have confirmed their true agenda – to serve special interests and open the town up for development. Watch this space for further developments.