ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: Four Hillsdale Council members apparently violated the letter of New Jersey’s Sunshine Law by visiting the Bergen County Communications Center in Mahwah as part of a committee exploring a possible switch in dispatching services, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
Police Chief Chip Stalter sent an email to the council members following last week’s visit warning them that an assembled quorum without proper advance public notification constitutes a violation of state law, separate sources with direct knowledge of the situation told CLIFFVIEW PILOT tonight.
Stalter was part of the contingent, which included officials from Hillsdale’s Fire Department, Ambulance Corps, Department of Public Works, and Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 207, they said.
Mayor Max Arnowitz established the committee, charged with researching the advantages and disadvantages of having the county handle local dispatching, amid what is a volatile debate over the proposal.
MEANWHILE, IN DEMAREST: State Sen. Gerald Cardinale pledged tonight to submit proposed legislation in Trenton that essentially would require the Bergen County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office to merge, a move that he claimed would save $17 million. READ MORE….
Citizens and members of the borough’s emergency services have vehemently opposed surrending dispatch services. But Arnowitz has said it’s the elected representatives’ duty to keep any budget increases under the state-mandated 2-percent cap, a percentage that can be increased only if voters approve the move in a referendum.
The options, Arnowitz said, have come down to either the county plan or one put forward by Stalter to go with civilian dispatchers.
Sources confirmed that four council members were together on the fact-finding mission at the Mahwah facility: Council President Michael Giancarlo and Council members Doug Frank, Anthony DeRosa and Leslie Becker.
County officials have offered to charge Hillsdale $204,380 for the first five years, followed by 2-percent annual increases. However, Washington Township officials would have to participate, as well.
Hillsdale police have expressed concern over closing headquarters for any period of time, citing recent cases of domestic violence and heart attacks that officers on duty immediately responded to.
Ironically, borough police today announced a special free event scheduled in two weeks that will teach schoolchildren how to deal with predators on the street.
One of the tips is to run to the nearest police station.
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