Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wyckoff Report Looks at Mayors

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wyckoff Report Looks at Mayors

Article excerpt

WYCKOFF — A subcommittee tasked with exploring alternative methods of picking the township's mayor has issued a report calling for three modifications – none of them involving a change in government or how the mayor is chosen.

The recommendations, made in a seven-page memo, have been informally adopted by the Township Committee pending discussion at the committee's Jan. 16 meeting.

However, the resident who organized a petition that prompted the study expressed dissatisfaction with the findings.

"I have to admit I'm confused," said Steve Joern, who organized the 901-signature petition to place a question on the November ballot asking if the township should study alternative election methods.

"I have no way to judge if they are completely finished," said Joern. "I hope they come to complete fruition."

In its report, the subcommittee – comprised of now-Mayor Brian Scanlan and Committeeman Thomas Madigan – makes three recommendations:

Eliminate the deputy mayor position;

Do away with a public policy subcommittee comprised of the mayor and deputy mayor;

Start committee work sessions a half-hour earlier to allow time for the work done by the public policy subcommittee— setting agendas and drafting legislation for committee review.

The report also reviews various forms of government in New Jersey, ultimately dismissing each.

The Township Committee form currently used in Wyckoff is one of the state's oldest, according to the report, in use by 141 municipalities, or about 18 percent of towns. It features a largely-ceremonial mayor elected to a one-year term each January by the committee, which has control over legislative and executive powers, including appointments.

At least two other forms of government – Commission and Municipal Manager – also provide for indirect election of mayors by the governing bodies, according to the report. Both were discounted from consideration.

Four other forms of government were described in the report – mayor council, council manager, small municipal and mayor-council-administrator. Small municipal was discounted because it is intended for towns with populations under 12,000. …

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