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Special Meeting Votes: February 3rd, 2011

Feb 03

The “special meeting” (meaning legislative action could take place) was held at 7:30 PM on February 3rd, 2001 to deal with:

Given that the meeting wasn’t advertised until the preceding Monday (January 31st, 2011), the meeting on the second floor of the Borough Municipal Building was standing room only, overflowing with attendees.

During the public comment at the start of the meeting, the following individuals spoke:

  • Megan Moore (HARB) made a statement about receiving a letter in December stating that “we would be reappointed” unless she let the Borough know otherwise, and then a second letter in January which indicated that they may not be reappointed. She said, “I just thought it was in poor taste … I want to be a part of the town, I’m taking time from my working schedule and my family to come out to these meetings … I just think it could have been done a little bit better.”
  • Adeline Cianella (wife of Borough Councilman Peter Williamson) said that reviewing policies is a good idea, however, the method of which this “new” policy was put into place was “flawed”, “opaque”, and “divisive.” She then commented on the letter’s tone being dismissive, and left a bad taste.
  • Stacy Benson, a current member of the Zoning Hearing Board, reiterated that the letter was in poor taste.
  • Paul Cavanagh, resident of East 5th Street, stated that he did not know how people were appointed to boards, but that he would have loved to have received one of those letters. He then stated that he unsuccessfully ran for council and, since 2007, has applied to boards and commissions (Civil Service Committee, Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board)  in Media and has been rejected with a letter from Jeff Smith indicating that another candidate was selected.

Pete Alyanakian indicated that the decision was unanimous in December to change this policy. [Editor’s note: No such vote took place in December. It was discussed in the January working meeting, where members were unanimous that a change should take place, however, not this year.]

Eric Stein corrected Peter Alyanakian in stating that the vote in the January Legislative meeting was a 3-4 vote (voted down) to review the policy this year and not to make changes mid-stream. He then stated that the November letter implied that committee members would be reappointed.

President Alyanakian asked Jeff Smith to read the January letter:

“Dear whomever the person may be, During their meeting of January 20th 2011, Borough Council decided to advertise the vacancy associated with expiring terms on blank board or commission, please note that you should continue to serve on blank until Borough Council either reappoints you or someone else. Council will notify you when a decision has been made; you do not have to submit anything at this time. If you have any questions, please contact me at …”

When the public comment portion of the meeting was over, Peter Williamson interjected right as Pete Alyanakian was about to start nominating committee members. He suggested that, due to lack of time to review the possible candidates for the new committee positions, that perhaps they should not rush through committee assignments for those positions where it is contested, and instead, they vote on the uncontested positions only.

That is, for a committee with 3 positions open, and 3 applicants, they should vote now. But for contested positions (Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, and Vacancy Board) he requested that they wait so he would have time to review them properly and interview the best candidate. Monica Simpson echoed this sentiment, and indicated that she had only received some of the resumes on Monday and hadn’t had a chance to review or talk to candidates yet.

Thankfully, Pete Alyanakian and other Borough Council members agreed that it would be best to allow all more time to review the contested positions. Once that was agreed, the votes for  committee members were:

  • Vivian Williamson reappointed to the Environmental Advisory Council (unanimous)
  • Adeline Cianella reappointed to the Environmental Advisory Council (Peter Williamson abstained, Jim Cunningham against, all others in favor)
  • Larry Bak reappointed to the Board of Health (unanimous)
  • Megan Moore reappointed to the Historic Architecture Review Board (unanimous)
  • Kevin Schramm reappointed to the Media Business Authority (unanimous)
  • Bill Gross reappointed to the Media Business Authority (unanimous)
  • Tom Hibberd reappointed to the Media Business Authority (unanimous)
  • Carol Kreider reappointed to the Recreation Board (unanimous)
  • Arthur Brown reappointed to the Recreation Board (unanimous)
  • Don Higgins reappointed to the ICC & Life Safety Appeals Board (unanimous)

A final vote was taken, proposed by Eric Stein, a member of the Technology Committee, requesting the Technology Committee be allowed to submit an RFP for IT Services for the Borough of Media.

In a minor procedural error, President Alyanakian ended the meeting without any additional public comment (as was indicated in the agenda at the meeting), however, in the working meeting immediately thereafter he did solicit additional public comment:

  • Stacey Benson asked what qualifications and/or guidelines are needed for these positions
  • Jim Cunningham stated, “An interested citizen, who is involved in what’s going on in the community, if they have some professional background that’s applicable to the particular board or commission, I mean that’s an additional plus, but basically we’re just looking for interested citizens who care about the community and want to contribute.”
  • Ms. Benson went on to outline how she fulfills those qualifications, how she’s concerned that we’ve had historical buildings torn down, and that Media as “Everybody’s hometown” and that it’s not “going that way anymore.” She also indicated that when she originally applied, Pete Alyanakian didn’t vote for her, and hence she wanted to know what the guidelines were.
  • Pete Alyanakian indicated that it varied from committee to committee.

The meeting continued into the working meeting.