A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

MAPL Trustees Begin Posting Their Minutes and Agendas

On Thursday, the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library's Board of Trustees began posting on Blogger the agendas and minutes of their meetings. The site can be routinely accessed under Library Information on the left side of the MAPL home page. The 7 April minutes are posted, as is the 5 May agenda.

It is unfortunate but not a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act  that the public has no opportunity to comment on agenda items until the meeting is nearly over and votes have been taken. The Board, which has ultimate discretion on this matter, faced public complaints about the limited opportunity to speak to matters before they were voted upon at the March meeting, but the May agenda remains the same as the March agenda. No doubt it is an oversight that will be remedied by an amendment to the agenda. It is a NJ OPMA violation, however, that we have no opportunity to bring up new business.

Both aspects of this issue appear in N.J.S.A. 10:4-12 a, which reads in part:

Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit the discretion of a public body to permit, prohibit or regulate the active participation of the public at any meeting, except that . . .

. . . [A] municipal governing body shall be required to set aside a portion of every meeting of the municipal governing body, the length of the portion to be determined by the municipal governing body, for public comment on any governmental issue that a member of the public feels may be of concern to the residents of the municipality.


  1. I went and found the fines for violation imposed in N.J.S.A. 10:4-17 not in 4-12. It says that the fine is $100 for a first offense of the open public meetings act, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.
    So are you saying that a fine may be imposed, if for instance, a board issues a RICE notice without announcing it ahead of time? Or for opening a meeting without an announcement that they are meeting in compliance with the open public meetings act? Or just for not permitting the public a chance to speak? According to the law, the Superior Court enforces the fine and the County Prosecutor assigns the fine.
    Doesn't it seem a bit mean to call the prosecutor and start fining a library board? Ok, well, not quite so mean as slurring the former director in the April minutes by referencing the January minutes (and then voting down the slur, but keeping the voted down wording in the minutes -- John McCain we feel your pain). Ok, you are beginning to convince me. But still? yeesh.
    Can't we all just get along?

  2. I checked out the library website and board minutes as you noted above. Very informative. the entry notes

    "Greg Cannon amended the motion to add that Susan Pike admitted to misappropriation of funds for work that was not performed at the library to certain employees".

    The former librarian "misappropriated fund"? No criminal charges?

  3. I've heard that she permitted maternity leave with pay without getting it cleared by the Board. I think misappropriation sounds a bit harsh if that's all it was, don't you agree? She was wise to take her retirement. I'm not surprised at all that there were no criminal charges.

  4. So the librarian was guilty of an egregious act of compassion eh? No slap on the wrist? Warnings or suspensions? Even an impeached president got better consideration. Interesting that the cross on calvary was being celebrated around the time of her demise.

  5. Ive heard a far different story! I also understand there is a negotiated union contract. If something isn't permitted per the union contract might the fact she "didn;t seek board approval" be because her actions were deliberate!!!

  6. The library staff is not part of a union. Some staff members do have contracts and are STILL negotiating them with the board, but I don't believe Susan Pike even had a contract from which she was trying to "hide" her actions.

    And really, can we decide what the library staff is allowed to do? The staff is responsible for fixing the elevator in a timely fashion but the director wasn't allowed to manage the staff as she saw fit.

    BTW, the paid maternity leave is just a small addition to the true issue in question. But both involve an extreme show of compassion on Susan' part.