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Monday, August 31, 2015

Fairfield Committee asked to consider its non-compliance with JIF rules and its outdated Disorderly Conduct code at September 15, 2015 meeting.

August 31, 2015

Linda M. Gonzales, Clerk
Fairfield Township
via e-mail to

Dear Ms. Gonzales:

During our August 28, 2015 conversation at the municipal building, you described the process for a citizen to follow for having a topic added to an upcoming Committee meeting agenda: The citizen should submit a written request to the Clerk who will then ask the Mayor and Administrator, either one of whom may approve the request.

I ask that two matters be added to the September 15, 2015 meeting agenda.

1. Fairfield's non-compliance with the JIF's and MEL's rules requiring written policies, training and other processes intended to lower Employment Practice Liability (EPL) claims.

I have described the problem and solution in a blog article.  I specifically request that the Committee, at its September 15, 2015 meeting, authorize funds for Solicitor Carr to bring the Township into compliance as soon as possible.

2. Legal review of Code Sections 3-3 (Disorderly Conduct) and 3-8 (Loitering).

While I understand that the Township Code is presently being re-codified, there are some troubling provisions in the code that should be repealed or revised so that they don't carry over to the re-codified code.  Of specific concern are Code Sections 3-3 (Disorderly Conduct) and 3-8 (Loitering).  3-8 is preempted by state law in its entirety as are many of the provisions in 3-3.  Just by way of example, the "public peace, safety and morals" prohibitions in Section 3-8.2(c) include "drunkenness."  Local drunkenness prohibitions were specifically preempted when New Jersey's Alcoholism Treatment and Rehabilitation Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2B-1, et seq. (“ATRA”) became effective on May 9, 1977.  Specifically, I ask that the Committee direct Solicitor Carr to test Code Sections 3-3 (Disorderly Conduct) and 3-8 (loitering) for validity and report his findings to the Committee and the public.

Thank you very much for your kind attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

John Paff

Friday, August 28, 2015

Township warns Financial Disclosure non-filers.

My August 18, 2015 article noted that eight members of the Fairfield Township Planning and Zoning Board as well as the Township Engineer had not filed their 2015 Financial Disclosure Statements which were due on April 30, 2015. On August 24, 2015, Township Clerk Linda M. Gonzalez sent all nine officials certified letters advising them that failure to file by September 11, 2015 will cause an unnamed citizen (actually, it's me) to "consider filing Local Finance Board complaints or taking other action against the non-filers at that time."

Also, I was informed by Township Administrator Darryl Davis informed me that Planning and Zoning Board Secretary Latrenee Richardson and JIF Commissioner Nate S. Dunn, who did not reveal their sources of income on their Financial Disclosure Statements, will update or re-file their forms.

Agenda for Township Committee's September 1, 2015 Work Session

I've placed the September 1, 2015 Fairfield Township Committee Work Session  meeting agenda on-line.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fairfield Township 2015 Financial Disclosure filings on-line.

Each local government officer must annually file a Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS).  The FDS filings are intended to alert the public of the officer's and the officer's family's sources of income and business and real estate interests so that conflicts of interest can be easily identified.

For example, a Land Use Board member should not participate in variance application filed by his or her spouse's employer. But, absent an FDS filing, the public might not be aware of who employs the Land Use Board member's spouse.

Although the FDS filings are available on the State's website, I put Fairfield's 2015 filings (or lack of filings) in an easy to use table which is available on-line in both Excel 2007 and PDF formats.

Anyone who wishes to report any omissions in the FDS filings (e.g. that a particular government official or family member has a business or financial interest that is not disclosed on the FDS) may contact me via e-mail at or anonymously by regular mail to 172 Silver Lake Rd, Bridgeton, NJ 08302.  Upon receipt and verification of any information received, I will file a formal complaint against the offending official with the Local Finance Board and post a copy of my complaint on this blog.

John Paff

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fairfield seeks new OEM Coordinator

In her August 14, 2015 response to my Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, Fairfield Township Clerk Linda M. Gonzales stated that the the Township is presently seeking a new Emergency Management Coordinator after the former Coordinator, Patrick W. Conahey, Sr., was not reappointed to the position when his term expired on June 30, 2015.  According to Gonzalez, the Township conducted interviews on August 4, 2015 and will conducting further interviews on August 18, 2015.