Al Sullivan’s article, “Marathon council meeting postpones Senate Place abatement,” stated my concerns on the city’s policy of buying an abatement based on Tiers. This council is copying the actions of the Schundler Administration. For those residents who remember, the council had a separate account for recreation that was not part of the general account. Then, the city council took senior citizens to luncheons and some went on ski trips.
What made these actions illegal is the fact, the city council is the legislative branch of government; they cannot have a separate account to access funds. They are voting on items that they will control. Under the Faulkner Act, only the mayor can spend money while the council votes on items. The city council cannot vote on something that is a direct benefit, the reason I used the term “kickback.”
I wrote a letter to the late Judy Tripodi, of Community Affairs in Trenton when this happened under the Schundler Administration. She called me and said I was correct and removed the funds from the city council. Those funds were place in the general budget.
The city council should have asked Mr. Byrne, the city clerk, if the previous council used recreation funds during the Schundler Administration and find out when it stopped. That would have given them a reference on the legality of their actions.
The law department in City Hall represents the administration and does not represent the interest of the city council. I have always believed the city council should have a separate council to advise them on policy.