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Township Ethics Committee to Hold Special Meeting

First time group is getting together following Honeywell recusals and complaints, but will only discuss procedural matters Tuesday night.

For the first time since Mayor Mancuso has appointed its new members, the Township Ethics Committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss how they handle future cases.

Township Administrator Timothy Quinn said the purpose of this reorganizational meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. at the Morris Township Municipal Building, is to "develop the procedures of how they're going to function as a board."

Although several matters have come up throughout the Honeywell proposed redevelopment process that have been referred to the Ethics Committee, including the recusals of committee members Jeff Grayzel and Bruce Sisler—who have each since been reinstated—Quinn said those cases will not be discussed as the group is just using the meeting to get organized.

"As by the municipal ordinance they need to meet, select a chairman and determine their protocols for addressing complaints or concerns that are received," Quinn said.

The group has not been able to convene at the time of the conflicts due to scheduling issues over the summer.

There have been several recent complaints referred to the board, but will not be discussed during Tuesday night's public session.

At last week's Honeywell hearing, Township Attorney John Mills said the Ethics Committee received a complaint against one of the members of the township committee, and challenged the committee to not continue with the Honeywell proceedings. Mills did not disclose what committee member the action was against.

While Mills said the grievance has been directed to the Ethics Committee that will evaluate the nature of the complaint, he didn't think the complaint was sufficient enough to prevent the committee member from continuing in the deliberations.

Mills was unable to be reached for comment on Monday.

Quinn said he believes if the board did review the cases, it would be in a closed session. If any other matters come up that the board will discuss, Quinn said he won't find out until the day of the meeting.

Although the meeting will be open to the public, the board—comprised of three Republicans and three Democrats—will not be taking any comments or questions from residents on Tuesday.

The board members are Attorney Peter Manahan, Attorney John Carlin, Attorney Patrick Minter, professor Dr. Michael Shumer, Raymond Snyder, who is retired, and Attorney Karen Zimmerman.

The members will review the state law and discuss how the committee should respond or act to future instances, like the cases that have come up recently.

The next public hearings on the ordinance to rezone Honeywell's property will be at the regular Township Committee meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and then again on Thursday at 8 p.m.

All meetings are held at the Morris Township Municipal Building.

Rob Burke September 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Mills wrote a detailed memo to assert his opinion that Grayzel was conflicted and basically forced Grayzel's recusal. Mills said at the last Honeywell hearing regarding Sisler, "my research is all over the place, here there & everywhere. I will write a memo at some point in the future but I don't see anything in this complaint, even if true, that should have an impact." Seriously? Never mind the inconsistent action that Mills has taken with regard to the pending complaints against someone who is not Grayzel, but since when can he just make stuff up? Since when does he get to stand as judge & jury on a matter that doesn't even belong before him? As for the Ethics Committee meeting to discuss these complaints in closed session -- uh, that's illegal and a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act. Conflict of Interest allegations regarding elected officials are categorically NOT "personnel matters" that could properly be kept confidential in some instances. Political corruption hearings, which conflicts of interest are, belong in full view of the public. That's why the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards hears ethics complaints against legislators in public session. Same with the State Ethics Commission. But hey, we all know the result already, don't we? Honeywell gets whatever it asks for and nothing else matters, including the law.
clyde donovan September 18, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Ethics? That's a joke in government in New Jersey.

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