Less Town Meetings: Less Transparency

File Photo

Transparency is the hallmark of democracy, open government and accountability. Most New Jersey municipalities are committed to this concept. While the Open Public Meetings Act, otherwise known as the Sunshine law, does not establish a required number of meetings that a municipality must schedule it is clear that the intent of this law is to ensure that business is discussed and acted upon in a public transparent manor at a scheduled meeting.

It appears that the Township of Little Egg Harbor has a different concept of transparency when they reduced the number of scheduled meetings for 2019. The Little Egg’s web site stated that “the Committee formally meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.”

In 2018 the township scheduled 19 meetings, five short of what was called for, and by doing so required four special meetings. The 2019 schedule calls for 16 meetings, three less than the prior year and eight less then what the web site originally called for.

When questioned on this the mayor stated that the reason was financial, and the web site would be changed. It now reads “The Township Committee formally meets on the second and fourth Thursdays during the months of January thru April, and the second Thursday during the months of May thru December.”   Eliminating public meetings does not enhance transparency. Simply put: no meetings means no transparency, less meetings means less transparency. This is not a new concept.

Art Mooney
Little Egg Harbor

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