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Trustees Say Items Being Kept off Public Agenda

Village President says he, administrator and clerk will decide what is discussed at meetings.

South Orange Trustees are upset their items aren’t getting onto the village agenda and asked the Village President to clarify the policy.

The issue came up at a Board of Trustees meeting on Monday.

After Trustee Howard Levinson raised the issue, Village President Alex Torpey replied that an agenda request must be submitted via online form to the Village Clerk or Village Administrator – and the three of them meet together to choose what will be discussed during the next meeting.

The online form is new, according to Torpey. One of its advantages over email is that it discourages lengthy email discussion of issues better suited to the public arena.

Torpey said trustees are notified if their agenda request has been turned down or referred to a committee.

Trustee Nancy Gould asked the Village President to explain how items are chosen to be discussed by the full board. Torpey said the agenda items are chosen based on meeting length among other considerations. "We need to think about how to use our time efficiently," said Torpey.

Trustee Mark Rosner said that, when an item will require a vote, as opposed to an update, he wants to discuss the issue.  Gould agreed.

Torpey said "We spend too much time floating around in Executive Session," saying that the board departs from the agenda.

"That's not true at all," said Trustee Michael Goldberg.

Torpey urged the trustees to "moderate their own behavior" in terms of making meetings more efficient. The Village President reminded trustees that if a given issue isn't put on the agenda, trustees can propose the item be placed on the next agenda, during the new business portion of the meeting.

Rosner proposed sending emails to the entire board each time an issue is proposed and rejected. He said that he plans to do so.

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