BRICK-Greenbriar senior community resident Anne Coll came to the December 20th Brick Township council meeting with season’s greetings, but wanted to let the township know she was upset about how the township conducts their public meetings.
Coll said she was upset over how the council often loads the consent agenda with important and sometimes critical financial and business decisions. Under the law, consent agendas are usually used for approval of routine and mundane items that can be packaged into a single agenda item vote for convenience.
Typically towns use consent agendas to approve proclamations, approval of minutes, tax refunds, grant approvals and other housekeeping type items.
Towns in Ocean County typically draft resolutions for large ticket items such as expensive half-million dollar liquor license sales.
The all Democrat board in Brick routinely pushes controversial and big budget items into their consent agenda, including $1.7 million in budget transfers in November and December of 2016 in order to pass the items in one vote, without a public comment period for each resolution or item being voted on.
Coll said she has had enough of how the all Democrat council operates.
“You see before you, an elderly, white woman who is extremely angry,” Mrs. Coll told the council. “That’s not why I did vote for Trump…”
Coll was quickly interrupted by Brick Township Council President Paul Mummolo.
“No, no…this is a consent agenda…We don’t want to know who you voted for, just please get to your question,” Mummolo said to Coll.
“I’m not going to settle for the use of the consent agenda for every item that should be discussed without having to be pulled,” Coll said to the council. “I’m going to start taking the appropriate action and notifying the appropriate people that you don’t follow the laws and orders of the state.”
After asking the council who pays for employee health benefits, Mummolo asked Coll if that was her only question and that he would answer all questions at once. After Coll objected, advising him that her elderly state of mind cannot operate like that,Mummolo said, “Well, it’s going to work that way anyway.”
“Oh, it is?” she asked. “That’s very nice.”
Coll told Mummolo that he has no right to limit her time, referring to the council’s buzzer that goes off during public comment portions of the meeting, notifying residents their speaking time has expired.
“So, please ask your questions,” he added.
After a brief dialog, Coll’s timer expired.
“Are you done?” Mummolo asked?
“You don’t have the right to time me,” she responded.
“I do have a right to time you,” Mummolo said. “You can sit down and get right back up.”
Coll debated with township attorney Kevin Starkey over the definition of public comments, claiming her statements were not comments, but a request for information she felt should have been provided the town during the council discussion of the consent agenda.
She threatened to make a formal complaint.
“And it won’t be with the township. That’s a ridiculous notion that the township will police itself,” she added.