JACKSON-After announcing that the Tuesday, March 24th township meeting in Jackson Township would be closed to the public, Jackson Township Mayor Michael Reina and Council President Barry Calogero have announced today the meeting will be accessible online to the public.
Reina earlier said the meeting would be held behind closed doors and council members would call in from their homes. After being sharply criticized by residents on social media after a report by Shore News Network, the council has reversed their initial decision.
“While we navigate through this difficult time, you will continue to see changes made to standard operating procedures in order to comply with guidelines set forth by Governor Phil Murphy.” stated Mayor Reina, who historically has not attended township council meetings in person. “These guidelines are not put into effect as mere suggestions, they are to be taken seriously in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. If we all do our part, we can curb this threat- as a Community, State and Nation”.
“This will be through the use of Zoom technology, which can be downloaded today to your iPhone or Android device,” the township said. “You can also log in from your tablet or desktop. A link will be provided on the Township website at www.jacksontwpnj.net, prior to the start of the meeting which has been scheduled for 6pm (public portion).”
“Log in from the comfort of your home, view the meeting and provide comments via the ‘chat’ function. Your questions and concerns will still be heard and addressed through this remote means of communication. This is your government at work, ensuring stable municipal management, brought directly to you and your family,” Calogero said in a release prepared by clerical staff within the township.
At the meeting, the township will introduce the budget, which contains $77,000 in health benefits for two part-time elected officials and millions of dollars in funding for pay-to-play contract services for professional campaign donors. Many of those donors and professionals are the same professionals hired by neighboring Lakewood Township, including legal counsel, engineers and others.
Jackson Township remains one of the few larger shore area municipalities that do not Livestream municipal council meetings. Other meetings, including the Toms River Township and Ocean County meetings, will allow public attendance with restrictions.