TOMS RIVER-A Toms River senior this week blasted New Jersey’s firefighter elections. William McPhail said his local fire department, “Doesn’t know my address to mail a ballot, but know it when they ask for donations.”
McPhail also sunk the notion that New Jersey’s public notices are in newspapers to better serve the senior population who may not have access to a computer at this week’s township council meeting.
First, he criticized the process of the often secretive seeming fire department elections in the state of New Jersey. Under law, fire departments are required to publish their annual budget twice before the elections, once in December and once in January.
Generally, nobody knows who is running for election or what their platform is.
“I haven’t seen anything about candidates or the budget,” McPhail said. “There’s no publicity, nothing. I don’t even know who the candidates are or what the budget it is.”
Typically fire department budgets pass with only several hundred voters, often firefighters and their families and a few informed residents.
“There isn’t one damn thing in any newspaper that I’ve read, and I get the Asbury Park Press and Toms River Times,” McPhail said.
Councilman Brian Kubiel, also the administrator for Toms River’s Fire District Number One told McPhail that the fire districts post public notices in the newspaper, according to New Jersey’s public notice law.
“There is a legal notice that’s published in t he papers, it’s there,” Kubiel said. “It’s published once in December and once in January.”
“Well let me tell ya something,” McPhail responded. “This is why i feel justified when Christie wants that crap done away, because who the heck reads those little fine print notices that are 5, 10, 15 pages long?”
About this year’s Ocean County Fire Elections:
Feb. 18, 2017 : ANNUAL FIRE ELECTION
Towns: Brick, Jackson, Lakewood, Little Egg Harbor, Plumsted, Toms River
Hours: 2pm to 9pm ; Lakewood Only: 2pm to 10pm
Registration Deadline: February 16, 2017