Jackson Planning Board has to do an annual re-reorganization do-over blamed on negligence

JACKSON, NJ – By law, public meetings of the Jackson Township Planning Board must be properly advertised to the public in advance in accordance with New Jersey law. That hasn’t been happening.

Township officials are unofficially placing the blame on former Planning and Zoning Board attorney Sean Gertner, who was recently appointed to be a judge by Governor Phil Murphy. One official who declined to speak publicly admitted both the planning board and zoning board have not been publishing public notices in legally recognized publications for as long as one year.

Because of that, at least one meeting, the 2023 reorganization meeting, has to be held again, nullifying the actions of that meeting.

Things could go from bad to worse. Technically, if none of the meetings held by the planning and zoning board were held legally, their decisions could also be rendered invalid should an applicant decide to push the matter.

This year, Reina fired Gertner’s law firm and hired Robert Shea, esq., a qualified lawyer with plenty of planning and zone board experience from both sides of the table.

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Reina also made several key appointments that allowed Tzvi Herman to be named as the new planning board chairman, removing Bob Hudak, who presided over a year’s worth of potentially invalid meetings.

Now Herman and Shea are diligently working to clean up the mess they inherited from Gertner and Hudak.

The errors in legal advertising led to the zoning board canceling a scheduled meeting also.

Jackson Mayor Michael Reina said he could not discuss the errors made under Hudak and Gertner, but said township officials and lawyers are working diligently to correct the issue and determine what, if any legal liabilities the township may have been exposed to.

Gertner’s firm now represents the zoning board. It is unclear at this time whether or not that board will terminate their contract with the firm over the alleged negligence.