There are multiple vacancies on Jackson Township's Zoning Board. There is also one Board member who was swiftly and quietly slipped in by the Township Council, yet he has failed to actually show up to Board meetings.

All of these issues have led to the Zoning Board's recent meeting - which had a packed agenda - to be cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

Councilwoman Jennifer Kuhn and Councilman Scott Sargent fought hard on Tuesday night to rectify this issue and get the empty seats filled.

Council President Stephen Chisholm and his co-hort Martin Flemming worked equally hard to ensure that no Zoning Board seats would be filled. Council Vice President Nino Borrelli was absent from tonight's meeting.

At the start of the meeting, Councilwoman Kuhn passionately berated Council President Chisholm, saying, "transparency is not going on here. There have been resignations from several Zoning Board members and we need to fill those vacancies. I have asked the Council Leadership to get to work reviewing the applications for membership on the Zoning Board and to interview these candidates. I was told "there is simply no one interested in joining the Board."

"However, recently, I requested all of the applications for membership on the Zoning Board and I now know this response to be inaccurate, as there are in fact numerous interested candidates," Kuhn stated.

Kuhn listed off a number of glaring concerns regarding the application process.

A number of the applications were just sitting in the Clerk's Office and were never even forwarded to the Council, and a number of applications were forwarded to only some Council members.

One candidate was interviewed by Joe Riccardi who is no longer even a Zoning Board member. A while later, Mr. Riccardi sent her a text message saying she would be appointed. In fact, she never was appointed.

Despite all of the applications sitting, waiting for consideration from the Council, Raymond Lovacco was appointed just 5 days after submitting his application. Zoning Board Ryan Murphy wrote to the Council notifying them regarding Mr. Lovacco's attendance record, adding that "my understanding is that Mr. Hudak updated his application to include the Zoning Board and I respectfully request that the Council appoint Mr. Hudak to the Board."

"So now the Clerk simply not forwarding applications to the Council, and former Zoning Board members interviewing applicants - despite that this is the job of the Council - and we have a Board member shirking his duty. Worse, we have the Board Attorney making a recommendation to the Council to have a certain applicant appointed!," Kuhn stated.

"I ask Council President Chisolm and Clerk Moss, when did the back door conversations start? Why isn't the entire Council privy to know about all of these applications? When did the Zoning Board begin to advise Council on who should be appointed to the Board? When did Zoning Board members take over the Council's job of interviewing candidates to the Board?," Kuhn questioned.

Ms. Kuhn then got right down to business and offered a motion to appoint candidates in chronological order of submission of their application. Councilman Sargent offered a second to the motion. Mr. Flemming and Chisholm voted no, saying "in the interest of all the transparency, I also didn't get all of these resumes and therefore i will also vote no to this specific motion."

Ms. Kuhn then offered a second motion to specifically appoint Luis Putas to the Board. Again Mr. Sargent seconded the motion. Mr. Flemming and Chisholm voted no, saying, "for the same reasons, no."

Ms. Kuhn then offered yet a third motion, noting that as Attorney Murphy requested that Raymond Lovacco be replaced, to appoint Shara Parnes in his place. Again Mr. Sargent seconded the motion. And again Mr. Flemming and Chisholm voted no, again saying, "for the same reasons, no."

Mr. Sargent then expressed his displeasure with Mr. Flemming and Chisholm outright refusing to cooperatively appoint candidates to the Zoning Board, saying, "it's out of control at this point. We need to fill these vacancies not just with anyone, but with the right people."

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