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>Mayor Kenneth Gabbert is shortchanging residents by reducing the number of monthly council meetings from two to one

>Mayor’s new job costs town a meeting
Saturday, December 5, 2009
BY EVONNE COUTROS
The Record

https://www.northjersey.com/news/78581642.html

UPPER SADDLE RIVER — Mayor Kenneth Gabbert is shortchanging residents by reducing the number of monthly council meetings from two to one, and it happens to coincide with his being hired last month as Ridgewood village manager, says one councilman.

Wearing two hats is fine, but not when residents in Upper Saddle River will lose one council meeting a month, said Upper Saddle River Councilman Dennis Schubert.

“He has taken a very good job in Ridgewood, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of Upper Saddle River,” Schubert said. “Since he took this job in Ridgewood, he has a meeting there on the second Wednesday and chosen to go to that instead of the meeting in Upper Saddle River. He has a conflict of meetings.”

Gabbert, who began his $165,000 a year job in Ridgewood on Nov. 2, says that’s not the case.

“Upper Saddle River handles Upper Saddle River’s schedule,” Gabbert said. “The council members in Upper Saddle River select the schedule that the council meetings are held. The mayor would only even vote if there’s a tie.”

Holding fewer meetings wasn’t an issue through 2009, Gabbert said.

“We’ve really kind of done it by default anyway — probably seven or eight of the meetings in 2009,” he said.

Meetings in Upper Saddle River are held the first Thursday and the second Wednesday of the month.

A reduction to one meeting will be a “month to month” evaluation, said Borough Administrator Ted Preusch. When the council meets on its regular Thursday, it begins two hours earlier to complete the work in one night rather than two.

“Based upon current issues, we can do two hours early on one night,” Preusch said. “I wouldn’t think you would be shortchanging the public because they have the opportunity to come to any meeting and the meeting that they normally do come to is the regular meeting of the mayor and council.”

https://www.northjersey.com/news/78581642.html

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