HOLMDEL – The five members of the Holmdel Charter Study Commission will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the municipal building to continue their review of the township’s form of government.
During the 2021 general election, residents of Holmdel approved a public question which asked if they wanted to create a charter study commission whose members would examine Holmdel’s current form of government and possibly recommend changes in the form of government.
The following question appeared on the ballot: “Shall a charter commission be elected to study the charter of Holmdel and to consider a new charter or improvements in the present charter and to make recommendations thereon?”
At the same time voters approved the public question to create the commission, they elected the only residents who ran for the five seats on the panel: Janet Berk, Gerald Buffalino, Kin Gee, Zachary Gilstein and William Kastning.
The commission held its organizational meeting on Nov. 23 and after all five commissioners were sworn in by the township clerk, Gee was elected by the commissioners to serve as chairman of the panel and Kastning was elected to serve as vice chairman, according to a press release from the commission.
Gee said “the commission’s charge is a simple one; to study and explore how we can improve our local form of government. This will be done in public meetings in an open and transparent process. Meeting dates will be posted on the township’s official website and properly noticed to the public.”
Gee went on to say there will be opportunities for members of the public to provide input and that the commission looks forward to the important work ahead and hopes all Holmdel residents can join in the process.
Holmdel currently operates under the Township Committee form of government. There are five members of the governing body, all of whom are elected at large and generally identified by their affiliation with a political party (i.e., Democrat or Republican).
Holmdel’s mayor is not directly elected by voters, as is the case in municipalities that operate under a different form of government.
Instead, each January, the five members of the Township Committee elect one individual who sits on the governing body to serve as mayor for the year. The mayor runs the Township Committee meetings.
The ballot question residents responded to did not state Holmdel would change its current form of government if the question was approved by a majority of voters. The question asked voters if a commission should study Holmdel’s charter and consider a new charter or improvements in the present charter.
One option could be a change to a nonpartisan form of government in which candidates seeking elected office would not run under the banner of a political party (i.e., Democrat or Republican). Another option could be a change to form of government in which Holmdel’s mayor is directly elected by voters.
If, after studying the matter over several months, the members of the charter study commission recommend a change in Holmdel’s form or government, the recommendation would be submitted to voters in a public question at a future election, according to an ordinance that was adopted by the Township Committee.