Holmdel charter study commission chairman offers update to community


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The Holmdel Charter Study Commission held its first public hearing on Feb. 3 on a virtual basis by Zoom.

In addition to viewers who watched the live-streamed event on Holmdel’s Facebook page or on YouTube, more than 30 participants logged on to the Zoom event. A significant number of those participants shared their thoughts and provided input to the commission.

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Before opening the meeting to public comment, I explained the commission’s process and gave a brief update on what the commission has done so far.

In broad terms, the commission’s plan is divided into three phases:

• The first phase is the study of Holmdel’s current form of local government;

• The second phase is to explore alternative forms of local government;

• The third and final phase is to deliberate and make decisions for any recommendations.

So far, in the first phase, the commission has interviewed six former elected officials who have served on a Township Committee, which is Holmdel’s current form of government.

Five of the six individuals who were interviewed are Republicans and one is a Democrat. Four of those six individuals were former mayors and one was a deputy mayor. Collectively, those six individuals served for more than 50 years on a Township Committee, including 22 years as mayor.

The format the commission conducted was to ask a series of questions about the various characteristics that define Holmdel’s form of local government and will provide a high-level recap at a future meeting.

During those discussions and because elections under the Township Committee form of government are on a partisan basis, the commission heard a great deal about a local municipal committee that is called the County Committee.

The commission extended invitations to the chair of the Holmdel Republican County Committee and to the Holmdel Democratic County Committee to come before the commission so it could learn more about the County Committee, its role and how it impacts candidates getting elected to serve on the Township Committee.

Only Barbara Singer, the chairwoman of the Holmdel Democratic County Committee, accepted the invitation and the commission spoke with her at a prior meeting.

In addition to the elected officials with whom the commission members spoke, the commission also invited and heard from Holmdel’s township administrator, Cherron Rountree.

Members of the public spoke and shared their comments on one or more of the following questions:

• Should the mayor be directly elected by voters?

• Should residents have more power and say in public questions and/or ordinances (known as initiative and referendum by petition)?

• Do you feel your district’s interest is fairly represented?

• How do you feel about local elections being held every year?

• Some forms of local government allow for elections on a nonpartisan basis. How do you feel about local elections being held on a partisan basis?

• Do you feel we have the right number of elected officials on the governing body?

• Do you feel good candidates are getting the chance to appear on the ballot and get elected?

The majority of those who spoke supported electing a mayor directly by voters, holding elections on a nonpartisan basis and allowing citizens to have initiative and referendum by petition.

Interested parties can watch the complete video recording of the public hearing at https://www.holmdelchartercomm.org/videos

Kin Gee of Holmdel is the chairman of the Holmdel Charter Study Commission.

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