West Deptford Planning Board Sees Some Changes at Reorganization
While some positions remained status quo, the board went with a new engineer and debated several positions Tuesday night.
Leadership remained largely the same, but the West Deptford planning board some change amid heated debate at its reorganization meeting Tuesday night.
Scott Kintzing was returned as chair of the board, despite three no votes from newly-installed Republican planning board members Joseph Nahas, committeeman Sam Cianfarini and Mayor Ray Chintall.
Michael McManamy, who was just elected chair of the zoning board, was returned as vice-chair of the planning board without opposition.
Fred Purnell, the senior member on the board, was also re-elected as board secretary, and the lone bit of new blood came at recording secretary, where the board voted for Michelle Hack.
Things got more heated as the board made calls on their professionals, not unlike what was seen at the township committee’s reorganization earlier this month.
From the outset, Cianfarini raised the question of knowing how the proposals for the various professionals were scored; five firms applied for the solicitor’s position, while a dozen applied to be the planning board’s engineer.
“In order to make an educated vote, I think I need to see the scoring on these professionals,” he said.
Though the scoring sheets weren’t available at the meeting, Kintzing noted the proposals had been in for about two months, and his scoring, as well as the scoring by McManamy, had been available.
“As planning board members, that was a public matter–I think you could’ve looked into it if you wanted to,” Kintzing said.
Solicitor John Alice, a donor to the Democratic campaign last fall, was voted back in to his position, though not before Cianfarini nominated Mark Shoemaker of Ward Shoemaker LLC, donors to the Republican campaign, to the post. Cianfarini’s nomination never got a vote, as Alice had more than enough ayes to get him back.
There were also a pair of nominations for the planning board engineers, with Cianfarini putting forward Pennoni Associates, a Philadelphia-based firm and a heavy donor to Republican candidates, while Kintzing nominated Federici & Akin, the Sewell-based firm and heavy Democratic donor that has been the board’s engineers for some time.
After a brief debate over concerns on distance–McManamy pointed out some firms who threw in to be engineers were more than an hour from West Deptford–that vote ended up 5-3 in favor of Pennoni Associates.
The longest debate came over the inspection engineer’s position, which Kintzing noted has historically been the same as the township engineer–but in this case, there were no proposals for the position, raising red flags for some board members.
“I don’t know how we can do a responsible vote on this without an RFP,” Cianfarini said.
Despite that statement, after a few minutes of debate over what their options were, Cianfarini nominated Alaimo Group, the township’s new engineers, which was countered by Kintzing’s nomination of Federici & Akin.
The board deadlocked on both votes, which eventually led to the board compromising, putting Stan Bitgood of Federici & Akin on a temporary appointment, while they put the position back out to bid.
The board also brought back Remington & Vernick and Jay Petrongolo as the board’s planners.
Despite the disagreement and debates, in his closing remarks, Kintzing said he thinks the board will continue to do the right things for West Deptford.
“I hear horror stories about other townships, but I’ve always heard high praise for our planning board,” he said, adding that at least part of that comes from having the right set of priorities in mind.
“Our members have always put the residents of the township first,” Kintzing said.
And after 2011 saw at least four meetings get canceled for lack of business, and only a half-dozen new applications get heard all year, Kintzing said he hopes the board will be busier in 2012.
“I hope we have more applications this year–it’s a tough economy out there,” he said.