by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
ROSELAND, NJ - This morning, Essex County Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Vena ruled that a claim brought against the Borough of Roseland by resident Scott Gorman, lacked merit. Gorman had brought a lawsuit against the municipality claiming that the Borough violated the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) in regards to the publication of its agenda items for a June 20, 2017 meeting.
Gorman argued that the published agenda of the June meeting was in violation of OPMA because two items which were listed on the agenda as “Closed Executive Session” instead ending up being “Resolution Action Items” and were voted on during the public portion of the meeting. The items specifically referred to a request that the Planning Board determine whether the areas of 85 Livingston Avenue and 6 Becker Farm Road were in need of redevelopment.
Gorman further argued that because the two items were illegally added to the agenda, their passage by the governing body was invalid and should be dismissed.
After considering Gorman’s arguments, Judge Vena determined that the Borough of Roseland had acted appropriately stating that the Governing Body was not aware that it would take action on the two items when the agenda was first published. Vena ruled that the two Resolutions were indeed properly passed and will continue to stand.
The judge went on to rule that the Borough of Roseland - like every municipality in the state of New Jersey - must continue to ensure that its meeting minutes are approved in a timely matter and that the public be given notice for all items to be addressed in Closed Executive Sessions.
Gorman was not awarded any monetary penalties.
While the Borough's insurance will cover the balance, the $5,000 deductible will be paid by Roseland taxpayers.