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"In-House" Solicitor a Possibility For Galloway Township

The conversation is set to take place Thursday night as part of the council's special meeting.

When Galloway Township Council convenes for its special meeting Thursday night, July 12, the possibility exists that it may decide to start using an “in-house” solicitor as it seeks to replace Michael Blee, who was nominated to the State Superior Court by Gov. Chris Christie last month.

Galloway Republican League Municipal Chair Terry Luccarelli also promises council will have three names to choose from to serve as a replacement for Dennis Kleiner, who resigned from council on June 25.

Members of council agree that to use an in-house solicitor, “the numbers would have to make sense.” Use of an in-house solicitor means this person would work for, and be paid by, the township exclusively. To this point, Galloway’s solicitors have been attorneys who run their own practices and charge the township a fee to serve as solicitor.

Over the last year, Blee was called upon repeatedly to examine a large number of Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests. The general feeling is that use of a solicitor who is a township employee could potentially save the township a lot of money.

“If the numbers I’ve looked at are right, we could save $40-50,000,” said Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, who first told Galloway Patch of the possibility on Monday, July 9. “It might tip the scales so that we’re not laying someone off. We need to think outside the box and be more efficient.”

“We’ve been weighing it,” said Mayor Don Purdy, who said the numbers were all based on a five-year average. “We have to weigh all our options.”

“We could save a lot of money on OPRA requests,” said Councilman Brian Tyrrell, who added the drawback would be that it would “grow government. None of us want to grow government. We have to look at the potential savings.”

Councilman Jim Gorman was undecided about the proposal.

“I have not been in a lot of the discussion,” Gorman said. “I don’t have a lot of information. It depends on the number and it depends on the person. It’s a tough call. … If you can save money, it’s a good thing because right now whenever you pick up the phone to call an outside attorney, it’s costing us money.”

The Township issued Requests for Proposal (RFPs) for the position on June 28. According to Coppola, the township has received “very few” responses.

At the last council meeting, a committee made up of Purdy, Coppola and Tyrrell was formed to hire a new solicitor.

That discussion and interview process takes place the same night council will discuss selections for a new councilperson. The Republican Committee had 15 days from the date of Kleiner’s resignation to submit three names to council.

The deadline is Wednesday, and the committee will meet Tuesday night, at the same time Galloway Council will hold its regular meeting. This prompted council members to request a special meeting from Township Manager Arch Liston for Thursday, even though council has an additional 15 days after the committee names the candidates to name a successor, who would be sworn in immediately.

Luccarelli said she will contact Liston and Township Clerk Thalia C. Kay “as soon as the three names are selected Tuesday night.”

If for some reason the committee failed to submit three names by Wednesday, council then appoints the successor, who would have to be a Republican as Kleiner was, within the next 15 days, according to statute.

The successor will then run for the seat in a special election in November. The winner of that election will fill out the rest of Kleiner's term, which expires in 2013.

Bill July 10, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Harry, you're right. OPRA is a right of the people. However, you are abusing that right. A majority of the people in Galloway do not want you here. And the above post on Mrs. Lucarelli, enough already. Do you not have a life? Wouldn't you rather focus your time and energy on your children? Quite sad an individual you are.
Keep Galloway Green July 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Harry....Your doing a great job!....Who said the majority don't want Harry here?....Was there a vote I missed?....lol If I filed a lawsuit against Galloway....would that be considered piling on?.....lol
smithvillian July 11, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Bill you could not be more wrong. You must be talking about the majority YOU are talking to, which more than likely have something to hide. The REAL majority, those being the great residents of Galloway that I talk to within the community, at school events, in the coffee shops, etc are mostly tuning into what Harry has so graciously dedicated some of his time to put together in the format that he has chosen. He is simply posting the facts. The ugly truth is just that....ugly. Speak for yourself because I can assure you that your majority is the minority.
Bill July 11, 2012 at 01:32 PM
First I am on the election board and now I am adjusting spines. Let's stick to the facts. Harry, you said that OPRA requests do not cost any township money. Well, time is money. When someone is hired and paid to do a job which has many duties, they cannot perform their job when they spend all their time fulfilling your OPRA requests. You don't just OPRA a certain topic, you OPRA everything that has been OPRA'd. It can takes hours of research. And then you either hope they slip with the redactions or you search for something questionable; probably something you could find in any town. Everyone would agree that mistakes were made in Galloway and procedures weren't followed correctly, but to say there is corruption? Corruption is what happened with the Pleasantville BOE where those involved served jail time. Not the case at all in Galloway. Who will be serving time in Galloway for corruption? Here's what all this has lead to, there are very good people in Galloway that would like to run for leadership and help make a difference. People that would definitely have a positive influence in Galloway. But maybe someone got arrested 25 years ago in college for being drunk in public, or something else miniscule. But there are people who want to help this town and do know that they are in the public eye but don't want every aspect of their past investigated and posted on some blog. The point is there are people who could help this town but the antics of Harry discourage them.
Bill July 11, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Fully understand what you are saying. What I am saying as to the OPRA costs is that there are so many requests that one person, one position cannot handle it all. I would go out on a limb and say the other 565 municipalities do not have near the number of requests Galloway receives from Harry alone. I'm sure you can understand that. I would say it got to the point that practically every second of the day is devoted to OPRA. And by costs I'm implying that other duties will not be performed or not adequately performed due to the time invested in OPRA. There is only so much someone can handle. But regardless of all that, there is no corruption in Galloway, mis-management maybe. But, I was not picked by anyone to run for anything. But someone else has and because they would rather live a private life chooses not to run. When you have someone watching your every move, every step and every word, why subject yourself to that when you are practically volunteering to help your town?
Bill July 11, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Let me put it another way, the amount of OPRA requests you have filed recently is far and above the number Galloway has received in the past. I would go as far to say you have more OPRA requests this year then they have probably had in the last 5 years. Now, let me clarify. I'm not talking about the actual number of requests, I am talking about how much information/material is in that request. There is a difference when you OPRA information on a particular property VS OPRA everything that was OPRA'd by others. The amount of time to do either is significantly different. So let me re-phrase that, the amount of material contained in your request is what I am referring to. In prior years a couple folders could contain all the OPRA requests where this year the amount of material in your requests in now stored in bins, multiple bins. I believe, because of what you are doing, the laws for OPRA could/may be changed to make it more difficult in the future. Bottom line here, there are great people that could run for Council but are not. They don't want to have to deal with someone that has some unknown obsession with a town they don't live in. You say you re helping Galloway but in the end may actually hurt it. But I don't think you really care. You still haven't proven any corruption in Galloway.
Diogenes July 11, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Bill, I agree with you. Harry Scheeler is a person who is a legendary hero of democracy--in his own mind. The OPRA laws were put into place to insure open government, but a person like Harry Scheeler misuses the law to harrass the functioning of Galloway Township's government for his own purposes. He is like gum (or some other substance) on the shoe of government; very annoying and very difficult to get rid of. In our litigious society his demands cause significant and unnecessary expenses for the township residents. He is not even a resident of Galloway (although he asserts he has relatives and multitudinous disciples here who are aqpparently too shy to speak up for themselves to the township fathers). Nor does he pay property taxes here. He is simply a self-promoting nuisance. He will claim a fervent following, but in fact, the vast majority of residents would say "Harry who?" He also thrives on confrontation, and resorts to personal insult if you challenge what he is doing, his motives, or the value of his activities. I predict that this will provoke one of his famous and hilariously sputtering scathing ripostes, As with a child who constantly and inappropriately seeks attention, you must ignore him. Which is what I will do. Carry on, Bill!
Bill July 11, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I like how Harry distorts the facts. Above he states he there are more OPRA request made by the public then made by himself. That is probably true. But I would say just ONE of his requests contains more information than 25 other requests. So he is correct in the "number" of requests he makes, but he is way off when it comes to the time and resources it takes to process hos one request. His ONE request is something like, requesting all OPRA requests from January -present time, to include all emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. And just like he slants the truth here, he does the same with many other aspects.
Bill July 11, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Harry, from what I hear information you are receiving from employees are from disgruntled employees that are assuming they are going to get laid off. If that's the case I doubt that these people don't care too much about the town and are most likely blaming the people in charge. And I was talking about OPRA laws in the future, not right now. But if there is corruption, report it to the FBI. Things you have reported are mismanagement, not corruption. No laws were broken. If there was I am sure the feds would have done something. Being corrupt and making bad decisions/mistakes are two different animals.
Bill July 11, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Harry, will you pay attention to what I am writing? Did I say that laws were just passed? No. I said, if you're continued OPRA requests continue as they are, law COULD/MAY be changed in the FUTURE. I am aware laws were JUST passed. Eventually, towns/people COULD get tired of how you are draining resources and laws could be, I said could be, changed. Please pay attention to what I write before you comment.
Bill July 11, 2012 at 09:06 PM
OK, let me state again. You seem to have a problem with interpretation. I never said their would be laws to stop documents from being public. I said laws will make it more "difficult" to OPRA.
Bill July 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM
"Attorney McCoyle", first, I have never stated at anytime that I was an expert with OPRA. It was never implied nor was it ever stated. What I have stated one does not have to be an expert; It's pretty much common knowledge. Harry is trying to confuse the matter with the "number" of OPRA request vs the "amount" of information in one request. In answer to your question, YES! I am absolutely for open and transparent government. That is a right we have. However, as I stated previously some people abuse rights afforded to us. It is my opinion, and others, that Scheeler is doing just that. He isn't just submitting an OPRA for a particular event or situation. He is "digging" (as some would say) for information. Basically searching and trying to see any little slip-ups by the township. His OPRA request have no personal interest and even though I know they do not have to have that, he is doing it for the sake of exercising his right. But it would appear he is over-stepping that right and misusing the law to harrass the functioning of Galloway Township's government for his own purposes. Can you now convince me where you practice law?
Bill July 12, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Welcome to the Grand Illusion! I thought you 2 were on the same team? On one hand, we have Scheeler stating Galloway is spending thousands to stop these documents from being let out. And then we have McCoyle stating Galloway continues to honor Scheeler's requests. It's safe to say Diogenes was right on, it's time to take on his advice. I'm sure in time all will come out. Beware of what you wish for.
JerseyDevil July 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Well now Harry, I see you've resorted to name calling. I'm curious, from where did you receive your law degree? I've read on more than one occasion statements by you ending in " has no legal merit ". Perhaps you've a degree in English? Taxpayer is one word, a compound word, not two words. Stop hitting the space bar between typing tax and payer. Also, due and do are homonyms not synonyms. I guess it could be a Journalism degree. Naaa.
smithvillian July 12, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Bill...your argument doesn't hold water. In fact, your perspective is skewed because of the "majority" that you are fraternizing with in your personal affairs. Of course those that are sharing with you share the same ideology as you with regard to what Harry is reporting. They are on the receiving end of what is being reported. Does that mean it's not newsworthy to bring it the forefront? Are you seriously going to stand behind not recognizing that there has been a demonstrated impairment of integrity with regard to the activities uncovered within Galloway Twp. There are paper trails that lead to activity that is well beyond that of mismanaged government. The only thing being mismanaged right now is how they are going to address the corruption. Anyone....and I mean ANYONE who is not interested in what is being reported either is afraid that their party is about to abruptly end, a family member of said party that can't believe their loved one would engage in such a manner or a political nutswinger of such. So....which one are you..?..Take your pick.
Diogenes July 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Bill and Jersey Devil, I address this to you. See, Bill: I told you that Harry Scheeler would resort to name calling, as when he referred to you as a "moron". Jersey Devil: obviously Harry Scheeler doesn't have command of English. It goes far beyond the occasional typos you would expect to see in these postings. There are frequent grammar and syntax errors that students learn about in elementary school. And by his own admission he claims that he cost the taxpayers of Galloway $10,000 because of his harrassing Galloway with OPRA requests. Harry apparently imagines that he is like a caped crusader, and the poor residents of Galloway are benighted sheep who need Harry Scheeler to protect and enlighten them. Well, the truth is, we in America get the government officials that we decide to elect, and if the residents of Galloway aren't satisfied with their mayor and council, they will vote them out. If not, then it shows the voters are satisfied with those they chose, Harry Scheeler notwithstanding. And If I want responsible investigative reporting, I will rely on the professional reporters from the AC Press, not some local blogger that uses OPRA requests to pump up his blog in a narcissistic attempt for celebrity. Bill and Jersey Devil, it's really best to completely ignore Harry Scheeler; responding to him is what he craves; it reinforces his desire to seem relevant. And now I shall go back to ignoring Harry Scheeler.
JerseyDevil July 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Thank you for the advice and I too shall return to ignoring Harry Scheeler.
Bill July 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I will as well. I think McCoyle should try to get their clerk job back in another town as well.

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