Letter to the Editor: Morris Township officials put residents last

Morris Township Municipal Building. Photo: MorrisTwp.com
Morris Township Municipal Building. Photo: MorrisTwp.com

Editor’s note: The opinions here are the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my deep disappointment at the way the Morris Township Planning Board handled the public comment session it conducted on July 17, 2017, for the review of the Township Master Plan, a comprehensive long-range plan that will govern land use in the Township for the next 10 years.

Those of us who have been following the process were eager to attend the public session. Some submitted queries via email, but we were told others with questions or concerns would also be able to speak.

The session began promptly at 7:30 p.m., but it became obvious that this was a final editing session for the Board; the residents present were barely acknowledged throughout most of the meeting.

In fact, the Master Plan document that was online was not the document the Board discussed. That made it difficult for the public to follow along.

The chair of the Board, Rick Haan, kept promising the attendees they would have a chance to comment, but the only ones allowed to comment prior to 10 p.m. were a group concerned about sidewalks in their neighborhood.

A number of us left at that time because it was obvious the Board was going continue its editing work before allowing others to comment.

On the plus side, the Master Plan is a very detailed, professional document and obviously the result of much hard work. The downside is that once again the Township Committee and its Board pays little heed to public input.

Why was the public comment session scheduled at the very end of the process? The Master Plan will be finalized in the next few weeks. Why can’t public comment be presented at the start of a Township meeting? Why couldn’t the small edits be done via email earlier so the meeting could focus on substantive matters?

As it stands, I had three specific questions I never got to ask.

By the way, this is certainly not the first time a Township governing body has been dismissive of its residents. I attended and spoke in support of the Fair and Welcoming resolution at the May Township Committee meeting.

While the members of the committee certainly had a right to vote down our resolution, it did not appear that any of them were even clear about what we were proposing.

It had nothing to do with sanctuary cities, by the way. Even worse, in his recap of the meeting the following day, Mayor Bruce Sisler never even mentioned the resolution, which took up the majority of the meeting.

Our Township governing bodies need to become much more responsive to their residents, particularly at public meetings.

Noel Robinson, Ph.D.
Morris Township

Noel Robinson is former chairwoman of the Township Democratic committee.

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  1. Are you surprised? The township treats anyone who is not a member of the ruling party with animosity and disdain. They don’t care about you. If you are in disagreement they ignore you. Remember when the monks at delbarton wanted to level and remove an entire forest for a CCRC that no one other than a group aging religious people wanted. But the Township bent over backwards to please these folks. Bad form!!! What makes you think that they have your best interest in mind? They don’t.
    I sold my home of 16 years in the Township for a reason. I’ll never live there again. Bad people. All of those Tories, I mean Republicans. Ah. The ruling class. Nothing ever changes but change itself.

  2. Perhaps one should articulate what they would change in Morris Township? Low taxes, good schools, excellent responsive government. Can you give an example of how our towns civil servants have not provided an excellent place to live? I can give several examples of when the city promptly and professionally responded to my neighborhoods needs.

    You are a political operative, but you need to offer examples of how you can Morris Township better. Simply complaining that our current government is “not listening ” to you is not enough. If you want to lead you need to say something of value to the community.

  3. Re: Letter to the Editor: Morris Township officials put residents last | Morristown Green

    I was not in attendance at the recent Morris Twp. planning board meeting, but I did attend the May Township Committee meeting where the subject of a “Welcoming Resolution” was being requested to be made formally by the township committee. I gathered it was quite disappointing for those pressing for the resolution to not have it approved by the committee. However, to take the position that the township committee puts residents last because they did not agree with their request is baseless and ill-founded. I for one feel our community of Morris Township, and those elected to serve it’s residents, overall are exemplary and accommodating to all, regardless of their legal status, and that is what this was all about. Welcoming everyone is nice, and that we are, but following the laws of our country is what’s really important. If one isn’t satisfied with our laws the way they are then they should work to change them.

  4. Since she is obviously a resident, interested and concerned, perhaps a member of the Township committee could reach out and ask.

  5. This letter articulately discusses the Morris Township Committee’s lack of a respectful process for including public participation in these meetings….in this instance, a document which was wrongfully provided as the subject of discussion turned out of be NOT the document in discussion causing public confusion, a meeting billed to be for public comment did not really respectfully include public comment, the public statements of the content of Committee meetings do not provide any of the public’s input….It is apparent that this Committee does not value their own constituents time, input, or worth.

  6. Does Noel actually have a point? What is she rambling about? What were Noel’s three points she wanted to raise? Sanctuary cities? Yes/No? Huh? Maybe this wasn’t an issue of limited time to speak and more of an issue with Noel being unable to express herself coherently.