Township Committee discusses Cinnaminson Sports Commissioner Advisory Group

Mayor Minniti proposed the group but faced some resistance.

At Monday’s township committee work session meeting, Mayor Anthony Minniti detailed his proposal for the formation of a Cinnaminson Sports Commissioner Advisory Group, something that was initially intended to be part of the parks ordinance.

“This board would operate most likely quarterly as opposed to monthly, and most of it would be for helping the organizations work within the structure of the new park ordinance and also help for the improvement and evolution of the park ordinance, as it is probably going to change over time,” Minniti said. “The individuals who are most impacted are the sports groups, and this gives them a formal seat at the table, so to speak, in that process. The current parks and recs committee as it is constituted now predates our parks ordinance.”

The group was set to be comprised of one representative from each recognized in-town sports organization as well as memberships considered Non-RSOs, provided the organization is at least 50 percent Cinnaminson residents and are the only organizational sports offering.

Minniti further explained with the current parks and recreation board set up with only seven seats, it is impossible for every sports team to be equally represented and still allow for input from recreation.

Recently, a few residents have expressed concern over the process used to appoint parks and recreation chairpersons, and Minniti says he proposed the group as a way to solve this problem. However, some residents, in addition to Committeeman Howard “Bud” Evans and parks and recreation chairperson Debbie Wojcik, weren’t on board with the idea.

“I don’t know whether or not this would be an undue burden on the sports organizations to force them to get together on a secondary time,” Evans said. “You’re adding another step. These RSOs are capable enough to show up to the parks and recs.”

Minniti responded the advisory group would not be an extra step, but a different step.

“It’s sort of specializing the sports organizations and putting them in a position where they’re meeting and handling things that’s their focus,” Minniti said. “I actually think that unburdens them. They don’t have to worry about 12 meetings, maybe they only have to worry about four.”

Minniti added the meetings would not be a requirement for sports commissioners, and they would still have the option of attending parks and recreation meetings if they so choose.

Wojcik said she doesn’t see the need for every sports organization to be represented at all times, and she doesn’t feel as though any commissioners have been underrepresented.

Committeeman Donald Brauckmann, the liaison to parks and recreation, was also against the idea of the advisory group.

“There have been multiple times in the past six years that the groups have gotten together and that we have gotten feedback from all the commissioners, and that’s done as needed. I think the group that we have works very well together,” Brauckmann said.

Ultimately, the group was not created, and Young mentioned coming up with a modified format. Minniti said the group was intended to benefit the sports commissioners, and if they aren’t interested, there is no reason to move forward.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for these organizations to continue to do well and thrive,” Minniti said. “This discussion is for you guys to think about. If you think this is a good idea, you have this option.”

In other news:

• Committee discussed the possible retirement of the “Cinnaminson NJ — Community Connection” Facebook page run by Brauckmann that has since been renamed “Cinnaminson — Connecting Residents to Residents.”

The page has been around for approximately seven years, and despite never being decided as the official Facebook page of Cinnaminson Township, many residents have seen it as such, as there was previously a link to the page on the township website.

Minniti says he has received multiple complaints about the messages on the page in regard to leaning toward a specific political party. Director of Public Safety Michael King also reported receiving a complaint.

Brauckmann said he has been posting disclaimers on the page advising it is run by a resident and has also changed the “about” section to reflect this. As of March 9, the page was still up and running.

• The Memorial Park parking lot project will begin as soon as weather permits, according to Young. The project has been delayed due to funds allocated for the parking lot being shifted to another project. Committee is unsure if the lot will be completed by Memorial Day.

• After asking Brauckmann if he had been recruiting for the chief of police position, and Brauckmann responding he had not, Committeeman John McCarthy read an email from a “high-ranking police officer” that was sent to King last month.

The email reports a conversation between the officer and Brauckmann in regard to promotions. The phone call reportedly started as a request for assistance with the new township email system, then the officer says Brauckmann asked if he was alone and if he had heard anything in regard to being promoted to lieutenant.

The officer went on to say Brauckmann told him his plan was to get the officer promoted to lieutenant, then appoint a police chief after a year or two.

“Mr. Brauckmann further indicated that he is not insinuating Director King would be let go, but that he would move to being the township manager only and that a department would be better off with a chief of police,” McCarthy read.

McCarthy said that he believed this email was contradictory to what Brauckmann had answered previously, but Brauckmann disagreed.

“It was a very matter-of-fact conversation,” Brauckmann said. “I said I’d like to see us moving in that direction.”

Township solicitor John Gillespie says he will speak to the labor council about the email.

• The next township committee meeting will be held on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.