After hearing several members of the public mention that they had no idea a meeting had been scheduled to discuss the approval of funding for an artificial turf field at the high school, Haddonfield Commissioner Jeff Kasko agreed that the process needed to be possibly revamped to provide more time for borough citizens to see what’s happening in upcoming meetings.
Three members of the audience complained at Thursday night’s rescheduled borough meeting that they had no idea that the borough was discussing the possibility of spending more than $350,000 for an artificial turf field at a meeting on May 22. The meeting was dominated by pro-turf supporters, but as Mayor Tish Colombi did point out, a number of anti-turf citizens did speak up at the meeting.
Haddonfield residents Mary Fagan and Sherry Gallagher both argued that it was difficult to obtain information about upcoming Haddonfield meetings and that the agendas for commissioner meetings are either posted late on the day of the meeting or in some cases not at all. Gallagher said she didn’t see the agenda posted for the turf meeting at all on the day of the meeting. Kasko said it was posted at 5 p.m. that night, certainly not enough time to disseminate the information to the public at large.
The borough needs to set a standard for when the agendas will be made public, he said, like surrounding municipalities. Moorestown Township, Cherry Hill, and other municipalities typically post their meeting agendas at least 24-hours ahead of time, he said.
“It was not publicized adequately by the borough, you’re absolutely correct,” Kasko said. “The borough failed to adequately prepare the public about this issue. We failed and it’s something that needs to be discussed.”
Kasko said that the Haddonfield Sun and Haddonfield Patch websites carried stories about the turf meeting prior to its date on May 22, but the borough never advertised the meeting in its official newspaper, The Retrospect.
Kasko also said that the Haddonfield Turf Committee didn’t provide him with any information or project documentation about the proposed turf field prior to the May 22 meeting. He said he was handed a piece of paper “10 minutes” before the meeting on May 22.
Borough Clerk Deanna Speck is in charge of posting agendas online. She was not in attendance at the Thursday, June 14 meeting. The agenda for the meeting is still not posted on the website as of the publication of this article.
Please visit the Haddonfield Sun website later on the week for more details.