The governing body has scheduled two (2) special meetings this month to interview for 16 professional service contracts for the coming year.
This will be the second year that this new process of having the entire governing body being able to directly speak as a group to those wanting to serve the borough will occur. Previously, bids were reviewed individually and the recommended bidders were put on the agenda for the reorganization meeting to be voted on at the start of the year. This practice allows for a real-time interaction between those elected to look out for the best interest of the residents and those who wish to provide the necessary services for the municipality.
Tonight, December 10th, will have mayor & council review the bids and hold contract negotiations for the following services:
- Borough Attorney
- Municipal Prosecutor
- Public Defender
- Affordable Housing Attorney
- Bond Counsel
- Redevelopment Counsel
The position of borough attorney has two bids from Antonelli, Kantor, PC out of Union Township and Triarsi, Betancourt, Wukovits & Dugan, LLC out of Cranford. Antonelli, Kantor placed a bid of $55,000 and the current council legal representative Triarsi, Betancourt, Wukovits & Dugan has put in a bid of $50,000 – the same rate they have put in since 2012. Richard Huxford is the attorney who represents the municipality at municipal meetings as well as in court.
The position of municipal prosecutor had three firms put in a bid for 2019.
The law firm of Jalloh & Jalloh – which represents the Municipal Land Use Board – quoted $150/hour “or the prevailing rate of the municipality”.
Russell J. Huegel – who was the municipal prosecutor in 2015 and 2016 – put in a bid for $24,000. This is 60% higher than the $15,000 he was paid each of the two years he served as municipal prosecutor.
Triarsi, Betancourt, Wukovits & Dugan has placed in its bids that if it serves as borough attorney, it will be the municipal prosecutor for an additional $2,000. If the governing body opts to use the firm solely as the prosecutor, its bid was $17,500.
Three law firms put in bids for public defender. Fruchter, Weiss & Associates, the current public defender, put in a bid of $15,000 which has remained unchanged since 2015. Jill Anne Lazare out of Summit had a bid of $20,000. The law firm of Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, LLC from Cranford stated that it understands “that the compensation for the position of Public Defender is fixed and will gladly accept the remunerated amount for this position.”
The two firms bidding to be the borough’s housing attorney are Aloia Law Firm, LLC out of Bloomfield and Jeffrey R. Surenian and Associates, LLC from Brielle.
Aloia Law Firm offered a rate of $200/hour for partners, $175/hour for associates, and $100/hour for paralegals.
Jeffrey R. Surenian and Associates gave rates for Mr. Surenian at $185/hour; $170/hour for attorneys with 10+ years’ experience; $160/hour for attorneys with between 3 to 9 years’ experience; $150/hour for attorneys with less than three years’ experience; and $70/hour for paralegals.
Bond Counsel had four firms bid: Gibbons, PC; McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC; Rogut McCarthy, LLC; and Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA. Each had a tiered rate for different services.
The redevelopment attorney position also had four (4) bidders. Chasan, Lamparello, Mallon & Cappuzzo, PC from Secaucus had a rate of $180/hour. Louis P. Rago’s rate was $175/hour. McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC put in an hourly rate of $225 for attorneys and $135 for legal assistants. For services to be reimbursed by a developer, the hourly rates were $350 for attorneys and $190 for legal assistants. Savo, Schalk, Gillespie, O’Grodnick & Fisher, PA bid a rate of $175/hour for partners and $145/hour for associates.
Chasan, Lamparello, Mallon & Cappuzzo, PC bid for Redevelopment Attorney
Louis P. Rago bid for Redevelopment Attorney
McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC bid for Redevelopment Attorney
Savo, Schalk, Gillespie, O’Grodnick & Fisher, PA bid for Redevelopment Attorney
Even though the dollar amount charged for services are not the end-all decision making factor – there are matters of satisfaction of prior service with governing bodies and other issues – the taxpayer dollar is a major issue that impacts property taxes.
This and the December 19th interview session are held now so that professional services can be voted on during the first meeting of 2019. Mayor-elect Joseph Signorello and Fifth Ward Council-elect Robert Mathieu are invited to be part of these sessions since they will take office January 1st.
Tonight’s meeting will be mostly held in closed session but there will be one public comment portion at the start of the meeting and another one after the governing body returned from executive session.
Members of the public are welcomed to attend the meeting which will be held in the second-floor conference room of the Roselle Park Municipal Complex located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.