According to Mayor Joseph Accardi, the issue related to the position of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) – which has been on-going since last month – is about to encounter its first potential problem on December 16th when the deadline for some pending grants occurs. The municipality currently has no CAO since council voted earlier this month against having Doreen Cali add that position to her current role as Borough Clerk.
“I’m not convinced that all the grants that we needed to apply for by December 16th are completed,” Mayor Accardi stated during the December 7th Budget Workshop.
“There are a number of grants that are currently sitting there that need to be submitted,” remarked 5th Ward Councilman Michael Yakubov in regard to the grant submittals, “We have some department heads who have written these grants but are not familiar with every type of grant and the phases that have to go into it.”
Councilman Yakubov asked the Borough Clerk to send council a list of the responsibilities of the CAO and to give a description of grants and the dates of when they are due. The mayor added that some community grants which are pending do not have the necessary documentation to have them submitted.
“It’s an issue that needs to be addressed,” Mayor Accardi said, “Because one grant gets lost and we’ve blown the budget for the year.”
Councilman Yakubov asked council to give recommendations as what course to follow; be it hire a CAO, delegate responsibilities throughout the departments, provide training, or other recommendations.
“Until this matter is resolved then I should say that department heads should be handling those tasks,” remarked Councilman Miranda. He also added that he would contact the departments he is a liaison for – police and code enforcement – to see what grants are pending.
Although the amount of money that will be lost due to pending grants not being submitted properly was not disclosed at the workshop, the decision by the Borough Clerk to not complete those grants as well as the inaction of council to address the effects of her decision might jeopardize possible funds that would impact the municipal budget.
Research conducted by Roselle Park News on the ordinance establishing the duties of the CAO found that nowhere does it mention grant writing – or any sort of grant writing coordination – as part of the Chief Administrative Officer’s 17 responsibilities.
In addition, the matter of having the Borough Clerk take on the sole additional duty of Grants Coordinator could be addressed by council voting on and passing a resolution which would add that service to her current responsibilities. According to subsection (L) of the Power and Duties of the Municipal Clerk, the employee in that position could perform ‘other such services as the Mayor and Council may require by resolution or otherwise.’
The next Mayor & Council meeting will is scheduled for December 15, 2011 at 7 p.m. in Borough Hall.
(A copy of the Powers & Duties for both the Chief Administrative Officer and Municipal Clerk are listed below for reference.)