Princeton Borough Selects Consolidation Transition Task Force Members

The Princeton Borough Council selected citizen representatives to the joint consolidation task force Tuesday night despite the objections of one council member.

Council members voted 5-1 to approve Mark Freda, Hendricks Davis and Brad Middlekauff as transition task force members. Resident Jim Levine will serve as an alternate.

The subcommittee that recommended the task force members came to the conclusion that the task force would not include members of the consolidation and shared services commission who had applied. That commission will still be participating in the consolidation process and Township Committeeman Bernie Miller will serve as a liaison from the commission on the task force.

Council President Barbara Trelstad said the selection committee received feedback from council members on the candidates and then looked at who the township selected as its representatives before choosing its own representatives.

“We reviewed township selections, looked at our candidates and tried to balance the skills, and neighborhood representation on the task force,” Trelstad said. “I would strongly suggest that all resumes we received are forwarded to the transition task force for subcommittees. I would also suggest that representatives from CGR (the consolidation commission’s consultant) make a presentation to the task force and outline the work product expected of them so they will then be able to get to work. Perhaps the University, if asked would consider hosting such a meeting.”

Martindell said the pool of candidates for the task force was superb but he was going to vote against the appointments.

“I do so not because any individuals are not good candidates. They are all good candidates,” he said. “I’m going to vote against it for a different reason. We had 28 people who applied. A small group of people met in closed sessions to select eight. Really it was seven because of one self-disqualified individual.  It is unfortunate the seven were selected because ther may have been a larger pool that had talented additional people. I’m  thinking particularly of a couple of women who are Borough residents high up in the administration of Princeotn University. They weren’t even interviewed. I think it was done because they are employed by the university.

“We didn’t interview anyone employed by the university and that was a mistake,” Martindell said. “It shows a degree of arbitrariness, capriciousness, and unreasonableness that doesn’t really say much for the process…If the process included a larger group than the original seven chosen in closed session, I would be much more enthusiastic.”

Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller told Martindell he was being countrerproductive by casting a pall over the process.

“We all had a disucssion of how this process would go,” she said. “You didn’t say a single thing against it when we discussed it, only later, and you didn’t tell us your preferences either. You knew wer were meeting. You didn’t complain about the process until after we made a decision. You delegated it and now you are complaining because you didn’t get the people you wanted.”

Councilwoman Heather Howard said she was pleased the council was moving forward. “We should be very proud of who we are nominating,” she said.

“The fact that we are having a special meeting tonight to select the members shows we feel a certain degree of urgency to get this under way,” added Councilman Kevin Wilkes.

Mayor Yina Moore said the first meeting of the task force will tentatively take place either Jan. 30 or 31. People not chosen for the task force will be welcome to serve on subcommittees.