From The Brigantine Taxpayers Association >>>> In 2013, a local group, Respectable Government for Brigantine, by means of petition and referendum, attempted to change Brigantine from its current council-manager form to a voter-rejected form, that of a three-member commission. The petition was never certified by the city clerk, nor could it be, due to the repeated lack of compliance by the group with the clearly-stated legal state requirements. Months passed and the attempt was dead. Or could it be resuscitated?
This issue has slipped under the radar, receiving little publicity. That’s a shame, because it concerns accountability, transparency in government and an unnecessary and opportunistic use of property tax revenue. It also reveals disrespect for, and ignorance of, the law.
Along comes another petition in 2014 to abolish the position of public safety director. The group then filed a legal action, an order to show cause, against the city requesting a delay in the special election for the public safety director in order to manipulate the 2014 referendum to accommodate their failed 2013 petition. There was no legal basis for such an action but the city was forced to respond immediately to it because of the timing for the election. Once the judge and attorneys heard of the legal violations that occurred with the 2013 petition, the lawsuit was voluntarily withdrawn. It never went to court.
The Respectable Government for Brigantine group had embarked on litigation without due diligence or concern for the taxpayers, who have paid almost $14,000 in legal fees for this case. In addition to the waste of taxpayer money, the group’s pattern of disdain for the law (“It’s just a technicality.”) is not an appropriate and credible position for those engaging in governmental issues.
Such a pattern is a contradiction of the group’s declarations that it acts in the public interest.
Anne H. Phillips
Brigantine Taxpayers Association