Verona Debates Televising Budget Workshop
Township Council split over whether to televise upcoming session.
The Verona Township Council is scheduled to start its yearly budget workshop on Monday, Feb. 25, but whether the meetings are televised is still up for debate.
In the past, public council meetings have been available on Verona's VTV local access channel, but budget workshops have not.
Verona Councilmen Michael Nochimson and Kevin Ryan argued in favor of televising the workshops during Tuesday night's meeting, citing “full disclosure” and “transparency.”
“A public workshop involving the general public should be available to citizens of Verona whether they attend the meeting live or view it at home,” Nochimson said later.
While Deputy Mayor Bob Manley was indifferent to televising the workshops, Mayor Frank Sapienza and Township Manager Joseph Martin were opposed.
Sapienza said he disagrees with televising the workshops since councils have not televised them in the past.
“It stifles discussion and invites grandstanding,” Martin told the council on Tuesday.
“I don't believe that’s the case,” said Nochimson. “I think anything that goes on should be broadcasted. We are representatives of the people and they deserve to know what should be discussed as long a it's public session.”
The matter was not resolved during the meeting and no vote was taken since Councilman Jay Sniatkowski was not present at the meeting.
As of now, Monday’s 7 p.m. budget workshop at the Verona Community Center will not be televised.
“There is information discussed in these workshops that is important and relevant to the taxpayers of Verona and they should be informed on what transpired,” Nochimson concluded.