Letter to the Editor: Three Mayors and a Citizen Outraged by Hopewell Township Process

To the Editor:

We, three former Hopewell Township mayors and a citizen, who span various demographics, including political party affiliation, gender, and age, were outraged by what we witnessed at the recent Hopewell Township Special Committee meeting on Thursday, December 7 at 6:15pm. We were also the only members of the public to attend.

While we are still trying to determine how the meeting was lawfully noticed, we know what occurred.

The public received minimal notification of this important meeting, which was called solely to introduce the first reading of an ordinance that would forever remake the west side of Scotch Road by transferring Township land to C. F. Hopewell, Inc. in an exchange of property.  The meeting was apparently posted on the Township website only the day before it occurred. At the meeting, we learned that some, but not all, of the legal notifications were published in newspapers that went to print after the meeting was over.

For meeting notification requirements, see the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act but clicking here.

Only a bare quorum of three Township Committee members (Kuchinski, McGlaughlin, Sandom) were available to attend, and one member of that group was apparently so rushed that she attended the meeting with her dog accompanying her on the dais.

The meeting itself was so rushed that the salute to the flag was omitted; the standard opportunity for the public to comment on any agenda item before being considered by the Committee was omitted; and there was no paper agenda available for the public outside the municipal auditorium. Once public comment was allowed at the end of the meeting, the three minute opportunity to speak was strictly enforced, even though only four people attended the meeting and the meeting took less than 20 minutes. The Township attorney invented, without precedent, a never-before-heard-of prohibition preventing any speaker from speaking twice. Hostility to the public was evident even before being confronted with an intimidating threat of police intervention. In sum, the entire process was an embarrassment to the concept of good, open government.

Hard to believe?  Watch the videotape for yourself.

Harvey Lester, Titusville

Jon Edwards, Pennington

Jim Burd, Titusville

Melanie Phillips, Pennington

If you rely on MercerMe for your local news, please support us.

To keep the news coming, we rely on support from subscribers and advertising partners. Hyperlocal, independent, and digital — MercerMe has been providing Hopewell Valley its news since 2013. Subscribe today.


  1. UnPowered™ By TeleVue CloudCast?

    The township’s new software is just OK to bring in video,
    however it fails to bring in audio, so that a person with
    normal hearing can easily understand it.

    I would like to see close-ups of the person who’s speaking,
    instead of one far-away shot of the room. As to what each
    person was saying, that was too low to comfortable hear.

    What did Jim Burd say that was so threatening that “law enforcement”
    was about to be called in?

    Can anyone tell me how I could amplify the audio on the 2nd video?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.