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Carol Marsh on police union request to move council meeting venue

From the desk of City Council President Carol Marsh:

At the last Council meeting, members of the City Council and Mayor Zimmer
listened to more than 4 hours of public testimony at the start the meeting
regarding the planned layoffs in the police department. Everyone, even
those who were not signed up to speak, was offered the opportunity to
address the Council. As a result, the Council meeting did not finish until
after 2 AM.

We have received a request that our next council meeting be held in a
venue to accommodate up to 500 people. While it is appropriate and
important that we listen to the public, we must balance the need to hear
from members of the public against the need to conduct the City’s
business.

As a result, in consultation with Mayor Zimmer, we plan to provide an
overflow room in City Hall to accommodate additional members of the public
who may wish to attend the upcoming meeting. In order to balance the need
for community input while conducting the City’s business, we plan to allow
a reasonable period of time at the beginning of the meeting for the public
to speak on the resolution which was tabled at the last council meeting.

We ask that the organizers of this protest identify appropriate group
leaders and any other members of the community to speak as representatives
during the initial portion of the meeting, perhaps giving priority to
those who did not address the Council at the last meeting. As always,
additional community input can be provided during the public portion of
the meeting.  We will work closely with Police Chief Falco, and we are
confident in his department’s ability to maintain a safe environment for
everyone as they did at the prior meeting.

Council meetings are just one way for the public to provide input to their
elected officials. For those who are not able to attend the meetings
because of work or other reasons, all members of the council can be
contacted via the email addresses which are published on the city website,
www.hobokennj.org. Finally, public demonstrations are an important aspect
of our democracy, and I have been assured that the Administration will
work to ensure the safety of participants at any such demonstration.

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