HOLMDEL — By a margin of nearly 500 votes, residents rejected a charter review commission’s recommendation to institute a new form of municipal government in Holmdel.
A special election was held on July 26 and according to results posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, the public question that asked voters if they wanted to change Holmdel’s form of government was dismissed by a tally. of 2,452 “no” votes against 1,963”. yes” votes.
The results are unofficial and include votes that were cast at the polls on July 26 and mail-in ballots on election night. Ballot ballots, late ballots and provisional ballots are pending, according to the county clerk’s website.
Under New Jersey’s absentee ballot law, counting of absentee ballots will continue after Election Day. The law permits the receipt of postal ballots by the Electoral Council up to six days after the close of the poll, provided the ballot is postmarked on election day (July 26), according to the County Clerk’s website.
Any pending votes that remain to be processed may change the final vote count, but are unlikely to change the outcome of the election.
Holmdel has 14,111 registered voters and 4,442 ballots were cast in the July 26 special election.
The study of the charter commission which was constituted by the voters to study Holmdel’s current form of government made the following recommendations:
• Change from the current township committee form of government to the township-manager council form of government;
• Five members of the township council (including a mayor) will be elected at large and not by wards; it would resemble the current form of township committee government;
• The mayor will chair meetings of the municipal council, vote with the other members of the council – like the current municipal committee – but the mayor will be directly elected by the voters and not appointed by the members of the governing body as is currently the case. case ;
• Members of the municipal council, including the mayor, will be elected for a four-year term on a staggered basis every two years;
• A professional manager will be appointed by the members of the municipal council. The Director will direct the day-to-day administration of Holmdel in accordance with the will and intent of the Council – similar to the current Township Administrator;
• The administrator can be removed by a simple majority (three votes) of the municipal council, contrary to the current requirement of two-thirds (four votes) to remove the administrator;
• Municipal council elections will be held on a non-partisan basis, similar to the current elections for school board members in Holmdel Township schools. If they wish, candidates can campaign and advertise their political party affiliation;
• Under the council-manager form of government, residents of Holmdel will have the ability to introduce a local ordinance or overrule an ordinance that has been passed by council through a petition process known as initiative and referendum.
The members of the charter study commission were Kin Gee, William Kastning, Janet Berk, Gerald Buffalino and Zachary Gilstein.
Because the voters rejected the public question, Holmdel will retain its partisan form of township committee.
A primary election will continue to be held several months before the general election so that registered Democrats and Republicans in Holmdel have the opportunity to nominate those who will run for local office on the party line.
A resident who wishes to run for a seat on the township committee as an independent candidate will still be able to file a nomination petition to run in local elections without having to participate in a primary election.
Six residents who previously qualified to run in the Nov. 8 general election will now run for two three-year terms on the township committee: Republicans Kimberley LaMountain and Brian Foster; Democrats Barbara Singer and Rahul Diddi; and independent candidates Prakash Santhana, who currently sits on the board, and Rajesh Mohan.
Holmdel currently operates under the township committee form of government. There are five committee members, all of whom are elected at-large and each of whom can be identified by political party affiliation (i.e., Democrat or Republican).
Independent candidates can also seek municipal office under the current form of government.
The mayor of Holmdel is not directly elected by the voters. Each January, the five-member township committee elects one person to sit on the board of directors to serve as mayor for the year. The mayor chairs the meetings of the municipal committee.
Under the proposed form of government, voters would have directly elected the mayor, who would have served a four-year term.