Welcome To Sparta Recall

"Only you can solve the problem (of public corruption). The way you can solve the problem is by becoming more involved citizens, more involved voters. Because the one thing people in political life understand even more than a subpoena from my office is losing an election,"

"Hold people to what they tell you in campaigns. Make them tell you the truth. And if they don't, then you kick them out of office. That is what will begin to change the climate and culture in New Jersey more than any indictment that I will ever be able to bring, more than any public figure I put in jail,"

" Often the appearance of impropriety is enough to generate an investigation of a public official by a prosecutor."

Said Mr. Christopher Christie.

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey

Committee to Recall Manny Goldberg

Reasons to Recall Manny Goldberg
38 East Shore Trl. Sparta NJ 07871
Home (973)729-4347
(1279 votes) Faulkner Election (05/09/2006)
(1624 votes) Run-off Election (06/13/2006)


  • In our opinion deliberately colluded to pass an ordinance which would cover only the four vending machines in Station Park belonging to Deputy Mayor Brian Brady. (TC Minutes 6/26/07 pg.2, 10/23/07 pg.1, 11/27/07 pg.2, 12/11/07 pg.2&3, 1/8/08 pg.2, 2/26/08 pg.3&4)

  • Voted in favor of Limecrest Quarry purchase, without voter knowledge or approval, and without due diligence--incurring a huge liability upon the citizens of Sparta. The ensuing lawsuit (21 counts) down now to (17 counts) is wasting taxpayer dollars on legal defense (including some of plaintiff’s legal costs already awarded by the courts), and any future settlement which we might have imposed upon us. (Purchase Agreement Dated 8/28/07)

  • While serving as Mayor and without the consent of the Township Council, directed the Township Manager to stop the reverse 911 call that had been initiated to encourage voter participation in the Sparta High School bond referendum thereby interfering with the election process. (Councilman info)

  • While serving as Mayor Manny Goldberg without the knowledge of the Township Council, directly contacted Father McHugh Principal of Pope John High School in an attempt to discredit Mrs. Karen Scott, a candidate for the local school board, thereby interfering with the election process. (Police report & interview)

  • While serving as Councilman, Manny Goldberg on Sunday December 9th, 2007 approached the Non Perishable Manager Mr. Carl Bierwas, of the local Stop & Shop Supermarket in an obvious attempt to influence him to remove Petition Circulators seeking signatures on a Petition to Repeal a Sparta Township Solid Waste Utility Ordinance thereby interfering with the Statutory Right of the People. ( Police report & interview)

  • At the Sparta Township council meeting held on February 26, 2008 a list of bills was submitted for approval to the council. It contained an unauthorized purchase by Councilman Manny Goldberg of $274 worth of charges he put on his personal credit card, committing tax payer money. (TC Minutes 2/26/08 pg.13)

  • Under Mayor Goldberg’s administration, the Sparta Theater was rebuilt. This theater, built in the basement of the Panera Bread building. Although it seats many people at once, has only ONE EXIT. Surely, this should NOT have been approved by Sparta Township in its current configuration. In our opinion this is an accident waiting to happen.


  • Between 10/10/06 and 9/25/07, Councilman/Mayor Goldberg was absent for 8 Town Council meetings (the equivalent of 4 months). (TC Minutes 10/10, 10/24, 11/28, 12/12/06 & 7/10, 7/24, 9/11, 9/25/07)


  • Voted to double the animal licensing fees for all Sparta dogs and cats–but not those in Freden, Ogdensburg or Hardyston, 07 contract year, whom Sparta also serves. (TC Minutes 2/27/07 pg.4 & New Ordinance Adopted 2/27/07)

  • Mayor Goldberg stated he wanted to reexamine WHETHER the citizens of Sparta would like to have municipal garbage pickup in the original "Goals for 2006." He then voted to pass the ordinance, over tremendous voter anguish, and without voter approval. Consequently, the "Goals for 2006" have now been revised, with added editorial comment. (Township website).

  • While serving as Mayor created a committee to decorate the new Municipal Building with artwork, then proposed and voted for funds ($2,000) to do this while appointing his wife to the committee to spend the funds, thus creating a conflict of interest. (Councilman & clerk info)

  • As Mayor helped promote bid splitting as a means toward hastily constructing a retaining wall, that omitted planned steps as a way of circumventing the bid process, for the front lawn of the Municipal Building, solely for the sake of appearances and expediting he’s insistence on a ribbon-cutting ceremony at tax payers expense. (Councilman info)

Broken campaign promises:

At an exit interview, Karen Scott (a music teacher of 28 years) mentioned that she wanted to run for the Sparta School Board, because she didn't see eye-to-eye with the school's superintendent. Six months later her new boss, Father McHugh, told her he had been visited by Mayor Goldberg, who told him that he wanted Scott to quit the school board elections--and that there was an 'or else' attached to that request. The Mayor alleged that Scott made death threats against Sparta schools Superintendent Thomas Morton. Father McHugh stated that he felt he was being "strong-armed" by Goldberg. See the Daily Record 4/12/07, and the NJ Herald 4/11

JEER: "To Sparta Mayor Manny Goldberg, for clumsily trying to interfere in the town's school board election. Goldberg tried to convince candidate Karen Scott to leave the race by visiting her boss. What's worse is that with all sorts of rumors circulating, the mayor refuses to talk about the matter. That's not leadership!" The Daily Record 4/14/07

"Your single vote matters. We, the people of Sparta, must make the ultimate decisions as to how our town is governed and managed." See Sparta Independent 5/4/06.

"I will encourage my fellow council members to direct the Town manager to hold public meetings with the department heads." (NJ Herald 6/10/06) Just six months later, Mayor Goldberg renegged on this promise and denied a department head (Ralph D'Aries) the right to address a public meeting. Instead, that department head's concerns were only allowed to be aired in a "secret" executive session of the Council members alone. See TC minutes 1/9/07.

Manny Goldberg, and avid proponent of the high school renovation, has helped increase our annual tax bill--for that addition alone--to the tune of $435 a year (for property assessed at $300,000), for 30 years. Star Ledger 9/17/06.

Manny Goldberg stated that "because of recently approved school referendum, the council had to be careful about spending more taxpayers dollars on expensive projects. See Limecrest, White Lake (purchase and updates), turfed fields, ambulance takeover, health department merger, and proposed PAL building and stadium complex. TC minutes 11/21/06

Mayor Goldberg proposed using the Township website to communicate with the people. Goldberg stated that the column would be informational only, and would NOT be used for political purposes. TC minutes 11/21/06

"Any capital expense costing in excess of $1 million should be decided by the citizens through referendum." (NJ Herald 6/11/06)

"If I am elected to the Town Council, YOU HAVE MY WORD, I will not vote based on my personal opinions. I will take action based on the will of the citizens." (Letter to K.D. 5/12/06)

Campaigned that the $4 million budget surplus should be used to "provide taxpayers with a real municipal tax break." (NJ Herald 5/7/06)

Betrayed the citizens’ trust:

  • In our opinion Councilman Goldberg has broken the trust that we citizens placed in him. He has frivolously spent millions of Township dollars–all without our approval. The White Lake property cost $1.45 million, and another $1 million is now needed for improvements. The Limecrest Quarry was an additional $2.45 million–but is sure to escalate with the ensuing litigation. He has shown a blind eye to the plight of Sparta taxpayers who have yet begun to pay for the new $71.5 million high school, he is an avid proponent of building a new ($1-2 million) stadium complex, and a huge P.A.L. building for a yet undisclosed sum. (TC Minutes 7/10/07 pg.2, 11/8/07 pg.4, 11/27/07 pg.8, 12/11/07 pg.1, 1/8/08 pg.2&3)

Committee to Recall Michael Spekhardt

Reasons to Recall Michael Spekhardt
92 Fox Hollow Trl. Sparta NJ 07871
Home (973) 729-6065 Cell(973)271-5050
(1022 votes) Faulkner Election (05/09/2006)
(1252 votes) Run-off Election (06/13/2006)
Mrs. Ailish Hambel
(1030 votes) Faulkner Election (05/09/2006)
(1242 votes) Run-off Election (06/13/2006)


  • In our opinion knowingly colluded to pass a special vending machine ordinance which would only cover Deputy Mayor Brady’s four (non-compliant) vending machines in Station Park. (TC Minutes 6/26/07 pg.2, 10/23/07 pg.1, 11/27/07 pg.2, 12/11/07 pg.2&3, 1/8/08 pg.2, 2/26/08 pg.3&4)

  • Voted in favor of the ($2.45 million) Limecrest Quarry purchase without due diligence, and without the voters knowledge or approval. The resulting (21 count) down now to (17 count) lawsuit will ensure us huge legal expenses (on both sides) for years to come, in addition to any settlements that may come from the pending lawsuit.(Purchase Agreement Dated 8/28/07)

  • Over the past year, in 24 of the 26 Township Council sessions, the public was excluded under the Open Public Meetings Act. We were told the "subject matter would be made public when deemed appropriate." Evidently, none have been so deemed. (TC Minutes)

  • In our opinion Mayor Spekhardt used the Sparta Township website to assert his political views and opinions regarding the municipal garbage utility, and his recall–in both written and videotaped form. (Mayor's corner February 08)

  • While serving as Mayor, promoted and allowed the unauthorized expenditure of taxpayer dollars for the mailing of a letter to the public on December 20th 2007, following the public hearing on the garbage issue. No motion was made and no vote taken.


  • Mayor Spekhardt arrogantly and repeatedly interrupted the petition organizer on December 27th, 2007 and had the floor taken away from him several times while he was trying to explain the ramifications of a closed garbage utility to the people of Sparta. (TC CD 11/30/07 & 12/1/07 & TC Minutes 12/27/07 pg.2)

  • Mayor Spekhardt voted to double the cost of animal licensing fees–but only for the residents of Sparta. The other Townships we contract out our services to as of 12/07– Fredon, Hardyston and Ogdensburg did not see an increase. (TC Minutes 2/27/07 pg.4, New Ordinance Adopted 2/27/07)

  • On Mayor Spekhardt’s watch, numerous petitioners were harassed by police outside local stores and in the public library, in response to at least one phone call by Town Hall, and a personal visit by another council member. (Police report & TC Minutes 12/11/07)

  • At an October 9, 2007 Council meeting, Mayor Spekhardt asked for the final tally of the overall costs of the new Municipal building. It was never mentioned again in public, and at least one OPRA request on this matter was DENIED. (TC Minutes 10/9/07 pg.12)

  • Mayor Spekhardt informed us that the whole Council had authorized Mr. Underhill to send out the garbage proposition for bid. However, both Councilmen Murphy and Seelagy have stated they were not asked for their input, nor did they authorize that bid. (TC Minutes 12/1/07 pg.2 & 12/27/07 pg.3)

  • At the last public meeting on the proposed garbage ordinance (12/1/07), the Mayor responded, when asked why the rush, that the bid HAD TO BE SIGNED by December 2, 2007. As of this writing, it is still not signed. This, and all the above create in our opinion a crisis of confidence in our Mayor. (TC CD 11/30/07 & 12/1/07)

  • While serving as Deputy Mayor helped promote bid splitting as a means toward hastily constructing a retaining wall, that omitted planned steps as a way of circumventing the bid process, for the front lawn of the Municipal Building, solely for the sake of appearances and expediting the Mayor’s insistence on a ribbon-cutting ceremony at tax payers expense. (Councilman info)

  • While serving as Mayor, promoted and allowed the unauthorized expenditure of taxpayer dollars for the mailing of a letter to the public promoting the YES vote on March 6, 2008.

Broken campaign promises:

"Business as usual and 'no bid contracts are not acceptable.'

Also, in the same article, "my other priorities include being THE Council Person that is responsive and that listens to the people of Sparta while working on their behalf." Sparta Independent 5/4/06

Spekhardt said they hope to keep the workings of the council "transparent" for the people of Sparta. We were hoping that, too! Sparta Independent 7/19/07

Despite his call for "a more open dialogue" during the 2006 campaign, as mayor, Spekhardt behaved to the contrary. Last July, he refused to allow any but ONE of the approximately 50 residents in attendance at a Council meeting to even address the meeting with their concerns. See Advertiser-News 7/26/07

As Mayor, Spekhardt has failed to have a dialog with the community, choosing instead to operate behind closed doors--and violating the state's Open Public Records Act--in an attempt to make the details of the sale of Limecrest secret. NJ Herald 10/23/07

Mayor Spekhardt said of the petition drive "It's part of the process. People have the right to assembly peacefully, they have a right to speak and do whatever they want." Star Ledger 12/6/07

As the petitions for the legal recall of three council members were being circulated, Mayor Spekhardt falsely accused Jesse Wolosky of fraud over a technicality with his address. Evidently, the Mayor had already contacted Sparta's Postmaster, and the Board of Elections Administrator--who both confirmed Wolosky's address. These implied threats were leveled at Mr. Wolosky because he was exercising his rights as a citizen of New Jersey to circulate any petition of his choosing. Sparta Independent 3/13/08.

As NOT reported in the Sparta Independent: On March 25, 2008, Jesse Wolosky attended the Township Council meeting. Upon taking the floor, Mr. Wolosky gave his name and address, just like everyone else had done, and proceeded to speak to Mayor Spekhardt regarding his recall petition. Although Mr. Wolosky had the floor, the Mayor continued to speak in a low drone into his microphone, and crumple papers next to it, and then, accompanied by his wife and friends in the gallery, all started forcibly coughing--very loudly--so that Mr. Wolosky could not be heard. NOTE: No Township Council minutes have been posted for this date.

“The trust is on loan, because it needs to be earned everyday" (NJ Herald 7/7/06)

"First, (we should) start communicating" (NJ Herald 6/11/06)

"We should be able to get more information online and to the public." We are still in the dark. The garbage ordinance itself has been taken offline. (NJ Herald 6/11/06)

Mayor Spekhardt, when running for office, promised fiscal accountability. (NJ Herald 6/11/06)

Betrayed the citizens’ trust:

  • In our opinion Mayor Spekhardt has abused the trust that the citizens of Sparta have placed in his hands. He has been anything BUT fiscally conservative, with his approval of the purchase of the White Lake property ($1.45 million) and its concomitant $1 million in improvements, and the Limecrest Quarry for an additional $2.45 million. That price will obviously explode with the ongoing litigation. Mayor Spekhardt is apparently unfazed by the $71.5 million high school bill that we Spartans have not yet started to pay off–for he also approves the idea of building a new stadium complex ($1-2 million) and a huge P.A.L. building large enough to house two gymnasiums and room for a community center. He is squeezing the low and mid income citizens out of Sparta. (TC Minutes 7/10/07 pg.2, 11/8/07 pg.4, 11/27/07 pg.8, 12/11/07 pg.1, 1/8/08 pg.2&3

Committee to Recall Brian Brady

Reasons to Recall Brian Brady
HOME (973)729-4774 CELL (973)670-4773
(1150 votes) Faulkner Election (05/09/2006)
(1323 votes) Run-off Election (06/13/2006)


  • Deputy Mayor Brian Brady, as President of the Babe Ruth Baseball League in Sparta, leases, and is responsible for, four vending machines in Station Park, which are not, and have NOT been compliant with the existing ordinance in our opinion. He has been allowing Mayor Spekhardt and Councilman Goldberg, along with the Township Manager, to try to initiate another ordinance, solely to cover these illegal machines. This is a direct conflict of interest. Moreover, while serving as Councilman and Deputy Mayor has hidden the fact that he had unauthorized access to Township property and placed vending machines at Station Park for the sole purpose of benefiting his baseball organization by circumventing the approval process thus creating a conflict of interest. (TC Minutes 6/26/07 pg.2, 10/23/07 pg.1, 11/27/07 pg.2, 12/11/07 pg.2&3, 1/8/08 pg.2, 2/26/08 pg.3&4)

These are the Town Council minutes from February 26, 2008

Vending Machine Ordinance:
Mr. Underhill stated that the ordinance was referred to the Planning Board and they have made comments.

Councilman Murphy stated that there were ordinances already on the books that addressed vending machines and he felt that the current proposed ordinance was an attempt to circumvent the existing ordinances in order to legitimize some vending machines that were placed in Station Park in non-compliance.

Mr. Underhill stated that it was HIS decision to allow the vending machines in Station Park about seven or eight years ago. He stated that a Board of Health permit had not been issued over the past several years because it was in conflict with the zoning ordinance. Mr. Underhill stated that the zoning ordininace indicated that the machines could not be publicaly displayed and that was why the amendment was being proposed.

Mr. Ryan, the Township Attorney, stated that the proposed ordinance did not lift the responsibility of getting written permission from the Director of Recreation, or a permit from the Health Department.

Councilman Seelagy stated that he didn't feel having vending machines located in Station Park was a bad thing provided it did not conflict with licensing and health requirements.

Councilman Goldberg stated that he was fine with the proposed ordinance and did not see a point to Councilman Murphy's comments.

Mayor Spekhardt stated that he was also in agreement with the proposed ordinance.

After Council discussion, a decision was made to introduce the ordinance at the next Council meeting.

  • Councilman Brady approached the Captain of the Sparta Volunteer Ambulance Squad in 2007 with plans for the Township to take it over, and charge residents for its transportation services. Currently it is a free service. He had already contacted outside sources for approvals, and plans on initiating the change in the near future. (TC Minutes 3/27/07 pg. 7&8) As shown on our website, the March 27, 2007 TC minutes state that
    "Brady wanted to investigate further the billing for the use of the ambulance vehicle AND for
    the transportation of the patient."

  • Councilman Brady endorsed a plan for Sparta Township to artificially turf the field at Station Park, which then could be leased on a long-term basis by the Board of Ed, in our opinion specifically to avoid a referendum by the citizens.Sparta taxpayers, inessence, will be paying for the same field twice. (TC Minutes 5/22/07 pg.7, Sparta BoE Newsletter 10/07)

  • Deputy Mayor Brady voted in favor of purchasing the Limecrest Quarry, without voter knowledge or approval, and without due diligence–incurring a huge liability upon the citizens of Sparta. The ensuing lawsuit (21 counts) down now to (17 counts) is wasting taxpayers money on legal defense (including some of the plaintiff’s legal expenses already awarded by the courts), yes the other side won legal expenses and will doubtless continue for years until a settlement is reached–which we will also be responsible for paying. (NJ Herald 3/6/08, Sparta Ind. 3/13/08)


  • Deputy Mayor Brady voted to double the fees in Sparta, only, for licensing animals. None of the other towns we contract out in 2007- Hardyston, Ogdensburg, or Fredon – is affected by the 100% increase. (TC Minutes 2/27/07pg.4, Animal Ordinance Adopted 2/27/07)

  • Deputy Mayor Brady stated that COUNCIL authorized the Township Manager’s garbage proposition to go out to bid. Both Councilmen Seelagy and Murphy have stated that the Township Manager never sought their input before sending it out. (TC Minutes 12/1/07 pg.2)

  • As a newly elected Councilman, in our opinion manipulated his way to become the Council liaison to the Recreation Committee for the purpose of gaining control of a recreation field for an organization (Babe Ruth Baseball) of which he is the paid president and treasurer, thereby creating a public perception of a conflict of interest. Certificates of Insurance for 2004 and 2006 were missing from the OPRA request.

  • While serving as Councilman, in our opinion has continually been untruthful with information he has supplied to both the Recreation Director and Committee with the intent of gaining preferential treatment of field use for his baseball organization, particularly all-star teams which benefit players from outside the Township.

Broken campaign promises:

Brian Brady told the Sparta Independent that "Accountability is lacking in our local government. The current Council does what it wants with our tax dollars without regard for our consideration. Millions of dollars; this must stop! I would NEVER agree to spending millions of taxpayer dollars on infrastructure changes without voter input and approval." See Sparta Independent 5/04/06.

In the same article "This is our community and we all have a say, not just the five members of the Council. If I am elected to Council, you will ALWAYS be heard."

And also "...I am very much in favor of the citizens of the Township having the final voice, unlike the new Town Hall and the new Firehouse which was approved by Township Council and we were taxed to fund without having that voice." See Limecrest, White Lake (purchase and updates), turfed fields, ambulance takeover, health dept. merger, and proposed PAL building and stadium complex!

"I would like to give voters a choice before we spend millions of taxpayers' dollars. That does not go on today." Just as true today! See Star Ledger 5/3/06

Deputy Mayor Brian Brady had this to say about voters who oppose him: "(They are) misguided, confused, and arrogant!" He ought to know! Sparta Independent 3/13/08.

Brian Brady stated that a lot of people felt that the Town's ability to communicate was lacking, and that people wanted to be more involved. He stated that he saw it as the community giving ideas to the governing body. TC minutes 11/21/06

"Any large infrastructure projects should be approved by the citizens of Sparta."(NJ Herald 6/11/06)

"We work for you...we’re your voice." (NJ Herald 7/7/06)

"We need to get a weekly message to the citizens." (NJ Herald 6/11/06)

Betrayed the citizens’ trust:

  • In our opinion Deputy Mayor Brady has broken the trust that the citizens of Sparta had placed in him. He has been less than honest. He has frivolously spent millions of Township dollars without voter approval. The White Lake property cost $1.45 million, and yet another $1 million is needed for improvements. The Limecrest Quarry cost $2.45 million–but is certain to escalate with the ensuing litigation. Although we taxpayers of Sparta have an overly heavy tax burden, and have yet to begin paying for the new $71.5 million high school, Deputy Mayor Brady is staunchly in favor of building a proposed stadium complex for $1-2 million, and a P.A.L. building big enough to house two gymnasiums, and then some. (TC Minutes 7/10/07 pg.2, 11/8/07 pg.4, 11/27/07 pg.8, 12/11/07 pg.1, 1/8/08 pg.2&3)

Unanswered Questions?

-WHY did Sparta authorize the issuance of $13,973,865 in bond anticipation notes on May 15, 2008? How much is THAT going to cost us? Are we so broke that we can't carry on the business of the Township on our tax receipts alone? TC minutes 5/15/08

-WHY is it that Byram can purchase $4.25 million worth of land, and spend only $212,000 of their own budget; but when Sparta buys land (like the $2.45 million Limecrest Quarry), we pay full fare? The reason seems to be that Byram spent much time and effort in obtaining monies from the Sussex County Open Space Trust Fund, the NJ Green Acres Program, the NJ Conservancy Foundation, and the Morris Land Conservancy. WHY DIDN'T SPARTA? (NJHerald 5/7/08)

-WHY didthe Township Council complain about spending $17,000 for a public referendum, and one month later pass an ordinance giving themselves--the non-union municipal workforce--a salary increase of $355,000? Paid for, compliments of us, the taxpayers! (TC 2008 Budget Message)

-WHY is it, that when THREE Councilmen asked Manager Underhill on October 9, 2007 for a statistical report showing numbers and response times of our Police Department, he responded "That is more information than should be made privy to the public!" (This information is NOT available in the Town Council minutes--you'll have to get the CD and listen to the unedited text). Our Police Dept. is some 40 strong, and WE pay for their Police Academy training, their uniforms, their vests, their guns, their cars and accompanying equipment, and some very nice salaries and benefits, too. WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!!! By the way--in the February 13, 2007 Town Council minutes, Chief Reigstad told the Council that the average response time was, at that time, SEVEN MINUTES. Why is it a big secret, some eight months and two more policemen later?

-WHY is it that Councilman Brady in November of 2006 (when they were deciding to merge our health department with that of the County) stated that a lot of people felt that the Town's ability to communicate was lacking and that people wanted to be more involved. He stated at that time that he "saw it as the community giving ideas to the governing body." We're STILL trying to communicate--and they're STILL not listening!!! (TC minutes 11/21/06)

-WHY is it that on November 21, 2006 Mayor Goldberg specifically said that "because of the recently approved school referendum, the Council had to be careful about spending more taxpayers dollars on expensive projects," and then went on to purchase White Lake for $1.45 million, put another $1 million into its "phase I" updates, and purchase the Limecrest Quarry for yet another $2.45 million (PLUS lawsuit)--just months before the tax bill for that new high school addition is put onto our tax bills?

-WHY when as Mayor, Goldberg proposed using the Township website to communicate with the people via a "Mayor's Corner"--that all the Township Council agreed that the column would be informational only, and would NOT be used for political purposes. (See TC minutes 11/21/06) Yet, our current Mayor Spekhardt used it for exactly that purpose! Township website--oh, no--they've taken it off the website!!

-WHY is it, that during the break in the garbage meeting on December 1st at the High School, Deputy Mayor Brady can be heard telling someone in the background that "This may have been a mistake; it may get them better organized." This discussion has also been "cleansed" from the Town Council minutes, so please, do get the CD--and listen to it yourself unless the official copy gets somehow 'damaged.' But we have one!

-WHY did the council raise the tax cap from 2.5% (allowed by law) to 3.5% by approving an ordinance that states "The township council hereby determines that a 1.0% increase in the budget for said year, amounting to $135,458.37 in excess of the increase in final appropriation otherwise permitted by the Local Government Cap Law." The answer might be, so they could up the property tax increase to 7% this year! (Sparta Independent 4/19/07)

-WHY does the 2008 budget utilize 100% of the available fund balance--meaning that there could be a cash flow difficulty in July? Perhaps we've purchased too much land this year? (Sparta Independent 4/10/08)

-WHY when considering a merger with the county's health department, did one woman feel she had to comment to the council "Are you (council members) really hearing us out here? I feel you're just looking at me and saying 'Okay lady, go away, the vote is already settled.'" (Sparta Indpendent 1/25/07)

was that same feeling re-iterated at the garbage proposal discussion, on December 1, 2007, when another woman asked the Council if their assertions that they definitely had NOT made up their minds yet were actually true, then WHY was there a police presence in the room--for the first time ever? Not in TC minutes--you'll have to hear it on the CD for yourself!

-WHY would we need to build a community center at all, when Dr. Morton himself said that the new high school would become a "true community center," with spaces for community groups and events." (Star Ledger 9/17/06)

-WHY did our Township Council vote to close the Township's Health Department to save between $7 and $9 a year in property taxes-- yet supported the synthetic turf proposal at the high school, which would raise our property taxes $27 a year (for a $300,000 home)? (Sparta Independent 5/4/06)

-WHY according to Ralph D'Aries, did Manager Underhill ORDER Mr. D'Aries NOT to speak at an open town council meeting? Certainly, he had the right to address the public! (TC minutes 1/9/07)

-WHY is it, that when Mayor Goldberg addressed the issue of opinion polls, he stated that ANY kind of survey needed to have AT LEAST 1,000 replies for it to be useful to the Council. (TC minutes 2/13/07) But, when the secret garbage survey was all tolled, there were fewer than 900 votes to be counted, and that was considered a valid study? (TC minutes 11/8/07)

-WHY is it, that if you go back into the Township Council minutes to October 9, 2007, you can see where Henry Underhill had already gotten two garbage bids, and he proposed that it would cost a flat $215 per house, and he anticipated "no more than $10 in administration costs (per house)! The administration costs are already up 150%--currently standing at $25 per household. That's almost $100,000 extra profit yearly!!

-WHY did the Mayor and ONLY two Councilmen meet at 7 o’clock in the morning at Town Hall on Tuesday 11/13/07 and approve over $4 MILLION worth of expenditures? Where was the public oversight? (TC Minutes 11/13/07 pg.1)

-WHY can’t we get a thorough accounting of the EXACT price that WE PAID for our new Municipal Building? Mayor Spekhardt asked for a price at the Council Meeting of 10/09/07, but the matter was never mentioned in public again. A subsequent OPRA request was submitted, and Denied by the Township clerk. We have a right to know! (TC Minutes 10/9/07 pg.12)

-WHY did the Township remove the original garbage ordinance from its "Recent Township Ordinances" page, and replace it with their own news letter interpretation (which had already been mailed, at our expense, to every "Postal Patron" in Sparta on 12/20/07)? We should be able to read the ordinance ourselves, as it is written. (Removed the week of 3/11/08)

-WHY does the Township have a "Recent Township Ordinances" page showing thirty (30) new ordinances in 2007, when we, the taxpayers, can only access seventeen (17) of them? Why can’t we view the other thirteen (13)? (Township web page)

-WHY did Judge Bozonelis the highest Judge in Sussex/Morris County have to admonish Sparta for not complying with the Open Public Meetings Act and the Open Public Records Act? This is OUR town, and we have a right to know everything that’s happening in it! (NJ Herald 3/6/08)

-WHY is it that Sparta Township bought 172 acres of Limecrest Quarry, but when you add up only the Blocks and Lots in Sparta that were purchased, the acreage is closer to 205 acres? Not including the parcel in Lafayette which will bring the acreage even higher. Perhaps a little more time should have been spent doing their due diligence before entangling us in this legal nightmare?(Purchase Agreement Dated 8/28/07)

-WHY doesn’t Sparta Township ask for or accept any input regarding the outrageous spending going on here in our Town? Why aren’t they required to go to a public referendum before spending such large amounts of OUR money? (Nj Herald 5/7/06 & 6/11/06)

-WHY did Sparta start doing its own financial audits? Wouldn’t it be smarter to have someone outside the organization checking into its accounting practices? (TC Minutes 4/24/07 pg.7 & auditors letter 6/15/07)

-WHY is it that while the Council was still debating whether or not to buy, or rent a pump for Sparta to have in case of emergency, that the Township Council removed $280,000 from OUR General Capital Surplus Fund for this purpose. But, when it was decided NOT to buy the pump, that only $15,000 was returned to the Fund? Where is the other $265,000? (TC Minutes 8/28/07 pg.10)

-WHY is it that on June 26, 2007, Mayor Goldberg received 150 signed petitions from the residents of Sparta Commons regarding their inordinately high sewerage bills to find their plea fell on deaf ears? If those who use the White Deer Sewage System pay ONLY for how much they use, WHY are the people of Sparta Commons (and Main Street, and Glen Road, and Woodport Road, and Round top, and Sparta Ave., and Newton-Sparta Road) charged $306 per EDU (that being a 3 bedroom home), per 90 day cycle, assessed at 250 gallons a day? That comes to OVER $1220 yearly! (TC Minutes 6/26/07 pg.9)

-WHY are our Township leaders deciding what to do with the old Firehouses? Should we sell, or rent, or use them for a community/teen center? We want some input! (TC Minutes 10/9/07 pg.4&5, 11/8/07 pg.3)

-WHY is it that Township Manager Henry Underhill instructed the Fields Use Task Force to look at building a synthetic turf field in Station Park, and leasing it to the BOE? The answer seems to be that "the BOE could then avoid a referendum and capital project, and vote on this lease as a line item in its annual budget!" If we give Sparta the tax dollars to put this turf in, who is going to pay the BOE to pay the lease? WHY shouldn’t the citizens get to decide if they want to spend this money once, twice, or NOT AT ALL! (BOE Newsletter 10/07 & TC Minutes 12/11/07 pg.1)

-WHY has the Township Council invoked the Open Public Meetings Act in 24 of the last 26 Council meetings–thus excluding the public from any and all discussion–stating that the "subject matter will be made public when deemed appropriate." WHEN will it be appropriate? Who decides WHEN we’ll be told how much money we just spent for another land purchase? We want to have these records be made public! (TC Minutes between 10/10/06 & 9/25/07)

-WHY is it that--when Sparta provided the animal control services for Ogdensburg, Fredon and Hardyston, as well as for ourselves–that WE were the only ones who ended up with a 100% increase in our cat and dog licensing fees? Isn’t that inequitable? (TC Minutes 2/27/07 pg.4)

-WHY is it that, after we Americans fought so long and hard for our civil liberties, that the Police were summoned, and hassled both petitioners and those just handing out informational flyers–when it is a right granted to us under the First Amendment? This freedom of speech is not a new idea–we’ve have had these rights since 1791! (US Bill of Rights)

-WHY would one not think that if Sparta Township is able to increase the water Utility fees from $3.50 per thousand gallons to $4.40 per thousand gallons a 25% increase in March of 2007 (PLUS their hefty quarterly service charge) in one stroke of the pen– that they won’t do the same to the price of a Garbage Utility in the future?(TC Minutes 3/27/07 pg.5, New Ordinance passed 3/27/07)

-WHY is it that even when you go to the official minutes of the Township Council, that the ordinances are so sketchy that you’re not really sure what they’re talking about? As in, "an ordinance to amend Chapter 7, traffic?" Or, an ordinance pertaining to Block___ and Lot___? One motions, another seconds, and voila! It’s another new ordinance perpetrated upon us (and right in front of us)! WHY don’t we have LIVE streaming video online, that we can watch from our homes and know what’s going on in our own local government? Wasn’t that another campaign promise from back in 2006?(NJ Herald 6/11/06)

-WHY are we expected to fork up another $169,000 for a grandiose "People’s Plaza" in front of the Municipal Building? The stairs, lighting, and asphalt should all have been factored into the grand total price of a new town hall. Are they hoping to address the people from up on high?(TC Minutes 12/11/07 pg.3&4)

-WHY is the Township Council passing an ordinance with a minimum range for salaries for non-union employess in Sparta? When the post of Township Manager BEGINNING at $115,800 (without benefits added)–it is cause for alarm. Hopatcong just hired a Township Administrator–for $95,000. Why would we offer to pay $20,800 more than what we had to for competent help?(New Ordinance passed 4/8/08)

-WHY is the Township Council now spending another $1 million for upgrades to White Lake, after just having spent $1.45 million to purchase it? WHY are they planning on building a stadium complex to the tune of $1-2 million and a 15,000 square foot building to house P.A.L. gyms, community center, kitchen, and storage space–all at Station Park (isn’t that where the toxic plume is)? – all WITHOUT our approval? (TC Minutes 7/11/07 pg.2, 11/8/07 pg.4, 11/27/07 pg.8, 12/11/07 pg. 1, 1/8/08 pg. 2&3)

-WHY should we spend $4,000 to buy two bicycles for two intermittent policemen to peddle around town? If the idea was to interact with the citizens, wouldn't it be better if they walked, instead of whizzed by on bike? It sure would cost less, too! (TC Minutes 2/26/08 pg.5)

-WHY would we want to spend thousands of dollars for our own cable TV channel, when all we really want is to be able to watch Township Coucil meetings two times a month? (TC Minutes 3/25/08)



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If you would like to contribute funds to aid in the Recall of Brian Brady, Michael Spekhardt and Manny Goldberg, you can mail a check for one; two or all three of the Recall officials.

Each check must be made out separately to the committee for the person you would like to Recall. (Brian Brady, Michael Spekhardt and Manny Goldberg). All checks can be mailed in the same envelope at the same time.

At this time to contribute funds to the Committee to Recall Brian Brady or Committee to Recall Michael Spekhardt or Committee to Recall Manny Goldberg, please make checks payable to a committee in the amount of: $300 or LESS.
We will not accept checks over the $301 threshold at this time.

Any and all contributions would be gratefully appreciated.

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Sparta disputes ruling to pay attorney fees

August 15, 2012
SPARTA -- A four-year battle between a Sparta resident and the township over public records will continue into next year regarding who will pay $12,000 in disputed attorney fees.
In 2008, resident Jesse Wolosky filed two complaints with the state's Government Records Council disputing redactions in executive session minutes and the cost of audio recordings.
Sparta is appealing the decision that was in Wolosky's favor, and the matter will move to an Appellate Court hearing in the next few months.
"Sparta appealed because we felt that the decision of the administrative law judge was incorrect in both cases," said attorney Richard Stein, of Laddey Clark & Ryan.
The initial Open Public Records Act requests were made by Wolosky in April and August of 2008. In the first one, he requested audio recordings of meeting on CDs in WAV format. He was told that the format would have to be FTR Gold or he would have to pay $67 per CD for WAV format.
The 11 CDs and other fees would have cost a total of $673.85, but the township later lowered the fee to $191.
Wolosky argued that he had received copies in WAV format for $1 on previous OPRA requests and that FTR Gold would require him to have to download a program to listen to the recordings.
However, Stein said this was not the case, since Sparta did not have WAV format readily available.
"We feel that in that situation it should be the person asking for the conversion, and not the taxpayers, who bear the cost," Stein said.
Wolosky filed a complaint in December 2008 with the Government Records Council, the group that responds to complaints about public records. The council initially ruled in favor of Sparta, but the council later reconsidered the matter with further evidence and ruled in favor of Wolosky in August 2010.
Wolosky then received the CDs in WAV format for a total of $2.45.
Wolosky's attorney, Walter Luers, said he took on the case because the audio recordings were too expensive.
"With respect to the recordings, I was always pretty confident that the amounts that the township clerk quoted were very, very high," Luers said.
The second complaint was filed in October 2008 after Wolosky requested executive session minutes and Friday memo, which is a brief document provided to the Township Council every week. The minutes and memo were redacted in several places.
"We had redactions to the Friday memorandums and they seemed pretty broad at the time so we asked the Government Records Council to review them and usually with those reviews you will get something un-redacted," Luers said.
The Government Records Council voted in favor of Wolosky and some of the redactions had to be removed. Stein said that even though the council voted in favor of Wolosky, only 68 of the 71 redactions had to be released, meaning that the majority of the redactions were upheld.
"That left three redactions ... that had to be released to Mr. Wolosky," Stein said.
Both of the cases then went to the Office of Administrative Law, where it was decided that Luers would receive nearly $12,000 in attorney fees from Sparta. But, Sparta has filed an appeal with the Appellate Court regarding both cases.
Although Wolosky has already received the reduced-price CDs and un-redacted documents, both sides are now fighting over the fees. OPRA law states that the prevailing party's attorney should receive reasonable fees from the losing party, especially since these cases are taken on by attorneys without pay from their client.
"The only thing Sparta would get would be that we wouldn't have to pay the attorney fee to Mr. Wolosky's attorney," Stein said about Sparta winning.
Stein added that the administrative law judge slightly cut Luers' fees, and Luers is now appealing that decision.
"If Sparta didn't appeal it, my lawyer would have settled for what the Government Records Council ruled," Wolosky said.
If Wolosky wins, then Sparta may have to pay a higher attorney fee, since Luers is continuing to fight the case. Luers said his appeals usually range anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 on top of any prior reasonable attorney fees, but he didn't know the exact bill on this case.
Wolosky said these appeals are not actually beneficial to Sparta.
"What is the benefit to the taxpayers to push this to the Appellate Court?" Wolosky asked. "Do they want to prove me wrong after I won in two courts?"
He said this continues to incur more attorney fees on both sides.
"They are creating a bigger pay day for (my attorney), and now they are creating a pay day for themselves," Wolosky said. "The township attorneys are milking the town."
The two cases will go to trial in the coming months, but a date has not yet been set.