Mayor Introduces Resolution Limiting Speaking Time of Residents

Time LimitIn the June 18th council meeting Mayor Nolan introduced R-14-161, which limits resident speaking time to 2 minutes. Further, it instructs the Governing body members to not respond to the questions of the resident until that resident has finished speaking in his/her entirety. So, if you have 3 questions, you have to ask all three questions before the council responds and there are no guarantee that all 3 questions will be addressed.

It also states

“Once a member of the public has spoken, he/she shall not be recognized again until all other members of the public who have not spoken have been given the chance to do so “

So if you want clarification on something after your 2 minutes are up, you’re not allowed to speak again until all other residents have spoken.

What do you think about the new time limit?





38 thoughts on “Mayor Introduces Resolution Limiting Speaking Time of Residents

  1. Highlands

    Yep, this is the way to Govern – quiet the tax paying residents. The Highlands residents that are still displaced, the Highlands Village that is still falling back because of inadequate part-time government. When will we start to read about real Highlands progress on this Blog – progress that we can all rally for?


    1. Carolyn

      What I find interesting is no one on the council knew that there is currently legislation in Trenton to unify the OPMA across all 565 municipalities.   One of the amendments to the current law is to give each person AT LEAST 3 minutes to ask questions of the governing body.

      On March 13, 2014, the NJ Legislature introduced an Amendment to the Open Public Meetings Act to provide the public with greater access to and information about meetings. Please take the time to call or email your NJ legislator and encourage them to vote YES.

      Full text of A2900/S2511 here:

      Contact info for your legislator here:


  2. njview

    Residents deserve better government treatment, especially when paying some of the highest taxes in the region. The Mayor does not want to spend time listening to residents- in the one forum where challenges are recorded? Time to toss it all out: the best option appears to be aggressively seeking merger as well as shared services, with other nearby towns. No more struggling to repair an underperforming local government, it is time to trade it in for one that is running.


  3. barbara iannucci

    What makes this resolution R-14-161 even more suspect and alarming is the way it was introduced. 1) It was not printed as an agenda item made publicly available on our town website. 2) It was not attached on the meeting packet handouts left outside the meeting room for the public to read during the hour the Council was in closed session. 3) It was instead placed on the table next to the public comment sign-in sheet – which many of those attending did not realize was part of the agenda. R-14-161 was pushed through within 15 minutes of the start of the public session with no explanation or comment period. These actions, and the way R-14-161 went down, pretty much defy the very intent and purpose behind the Open Public Meetings Act which this resolution was meant to support. In reality the resolution and its method of adoption suppressed the intent and purpose behind the OPMA and public involvement.


  4. Kat

    What is the matter? Too many citizens started questioning what was going on and started going to the meetings? Way to listen to your constituants.


  5. NoLongerNew

    I can see both sides to this. Sometimes people do ramble on about their same 3 points instead of giving the council a chance to respond. On the flip side, there is quite a bit going on in town and the attendees need to be heard. There is a continued lack of communication from the town/council and this is our only opportunity to follow up on issues.

    Lately, even before this resolution was passed, there seemed to be more control over the public participation. Earlier this year attendees were allowed to address the speaker’s questions, were commenting out of turn without being recognized first, and it was unruly.

    What I find troubling is that at the last meeting, after the mayor went through the list of people that signed up, he moved to adjourn. He did not ask if anyone else wanted to speak or if anyone had any follow up questions. If you’re going to change or set rules, I expect them all to be followed, not selectively as the mayor and/or council see fit.


  6. duncan mcleod

    this is complete bs and an insult to each and every resident of highlands. furthermore it may even be illegal. a person showing up to a council meeting has the right… within reason… to speak their mind. this is a governing body afraid of the taxpayers in this town starting to wise up and doesnt know how to handle it. I call for the voters of highlands to recall each and every council member who votes for this insult and am ready…willing…and able to lead this charge myself!!! game on!! also time to start circulating a petition to be sent to the state that we be taken over by another town!!!!


    1. highlandsblog Post author

      we could really just keep Highlands as the town name, similarly to Belford and just have another town, SB, AH, Middletown take your pick absorb us and run the town.


    2. NoLongerNew

      Every now and then there’s a push to “re-brand” the town, as if somehow a new name will bring in developers and businesses and increase the ratables. I love educating people that Highlands is different from Atlantic Highlands (“We’re the town with the Twin Lights and the bridge to Sandy Hook”). I also wouldn’t mind being Sea Bright North but they have their own set of problems, like leasing land from a former mayor that wasn’t current on her property taxes, at a rate that’s a bit high, when they’ve got a municipal parking lot they could have used for their fire trucks.


  7. duncan mcleod

    the next move everyone that was involved in the non partisan movement in town should do is a new initiative to have the town taken over by middletown. obviously the non partisan thing was not enough and the councils egos wont let them see it as the vote of no confidence that it was!!! all this shows is the contempt and lack of respect the council has for highlands taxpayers!!


  8. Johnny U

    What are the other members thinking. You would think one of them would have had the guts to wadd it up and throw it in the garbage. This is why were going no where lack of leadership he has no more authority than the other members time to shut him and his bs down. I am so disappointed in all of them this has to be the worst council there ever was!


  9. Catherine Kane

    It is a shame that with all the hoopla over non partisan no one but Doug card would step up to the plate. That is very interesting to me. All busy people I guess. As for the last comment. I can not tell you how disappointed I am in Johnny U . You have been on this side and know how difficult it is to please everyone. You also know about red tape . To bad mouth the council like that is just disgraceful.


  10. Johnny U

    Its not right to limit speaking time. The last meeting I attented was limited to 2 minutes with no comment from the council on anything. I supported some of those at that table and wanted to at least acknowledge the issue or tell me to my face to go pound salt either way would have been fine. You can be disappointed in me for my comment but I would fight tooth and nail if I was at that table to make sure people can speak and I always in the past addressed everyone. I took my lumps from friends and neighbors and people who didn’t like me to begin with but when someone has a issue legitimate or not address them. Not one reach out to me over the issue I had after I attended and spoke my peace. There’s no red tape in voting down an ordinance that tears at the fabric of our right to address our elected officials as taxpayers!


  11. Catherine Kane

    The issue is how long to you allow group of people take over meetings . It’s not just the right to ask questions it is even if questions are answered is not good enough. So how long does it get to go on.
    I understand people deserve answers. But I k now there had to be limits due to the fact comments were going on way to long . And I stand by what I said. Worst council ever that was a just a awful statement
    Coming from you. Sorry that is how I feel. We all have opinions.


  12. Johnny U

    If that’s the problem adjourn it if it gets out of hand take control don’t punish people that have legitimate concerns. They have that option.


    1. Jen

      Then we need a legitimate definition of “out of hand,” or this turns into the bully pulpit that they want anyway, because someone dares to question the high and mighty council or has an opinion that they either disagree with or don’t want to hear.

      If our leaders don’t have the time twice a month to listen and respond to the concerns of the voters of this town in a public forum, perhaps they need to reconsider their commitment to the council and find another way to serve the town.


  13. Johnny U

    When they are out bof hand you gavel them simple thing can’t believe everything can that hard


  14. Still in that cave

    “So if you want clarification on something after your 2 minutes are up, you’re not allowed to speak again until all other residents have spoken”.

    That from the blog master… one pause……

    Is this the “united” way? A small group of people seem to be hell bent on harassing the Council. Things work both ways. Rules of conduct and the need for a little decorum should be reinforced.

    Might it not be a good idea to have the public’s questions written and submitted to the Council prior to the meeting in order to avoid replication. The question and questioner could then be acknowledged and the question answered. Seems like this could solve your “2 minute problem”.

    Instead of using this forum to damn and condemn, use your talents to find a workable solution. The Council has enough problems to work through without this. Is Highlands United, united for the entire town or only for the few? Reciprocity works, give it a try.


  15. Tricia

    So I’m going to repost this here as these are the questions residents were promised would be addressed. They voted based on these “promises” and so far non have truly been addressed. They are BIG and consistent issues, so we just hurry & hope for an answer.You know they all LOVE this little town of ours(which I do not doubt), but sometimes if you love something much and but are unable to serve & deliver the honorable thing to do is step aside. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I believe in a persons word and if you keep breaking it you lose my trust. Too many people have way to much to lose!!!!!

    Just some interesting reading I did as I wanted to learn what our council and Mayor really stood for. Its sad to say but I can’t find one thing accomplished yet?
    Only thing I could find for mayor

    Quality of life-no
    Code enforcement-no
    New developement-no
    Fiscal responsibility-no


    Just side note: FB and social media seems to play a big roll in election politics but not in resident communications.


  16. duncan mcleod

    I have to agree with johnny u assrssment of the council… but his comments are totally hypocritical considering he was on council for 9 years!!! I mean…wtf? he seriously wants to be critical about code enforcement… unbelievable!!! if he and his so called fire chief buddy had done something about code enforcement…. there wouldnt be any problems with it now would there??? also mr. urbanski and billy caizza were consistetly


    1. highlandsblog Post author

      I too agree with Johnny U’s assessment. And because he *has* been on both sides of the council, I think his opinion is extremely insightful. He’s not a newbie that the council can write off as just wanting to attack them because we just “don’t understand process and red tape”, he has been on both sides and yet still has the same opinion as many of the peanut gallery. I’ve been in business long enough to see through when one of people tell me “its a process and there is a lot of red tape” as a total stall tactic. We’re in a position where we need to make some hard discussions and have major foresight on planning or we might as well give up and hand over the keys to Middletown. And if they don’t have the time due to family, jobs whatever, step down. And as far as the stones being thrown at Highlands United.. I don’t get the twisting of the truth.. Highlands United was formed by a group of people from very different back grounds/political agendas with the main cause of bringing in Non-Partisan to Highlands. We succeeded and not only that, we got more people in this town to vote for that initiative than voted for any singular candidate. Mission Accomplished. Doug Card was never a part of Highlands United, he agreed with what we were doing and supported it but that’s about it. And I know its a mute point typing that, because as many times as its typed or explained by more people than me, certain people (cough cough Kanes) like to insist that Highlands United is something its not. I guess because if heat is coming too close to Becky best to attack and divert attention to something (anything else).


  17. duncan mcleod

    continued… they were consistently disrespectful and at times abusive to residents voicing concerns at meetings. even using vulgar language and openly taunting people from the council table!! furthermore I have seen mr urbanski stone wall those asking questions… so I would ask him…. hows it feel to be on the other side of the coyncil table? huh???


    1. Still in that cave

      United: undivided, allied, unitary, collective, concordant.

      Again I’ll ask the question, with no disrespect intended: Is Highland’s United for the entire town, or for the few?

      I call name calling an exercise in futility . It serves no purpose, nor does it prove a point; To me it is a last resort action. Name calling can not justify nor give dignity to a cause.

      Instead, use your resources to further your aim. Work with and come to some sort of agreement with the Council. Why is it I read no such suggestions on this blog? To get along, you don’t have to go along, but I would surmise that thinking adults could further their cause by cooperation and compromise.

      My Grandmother once told me, “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” There is a lot of truth in that old adage.


    2. highlandsblog Post author

      And Again I’ll answer AGAIN, (For the 3rd time today) Highlands United was formed to bring non-partisan to Highlands for the betterment of Highlands. We thought it would be better not to have party lines at a local level. Apparently over 700 other voters agreed with us.

      With regard to working with the council. I’ve been a part of the finance committee since 2010. We’ve met once in 4 years. I’ve attending FEMA meetings, I’ve attended many many meetings and met with “who the hell are you and we don’t do things that way.”

      I’m sorry if you view trying to provide information to my fellow Highlands residents as “attacking”.

      You prove my point that any opinions that remotely don’t agree with Becky begets angry posts from her family. She’s an adult and a public official she should be able to take some criticism and suggestions without the wrath of her family towards the person with a dissenting opinion.

      The council has no interest in working with us, they want us to just go away. THAT’S NOT HAPPENING.

      Why don’t they set the tone by a) rescinding the 2 minute limit as a stupid idea b) actually answering questions either written or verbally in the council meetings c) acknowledging we (all of highlands) got served a crap sandwich after Sandy and accepting help from people in the community that have some expertise and desire to help.


  18. Catherine Kane

    Highlands blog YES I am a Kane and proud of it. I am also a taxpayer for 38 years and have a right to a opinion without being personally attacked by you. You say you got a single candidate voted in . Mission accomplished. Not really someone else could have stepped up also. But we see that didn’t happen. Many people in town voted for Becky to win also. It’s really not all about you and your social media. I donot attack people on this blog I did say I was disappointed in Johnny u. You seem to like to attack. Again I will let you have the last word. Off to work. Done again .


    1. highlandsblog Post author

      I don’t care how long you’ve been here. It doesn’t give you a right to attack me or anybody else on this blog for voicing their opinion. AND I didn’t say we got a single candidate voted in Mission Accomplished – I SAID “we got non-partisan” voted in Mission Accomplished. I’ve stated over and over and over again what the mission of HU was and you choose to continuously twist it to your own vision. I don’t know if its a comprehension issue on your side or a blatant you know what you’re doing and its purposefully trying to twist things. Who are you kidding you and your family do nothing but attack on this blog. This particular post wasn’t even an attack but a factual accounting of an ordinance that got passed that many of Highlands might not know about if they didn’t go to the meeting.
      Lastly, and I found this curious, when were you on that side of the council? As your quote to Johnny U ” You have been on this side and know how difficult it is to please everyone. You also know about red tape ” Last time I checked you were just a tax paying resident just like me.


  19. Kim Skorka

    Can someone please show me a picture of a campaign sign for Highlands United endorsing Doug Card


    a Doug Card campaign sign with the Highlands United endorsement?


  20. duncan mcleod

    cat fight!!!!! …. its a cat fight on the highlands blog!!!! cat fight is on!!!! 🙂 lol


    1. Tricia

      You people are ridiculous and was just brought to my attention what batcave wrote in AH Herald re WNS. You will defend and never admit mistakes when everyone in the entire world except you, your family and your fire departmebt are wrong. That’s exactly what the problem is. If you can’t recognize your error if ways they can never be fixed or addressed. But you are all perfect and we ALL the taxpaying citizens are always wrong.


    2. Still in that cave

      For my “reaction” to this posting by Tricia, you must visit the “bat cave”…….


  21. Tricia

    Just want to add that this is what causes division as I respect first responders but they are human and do make mistakes just like every other town or city and to pretend it doesn’t happen here is just blind allegiance and makes your constant defending less credible to me. I would have more respect if somebody just said I was wrong and it won’t happen again.


  22. Catherine Kane

    All I said was worst council ever was a awful comment from a ex council person who knows how hard the job is. I don’t understand why that comment turned into this. I am one person with one opinion . Stop lumping family and fire dept. into that it has NOTHING to do with it.


    1. Tricia

      Catherine I wasn’t referring to your statement on this blog but a rant on AH Herald that does make it obvious the relationship of family name to fire dept. I agree it shouldn’t be and should stop. It feels like some people act as if the first responders are not the “people’s” and defend whether right or wrong. Like I said I have great respect in what they do and their sacrifices but I think that “never can do no wrong” attitude just causes division. Like they say people can forgive lapses in good judgement no matter who you are but it’s the denial that always causes distrust.


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