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Appointment of Lambertville police head to planning board withdrawn

By Karen Taylor

Tuesday’s city council reorganization meeting not only focused on the usual swearing-in of new council, commission and board members for the City of Lambertville, but also provided an opportunity for compromise.

During the few days preceding the meeting, many residents contacted the mayor and council objecting to the appointment of Lt. Brown to the Planning Board. According to Mayor Fahl, the objections fell into two categories. Many residents felt that Lt. Brown is already consulted on many planning issues such as traffic and parking and having the head of the police department in this position would suppress public dissent and isolate the board from opposing opinions. Others felt that the appointment was inappropriate because police brutality and systemic racism have become hot-button issues in the last year.

There appeared to be no objections to Lt. Brown as an individual or police officer and several people spoke highly of his work with the Human Rights Commission and on behalf of socio-economically disadvantaged residents. There was also a consensus that Lambertville does not have a problem with police brutality.

Mayor Fahl thanked residents for the respectful and considerate tone of their objections. She disagrees with them but conceded that it will be possible to fill the position on the Planning Board with another candidate. The appointment will be dealt with at council’s next voting session. During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents thanked the mayor for agreeing to the change.

Benedetta Lambert and Steve Stegman were sworn in as new council members. Julia Taylor was elected council president.

Proclamations honoring former and retiring board and commission members and thanking the American Legion for the many times they have helped the city were issued. A proclamation honoring Dave Burd, director of the Office of Emergency Management, was also approved.

The Mayor announced that a taped State of the City address will be aired on Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. Council will hold a retreat on Jan. 15 from 8 to 10 a.m. The retreat will be accessible to the public on Zoom.

Dog and cat licenses are due by February 26 to avoid a late fee. Proof of a rabies vaccination is required.

Parking stickers expired on Dec. 31. Questions can be directed to Tina at (609) 397-0110, ext. 12.

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