Mayer Answers Critics, Unveils New Project

Mayor David Mayer talks about bringing more transparency to the local political process and addresses the "Mayor BlackBerry" moniker he's been given by critics.

Make no mistake, Mayor David Mayer is extremely proud of the direction he’s taking Gloucester Township.

In a recent interview with Patch, Mayer discussed some of the latest projects, addressed rumors and criticisms, and unveiled a new program he feels puts the township at the forefront of public access among New Jersey towns.

The development endeavor currently receiving big buzz around town is the brand new baseball complex being built on the old Nike missile base in the southern end of town, near Cross Keys Road.

Mayer pointedly addressed the rumor that Ripken Design is no longer involved with the project.

“They’re wrong," he bluntly replied. "I just saw Joe Barth (the Hit Doctor) last night. He’s designing a first-class destination attraction that’s going to bring thousands of people to Gloucester Township."

The mayor also discussed the Hit Doctor project's PILOT figure of $75,000 per year, which some critics have said is too low for such a large property.

“That only covers the field,” he said. “Phases two and three—the hotel and restaurant—are still to come. There will be more taxes from those two phases.”

The township's new Internet project, GT CitizensAccess, will connect citizens with Mayer, the Township Council and the local political process in an innovative way.

Set to kick off at Monday's Council meeting, it will first and foremost offer live streaming of council meetings. Residents can click on the link glotwp.com/live/index.html during a meeting to view the live stream.

Access to elected officials during council meetings through eGov is the second component of the plan. As they watch the video, citizens can e-mail in their questions or concerns. Ten minutes of each council meeting will be allocated for government officials to answer these queries.

Some have voiced concern that airing the meetings via the township's website (glotwp.com) instead of TV will alienate senior citizens.

Mayer does not share this concern.

“They must not know the seniors I know who e-mail me,” he said dryly. 

Part three, InfoAgenda, will allow residents to view ordinances and resolutions that will be up for vote by the Friday before council meetings, essentially giving the average citizen the opportunity to be as prepared for a meeting as a council member.

Those three elements are part of a greater EnviroInitiative. The township is going paperless at public meetings to reduce costs and benefit the environment. Agendas for members will be available on laptops donated from the Black Horse Pike Regional School District.

Mayer is very proud of how cost-effective this initiative is.

“The in-house cost is $60 for a digital camera. That’s it. I don’t want to spend taxpayers’ money to have council meetings. We’re going to form a committee to generate sponsorships from the private sector, from businesses, to cover any broadcasting cost,” he said.

“(This program) makes Gloucester Township the most accessible municipal government in New Jersey,” he boasted.

Mayer conducted a survey of all the towns in Camden County. The Township Council has a minimum of four meetings with public participation each month, more than any other community. 

“We provide public forums for people to comment, and now we’re allowing even greater access by allowing them to get online,” he said.

Mayer enjoys being on the vanguard in terms of using technology to run government.

“As far as this e-mail portion, we’re really the first in the state to partner this with live streaming,” he noted.

Clearly someone in touch with technology, Mayer has no issue with Republicans who refer to him as “Mayor BlackBerry.”

“I think you can use modern technology to be effective and improve taxpayers’ lives. Whether it’s a BlackBerry or a computer, you can respond to concerns on any given day," he said. "I’m very proud of how we’re running Gloucester Township. If my BlackBerry is what they’re talking about, we’re doing a great job."

leon jordan February 13, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Dave Mayor is a puppet for George Norcross. He is no different then that 20 year former Mayor Sandy Love who was the real culprit of the decline of this township. These people all follow orders of the political machine. Unfortunately this group of people rely on Norcross for their jobs and their lifestyle so they do what this political machines tells them to do. Remember the story of Boss Tweed. New Jersey is no different than what just happened in Eygpt. It is under a dictative leadership. Norcross dictates to these municipalities. Gloucester Township uses Media to make Mayer Mayor look good. Everything the former Mayor Cindy Hatton tried to do, Councilmen Bianchini, Hutchison, Gentek, Mercado, Garbowski, and Schmidt blocked. Cardis should be arrested and so should that Calarmere with his made up rules. The good thing is this is being video tapped for the powers to be to review. They think they are above the law and they answer to no one. Mayer Mayor is no orginal. He has two people on the front of a very expensive taxpayer piece sent out with a MUA couple who have cost the township millions on the front of an ad begging people to get involved and apply for political office because they have no one. They are desperate. Mayor looks like the Anti Christ on the front next to Judy and Rich Calabrese, the same political hacks spread nothing but rumors and lies and have to protect the millions they have sown up in the patronage MUA they run for decades.
leon jordan February 13, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Someone told me that that Nike missle base has a 30 year abatement - That mean Norcross told Mayor Mayer and Council to let the Taxpayers pick up the bill for his friend and buddy. Unbelievable. This is how the real politics are done and then you wonder why taxes are so high. Meanwhile they will go out and give buy votes and smile in the faces of the residents like they really care while raises their taxes with a smile.
leon jordan February 13, 2011 at 03:33 PM
His smile in that picture is the perfect example of a LIE
Joshua Berry February 13, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Let's please try to keep this discussion about the proposed programs and away from general attacks of our Mayor. I did not vote for him and am unsure if I will vote for him when he runs again. I'll look over his body of work to decide that when the time comes. Like him or not, he is our Mayor for the next couple of years. Please, let's work with him to enact positive change for our town. I resented it when people worked against the former Mayor's ideas because of her political party, and I will not spend my energy tearing down our current Mayor. GT CitizensAccess is a concept that must succeed. As a concept, it brings our town into the digital age with respect to how our citizens and our leaders interact. I was at the workshop meeting where he announced this and saw how it can benefit everyone in the long term. Do I think it is perfect, no. Not televising various meetings on Channel 19 is silly and what we refer to as "noise". Run the extension cord for Ray and move on to bigger issues... That said a lot of good can come from this initiative. Citizens who either can't make it to meetings or are intimidated by public speaking can have their questions asked and answered on the public record. With streamed meetings, they can be archived so future citizens can get much more detail such as tone and body language that written meeting minutes cannot convey. The Mayor has an email box. I suggest that you send him your questions and concerns. I will.
ymbdfa February 14, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Mr. Palmer we understand your sour grapes with the current mayor but as a public official yourself both as Planning Board member and your own salary at Landis Sewer Authority well in excess of $100,000 plus per year it seems attacking someone’s salary and ability to earn a living are a bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you agree? As far as council passing the budget using the figures from the Nike base sale prior, your figures are not accurate as is your interpretation of who requested those numbers be used in the budget. In fact the Mayor Rau Hatton your Republican Municipal Vice Chair and Current DMV manager in Runnemede NJ also making $84,500 off the taxpayers there was the one who put the Nike sale in the budget, She was also the one who lobbied to leave it in the budget after she was warned of the consequences if the deal did not close. Why do you give Rau Hatton a free pass for her part in that? All the businesses you listed above went bankrupt that is certainly not the mayor or councils fault. What I find Ironic is all these businesses with the exception of Denny's were approved under your control as Planning board President and while you so eloquently pointed out while Rau Hatton sat on that same board, one can only wonder what you were looking at when you granted their tax abatements to such unstable business? It’s no wonder you had to sue the Municipality to keep your position on the planning board. July is around the corner and your curbside seat is waiting.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »