When the Byram Township Council released its Sept. 3, 2019 meeting agenda on Friday, Aug. 30, residents and police were surprised to find on the docket a resolution exploring shared services with nearby Andover Township.
Tuesday evening's venue was then changed to the Intermediate school to accommodate several hundred attendees, and the evening resulted in rescindment of the resolution, to the relief of Byram officers and attendees. The resolution was in line with the council’s previous decision to participate in the governor’s Path to Progress, which calls for municipal consolidation throughout the state. While the council made it clear that the action was to authorize a study, a steady stream of supporters expressed shock at the resolution. Statements were made by the Newton Police Chief and Sussex County Police Chiefs’ Association President Mike Richards; Skip Danielson, retired Byram Police Chief and father of Andover Township Police Chief Eric Danielson; and Pat Colligan, current president of the New Jersey Police Benevolent Association (NJPBA). The turning point of the meeting came when Byram native and township manager Joe Sabatini expressed his displeasure from his seat on the dais.
“I may be risking my job,” Sabatini said with raw emotion, “but I’m not happy with this resolution. It’s my job to consider every department in this town and consider the totality of everything that goes on, but I have to say that I hope the council does the right thing with this resolution.”
A motion by Councilman Scott Olson to table the resolution was killed, leaving Olson to move to rescind the resolution entirely. A positive vote to rescind was met with a standing ovation and cheers from attendees.