When the City of Orange Township Municipal Council unanimously passed a resolution here Aug. 3 designating The "Orange Transcript" and The Newark "Star-Ledger" as its official publications for the 2011 Transitional Year, there was something missing in the single-sentence text.
"Local Talk Newspapers," whose editorial office has always been in Orange since its 2000 inception, was left out once again.
At-Large Councilman Elroy Corbitt brought up the "Local Talk" exclusion during the council's conference meeting and asked for a reason why prior to the resolution's vote on the consent agenda. The council needed to designate the city's official publications Aug. 3 as part of establishing the July 1-Dec. 31, 2011 Transitional Year municipal budget.
"With all due respect to the 'Transcript,' " said Corbitt to Council President Tency Eason before a Council Chamber gallery audience of 30 and the local cable television access channel cameras, "'Local Talk' has a broader scope."
"As far as I know, we've had no more than two newspapers designated as official newspapers," said Eason, who is also the North Ward's councilwoman.
"Maybe we should revisit that number," replied Corbitt.
Resident Gloria Stewart also questioned the "Local Talk" exclusion during the regular meeting's public comment prior to city elders' vote on Resolution 213-2011.
Governing bodies' naming official newspapers is a practice going decades back to when there were more print mediums than now. The State Legislature, with some consultation from the New Jersey Press Association, established particular and rigorous criteria for newspapers to qualify for that designation.
The criterion includes location or proximity of editorial office and/or printing press and population size that the governing body represents.
In the latter instance, Orange and Irvington currently have two official newspapers. Orange has, by Essex County's U.S. Census-based 2009 estimation, 31,058 people. Irvington has 58,024.
Newark, at 281,402, has its city council and public schools advisory board designate up to four newspapers, including at least one Spanish and one French-Creole language publication each.
"Local Talk" recalls when where two rival newspapers locked horns over what constituted an editorial office in Bloomfield.
One publisher opened a United States Postal Service box in Bloomfield and claimed it therefore qualified to be that township's official newspaper. The second publisher said that it has always had its editorial office in Bloomfield - and that the first publisher still does his editorial work from a Nutley office.
Bloomfield Township elders decided to keep the second publisher's newspaper as their official publication. The first publisher, however, moved his Bloomfield office to his Union headquarters in 2005.
The criteria, including its interpretive twists and turns, have a threefold purpose. The first fold is that the designated newspaper becomes the one of record.
Second, the governing body sends its announcement to the designated newspaper as a priority. Third, the official newspaper receives the governing body's legal notices - which the latter pays for.
The "Transcript" also left its Orange home for Union in 2001. The "Star-Ledger," has its editorial headquarters in Newark; its Orange Bureau office at 354 Main St., now a vacuum cleaner dales and service shop, closed in the early 1970s.
It is to "Local Talk" staff recollection that the question of adding it to Orange's official newspaper roster was brought up before council late year. Eason, according to "Local Talk" recollection, objected to the proposed edition on technical grounds.
Orange is following East Orange and Irvington in establishing a July 1-Dec. 31, 20l1 Transitional Year municipal budget. All three municipalities are shifting from July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011 Fiscal Year budgets to Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2012 Calendar Year budgets.
written by FredMark, August 15, 2011