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Friday, January 11, 2013

Prayers Lead by Council Anticipated to be Approved at Next Council Meeting

Galloway Township has been debating the issue of Invocation during Council Meetings for months. An Invocation Policy created by former Mayor Keith Hartman and further adopted in 2010, has not been used for many months.  Council who started to use a moment of silence lead by the Mayor, sparked residents to question what happened to the Invocation. That question has now forced Council take action again on a controversial issue that many view an issue of separation of Church and State.
A Committee of Council which includes Councilwoman Whitney Ullman, Councilman Jim McElwee and lead by Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, have now proposed a list of Prayers to be read by members of Council before the start of each meeting. The prayers were supplied to Galloway by Atlantic County Government as stated in an OPRA Request we received from the Township.
Former mayor Keith Hartman who developed the first Invocation Policy, previously weighed in on the Absence of Invocation since his departure from the Township. We provided Hartman with the list of Prayers released by the Township and requested comment as to whether this proposed amended policy would be comparable to the Invocation Policy already adopted. 
Hartman stated, "They lack originality and if one council member chooses to deviate from it they can't stop them from saying what they want. Any attempts to dictate these as the only options restricts your freedom of speech."
We requested comment from Mayor Don Purdy and Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, both did not respond to our request for comment prior to publication. 
The next Council Meeting in which this new policy is anticipated to be discussed and adopted is Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. located in Council Chambers at the Municipal Complex. 

We encourage everyone to weigh-in on the controversial issue by posting a comment below in the comment section.

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