Guide to a Borough Council Meeting

Guide to an Oakland Borough Council Meeting

Linda H. Schwager
Borough CouncilEmail

Robert Knapp - Council President
Grant Van Eck -
John Biale - 
Lew Levy -
Pat Pignatelli -
Russell Talamini -                                               

Welcome to an Oakland Borough Council Meeting! This document has been prepared to explain how the meeting is structured, how the agenda works, and to help you share your ideas and concerns with the Mayor and Council. 

Mayoral Authority

The Mayor, who is the head of the municipal government, presides at meetings of the Council and may vote to break a tie. 

Council Authority

The six-member Borough Council is the legislative body of municipal government. It is responsible for enacting our local ordinances (laws), adopting the budget, and setting Council Policy through the passage of resolutions. 

Setting the Meeting Agenda

The agenda is prepared by the Mayor, Borough Administrator, and the Borough Clerk with items proposed by the Borough Council and the Borough Administrator. Prior to the meeting, the agenda is posted in the municipal building and on the website. 


Resolutions for routine business may be done by Consent Agenda. Any member of the Council will have the right to pull a resolution from the Consent Agenda. The purpose of new business will be to request that an item be placed on the next meeting agenda. There will be no debate during new business.

Public Comment

Public comment is an important part of the Council's proceedings.

At the end of regular meetings, additional "open" public comment is permitted on any issue. 

When addressing the Council, please observe the following protocol to ensure that every citizen has an opportunity to speak. 

  • Come forward to the podium when you speak. 
  • Wait to be observed by the Mayor
  • State your name and address for the official record when requested. 
  • Direct your question or comment to the Mayor. 
  • Limit your remarks to no more than three minutes.
  • Be respectful and courteous.    

Order of the Agenda

The list below indicates the order followed by the Council during the business meeting.

Order of the Agenda - Set forth by Mayor and Council by-laws


  1. Executive Session: 6:30 p.m.
  2. Executive Items
  3. Regular Meeting called to order: 7:30 p.m.
  4. Roll Call
  5. Flag Salute and moment of silence
  6. Open Public Meetings Act Statement
  7. Mayor's Report
  8. Opened for public discussion - Limit 3 minutes per person with open session not to exceed 30 minutes
  9. Closed for public discussion
  10. Approval of minutes
  11. Special Announcements/Appointments/Raffles/Requests
  12. Resolutions
  13. Ordinances
  14. Work session agenda items
  15. New Business
  16. Old Business
  17. Council Committee and Liaison Reports
  18. Opened for public discussion - Limit 3 minutes per person with open session not to exceed 30 minutes
  19. Closed for public discussion
  20. Bills to be paid
  21. Adjournment

The order of business may be individually set by the Clerk or presiding officer to suit the specific needs of such meetings, provided that the public shall always have at least one (1) opportunity to be heard. 

The Two Types of Council Meetings

There are two types of Council Meetings, each of which has a different function and varies in its degree of public access and participation. 

  1. Regular Meetings
  2. Executive Sessions
  • Discussions related to such topics as personnel, contract negotiations, and litigation are held in "closed" session. Neither public attendance nor input is permitted. Closed sessions are ordinarily held at the beginning of Council Meetings at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers Conference Room. 

Council Meeting Schedule

The Borough Council generally meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, unless stated otherwise, in the Borough Council Chambers, 10 Lawlor Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436. The full Council Meeting Schedule can be accessed on the Borough Website Homepage. 

Form of Government

Oakland is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The Governing Body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprised of six members who are elected at-large on a basis. The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The six Borough Council members serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year during the November General Election. The Borough form of government used by Oakland, the most common system used in the State of New Jersey, is a "weak mayor/strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the Mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The Mayor may veto ordinances, subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the Council. 

Meeting Broadcast and Archive

Oakland Borough Council Meetings are broadcast live on Channel 77 on Cablevision and on Channel 45 on FiOS, as well as livestreamed on the Borough's YouTube Channel.

Council Chambers, 10 Lawlor Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436

Council Chambers