March 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM
Behavior at March 4th Town Council Meeting Was an Embarrassment
To the Editor:
I attended the March 4th town council meeting and saw a new level of embarrassment. This time it sprang from both the council and the residents.
I saw residents that refused to look at the facts and jumped to conclusions. They argued against the Faulkner Act and the Shady Rest before discussions were held. The Faulkner Act brought out possible other forms of government and the limits of mayor. I was shocked and disappointed that my fellow residents did not take the time to hear the presentations.
The mayor expressed his displeasure with the deputy mayor for raising the Faulkner issue. Why would anyone object to discussion of different options? I suspect that the mayor was more upset that someone was highlighting his limits of office. He should keep in mind that the even our president is under fire for ignoring the Constitution and his use of executive orders. The Faulkner discussion did not lead to a change of our government structure but highlighted what could be or could not be done by the mayor. I was appalled by some residents liking this discussion to taking away their right to vote and linking it to the treatment of a minority group in our history. In my mind, this thought has no place in our town and find it upsetting. Taking into consideration that the Faulkner Act is the law of the land and the five council members are still elected by the public and the mayor, under one option, would have been picked out of these elected official the public still has a vote. Should one not like a council member that could be appointed mayor, then don't vote the person to the council in the first place.
When it comes to the Shady Rest situation, yes it is taking some time, but to say our Township manager is "stonewalling" was uncalled for and unproven. My impression is that the mayor never liked the new manager, and is now trying to get him to quit. He would fire him, but no longer has the votes to do so. I have been attending town council meetings for a decade, and have no remembrance of Shady Rest ever taking so much attention as it is now.
I can't help from thinking that the outrage was orchestrated by some on the town council, such to drive a wedge between council members and the public. One of council members twice threatened to have unruly residents ejected from the council chambers. I am not sure if he was out of line, but the mayor was conducting the meeting and failed to take any action.
To add more injury to insult, some on the town council members talked about the political party that they do not belong to and other groups. This is below the dignity of my elected officials and an apology is due.
I hope that in the future, our residents will act with the proper decorum, take the time and offer their questions and comments in an informed and civil fashion. I also hope that our elected officials act with respect of the public and the responsibilities of their positions that we voters have granted them. We can remove that permission at the next election and some can make a case that we don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican or Martian! We demand non-partisan government that acts for the good of the people, not themselves nor their political party.
In the past, I have spoken out about the conduct at our town council meetings; I hope that I will not have to do it again, but it looks like that is unlikely.
Scotch Plains, NJ
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