February 28, 2014 at 1:52 AM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Township Council voted in favor of Resolution 36-14 approving the contract of Jessica Glicker as Communications Director/Public Information Officer for 2014. Glicker will operate as an Independent Contractor and will be paid $3,300 per month.
In addition, Resolution 42-14, naming Perry Bashkoff of Bashkoff Enterprises as the township's Social Media Coordinator for 2014, was approved at a rate of $2,000 per month. Bashkoff's increase comes after Marketing Director Patrick Sutherland of Direct Ignition, LLC, did not renew his contract with the township.
The approval was not unanimous, however, as Councilman Joe Krakoviak voted no on both resolutions, reading a statement regarding his perception of Glicker's role in the Cease and Desist Letter issued to Krakoviak's former appointee to the Public Relations Commission, Jake Freivald.
Krakoviak called the viral response to the letter "the worst PR disaster in a decade," and said during the June 25, 2103 township council meeting that Glicker "verbally assaulted a commissioner (Freivald) and volunteer during public comment, and she took responsibility for initiating a complaint to the Mayor and Business Administrator."
He blamed Glicker for "a series of events leading to a PR disaster in West Orange," and voted no on Resolution 36-14.
Following Krakoviak's comments, Council President Susan McCartney said "I disagree with everything you just said," noting that prior to June 25 she had never heard of the westorange.info website. When she did go on, she said "there were disparaging comments about colleagues on the site being made by a Public Relations Commissioner and using westorange.info."
"We can accept our criticism," she noted, "but not from one of the Public Relations Commissioners...it was unacceptable behavior."
Discussion began on Resolution 42-14, with Bashkoff coming to the microphone and noting several of the efforts and initiatives by Bashkoff Enterprises over the past year.
Bashkoff has grown readership on the township Facebook page from a few hundred to nearly five thousand; created an 'Infographic' sheet used by realtors; created "firstname.lastname@example.org" for residents to register snow issues; created twitter accounts for the township and jitney users, and provided more email updates. He spearheaded the "Movember" effort in November to raise awareness of men's health issues and generated township donations over $11,000 for the organization and raised community awareness for the Rec Department, schools, and businesses.
Krakoviak asked Bashkoff about the contract and his efforts, and questioned "whether it was money well spent to support the school district."
Bashkoff responded by saying, "it's not about the board of education, it's about the community members, and the kids, and getting the information out."
Krakoviak said the township should have the school district pay for half of Bashkoff's salary if he was helping them. "You're missing the point," said McCartney.
Krakoviak chuckled and said, "I am NOT missing the point."
Bashkoff stood firm in his resolution that people should "promote each other and back each other up."
After the lengthy discussion, the council voted, 4-1, in favor of Resolution 42-14. Krakoviak qualified his vote by saying "I don't see the benefit to the township of spending $22,000 dollars on a lot of this stuff for schools, local businesses and realtors, and I think the money can be better spent somewhere else."
Councilpersons Victor Cirilo, Susan McCartney, Jerry Guarino and Patty Spango expressed appreciation for Bashkoff's involvement and commended his efforts over the past year.
View the council meeting video here or check local listings on TV 36/45 for broadcast times.
The next Township Council meeting is scheduled for March 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m.