I attended the 2020 Township of Berkeley Heights Reorganization Meeting on Thursday, January 2, 2020, The Mayor disappointed many Township residents when she voted to break a tie and confirm Alvaro Medeirose as Council President and break another tie vote to confirm Susan Poage as Council Vice President, two Democrats. This was done with no explanation to the public. It was also done in direct conflict to her pledge in her 2018 campaign, as well as touted by the candidates she supported in the 2019 election to be "Purple." During both campaigns, the Mayor and the Democratic candidates spoke often about "Purple"--promising to blend Red and Blue for the best interests of the residents of Berkeley Heights. At the Reorganization Meeting, the Mayor, in her State of the Township Address, echoed this pledge when she told the assembled crowd how proud she was that her administration has placed the "needs of the town above any political agenda." Yet, by voting to confirm two Democrats to the positions instead of voting to confirm Councilman Manny Cuoto to one of the positions, as he was put forward by Councilwoman Kingsley, the Mayor did just that--put politics and party ahead of the interests of the Township. The Mayor quickly rejected Mr. Cuoto with no explanation why either Mr. Medeiros or Ms. Poage have more expertise than Mr. Couto to serve in the positions. Councilman Cuoto is the second most experienced council member and received strong support in the November 2019 election. His overwhelming re-election demonstrates the residents of the Township appreciate and acknowledge his expertise, and trust him. All one has to do is attend a council meeting to understand Mr. Cuoto understands the issues and has the experience required for one of the positions. He also has a record of reaching across the aisle, listening to all residents, and making independent decisions. The Purple move would have been for the Mayor to vote Mr. Cuoto as Council Vice President. The vote would have provided balance and Purple perspective the Township needs and the Mayor promised.
Purple Opportunity Missed at Reorganization Meeting
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