I am writing this open letter to all the elected representatives of Berkeley Heights in hopes that they will hear, understand and take action. The Township is undertaking multiple major projects at the same time and a lot of the residents have questions. We are being advised to attend the Town Council meetings held bi-weekly at the town hall.
I have attended council meetings with my questions but I am really disappointed in the way I have been treated at these meetings. The first time I asked a question, instead of answers, I was interrupted repeatedly by the mayor and interrogated with questions by councilman Peter Bavaso. I left with no answers and had to resort to requesting this info via OPRA, which contradicts the information provided by our town council members and mayor.
To make matters worse, recently the Town Council have gotten a timer with an alarm and flashing lights which they use to cut off residents asking questions at council meetings. Unfortunately we can barely ask one or two questions in the three-minute time frame allowed. At the most recent council meeting, I was interrupted and literally yelled at by councilman Craig Pastore, who mumbled, “I am getting angry,” and then growled at me to “Sit down.” It is unprofessional for an elected representative to yell at a resident. I was appalled by how none of the other town council members even attempted to stop him.
Am I being singled out for being a woman and person of color? It is uncalled for that an elected representative treats residents this rudely. The elected representatives are paid by the tax-paying residents to do their job and conduct these meetings. A lot of residents do not even show up to these meetings or ask questions due to the abominable way they are treated during these meetings.
I sincerely hope and pray the town officials understand why we show up at the town council meetings, We treat them with respect and they should return the favor and treat us with respect as well.