As a lifelong Berkeley Heights resident, and as someone who once was more than happy to support Tom Battaglia and John Bonacci when they ran for Council, I was furious to learn of their decision to join with Councilmen DiPasquale and Nelson in forking over $65,000 in compensation for our Police Chief.

When one considers the fact that (in Mr. Battaglia's words) the police chief "pretty much got what he wanted", despite the economic situation that Berkeley Heights taxpayers face today, the March 25th vote resembles nothing less than a mockery of responsible government. That this vote was taken up abruptly, while Joe Bruno and Elaine Perna, the other two members of the Council were on vacation, says to me that the "Gang of Four" knows perfectly well that what they did was unethical.

Let me add that, as a Democratic Municipal Committeeman in Berkeley Heights, I do not consider this kind of fiscal immaturity as befitting a Democrat, Republican or Independent member of local government. Even though he is a Democrat, Councilman Battaglia does not speak for me, nor, I believe, for the vast majority of Berkeley Heights Democrats.

Granting $65,000 in compensation is not a Republican or Democratic issue - it is a question of doing the right thing for our town.