Other NJ News

Montville Residents & Twp Committee Ask for Resignation of Committeewoman over Facebook Post

992d72d3763de74606c2_a_Facebook_post.jpg
Facebook post Credits: Facebook
7cc01967608ad16ccc70_a_Committee_Member_June_Witty__2018_TAPInto_Montville.JPG
Committee Member June Witty ©2018 TAPInto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
df51e38fc665d8eddfbe_a_Censure_Resolution.jpg
Censure Resolution Credits: Township of Montville
9808e19d240674226a4b_a_Committee_Member_June_Witty_listens_as_a_member_of_the_public_speaks_to_her__2018_TAPInto_Montville______1..JPG
Committee Member June Witty listens as a member of the public speaks to her ©2018 TAPInto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
9593a8a28c432fc47b33_a_Committee_Member_June_Witty_listens_as_a_member_of_the_public_speaks_to_her__2018_TAPInto_Montville.JPG
Committee Member June Witty listens as a member of the public speaks to her ©2018 TAPInto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
fce77dc7e06b40de6888_a_Mayor_Richard_Conklin_reads_a_statement__2018_TAPInto_Montville.JPG
Mayor Richard Conklin reads a statement ©2018 TAPInto Montville Credits: Melissa Benno
992d72d3763de74606c2_a_Facebook_post.jpg

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee voted to censure Committee Member June Witty for a personal Facebook post she made on April 8 which compared Democrats to Nazis. All four members of the five-person committee asked for her resignation.

The post, a chart which states that Nazis believed in “media mind control,” “no guns,” abortion, and socialism," states that Democrats also hold these beliefs, but are worse because not only do they “hate Jews” but they also “hate Whites.” (See the photo gallery.) The post has since been taken down.

Tuesday night's Township meeting began with a statement read by Mayor Richard Conklin, in which he stated that no other township committee member shared the thoughts expressed in the post, and in fact the four committee members reject the statements made.

Sign Up for E-News

Conklin then asked Witty if she wished to comment, and she said she regularly posts on Facebook with issues of “national, regional and local concern.” She said she reads and posts items that she finds disturbing that show “what is going on in our society.”

“Last week I re-posted something that was written in connection with the national debate between Republicans and Democrats,” Witty continued. “I posted an ad that related to some extreme opinions that have taken place over the past two years. I recognize that a number of residents were offended by that particular post, albeit the post is not a reflection of my opinion or views, and most importantly, not reflective of any of my actions. Accordingly, I took the post down and want to express my heartfelt apologies to those who have been offended, and most importantly want to reaffirm the fact that such a post is not reflective of me, and is not reflective of my actions as a public servant.”

Witty confirmed that the post was not endorsed by the committee or administration.

The assembly room contained approximately fifty people, and 29 spoke, including two former mayors, and representatives from the Jewish community and the Democratic party in the township, many of whom called for Witty to resign.

Former mayor John Rosellini said Witty’s actions were a “disgrace,” and that if a high school student had done the same thing, that student would be expelled.

“Tonight is not about Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “This is not who we are. Someone who posts on Facebook, intentionally posts on Facebook. Mrs. Witty I understand you worked for the schools for years, you helped people for years, and this was a mistake. But this is like robbing a bank. You can’t take it back."

Rosellini called for the other four members to “stand up and take a stand,” and for Witty to “do what you have to do,” but “this is not going to go away.” He said three times as many people would be at the next committee meeting, along with TV cameras.

“I’m ashamed to say tonight that I was Montville’s mayor,” he said, “and Mrs. Witty, you did that.”

Immediate past mayor Jim Sandham said the post was reprehensible and offensive. He is a Republican but an American first, and he has many friends who are Democrats, he said. Although they have disagreements about how things should be done, everyone strives for a good outcome, he said.

Long-time head of the town’s Democratic party Dan Grant, who served on the township committee for 15 years, said that the post casts doubt on future board and committee appointments that the township committee makes, since political party may come into question as the reason for Witty’s votes. He said he thought she should step down, and he recommended that Witty be censured.

Other residents addressed their feelings about the exact verbiage in the post, how they are affected by the groups Hitler targeted, and the insult, as Democrats, of being compared to Nazis.

Pradipto Bagchi said he was speaking on behalf of his disabled son, because Hitler killed disabled people.

“I never expected this kind of discourse from this town,” he said.

Bagchi said he is a member of the Democratic party and yet he has heard many good things from other Democrats about the Republican members of the township committee and the many good acts they have done.

“Holding public office means keeping in mind what you communicate,” he said. “You do not have the luxury of erasing what was said in the past.”

Bagchi said that nothing less than Witty’s resignation would be acceptable.

“We cannot be the town in New Jersey that calls half the town Nazis,” he said. “If you do not speak up, you own this. I have never, ever been so offended. On this issue, we are all on the same side. Civility demands that every [township committee] member should demand her resignation. [Ms. Witty,] you are no longer an effective public official when you do not represent us.”

A resident who identified himself as being Jewish said that if this had happened last year when his family had been house hunting, he would not have moved his family to Montville.

Emily Ryzuk, who ran for township committee on the Democratic ticket last year, said she was heartbroken when she read the post because she had worked with Witty “for a long time.”

“I didn’t think I could be compared to a Nazi,” she said.

Ryzuk said she had to deal with slander and bashing as part of running for office last year, from people who didn’t even know her, and it “hurt her so much.”

“We have to be responsible,” she said. “What I post on Facebook is what I would want an employer to read. It hurts me so much to think that’s what you would share. Go into your heart and make a decision on what is the best recourse on this. I come here as a person who is just disappointed.”

But many were not so kind and demanded Witty’s resignation.

Mark Roffman said he felt that the township committee should not be “disappointed” but that they should be “outraged,” and he was appalled that they were not.

“[Ms. Witty’s] explanation is disingenuous,” he said. “Initially I thought a censure would have been enough, but now it’s not. Her comments are a reflection on each and every one of you. You should be asking for her resignation.”

Andrea Orris suggested that Witty step down, work within the community and seek election later.

“It’s a bad message to youth when adults can’t control their posts,” she said.

High school student Olivia Fazio told Witty that youth are told all the time to be careful what they post on social media.

“You need to think before you post on social media, we’re told, because once you post, it’s not going to disappear,” Fazio said, “and it’s going to haunt you. You wouldn’t expect this from an adult. Adults aren’t supposed to do this. They’re supposed to be the role models. If they think someone on the [township] committee can get away with this, they’ll think they can get away with this, too. I appreciate your apology but you need to reflect on what’s best for Montville, because actions speak louder than words.”

Lazar teacher Judy Gothelf agreed about the bad example for the youth of Montville Township.

“We’re taking a step backwards here,” she said. “We formed Stigma Free and OneMontville, and I do my darnedest to teach my kids acceptance, compassion and embracing all differences. How will I explain this one to my kids – ‘This one is different because it’s someone from Montville – we just have to accept that. So everything that I’ve taught you goes by the wayside?' June, you need to step down.”

Fern Wolkin of Cedar Knolls turned Witty’s own words on herself.

“We have learned that silence is complicity and that’s why everybody came out tonight,” Wolkin said. “I went on your Facebook page today. I watched your video from when you were running for office. These were your exact words: ‘I will serve with the highest standards of character, values and ethics because it means something to me. I will serve with superior honesty to the public.’ I would ask yourself at the end of this evening if you are accomplishing that. Because I don’t think anybody here thinks that you are.”

The township committee members read statements condemning the post. Conklin said the committee was “limited in what it could do,” and township attorney Fred Semrau explained that only if a crime is committed can a member be forced to resign. Conklin said Witty “needs to make a large decision,” while Committee Member Richard Cook said he was concerned with Witty’s ability to continue as an effective member of the committee. Committee Member Matt Kayne said the post was extremely offensive. Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney called the post “ignorant, insensitive, and a cheap shot.”

“Our town is so much better than this,” Cooney said.

Witty said that “people who have known her over the years know that this is not reflective of who she is,” and apologized again.

Since so many residents had requested it, Cook point-blank turned to Witty and said, “Ms. Witty, will you resign,” to which Witty responded that she would like to take the opportunity to correct her mistakes.

Semrau had a motion to censure already prepared, which included verbiage that the Facebook post is one the committee “vehemently rejects and finds to be inappropriate, offensive and unbecoming of an elected official of the Township of Montville.” Further, it “memorializes its position that the township does not and will not tolerate those types of statements, behavior or opinion in its governance and leadership, […] and requests the Committeewoman Witty submit her resignation.” (See the resolution in the photo gallery)

The resolution to censure passed unanimously. Witty was not allowed to vote.

Resident Bob Lowenfish said during public portion if the township committee does not demand a resignation and Witty does not resign, he wanted to know the mechanism to enact a recall. Semrau replied that a recall would have to come 50 days before the completion of one year of service, and a notice of intention would have to be filed.

Sign up to receive FREE TAPinto news in your email inbox: www.tapinto.net/enews

​​Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Dine in Bloomfield Center for a Good Cause!

April 17, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- The Bloomfield Center Alliance (BCA) is giving people another reason to come and experience downtown Bloomfield.  Its new Bloomfield Center Gives Back initiative combines the BCA's objective of supporting local businesses with helping nonprofit organizations serving the town.  On specific dates between mid-April and end of May, people can dine in one of several ...

Township Looking for Artist to Restore Stay Strong Mural and Design Additional Mural

BLOOMFIELD, NJ--The Township of Bloomfield requests proposals and qualifications from artists for both the restoration of an existing “Stay Strong” mural and the design and implementation of a new public art mural on the opposite side of the train trestle, both located between 236 – 256 Broad Street. The Bloomfield Recreation & Cultural Affairs Department will administer the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_86a969eef49a99188b9b_mountainside_logo_meridian

Mon, April 23, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_55658f15772db1bdb9ff_kelly_mark

Tue, April 24, 6:00 PM

The Venetian , Garfield

Prepared. For Life Dinner with Captain Mark Kelly

Other

Carousel_image_c73e643803185b3e5a92_mountainside_logo_lockup

Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Wed, April 25, 7:30 PM

Cedar Grove Public Library , Cedar Grove

The Bellevue Theater: Fade to Black or Double ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_a674372cd08008df8826_mini_magick20180408-125554-ihc4eg

Thu, April 26, 4:00 PM

Alzheimer's NJ Headquarters, Roseland

Alzheimer's 101

Education Health & Wellness

Thu, April 26, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Breathe to Live: Lung Health

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_73f84349c9d94a858ba7_demarest_hsa

Fri, April 27, 6:00 PM

Forest Hill Field Club, Bloomfield

Now Showing: Demarest HSA Tricky Tray

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Other

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter April 9 - 15, 2018

April 19, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

4/9/18- Rhett Ellis Age 53 of East Orange, NJ- Officers were dispatched to 77 Bloomfield Ave (Rite Aid) on a shoplifter in custody. Loss Prevention observed a familiar male suspect who is not allowed to be in the store. The suspect concealed two ...

Essex County Child in Desperate Need of Bone Marrow Donor

April 23, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Veronica DePauli, a 7-year-old West Orange resident, is suffering from the blood cancer osteopetrosis, and the only way to overcome her illness is through a bone marrow transplant procedure. Community Blood Services, Be The Match® national registry, is spearheading a search to help Veronica find a match.

Veronica faces the common challenge of identifying a ...

Columbia H.S. Students Walkout of School on Friday as Part of National April 20 Protests

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - More than 200 students from Columbia High School (CHS) participated in a protest on Friday morning, one of many school walkouts planned nationwide to mark the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School school shooting, and to advocate for gun violence prevention legislation.

Students begin exiting the CHS building at about 10 a.m., with student leaders, who were ...

Glen Rock Police: Teaneck Man Demands Whiskey Before Breath Test

April 23, 2018

GLEN ROCK, NJ - A a 30-year-old Teaneck man demanded a drink of whiskey "before he would properly complete breath tests," according to police.

On April 21 at 3:19 a.m., police responded to a single vehicle motor vehicle accident on the 900 block of Maple Avenue. The officer found that a vehicle had struck a borough shade tree at the side of the road causing significant ...

Ready for Rutgers Day this Saturday?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - RU ready for Rutgers Day?

You will not want to miss the university’s annual welcome and show-and-tell for New Jersey residents of all ages. It all takes place this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is already thr 10th anniversary of Rutgers Day, There will be more than 700 free performances, demonstrations and interactive activities. Last ...

Surf City Hotel's Application Rejected By the Surf City Land Use Board for Outdoor Dining

April 17, 2018

SURF CITY - There has been a lot of positive change going on at the Surf City Hotel the last two years and especially this off season. New owner Greg Gewirtz, his wife Colleen and other family members have been working hard completing renovations to improve the hotel, bar, liquor store, restaurant and night club.

The owners were hoping those improvements would include approval to set ...

The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 13, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, NJ-11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract ...

How Can Sports Therapy Loosen Up Winter Muscles?

Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned athlete, the winter weather can affect your body. In these cold conditions, muscles are forced to work harder to complete tasks. This extra effort can result in muscle soreness and damage to tissue. While you may not be able to avoid the cold, preventive measure can help avoid discomfort and injury. Learning and implementing sports therapy techniques, ...

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update April 23, 2018

Bengal Baseball greats came from near and far for the dedication of the All-State signs at our Baseball diamond. Today’s Bengals had a fine week- posting a three-game winning streak with victories over Science Park, Belleville and Glen Ridge.

Golf placed in the top ten at the Essex County Team Tournament. Kevin Bretz posted the low Bengal score- shooting an 88.

Softball ...

The Jaffe Briefing - April 23, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE - First, there was a turkey in every pot. Then there was the "Square Deal," the "New Deal" and now Sen. Cory Booker says it is time for government to offer a, uh, great deal: A job to anyone who wants one. He is proposing federal grants that would select 15 "local areas" in which adults could get a job at $15 an ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Plainfield's Jennifer Popper & Carolyn Wellington

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Plainfield franchisees Jennifer Popper and Carolyn Wellington. TAPinto.net has more than 70 franchised online, local newspapers. Our franchise owners include journalists, hard-copy newspapers, and thanks to Jennifer and Carolyn, non-profit organizations such as the YMCA.

Find out how these local Plainfield, NJ residents ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...

Team Veronica Holds "Be the Match" Drive

April 22, 2018

Team Veronica is coming to a town near you!

Veronica, is a seven year old, who needs a bone marrow transplant. 

Be The Match is a national registry for finding a match(es) for a bone marrow transplant. It is a simple swab test of the inside of your mouth. 

On Mon., April 23, Be The Match, will be at the Bayonne Fire House from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Elise Johanssen of Be The Match ...

12th Annual Coffee and A Cause 'Friendraiser' at the Salvation Army, May 3

The Salvation Army will celebrate its 12th Annual Coffee & a Cause “friendraiser” on Thursday, May 3rd 2018.

The Salvation Army came to Montclair in 1891, a time when the community was coming into its own. As times changed so did the needs of the community.  In the late 1970’s The Salvation Army expanded the scope of services it provided and developed a social ...

A Walk in the Park, 2018

A Walk in the Park, 2018

“A Walk in the Park” is a tour sponsored by the Nutley Historical Society that will be held on Sunday, May 27.  The tour, led by Nutley Museum director John Simko, begins at 9:00 a.m. at the Mud Hole (near the intersection of Passaic and Vreeland avenues) and travels along the Third River.  Mr. Simko will talk about the river’s role in ...

Kingsland Colonels vs Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club at 4th Annual Base Ball Classic

Love Baseball?  Love history?  Watch 1860s Base Ball!

The Kingsland Manor Presents

The Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club

Versus

Kingsland Colonels of Nutley Base Ball Club

4th Annual Base Ball Classic

May 5th, 2018 at Yanticaw, Boys Park, Nutley, N.J.

The Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club plays by 19th Century rules, uses authentic replicas of 19th Century ...

Obituaries

Jul 21, 1966 - Apr 6, 2018
Sheila Rossi (nee Borges) 51, of Nutley, NJ died peacefully on April 6, 2018. Visitation will be ...
Read more
Jul 14, 1934 - Apr 3, 2018
Patrick Joseph Moran, 83, of North Caldwell, died on April 3, 2018. Relatives and friends are ...
Read more