To the editor:
I am a Flemington Borough resident and made the following public comment at the Dec. 12 regular Borough Council meeting. It is unfortunately still relevant as corrective action has not occurred.
“Several members of the Borough Council of the Borough of Flemington have described the legal action brought against the Borough with regards to the proposed development of our Main Street and the Union Hotel as 'frivolous.' Much discussion has been focused on public comment and those who can or cannot make comment, uninterrupted or at length. I will keep my comment tonight under three minutes.
"What has not been discussed and cannot be characterized as 'frivolous' is that our mayor and Council should by their direction place the Borough Clerk personally liable for both significant fines and potentially the loss of licensure as would cause that individual to no longer be employable as Borough Clerk by directing her to not respond to the standing OPRA - Open Public Records Act - requests made in June 2016 and then again shortly thereafter. Both requests require response within 7 days. How is it 'frivolous' that elected officials’ deliberately and knowing have placed a Borough employee in jeopardy. Perhaps there is a member of Council who was unaware and not party to this decision. Now following my comment no member of this body may deny having knowledge of the burden that they have placed on a Borough employee.
I expect no response to my comment; as has been noted before when inconvenient questions have been asked, 'this is a time for public comment...not questions.' I also expect to be told that there may be no discussion of an ongoing legal matter - but that is the problem - the current legal matter is a result of the current elected officials ... and it didn’t have to happen. Finally, I also expect to be told that this is a personnel issue and it would not be appropriate for discussion here. That is fine - just so long as those same elected officials do not throw a Borough employee acting at their direction under the bus for a situation those same elected officials created.”
Now in February 2017 it makes me wonder what is being hidden. We are told the Union Hotel development project is under negotiation but does anyone really believe that “negotiations” are occurring when the same developer did not compete in an open bid? Protection for this developer appears the primary objective of all but the newest Borough Council members. It stinks from the top down and makes you wonder what is being “hidden” and to what lengths our Mayor and Council members will go to protect a developer.
Michael Harris, Flemington