LIVINGSTON, NJ – At the Livingston Township Council meeting on Nov. 17, Livingston resident Larry Kohn addressed the council regarding an ethical complaint he made to the International City/County Association (ICMA) against Township Manager Michele Meade.
“I took special note of the West Caldwell judge’s decision in the 4/19/2013 police training incident,” said Kohn in his official statement to the council. “While finding the manager not guilty, the Judge made special note of Ms. Meade’s unprofessional conduct. I also realized that after I presented to this body documentation of Ms. Meade’s inaccurate, incomplete and misleading report on the construction finances of the Town Hall/Police Building and the total violation of the regulations and the mismanagement of the Recreation Trust Fund, that the Livingston’s elected officials were not going to hold Ms. Meade responsible for her actions.”
Kohn, who was previously a member of ICMA and has served as township administrator in Englewood and assistant township manager in Woodbridge, presented a 56-page document to the council, which included the ICMA Code of Ethics, the official complaint to ICMA, and an outline detailing Meade’s actions and behavior spanning from 2008 to 2014. The detailed report includes complaints ranging from what Meade wore to a town picnic to ethical complaints within the scope of council decisions and miscommunications made by Meade.
In the official complaint to ICMA, Kohn writes, “The information provided in junction with this submission will corroborate that Michele Meade has embarrassed herself and the Livingston community by her actions. While this complaint identifies numerous specific issues to be investigated, the common thread is that Michele Meade failed to accurately foster and encourage factual communication with Livingston elected officials and the public. Her management style and a complete lack of transparency has led to a loss of public confidence. There has been no effort at candor that would encourage any trust. Any single item in this submission, taken alone, is sufficient to conclude there are serious violations of the ICMA Code of Ethics.”
The report includes a note written on February 25, 2008 from Kohn to former mayor Gary Schneiderman regarding Meade’s behavior at a council meeting. Kohn writes, “With this demonstration of arrogance and disrespect of Livingston residents, I would be concerned how she treats township employees.”
Also included are multiple documented examples of incidences and statements made by Meade at previous council meetings.
One report reads, “In response to the auditor’s recommendation in the 2012 audit report, Manager Meade informed the Mayor and Council that the Police Chief and the Chief Financial Officer had put together a plan to correct the problem identified by the auditor. The reason the same recommendation appeared in the 2013 audit report was the plan that was developed wasn’t implemented. When she reported these facts in September 2014, she failed to identify what actions she had taken to insure the same recommendation would not be repeated in the 2014 audit! It should also be noted that Manager Meade took no responsibility for the failure to insure the ‘plan’ was executed.”
In response to Kohn’s comments at the meeting, Mayor Michael Rieber said, “Just for the record, up here I find Michele to be professional, she answers our concerns and questions.”