At the June 25, 2019 Montville Township Committee Meeting, Jim Sandham went to the microphone and again attacked Committeewoman June Witty. He claimed that Committeewoman Witty “accosted” him with her business card, she “thrust her business card in my face”. Jim said he was “shocked and offended.” He described the incident as “horrific”.
I have a business card from Committeewoman Witty. It is exactly 2” wide and 3.5” long on business card paper stock. It is not something most rational people would consider menacing, certainly not “horrific”. For Jim to attend a public meeting and read a prepared statement filled with exaggeration and melodrama there must be an underlying motivation.
The simplicity theory would identify sexism as the motivating factor. Why else would Jim continue to publicly attack Committeewoman Witty? Why would he exclude her from his email correspondences to the committee? He admittedly sends the emails as the Chairman of the Long Term Financial Planning Committee (an advisory committee). He proclaims he has the right to send his emails to the other Committeemen, he even spoke with “legal counsel”. He publicly defended his right to exclude her because he does not respect her. Jim is not concerned with being a sexist, he just wants to make sure he has a legal right to be bias.
But he did not stop there. Committeewoman Witty dedicates time on select weekends to meet with residents. She calls it, “Coffee with your Committeewoman”. Jim actually criticized Committeewoman Witty for providing Montville residents the opportunity to meet with her and express their concerns. He claims she is not a team player, a thinly veiled reference to Jim’s team. Jim has far too much influence with several members of the Township Committee. Jim Sandham does not have the right to dismiss Committeewoman Witty just because she is a woman. When he does this he is also disrespecting the voters and the right of self-governance. Committeewoman Witty received the highest number of votes in the 2017 Primary and General Elections. She is the person we choose to represent us and Jim Sandham does not have the right to ignore our elected representative.
This is not the first time Jim Sandham has publicly attacked and disrespected Committeewoman Witty but it should be the last time he does so as a member of any Montville Board or Committee. At the July 16th Township Committee Meeting the committee must remove Jim Sandham from his position on the Planning Board and the Financial Planning Committee. Jim has always had a delusion that he is a modern day Messiah. In his mind he has been delivered to Montville to save us from ourselves (self-governance), now we need the Township Committee to stiffen their spines. The committee cannot continue to sit on their hands as one
of their members is being attacked. They must each strongly defend Committeewoman Witty and strongly condemn Jim Sandham. Anything short of removing Jim from his appointed positions is not only extremely poor judgement, it is simply cowardice.
Thank you for your time, Dan Pagano
You can listen to the meeting referenced above at the link below. Jim Sandham is difficult to hear. He must have been traumatized by having a woman with political power, hand him her business card.
He prepared his statement, but failed to speak into the microphone.