Scotch Plains residents see how Mayor Glover thinks he is above the law and has powers he doesn't have, such as the power to give the Township Manager a secret pay raise and take health benefits he isn't entitled to.
But just as troubling is that our township council is not using the powers it has to make our government evolve and work better for our citizens.
Two recent glaring problems are the under staffing of our recreation department, and the under-budgeting of the DPW department ($200,000 cut from salaries this year). The under-staffing of the recreation department has led to inadequate maintenance of our sports fields such as the poor field conditions at Kramer Park. The DPW is so underfunded we couldn't even afford a minimal branch pickup after 2 big back-to-back storms this summer.
Scotch Plains residents deserve a township council that oversees government for the sake of delivering the services our residents deserve and expect, not for the sake of their political connections.
Our form of government by law gives virtually all executive authority to a municipal manager - N.J.S.A 40:69A-91. Yet it does give the council the power to create a subcommittee or commission, with the power to review or even investigate departments.
We propose and pledge to use this power, on an annual basis, to review at least one department in-depth each year. We will use this power judiciously, but we will be complete in our oversight. We would carefully review the services of the department - what do we need more of, or less of, or maybe no change at all - and review that department's budget more carefully than the typical annual budget review.
Doing a better job of delivering basic services may not make for the best sound bite, but residents should know we have a plan and will make that a top priority. Public service should be about just that, service, and not self-enrichment. We will lead by example by taking no health benefits or salary, the same as public servants in Fanwood and Westfield do today, and will make that law in Scotch Plains on January 1, 2017.
Al Smith, Candidate for Mayor of Scotch Plains
Ted Spera, Candidate for cotch Plains Township Council
Llewellyn Jones, Scotch Plains Councilman