At the Maplewood Township Committee (TC) meeting on October 4th, a 91-year-old WWII Veteran implored the TC to take action to clean the “Durand Gully” behind his home. A resident of 50 years, he cited numerous calls to Town Hall and visits from various officials which offered promises but no action. Mayor De Luca assured the resident that the town would investigate and get back to him. I was struck by the resident’s frustration and touched by his story.

At the next TC meeting on October 18th, I anxiously waited for an update on the situation but heard none. I felt it was important and raised it again during the public comment section. The members of the TC did not offer a response and the Township Administrator indicated they would not be able to help. He stated they would send the resident a letter. While I was disappointed the Township couldn’t help, I was more disappointed that this situation wasn’t still on the Township Committee’s radar. A citizen who brings their issues to the TC deserves attention and resolution.

Having spent my career in customer service, I know that when you are made aware of an issue, you own it. I firmly believe the members of the TC care about Maplewood’s citizens but without good governance systems in place the TC falls short. It shouldn’t take the public’s comments to keep them focused on doing what they say they will do. An issue raised in the public setting, should be resolved in the public setting.

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This is not an isolated incident. We experienced similar situations with the traffic signals at Valley and Tuscan as well as the stocking of feminine hygiene products in public restrooms. Until we put good governance systems in place, the results will be the same.

If you would like to help with the cleaning the Durand Gully, we have formed a volunteer team and can use more hands. Adults and kids are welcome and can sign up by emailing

Mike Summersgill