It is truly a shame that in the closing days of the campaign, people take the low road. The three “concerned ladies” were or are office-holders in the Republican City Committee. Let me set the record straight: I was chairman of the Public Safety Committee for four years and liaison to the Board of Education for several  years and, sorry ladies, I was President of the Millburn-Short Hills chapter of the March of Dimes when I was mayor.  Why the reporter used “is” instead of “was” is a question to ask her, and I have not lived in Millburn for almost 15 years so I don’t know what happened to the chapter.

It is sad that they call are policemen and women “unethical” because they endorsed me.  Thanks to Dickson and Bomgaars, they cut the police and fire department budgets two years in a row and put our first responders and you at risk. They cut our police officers from 48 to 46 last year and as a result, there were shifts last year when we only had one or two officers on patrol in the entire town, and 67 shifts at the fire department when there was not enough manpower to respond to a fire. The overtime cost us something like $75,000 to $100,000 in additional costs. There has been absolutely no vote on a PBA contract, one which expired last December, despite the fact that the PBA offered to give back $145,000 in the current contract for a 3 year extension last year. This council rejected that proposal for reasons I still cannot understand and yes we are now in arbitration and paying a labor attorney with your tax dollars.

Yes, Dickson was part of the Council that supported a $15,000,000 taxpayer funded garage on Woodland Avenue. I absolutely opposed this.  Then, when the community rose up against it, she voted to spend another $50,000 on top of the $175,000 already spent on the original study a few years earlier, and last year she and this Council voted to authorize a $12,000,000 taxpayer-funded garage on the Post Office lot. This vote was last December.  The proposal was approved 4 to 3, with Murphy and I opposing it. It went nowhere because it required a 5 to 2 supermajority for a bond ordinance.  In a Lincoln Hubbard Traffic and Safety Committee meeting following that vote, Dickson said to that Committee, “If you just let us build the parking garage on Woodland Avenue, you would have plenty of teacher parking.”  The silence was deafening and there were something like 15 people in the room trying to figure ways to keep our children safe.

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What is the problem here?  She supports a smaller police force, I don’t.  She supports a parking garage at taxpayer expense, I don’t.  I am proud of the positions I have taken over my 6 years on council. Why is it that instead of touting their candidate’s positions, they misrepresent mine?

For those of you still trying to decide who to vote for I can only say to you please ignore the attempts at character assassination by highly partisan politicians. These are the same people who vilified me for exposing the ethical violations of a certain councilman and the attempts to keep them from the public.  They tried to punish me for telling you the truth.  Visit all three mayoral candidates’ websites. Call me or email me at anytime.  With me, it’s all about Summit, all the time.   

Mike Vernotico, Independent Candidate  for Mayor