This is written to reply to Ted Giblin's press release printed in your in your publication on May 4th.
Let me start by saying he is entitled to his opinion on whether the purchase of Temple Beth Ahm and the potential conversion of the property as a home for the Rescue Squad is wise but he is not entitled to his own version of the facts on how the process was handled. He has chosen to insinuate that I have been the driving force in concealing facts but it really just exposes his lack of knowledge as to how the process works and the role of the council and manager. Under the form of government in Verona the mayor has one vote just like every other council member. The Town Manager is the Chief executive officer and he is the focal point for handling all negotiations regarding the acquisition of property. I had no role in the negotiation. New Jersey laws are very strict as to what business a council can conduct in a private session. There are only 9 exceptions and the acquisition of property is one of them. Two private sessions were held where Mr Cavallo briefed the entire council on the progress of his negotiations. I must emphasize that we can discuss it, but no agreement to purchase anything can be made behind closed doors. His so called press release was basically taken from questions that he asked at the May 1st council meeting. They were all answered by either Mr Cavallo, the Town Manager, the Township Attorney, myself or other council members. Watch the YouTube of the meeting which can be accessed via the Verona Township web page.
He has placed great emphasis on the introduction of the ordinance at the
April 20th meeting and not allowing the public to speak before the ordinance was voted on. This is normal procedure. However, there was nothing preventing him or anyone else from getting up during general public comment and asking specific questions on this or any topic. He chose not to do so at that time. This was explained to him during the candidate forum during one of Mr McEvoy's answers. There was not attempt to conceal anything and he readily admits he received a full briefing from the manager and CFO before both the candidate forum on April 27th and the Council meeting on May 1st. In the two weeks between the first and second readings anyone could have asked these questions. He sent me an email as well and I promptly replied.
The most disturbing part for me is that in an attempt to make me look bad, or underhanded, during an election campaign, he is questioning the integrity of the entire council (Both votes were 5 yes) ,the town manager and town attorney on how the process was handled. This is the reason why I could not let his accusations go unchallenged. The best use of the property once the purchase is complete will still be open for additional public discussion and all of the concerns he and the other residents raised will be examined. The timeline he refers to was in effect determined by the sellers. Anyone who has purchased property is aware that when multiple offers are on the table there is a need to act promptly.