After a very difficult Town Council meeting last night, I am really struggling trying to comprehend the unfounded and unfortunate personal attacks on me and my wife Erin by Mr. Jake Frievald. Like any good husband, my concern is for my wife, her feelings, and her personal and professional reputation. In my mind, I see a picture of Erin at about 4 years old cheering on her grandfather as he leads off the Totowa Memorial Day Parade. You see, Erin’s family goes back more than three generations in Passaic County. He attended the same high school as Erin and would ride a horse daily to Passaic Valley High School. Later on his family would own a farm in Totowa, which was eventually developed with a portion becoming Totowa town hall. The innocence projected in this image has remained, and many of you that know Erin can attest that she would never hurt a soul.
After graduating from college, Passaic County based Congressman Bill Pascrell extended Erin an opportunity to serve as a legislative aide. She served proudly and represented the Congressman’s office throughout Passaic and Essex counties before moving on into other professional endeavors. Like many of us, she believes and found that public service is a good and noble calling. She found it an honor to work for the benefit of the public.
At last night’s Council meeting, Mr. Jake Frievald insinuated that my wife was somewhat connected to a firm and that a quid pro quo may exist between a company seeking Township business and my wife. His quote “they are also connected through Councilman Cirilo’s wife to Congressman Bill Pascrell”. In the interest of transparency, I would like to let Mr. Frievald know that the bullying, insinuations, and dark humor must stop. I have been taught to always look at the good in people and respect everyone around you, but unfortunately in this case you have crossed a personal line. My wife does not have a dubious or dishonest bone in her body and your comments and actions only serve to malign the many good residents of this community. Moreover, his allegations are untrue, downright dishonest, and tenuous at best.
Mr. Frievald, I will now speak to you directly.
You have also singled out three other residents, Mrs. Cynthia Cumming, Mrs. Jessica Glicker, and Mrs. Michelle Cadeau. You continue to contact Mrs. Cummings’ employer jeopardizing her job security and financial well-being, which resulted in her resigning from the Public Relations committee last night. Mrs. Glicker gave a passionate speech explaining the genesis of the cease and desist situation and why it was viewed as a threat to the Township’s public relations efforts, yet your mocking campaign of her hard work as the Public Information Officer doesn’t stop. Mrs. Cadeau, who is always promoting the township in whatever manner that she can, has threatened to resign due to the aggressive manner, in which you push your political agenda.
Once again, I apologize for the cease and desist letter which may not have been the right course of action. However, as a member of the Public Relation Committee having a statutory responsibility to spread positive public relations for the Township, you took the name of four (4) Township sanctioned sites and altered it to drive traffic into your partisan website. It is a fact that the name of the Township Facebook Page is WestOrangeInfo. It is a fact the Township Twitter handle is WestOrangeInfo. It is a fact that the Township Youtube page is WestOrangeInfo. It is a fact that the Township Instagram site is WestOrangeInfo and it is a fact that your partisan site’s name is WestOrange.Info. This is the equivalent to an employee of Apple computer taking the name “Apple.com” and altering it into “Apple.com/” to spread negativity about the product.
I spoke to members of the administration and of the Public Relations Committee after you brought this matter to the Council’s attention and what I found was that the intent of the cease and desist letter was to communicate this potential conflict. I would have personally communicated the issue differently considering the questionable legal ground and the author’s existing lack of knowledge of the tech field. However, instead of understanding these limitations as you do because you are a technology professional, you have gone way out of your way cause insult and embarrassment to our home town. The end result has been an Armageddon of negative publicity for West Orange and a bullying campaign that includes several residents and now my wife.
I cannot speak for Ms. Cumming, Ms. Glicker, and Ms. Cadeau; however, I am extremely upset about this bullying campaign. I respect you first amendment rights to host a partisan website and express your viewpoints, but I hope that you avoid the personal attacks that are very hurtful, unnecessary, and potentially harmful.
(Editor's Note: Councilman Cirilo sent and approved usage of this Letter to the Editor on the West Orange Alternative Press.)