Government

Town Council Responds to Residents After Heated Public Comment

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The public comment portion of the West Orange Town Council meeting got heated Tuesday night to the point where the meeting was paused.

Each town council member responded strongly to resident’s concerns and comments following  lengthy public comment. 

Residents spoke out against the council, administration and town attorney Richard Trenk during public comment.  Many of the comments were in support of Jake Freivald and his use of an Internet domain name “westorange.info.” Claims of government bullying were the theme of many comments, which led to individual accusations and personal attacks. Freivald also got up and commented about the administration, questioning their ability to lead.

Sign Up for E-News

Trenk’s career as town attorney was called into question by West Orange resident John Schmidt. After mentioning a handful of incidents involving Trenk in recent years, Schmidt was very clear and straightforward with his message: “It’s time for Richard Trenk to hit the road.”

West Orange resident Mark Meyerowitz reminded those in attendance that the name “West Orange” belongs to the citizens of the town, and called it a "dictatorship."  In response to the cease and desist letter sent to Freivald, Meyerowitz said that the letter was designed to silence anyone who criticized the administration.

Amidst the name-calling and finger-pointing, West Orange resident Hannah Nehrbauer sought a resolution to the ongoing issue regarding Freivald and the letter he received from the town. Nehrbauer suggested a public apology to salvage the town’s name which has been dragged through the mud in recent weeks. “This needs to end, and never happen again,” Nehrbauer said.

Public Information Officer Jessica Glicker said that she received many phone calls from residents that were confused by Freivald’s website due to its resemblance to various other town related websites. She also said that Freivald’s actions were counteractive to the Public Relations Commission and its goal to spread a positive message about the town. Glicker also said she had spoken to Mayor Parisi about concerns regarding Freivald's site.  

West Orange resident and TAP Editor Cynthia Cumming publicly announced her resignation from the Public Relations Commission, citing personal attacks and harsh comments by anonymous posters on former Public Relations Commissioner Jake Freivald’s website. "I will not participate in the politicized circus created by Mr. Freivald and refuse to let Mr. Freivald take the good work of the PRC and overshadow it with his attack on me," Cumming said. 

The council then responded to public comment.

“I am literally sickened by what has taken place at this council meeting,” Councilman Krakoviak said on the verge of tears. “I would consider it to be one of the worst council meetings I have participated in, or watched, in the past five or six years.”

Councilman Cirilo responded to Freivald’s comments by acknowledging that the legitimate concern is the usage of “westorange.info” to mislead the public. Cirilo supported his claims with his own research, which found that the Facebook page, Twitter handle and YouTube page for the township of West Orange is “WestOrangeInfo”. 

Councilman Guarino spoke directly to Cumming and said, “I respect the work that you do, and I believe that you are doing not only yourself, but the residents and township of West Orange a disservice by resigning.”  Cumming’s work for The Alternative Press of West Orange also received praise from Councilwoman McCartney.

The council seemed to agree with Nehrbauer, and believed that this mess has been plaguing the town’s reputation and needs to be resolved peacefully and immediately. “The town is better off if the council does not see itself as a supporter of the administration, but as a separate entity with independent thoughts,” Krakoviak said.

After a short break from the meeting, the council concluded the public comment session and continued with the agenda. The council unanimously voted to pass a resolution awarding a contract to Gabel Associates, Inc. for energy aggregation consultant services. Another unanimous vote passed a resolution revising the Harvard Press Redevelopment Plan to allow rental units as opposed to for-sale units only.

The next Town Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 16.

                

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Essex County Man Found Dead After Shooting Near Feaster Park

November 18, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - An Essex County man died Friday night after a shooting in New Brunswick, authorities announced on Saturday.

Tawan Moses, 25, of East Orange, was found dead by authorities at 8:30 p.m. on Throop Avenue near Fester Park, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey.

Moses had multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_f14802dd22b6c3a6c3cc_22007893_1975892162680405_4449651051120407804_n

Thu, November 23

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

FREE CLASSES At CycleBar Livingston

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_2cc4decd44be02793e79_cylebar_turkey_leg__1_

Thu, November 23, 7:00 AM

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

FREE Thanksgiving Class At CycleBar Livingston

Health & Wellness

Fri, November 24, 5:00 PM

West Orange

Holiday Lights Spectacular

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Parting Advice from Four Decades on the Front Lines of Local News

November 11, 2017

In February 1978 I walked into the office of The Rahway News-Record and Clark Patriot to begin what I thought was to be a short-term job stepping stone. 

Instead, it turned out to be a nearly 40-year odyssey in local journalism—including the last eight—overwhelmingly great—years with The Alternative Press (TapInto.Net).

I have decided it is time to spend more time in ...

Route 10 Westbound Overnight Lane Closures Begin This Week

November 13, 2017

Ramps on Route 10 West may be closed as necessary during construction

TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials announced on Monday the start of a maintenance resurfacing project on Route 10 westbound that will require lane closures between Parsippany-Troy Hills and Roxbury in Morris County.

Beginning on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next ...

Flemington's Openly Intersex Election Victor May Be Nation's First

November 20, 2017

FLEMINGTON, NJ – The way Betsy Driver sees it, her victory in the Flemington Borough Council race marks a first for a U.S. election.

Driver, a Democrat, won the election along with independent Michael Harris. Both are newcomers who unseated two incumbent candidates. Although it was a crowded race, many in the borough think Driver won more votes than any other Flemington Borough ...

The Last Game

My daughter recently played the last soccer game of her career.  

 

Yippee!  No more practices!  No more tournaments!  No more long drives to obscure fields!  No more tiny black turf pellets all over the car!

 

No more selfish surges of pride watching her athletic achievements.  No more thrilling victories.

 

My daughter is a ...