Public Outbursts Overshadow Westfield Town Council Meeting Over Gun Control, HAWK Light Issues

The American Planning Association recognized Downtown Westfield as one of its “Great Places in New Jersey.” Here, Jessica Giorgianni presents the award to Mayor Andy Skibitsky. Center; Stephanie Walsh. Credits: Alexandria Addesso
Mayor Skibitsky, Stephanie Walsh and Jessica Giorgianni. Credits: Alexandria Addesso
From left to right: James Foerst, Dave Haas, Jo Ann Neylan Credits: Alexandria Addesso
Frank Arena(left) and Mayor Skibitsky (right) Credits: Alexandria Addesso
Credits: Alexandria Addesso

WESTFIELD, NJ -- The recurring back-and-forth between residents against the HAWK light and the town council and their supporters had a political twist at the Oct. 22 meeting, which Mayor Skibitsky attributed to this being the last public meeting before the election on Nov. 5.

Those who opposed the light expressed nothing but negativity towards the mayor (although they all admitted to voting for him in the last election) and most of the council except for Dave Haas, whom they had all stated was their only ally and who is now running against Skibitsky.

“He [Haas] has the courage to speak his mind,” said resident Maria Carluccio, “and not be a little puppet.”

Sign Up for E-News

Two residents who found the HAWK light to be no safety risk praised the mayor and the council. Resident Tony Del Duca spoke passionately against those citizens who demanded action be taken about the light and stated that he had to be escorted to his car by an officer after speaking his mind at the last council meeting he attended.

Responses from the audience to council comments, which is not an allotted practice at council meetings, went on for the remainder of the meeting, as well as applause.

“This isn’t the Jerry Springer Show,” said councilman Sam Della Fera in response to the clapping.

Resident Karen Egert’s troubles with Skibitsky went beyond the HAWK light or the purchase of the mobile command center, which was also brought up. Egert is a member of the organization New Jersey Residents Against Gun Violence and was upset that the mayor would not join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, nor was he advocating to make background checks to purchase guns a must.

Skibitsky countered by reading a letter submitted by Egert to the Westfield Leader in which she applauded his anti-gun efforts.

At one point Councilman James Foerst suggested adjourning the meeting early due to commotion from the crowd, but the rest of meeting's business was conculded.

The arguments during the meeting overshadowed its upbeat beginning, during which the American Planning Association recognized Downtown Westfield as one of its “Great Places in New Jersey.”

“These are the places people want to be in,” said Jessica Giorgianni of the APA. “You know it when you’re there.”

At the end of the meeting, Councilman Foerst reminded the public that some voting places have been changed.

“Please check your ballot to make sure your voting place has not changed,” said Foerst.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


NJ Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Jerry Green May 7

April 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Monday for New Jersey flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on the day of the upcoming General Assembly session, scheduled for May 7, in memory of Assemblyman Jerry Green, former chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, who died last week.

On Thursday, Governor Murphy had said, ...

Thank you, Mayor Brindle and Six Members of Town Council, for Approving 2018 Budget

April 25, 2018

Thank you, Mayor Brindle, and the six members of council, who voted to approve the 2018 budget last night and to Mr. Gildea, Councilwoman Habgood and the finance committee members who worked tirelessly to prepare it. Thank you for the lowest tax increase I can recall while producing a budget that provides for smart investment in our town. 

For most of my residency here, the same ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, April 25, 12:00 PM

Temple Emanu-El, Westfield

Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Kroloff

Religions And Spirituality


Wed, April 25, 7:30 PM

Rialto NewVision Theater, Westfield

Jewish Film Festival of Central NJ - Ben Gurion: ...

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Two Reported Shopliftings & More

April 25, 2018

April 19, 2018 9:36 a.m.

Officer McCarthy arrested Paul S. Lee, age 36, of Ridgewood, NJ, at Westfield Police Department headquarters on the strength of an outstanding Westfield warrant in the amount of $89. Subject was processed and released after posting bail.


April 19, 2018 12:01 p.m.

A resident of Central Avenue reported being the victim of identity theft. Unknown actor(s) ...

Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

April 25, 2018

Morristown Medical Center’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center presents “Protecting Your Colorectal Health” on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway. Admission is free.

This popular, educational program presents an opportunity to hear up-to-date presentations from leading ...

Ways to Increase Your Home's Equity

Sometimes you forget and don’t realize your home provides so much to your life. It brings along with it your dreams of the future, shelter to you and your family, a way to provide a better lifestyle, a better commute, a neighborhood, schools, community involvement and recreational facilities. But it also provides a way to save for the future. It does this by allowing you to build your ...

Westfield Public Schools Welcomes Community to Auditorium Open Houses

Two years ago, voters in Westfield approved a bond referendum to renovate the aging auditoriums in Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools. Major aspects of the renovations include new seating and flooring, electrical and lighting upgrades, state-of-the-art sound systems, acoustical treatments and air conditioning.

On April 11 and 12, students, staff, families and other members of the ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

‘A Sad Day for Paterson’ as Police Officer Loses Life in Car Crash

April 23, 2018

PATERSON, NJ — On what Paterson Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher called “a sad day for Paterson,” a city police officer lost his life on Sunday after he was involved in a motor vehicle collision while on duty.

Several sources familiar with Sunday’s tragic accident have identified the fallen officer as Tamby Yagan, a 13-year veteran of the ...