Government

Westfield Town Council Argues Over Mobile Command Center, Announces Downtown Street Repairs

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Councilman James Foerst and Councilman Dave Haas Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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WESTFIELD, NJ — At the Oct. 8 Town Council Meeting, Mayor Andy Skibitsky said that reconstruction of Downtown Parking Lot #4 “is going well,” and announced that, weather permitting, milling will take place downtown overnight on Wednesday, Oct. 9, into Oct. 10 on the entire length of Quimby St., Elm St. from Quimby St. to North Ave. and on the entire length of Elmer St. The streets will be open during normal business hours.

The same streets will be paved overnight on Friday, Oct. 11 into Oct. 12, weather permitting. Striping is set to take place Saturday morning, Oct. 12.

During the time for public comments, resident Maria Carluccio argued against the placement of the HAWK light and crosswalk on Central Avenue, as she did at the previous meeting.

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Carluccio complained that the media does not report that the reason she comes to the meetings is because there have been 17 accidents that she believes were caused by the HAWK system.

Resident Adina Enculescu also spoke to the council again, saying, “Nothing can explain the number of these accidents except the wrong location of the crosswalk.”

When resident Greg Kasko argued against the placement of the light, Mayor Skibitsky asked him if the light had been activated during the accidents he spoke of.

“I’m not talking about the light being on,” said Kasko. He argued that the placement of the “apparatus” caused drivers to believe that there was a turn there, and that Enculescu’s driveway was a street, so that they slow down when they approach it.

Kasko then brought up the purchase of the mobile command center, as he did at the previous meeting.  He asked why a truck said “Westfield Police” on the side before the council could vote to buy the command center, which came with the truck.

After he brought up how Police Chief David Wayman and another officer were flown out to Utah at the expense of the company that made the mobile command center, Councilman Sam Della Fera said, “He [Chief Wayman] made a great deal for the town of Westfield, and it was all done appropriately.”

(To read Town Attorney Russell Finestein's letter to the editor on the subject, click here.)

“They weren’t flown to Las Vegas to be taken out to dinner,” Councilman James Foerst later said. “They were taken to Utah to view a product.” As for the company putting “Westfield” on the truck before the council could vote to buy the command center, he said, “I think that’s very good salesmanship.”

He also said later that Wayman had no power to make a deal—only the council could do that.

Foerst called Kasko “bitter” about his history with the town and said he came to “create innuendo”

But Councilman Dave Haas, who is running for mayor against Skibitsky, questioned the appropriateness of allowing town employees to be flown to Utah and said that the council had been aware that they would be given a vehicle with the mobile command center if they purchased it.

After some arguing between Skibitsky and Haas, Councilman Frank Arena reminded everyone that there is an election coming up.

“If by that you mean that I’m saying things that I don’t believe, I take offense to that,” responded Haas.

After Haas and Skibitksy argued over whether or not Haas had voted to purchase the mobile command center (Haas had voted yes on first reading, then no on second reading) Skibitsky said, “You should not have voted in favor of the mobile command center if you thought it was obtained improperly.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Skibitsky announced that Downtown Westfield was named a “Great Place in New Jersey” by the American Planning Association. To read more about that, click here.

He also announced that Westfield has received a Sustainable Jersey Small Grant. To read more about that, click here.

To read about the council conference meeting, which occurred earlier in the evening, click here.

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