You had to be there. That’s right you just had to be there to see the attitudes at the 5/1/07 Matawan Borough Council meeting! Resolution 07-05-09 Payment of Bills, raised questions from Councilman Paul Buccellato regarding donations and the procedures and criteria used in such determinations. Buccellato questioned the IRS status of one such charity, the Matawan Alliance stating to his knowledge there was no record of filing with the IRS of this group. Apparently, if there is a criterion, all Council Members and the public have not been made aware of it.
As a layperson, we must ask why is Matawan giving away money?
a) our Budget hasn’t been adopted yet
b) the voters didn’t pass the school budget, and
c) if Matawan has $4900. to donate, can we afford to be so magnanimous?
In a previous Council Meeting, Councilman Michael Cannon was heard saying, we have to count our pennies. While we are counting pennies, did we forget the dollars? We are currently looking at a Budget INCREASE of over $1.3 million dollars between the 2006 & 2007 municipal budget. Who is kidding whom here?
In a defiant move, Councilman “Bud” Mullaney and his daughter, Councilwoman Meghan Mullaney went against the advice of Borough Council Attorney; Pat Menna, Esq. to delay payment pending investigation and attempted to pass a resolution to donate monies to the Matawan Alliance and the Boy Scouts of America. Mary Mullaney, a founding member of the Matawan Alliance, took to the podium, in a failed attempt to display a file folder containing paperwork purported to be IRS filing. Well, it turns out that the Borough Attorney, Pat Menna, Esq., is investigating the Matawan Alliance’s IRS status. This raises questions regarding the legal ramifications of all donations made to this group. We trust Mr. Menna will have the answers and can resolve this issue. Councilman Mullaney and Councilwoman Mullaney would have placed the Borough in legal jeopardy had it not been for the advice of our Borough Attorney, Mr. Menna and the initial question asked by Councilman Buccellato. As to donations, past and present look to the next Council meeting and the findings of the Borough Attorney for guidance.
It is prudent as witnessed by present events that we establish and publicize guidelines for charitable donations given by the Borough. It is clear if we have such guidelines in place not everyone is aware.
Following the actions of certain Councilpersons, it is timely for a refresher course in “responsibilities, ethics, duties and obligations” of Council Members. No elected official should knowingly jeopardize the Borough for his or her own egos!