Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Highlights from the Borough Council Meeting

LET'S PLAY SOFTBALL - NOT IN MATAWAN - Last night we observed the Democratic majority excercising their clout. Here are some of the highlights, Matawan-Aberdeen Baseball and Softball, two separate organizations requested the Borough create a softball field to compliment Hourihan Little League Field located at the Matawan Borough Community Center on Broad St . They were willing to pay half of the cost to build the field (Borough has a quote of $21,000. approx) and the League will maintain the field. The Girls Softball teams have no dedicated field to play on in Matawan. Why did this project go out for a quote if the Council wasnt going to utilize the quote? Why do we spend money requesting quotes or bids if the Council already has its mind made up? Three Council members have delayed any progress being made by their political posturing. The Matawan Advocate wholeheartedly endorses the project and the Girls Softball League. Councilman Mullaney requested Mazur conduct soil test borings at Gravelly Brook Park to see if those fields can be utilized....cost to the Borough approx. $2500+. Folks, adequate soil borings will be difficult to conduct while the ground is frozen. The fields could not be utilized without addressing the drainage problems that exist at Gravelly Brook. In the interim where do Girls softball play? Not in Matawan.

Renovating Gravelly Brook Park was mentioned as a long term goal in Mayor Buccellato's vision for the Borough at his first meeting as Mayor. All of a sudden it became the vision of the rest of the Council? As the Mayor mentioned this project will take years, yes, years to accomplish. Why are we wasting money now to pay Mazur Consulting to do soil testing when the remediation work would cost an amount we cannot afford. If the majority of the Council had daughters who play softball you can bet there would be a softball field for them to play. Under the guise of being frugal, Councilman Mullaney and the majority simply used this as a delay tactic. Let's see if the Girls Softball League has the "right stuff" to demand a field for our children. If the Recreation Dept has money from all those events run last year, why can't some of it be designated for our children to have a Softball Field in Matawan? Afterall, isn't that what the money is allocated for....our childrens' recreation? Instead of granting the request, the Council gave in what was best said in a line from the movie, "My Cousin Vinny", "Oh, a counter offer." Still no solution.

We commend the members of both Leagues and support their efforts. Their pleading with the Council, only fell on deaf ears. Is the Council forgetting that they are here to meet the needs of the Community, not dictate what those needs are?

Edgewater Drive Restricted Parking Ordinance
On February 11. 2008, the Council majority delayed the vote to permit more time for them to study the Street. Matawan's Traffic Safety Officer has spent considerable time and effort in his study of the situation and presented it to the Council for a decision. Three weeks have gone by since the initial introduction of this ordinance, and these people who serve the Borough need more time?

Planning & Zoning Board Appointment - In an unprecented move Councilman Will Malley called a Council vote on the appointment of Councilwoman Linda Clifton's appointment by the Mayor to the Planning & Zoning Board. Councilwoman Clifton graciously resigned and the majority Council nominated, voted and approved to replace her with Councilman Kevin Mendes. Wish they could move that fast when it comes to the Girls Softball League,Edgewater Drive Safety issues and the 2008 Budget!

Looking forward to seeing a Preliminary 2008 Budget from the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Michael Cannon. Purportedly all the appropiate people couldn't meet in time to put figures together as yet. We think the Budget is important enough that all concerned should make the time in lieu of political posturing.

Hope to see you all including the Girls Softball League at the Borough Councl meeting next week.....


Main Street Manny said...

Nothing will get done this year! How much wasted funds will there be when the cops contract ends and restructuring begins? I am sure the council will attempt to put that off. Now your talking about major cash wasted. I can tell you that talking to members of the police department. They are not going to play the councils hiding games and dont want to cost the town any unneccessary funds. They need to get started and come up with something before the contract ends. That will save major costs in lawyers fees.

Anonymous said...

Mullaney will not be in favor of anything or anyone, unless they are on "his side" of the political fence.
What ever happened to being on the counsel to help matawan. Now its, being on the counsel just to oppose the other political party.
What a shame!!!

matawan advocate said...

We the people......can make a difference. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship run by fascists! Remember the Mayoral election and how one vote counted. We do have options. Until Matawan has a Budget how can the Borough negotiate fairly and in good faith with the Police or any municipal employees?

Council members have a fidicuiary responsibility to the citizens of Matawan.

We are encouraged by the attendance at the Borough Council meetings. Residents who initially attend for personal situations, observe the Council and come back to question their actions. That is what democracy is all about. Don't become complacent, you have a right to speak at Council meetings, you have a right to question spending, actions, or any reasonable item pertaining to the Borough. You have the right to be spoken to with dignity, respect and not be spoken down to or dismissed with sarcasm or snide remarks.

Do Matawan residents need to reiterate the Bill of Rights to the current majority Council? They should remember, they were voted into office and can be voted out. Who cares what side they are on politically, the question is what is their vision for Matawan and how do they intend on accomplishing their goals.

Oops, got to get off the soap box and get back to work.

Anonymous said...

The can not negotiate in good faith and won't. They will put it off till the end of the year. At that time they will crunch the meetings to the last days of the year. They will come up with a bunch of different reasons why they can't get it done (always the cops fault! because the council are all about getting things done. LOL!). It will go over into the new year and end up in arbitration and cost the taxpayers a ton of $$$$. The funny part is they really will not do any real negotiating. This is not the cops, just like the budget the council can never get it together. The PBA I am sure will begin anytime the council wants. They are not going to want too because its all about the almighty vote! Right Manny?

Anonymous said...

February 13, 2008

Councilwoman quits planning board


Republican Councilwoman Linda Clifton has resigned her seat on the planning board after Democratic council members said she should step down because the process by which she was appointed was questionable.

"A statute was broken," Councilman Joseph "Bud" Mullaney alleged Tuesday in a telephone interview. "Obviously, people were misadvised legally on the statute."

Clifton, 49, had been appointed as a Class III member of the Unified Planning/Zoning Board of Adjustments Jan. 22 by newly elected Republican Mayor Paul Buccellato. She was sworn in Feb. 4 for a one-year term.

But about a week ago, Mullaney, a businessman in Matawan, questioned the legality of that appointment, saying that under the statute, the entire council must choose one of its members for such a position.

Borough attorney Pasquale Menna said the statute wasn't necessarily violated.

"The fact is, the council did not see fit to object or name their membership on the planning board," Menna said of the January appointment. "So, when Mr. Mullaney raised it, I researched the issue, and even though they (the council members) did not object at the time, my ruling was that, under the statute, it is the council's appointment.

"Since they raised it, the proper thing to do was for Councilwoman Clifton to resign, which she did, and for the council to nominate their own representative."

The council voted Monday to appoint Councilman Kevin R. Mendes, a Democratic political newcomer who works for Key Auto Body on Main Street.

Clifton said the actions of her colleagues left her humiliated.

"I felt it was a very calculated and thought-out move by the Democrats to request to have me resign on the spot without any fair warning," she said in a telephone interview. "I would have held my ground and not resigned, but, unfortunately, it would have been brought to court and cost the taxpayers money, and I wasn't going to do that.

"I stated (Monday) night that I was not resigning because I felt I didn't have the capabilities; I was resigning because obviously, the people on the council did not want me in that position."

The fact that no one raised an objection at the time of the appointment doesn't matter, Menna said. "They can raise that objection at anytime."

In an eight-page memorandum sent to the Borough Council on Feb. 9, Menna wrote: "It has been the traditional policy of the governing body of the Borough of Matawan to have the mayor announce on New Year's Day the appointments to the Planning Board. The minutes of the 2006 reorganization and 2005 as well as 2004 New Year's records indicate that it has been the policy of the borough for the mayor to announce the planning board appointments as part of the mayor's message and part of the program where appointments are made."

In January 2007, Mullaney was appointed by former Democratic Mayor Mary Aufseeser as a Class III member to that same board. That appointment was approved by the governing body. Mullaney's term expired in December.

Buccellato said he appointed Clifton based on her qualifications and her longtime involvement in borough issues.

"My concern is that the council member they did appoint to the planning board, any issues regarding the train station Transit Village project, he will need to recuse himself because his family owns a buiness down there," he said of Mendes.

matawan advocate said...

Anonymous, You made a valid point and observation. We can prevent this from happening. No one should be made the "fall guy" and most certainly not the Police Dept. These concerns should be addressed at the next Borough Council meeting. It was encouraging to see some fresh faces at the last meeting and trust this trend will continue.

They talk about saving money, it is just lip service. Why aren't they negotiating with the PBA? If Councilman Cannon is the Chairman of the Finance, Personnel, etc.Committee and Councilman Kevin Mendes is the Chairman of the Police, Fire & First Aid Committee and have had at least one meeting with the Police Dept. what was discussed auto body repairs? Was the issue of a contract even discussed? If not, why not? Could it be their priority was to get Mendes on the P&Z Board and not critical matters i.e. Police contract negotiations, Edgewater Drive public safety issue or the girls softball field?

The majority Borough Council should be concentrating on critical issues and stop politicking!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe they approached the council or begun negotiations yet. I will look into that!

Truth In Matawan said...

Good summary of the meeting for those who were not there. As request by MA, here are our comments:

Girls Softball Field: A nice addition to the town, one we'd love to see, hardly a priority. When the likes of Jerry Hourihan complain that the borough spends a measly $2000 to explore the overflowing sewers on Broad Street in an attempt to forestall potential millions of dollars in damages, we can hardly see spending ten times that amount ($21,000) on a recreational issue. If MA feels differently, please let us know, it is a free country after all! But it seems a bit hypocritical and incongruous to plunge that money into a new field if they're not being allowed to address the sewer problems.

Our solution? Eminent Domain that piece of land owned by the corrupt Jack Morris, you know, the land between the community center and Walgreen's. It's been sitting there, unused, for years. Further, due to its condition, it is a danger to neighborhood kids. The borough could then put a softball field, a skate park, an ice rink, mini-golf, batting cages, you name it! We heard this idea last year and think it's the thing to do! Heck, maybe they can event figure out a way to make some money off it, other towns do, why not us?!?

Edgewater: If the Council voted something in without looking at it, they'd be called capricious, and if they want to study something, they're being called foot-draggers. Is there no happy medium? Sheesh!

P&Z appointment--This sheds a little more light on the issue from the other post. We wonder how then-Councilman Buccellato voted on then-Mayor Aufseeser's appointments in years past. We'd guess that like this one, it went straight along party lines. Way to help Matawan, guys. That goes out to both the Republicans and the Democrats.

Budget: A joke, it must be completed immediately, come on council.

Police Negotiations: Any negotiations that don't include the police chipping in money to contribute to their own benefits are negotiation that are not in the townspeople's favor. I wonder how eager the PBA is to truly help the town, or are they just looking to line their member's pockets at tthe taxpayers' expense? No doubt the police in our town do a great job rousing drunks and dispersing dayworkers, but is it true some of them make six figures? Do they all live in town and at least defray some of those costs with taxes or like the teachers do they live out of town? We genuinely do not know the answers to these questions, anyone who has them, please share!

MA, hope this was satisfactory, we did spend quite a bit of time one it for you!

matawan advocate said...

Thanks Truth we appreciate your input and your time.

Now for the girls softball field, apparently you were not at the meeting. As mentioned in my observations, the Girls Softball League was going to put up half the money so it wasn't going to cost the taxpayers $21,000. but half of that amount. They would also maintain the field. Your comments were misleading. In essence, we just don't agree. We think the girls are getting short changed.

As to Jerry Hourihan comments re sewers, he appears to be very knowledgeable as to the public works in Matawan. From what we observed it wasn't a matter of money.

Edgewater Drive, again were you at the meeting? The original ordinance was placed on the agenda Jan. 22, 2008, certainly not a new item. This is a public safety issue. It is our position that had there not been a turnout of the residents of Edgewater Drive...it would have been voted on and passed, based on the Traffic Safety Officer's report. Once again....politicking takes precendence over public safety.

P&Z Board - still don't agree with you. Keep in mind that Councilman Mendes works in the Redevelopment area, therefore, cannot vote on anything to do with the Transit Village. Also, regarding The Preserve, American Properties project on Route 79, well he can't vote on that one either because they supported his election to the Council. Councilwoman Clifton has no such conflicts.

Truth In Matawan said...

Agree that Mendes should probably recuse himself regarding any P&Z issues regarding redevelopment at his own location.