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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky's "Snow Job"


     At Tuesday night's town council meeting, Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky thanked municipal workers for their efforts cleaning up after the weekend blizzard that left 24 inches of snow blanketing the town.
     While briefing residents on the preparations that took place before the storm, Mayor Skibitsky's thanked his police chief for acquiring military surplus vehicles that assisted in patrol duties during the storm.  Skibitsky claims the vehicles were acquired "At no cost."
     These vehicles include a troop transport vehicle, bulldozer, military Humvees, two zodiac boats, an industrial size crane, industrial size snow thrower, and other surplus military equipment from the federal government.
     For Mayor Skibitsky's to make a statement that these vehicles were were acquired "At no cost," he is once again lying to the taxpayers.  While the weekend blizzard may have reduced visibility, we can see right through Mayor Skibitsky's "Snow Job" by claiming the town acquired the military surplus vehicles "At no cost."
     A town employee, familiar with the acquisition of the surplus military equipment stated, "Total waste of taxpayer money, aside from the Humvees, the equipment is unnecessary."

Merrimack-Webster Definition: Snow Job
A strong effort to make someone believe something by saying things that are not true or sincere.










Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Clark Teen Tips Off Shooting Suspects That Family Was On Vacation

     An online news source recently published a story about teenagers being shot in Westfield with an Airsoft gun that was loaded with plastic pellets.  Additional facts, not provided In that news story, are revealed here.
     The shootings took place after 18 year old Edward Bergin of  Garwood, along with a 17 year old Clark resident, went "joy-riding" in a motor vehicle taken from the home of an acquaintance of one of the suspects in the shootings.
     A TFoTM source not authorized to speak on behalf of police investigators stated that the acquaintance, a female sophomore student at a magnet school in a neighboring town, alerted the suspects that her parents were out of town and allegedly provided the suspects with a key code combination to access the residence and where to locate the keys to the family BMW.  The suspects took the vehicle and "cruised" around Westfield when the shootings took place.  Text messaging between the girl and the suspects revealed her willingness to provide access to the family residence while they were away on vacation.
     Suspect Edward Bergin is charged with possession of a weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.  Being charged with the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and not possession of a stolen vehicle or other charges related to "stealing" a motor vehicle, is most likely because of the vehicle owners daughter being involved with tipping off the suspects.
     Edward Bergin, a senior at Arthur J. Johnson High School in Clark, NJ, was sent to the Union County jail and is now out on bail.
     The 17 year old suspect, also a student at ALJ in Clark, allegedly returned to school with a law monitoring ankle bracelet and a security officer in tow but was eventually removed from school due to the distraction caused to other students and because of objections made by school officials.
     The name provided to TFoTM of the 17 year old suspect is being withheld as is the name of the owner of the motor vehicle used during the assaults.
   

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

When Egos Clash, Towns Pay Cash

It happened in Westfield, it's happening in Rahway.  
      A news article appearing online yesterday chronicles what has led to a lawsuit in Rahway, N.J.  A federal lawsuit has been filed by Thomas Lewis, the athletic director of Rahway H.S. and member of the Clark Board of Education.     See the link below for details of what led to the lawsuit that names Rahway Police Chief John Rodger as a defendant.  Chief Rodger is the brother of Westfield Police Captain Scott Rodger and Westfield Police Lieutenant Jason Rodger.
http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2016/01/hold_story_rahway_athletic_director_sues_city_over.html
     The name "Rodger" is no stranger to controversy in Union County police circles, more specifically......in Westfield.
     The $1 million dollar settlement paid out to the Rolnick family of Westfield after police violated arrest, search, and seizure laws involved another Rodger.......Westfield Police Lieutenant Jason Rodger.  Jason Rodger was the supervisor on scene at the Rolnick residence the night police made the fateful costly arrests.
     Lt. Rodger, a sergeant at the time of the Rolnick arrests, was recently promoted despite some of his past departmental violations and his involvement as a defendant in the recent settlement by Westfield, with the Rolnicks, ultimately costing taxpayers.
     Most notably, Jason Rodger initiated an arrest that resulted in disciplinary action against him after he lied about the circumstances surrounding a motor vehicle stop on South Ave. in Westfield.  The driver of the motor vehicle stopped by J. Rodger was being driven by the son of a prominent Westfield attorney that worked alongside NJ Governor Christie Whitman's staff.  Current Westfield police Captain Chris Battiloro was Rodger's back-up officer that night.  There were many questions surrounding the motor vehicle stop and the alleged violation of the driver's 4th Amendment rights protecting him from unlawful arrest, search, and seizure.
Lt. Jason Rodger on right
Capt. Scott Rodger 2nd from right

     On April 17, 2011, during municipal court proceedings stemming from the Rolnick arrests, it's been alleged that a Westfield police officer yelled at Austin Rolnick, "Get over here you rich fuck!" and then "Get the hell over here you spoiled fuck!" when officers were attempting to make an arrest.
Rahway Police Chief John Rodger
     Court testimony revealed that Westfield police officer, Jason Rodger was one of 2 officers that attempted to place Austin Rolnick into the rear of a police vehicle after his arrest.  A source familiar with the case suggested Jason Rodger as the officer involved in the name calling of Austin Rolnick.  Lt. Jason Rodger has previously displayed his bias towards Westfield residents often calling them "Wally," a term used by some Westfield police officers to describe residents of the affluent town.
     The municipal court judge hearing the case stated, "The Police made a fundamental error."  "The credibility of events is touching."
     The federal lawsuit naming Rahway Police Chief John Rodger as a defendant is not surprising if you consider the alleged bias and retaliatory accusations made by the defendant. 
     When egos clash, the right decision is often clouded by a superiority complex that can cause "fundamental errors in judgement."  The credibility of events as described by police in the Rahway case are as questionable as they are in the Westfield case.....both cases involving an officer named Rodger and the protections against unlawful arrest, search, and seizure.




                                             

Westfield Settles Out of Court with Rolnicks and Martinez for $1.1 Million.....Years After Town Resident's Arrest, Search, and Seizure



See front page story in local newspaper and at NJ.com


The following is from trial notes taken by TFoTM during the initial municipal trial.
Facts:
2/17/2011  Clark Municipal Court (Change of venue from Westfield)
Clark Municipal Court Judge:  Antonio Inacio

Defendants:  Lawrence Rolnick, Austin Rolnick, Kim Sorrentino, Ramon Martinez
Defense Lawyers Present:  Don DiGioia, Robert Stahl, Robert Stone

Prosecution Witnesses (Police Officers): Ptlm. Marcin Kapka, Ptlm. Preston Freeman, Sgt. Jason Rodger
Prosecutor: Jon-Henry Barr (Clark Municipal Court)

December 23, 2009 is when Westfield Police responded to the Rolnick/Sorrentino residence located at 545 Boulevard on the corner of Boulevard/Park St.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide.....Public Bidding Compromised by "Wheeling & Dealing"

Emergency Mobile Command Center
     There is no question when the Westfield Police department's emergency mobile command center arrived in Westfield. 
     Months after police chief David Wayman and Captain Christopher Battiloro met with Robert Mount of Power Innovations of Utah (the manufacturer of the mobile command center), and months before the Westfield town council voted on a resolution authorizing the purchase of the emergency equipment, the mobile command center arrived.  Westfield eventually advertised in a local newspaper that potential bidders could pick up specifications in the town clerk's office on what Westfield was looking to have built. The emergency mobile command center and its attendant vehicle were hidden in Sevell's Auto Body garage on South Ave. during the fa├žade of a bidding process. 
     TFoTM obtained and posted the photos of the hidden vehicles, here at The Fact of The Matter.  The photos clearly show WPD markings on the vehicles months before the public bidding process began.  The vehicles were being hidden from the public eye.  
Mayor Andrew Skibitsky
     TFoTM recently obtained information from a source close to members of the Westfield town council that Mayor Andy Skibitsky, other members of the town council, and Westfield town administrator Jim Gildea had knowledge of the intent of Power Innovations of Utah, the company that sold Westfield the emergency mobile command center during a questionable "smoke & mirrors" public bidding process, to discount the purchase price of the command center in return for Westfield agreeing to showcase the command center at exhibitions.
     Mayor Skibitsky refused to answer questions regarding this agreement when asked numerous times during town council meetings in 2014. 
     It is clear now why Mayor Skibitsky and other town officials refused to address the questions.  To admit that an agreement was discussed long before a public bidding process, town officials would be subject to accusations of collusion and circumventing a fair and public bidding process that is supposed to allow fair and competitive bidding of services being sought.
Town Admin. Jim Gildea
Police Chief Dave Wayman
     TFoTM is nearing the completion of an almost 2 year long investigation into the purchase of the emergency mobile command center.  By obtaining documents, photos, and statements, that will ultimately provide a timeline piecing together the questionable and alleged tainted bidding process that brought the $300,000 emergency mobile command center to Westfield's police department, TFoTM seeks to hold Westfield's public officials, that had knowledge of the "backroom wheeling and dealing," accountable.
 
    

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Town Officials Retaliate and Harass at the Expense of Taxpayers

    It happens in other municipalities, and it happens in Westfield but taxpayers are met with silence from town officials when payouts or "payoffs" are made in out of court settlements.  All too often, town officials, administrators, police chiefs, supervisors, and employees are not held accountable when these "payoffs" are made. 
     Take for example the $1,100,000 out of court settlement to the Rolnick family of Westfield to compensate them after members of the Westfield Police Department trampled on the 4th Amendment.  Town officials remain silent on this settlement and sources within the Westfield Police Department not authorized to comment have indicated that no disciplinary action was taken against the offending officers involved in the lawsuit.  The fact of the matter is that one officer, Marcin Kapka, has been promoted to Sergeant since the melee at the Rolnick residence on the Boulevard took place.    


     See related story of whistleblower harassment and retaliation costing taxpayers when a police officer breaks the "blue code of silence."
http://www.nj.com/monmouth/index.ssf/2015/11/retired_cop_gets_527k_settlement_in_whisteblower_s.html#incart_river_home

     The term "blue code of silence" is used to "denote the unwritten rule that exists among police officers not to report on a colleague's errors, misconducts, or crimes." 
     Municipal employees are often subjected to frivolous department disciplinary hearings on trumped up departmental charges to silence their whistle blowing.  Despite town officials settling out of court without admitting any guilt of retaliation or harassment, the public perception is that towns would rather cut their losses by settling and not risk a much greater jury award to compensate for the retaliation and harassment of the whistleblower or victims of police misconduct.


http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2015/11/westfield_pay_115_mill_to_settle_lawsuit_over_arre.html


     Whistleblower and victim lawsuits will continue to be filed as long as municipalities continue to protect the misconduct and mismanagement of town officials, department heads, and employees.
     Westfield taxpayers have, and will continue to, subsidize the "out of court" settlements to town employees and residents like the Rolnick's as long as mismanagement, incompetence, and the willingness of town officials to turn a blind eye toward illegal actions, continues.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Westfield Republicans Ride Voter Apathy To Victory

     With voter turnout at the polling booth for Tuesday's local municipal elections hovering around 34.75% of all registered voters in Westfield, the Republican Party commandeered town council seats once again.
     Low voter turnout coupled with town council elections taking place in non-presidential election years continues to guarantee candidates of the Republican Party, victory.
     This is no coincidence.  Recent census and federal elections results have proven that Westfield has more registered Democrats than Republicans but also boasts an even greater number of those registered as "Unaffiliated".   In recent POTUS elections, the Democrat candidate has received more Westfield votes than the Republican candidate.
     It's no secret that the Westfield Republican Party would rather hold Town Council elections in years that voters are not voting for a new President.
     Once again, low voter turnout and non-presidential voting years have been the Westfield Republican Party's best friend as they currently maintain every town council seat.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Election Day 2015

Today is Election Day and the voting booth at your local polling place is open from 6am. to 8pm.
Get out and vote. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin: Enemy of Westfield....Police Chief Bolsters Arsenal

     Hurricane Joaquin appears to be tracking further east into the Atlantic than predicted less than 24 hours ago. The Category 4 storm is hovering over the Bahamas with sustained winds of 130 mph.  The storm is expected to track northward today and hurricane force winds will continue.  However, those winds are predicted to remain far enough offshore and should have less of an impact on New Jersey and here in Westfield as previously forecasted.
     Despite what appears to be less of an impact by the storm, on Westfield, town officials are preparing for a direct hit.  In fact, they've been preparing for 3 years ever since Super Storm Sandy left parts of town without power for more than a week.
     Westfield Police Chief David Wayman has been assembling a motor pool of military vehicles that could defend some small countries from not only a natural disaster, but from a military attack.
     In the event Westfield is the victim of a tidal surge never seen before by the town, Chief Wayman has two military assault boats that have been sitting idle at the Westfield Armory on Rahway Ave. for over a year. These boats were obtained through the Department of Defense's 1033 program, which Congress passed in 1997.  Initially, the program was aimed to give surplus military equipment for police use in counter-narcotic and counter-terrorism situations.  So, if El Chapo or Al Queda infiltrates Westfield's town borders, Chief Wayman has us protected.
     Although the police department didn't pay for the equipment and vehicles obtained through the government program including a crane, bulldozer, humvees, and troop transport carriers, tax payers do foot the bill for the shipment of the vehicles to Westfield and the storage and maintenance costs.  These costs have burdened the Westfield taxpayer with thousands of dollars each time a delivery is made.  Mayor Skibitsky and Westfield Town Council members have approved of these costly acquisitions.
     So, should a
tidal surge of epic proportions require a search and rescue mission by Chief Wayman and his department on the waters of Mindowaskin Pond, Tamaques Pond, Brightwood Pond, and/or Gregory's Pond, be rest assured that the military assault boats which appear to be propelled by 50-75 horsepower engines will no doubt complete a successful mission.
     Then again, you never know whether or not Hoboken will send out a distress call for our help..  Hoboken, the city that Councilman Arena has claimed Westfield has a shared services agreement with.
     A search of public records revealed no such agreement and handshakes with Hoboken's parking director John Morgan (former Westfield parking director) are not recognized as an official shared services agreement.










   
   

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Westfield's Bramnick Calls for Accountability

     It what TFoTM considers to be NJ Assemblyman and Westfield resident Jon Bramnick's "Tour de Governorship," Bramnick was on NJ 101.5 radio station once again.
     Look for Bramnick to run for New Jersey Governor after Chris Christie vacates the office at the end of his current term.  Bramnick is calling for surprise audits on towns to see where taxpayer money is being spent and/or wasted.  See internet link below.
     TFoTM suggests that Bramnick start with his own hometown where municipal spending on frivolous expenditures has gone unchecked.
     Bramnick can start with the money spent on the police department's emergency mobile command center that was purchased to the tune of $300,000.  It's use has been the center of debate as it's been carted around the state of NJ and used more outside of town, than in town.
     Aside from street fairs, fun runs, and high school football games, the emergency mobile command center has yet to be used in Westfield for an emergency that it was purchased for......and the spending continues on the mobile command center including the purchase of more equipment and the latest technological advancements in communications and surveillance.

http://nj1015.com/jon-bramnick-lets-resurrect-surprise-audits-for-government-offices/

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

WPD's Aquatic Investigator & Alcohol Infused Interview with Leader Editor


Blogger interviews Westfield Police Detective described as looking like "a fish."
Blogger interviews Westfield Leader Editor Horace Corbin during "Horace's Happy Hour"
Westfield Leader Editor Horace Corbin
Photo Credit: Christian Hansen/Gothamist

     Westfield Police have not revealed any further information on their ongoing investigation.

See blogger link below.....entertaining to say the least.

**Copy and paste link to computer browser

http://gothamist.com/2015/07/31/the_watcher.php

Photo Credit: Christian Hansen/Gothamist

Friday, July 03, 2015

"The Watcher"......Harassment or Hoax

   
     Who is "The Watcher?"  the question remains unanswered but speculation continues as a lawsuit has been filed, Hollywood explores a motion picture or television movie deal, and police continue to investigate.
     Previous news stories have reported that the Broaddus family received two letters from "The Watcher" and a third letter was sent to the previous owner just before the sale of the home.
     Recently, it was reported that the Westfield Police were not in possession of any letters from "The Watcher" that predate three letters received by the Broaddus family.
     Like many desirable homes in Westfield, 657 Boulevard was the center of a bidding war that was won by Derek and Maria Broaddus leading some to believe that perhaps a jilted losing bidder or real estate broker might be behind the menacing letters.  A 6% real estate commission to be shared between the listing and selling agent, on a $1,355,657 purchase, would amount to a $81,339 commission.
     TFoTM has learned that Westfield Police had received numerous calls from an angry neighbor shortly after work began on the property after the closing when the Broaddus family took ownership.  Some believe "The Watcher" might be an angry neighbor unhappy with renovation/construction noise or that the house's character and charm was being altered.
     Why did the Broaddus family initially report "The Watcher's" menacing letters to the Union County Prosecutor's Office and not to the local Westfield Police Department?
     When asked why the Broaddus family initially contacted the UCPO and not local police, a law enforcement source not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation stated, "Would you trust the Keystone cops that are running our detective bureau?"
     Westfield Department records list officers Leonard Lugo and John Ricerca as the last two supervising officers of the detective bureau.
     If John List could remain on the lam for the better part of two decades, why not "The Watcher?" Perhaps, because the difference this time around is that Westfield Police Chief Dave Wayman's "Elite" personnel aren't in charge.
     "Elite"......that is how he has referred to his subordinates.

So who might "The Watcher" be?......cast your vote(s) in TFoTM's Reader Poll to the left of this page.
   
     

   

   

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"The Watcher" Lawsuit

Follow link to read lawsuit filed by the Broaddus family, owners of 657 Boulevard.
Copy and paste the Internet link to your computer's Internet search bar.

http://documents.gawker.com/the-watcher-lawsuit-1713657328

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Disclosure of "The Watcher"......Do As I Say, Not As I Do?

     The owners of 657 Boulevard have allegedly tried to sell their home twice, since purchasing it in June of 2014.  TFoTM has been unable to uncover any real estate record of any disclosure by the current owners listing "The Watcher" when they attempted to sell the home since purchasing it in June, 2014.
     Other news agencies have reported that Derek and Maria Broaddus are filing a lawsuit against the previous owners for, among other issues, failing to disclose "The Watcher" in real eastate disclosure forms typically filed when selling a home.
     It appears that Derek and Maria Broaddus are pur"suing" the previous owners for non-disclosure of "The Watcher," while it is believed that they (D. & M. Broaddus) failed to disclose "The Watcher" in their own real estate dealings.

Monday, June 22, 2015

657 Boulevard.....Home Stalked by "The Watcher"

The Broaddus family says they began receiving threatening letters immediately after closing on a new home.
The owners of a house on the Boulevard are suing the previous owners after receiving several frightening and threatening anonymous letters from a person only identified as "The Watcher."
Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the home for $1.3 million from John and Andrea Woods.  After the real estate closing on the home, the Broaddus' started receiving disturbing and threatening letters from someone calling themselves "The Watcher" of the home.
See related story posted yesterday. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Motor Vehicle Accident at Grove St. & Summit Ave. Crossing Guard On-Duty

     Yesterday, Wednesday afternoon, an accident took place at the intersection of Summit Ave. & Grove St. while a Westfield Crossing guard was on duty.  This accident raises the question, "Was the crossing guard directing traffic through the Summit Ave. STOP sign?"  It wouldn't be the first time, nor does it appear to be the last if she did.
     On November 19, 2014 at 7:43am., a phone call was placed to the Westfield Police Department's traffic safety supervisor Lt. Jason McErlean seeking an answer to the question of whether or not civilian crossing guards have the authority to direct traffic through STOP signs.  New Jersey statute states that they do not have that authority. A message was left on Lt. McErlean's voicemail.
Lt. McErlean never responded.
     On January 6, 2015 another phone call was placed to the Westfield Police Department's traffic safety bureau's supervising officer Lt. McErlean.  The phone was answered by Officer Bill Kleeman who stated that McErlean was off for the day.  A message was left for McErlean to return the phone call.  Lt. McErlean has yet to respond to the safety concerns regarding a civilian crossing guard directing traffic through a STOP sign at Westfield Ave & Park St.
     One month later, on February 6, 2015 at 7:23 am., a phone call was placed again to Lt. McErlean after a crossing guard waved traffic through a STOP sign in the absence of any crossing pedestrians and narrowly missed causing a motor vehicle accident at Park St. & Westfield Ave.
A message was left on McErlean's voicemail and again, Lt. Jason McErlean has yet to respond.
   
Why hasn't Westfield Police Department Traffic Safety Officer Lt. Jason McErlean responded?
Has Lt. McErlean been directed by Westfield Police Chief David Wayman, not to respond?

Three separate phone calls to Lt. McErlean and no response so we called three separate insurance companies seeking an answer.

NJ Manufacturers, All-State, and State Farm Insurance all stated that if a civilian crossing guard waves a motorist through a STOP sign and it causes an accident, the motorist that went through the STOP sign is at fault because the crossing guard does not have the authority to direct motorists to ignore traffic laws, only a sworn police officer has that authority.

It would appear that Lt. McErlean and Chief Wayman have chosen to ignore the issue and "roll the dice" hoping that accidents won't happen or that the lack of knowledge of motor vehicle laws by civilian motorists will give them immunity.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mountainside Judge Rules In Favor of Westfield Board of Education

     A Mountainside Judge ruled in favor of the Westfield Board of Education today.  Three complaints filed against the WBOE for erecting generator run lights, were dismissed.   The use of mechanical equipment during prohibited hours, the shielding of the lights to prevent spillage onto neighboring properties, and the height of the lights in violation of town code were the basis of the complaints.
     The complaints were dismissed based on a state statute that supersedes town code.  There was also some uncertainty as to who is the proper defendant in the case, the WBOE or the WSA.
     The Westfield Soccer Association partnered with the Westfield Board of Education to use Kehler Stadium, property owned by the WBOE, for practice during a 10 week "pilot" program which allowed the use of the stadiums artificial turf field during evening hours.
     The WBOE was able to circumvent public oversight by not spending any tax payer funds to temporarily light Kehler Stadium during the 10 week "pilot."
     The WSA, a "non-profit" organization, spent over $5000 to rent portable lights and make modifications to the stadium property during the "pilot" in an attempt to mitigate neighborhood complaints as well as funding the WBOE's defense costs.
   
 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Westfield H.S. Art Show Stirs Controversy with "Police Brutality" Artwork

     Westfield has made the national news scene and its not for its lovely award winning downtown, or its ranked educational system.
     Westfield has drawn the attention of national news outlets because of a controversial art exhibit that appeared at the annual art show at Westfield High School last week.
     The art show displays artwork from Westfield students in grades pre-K thru 12.  One particular piece of art titled "Law Enforcement - Police Brutality" has garnered national news coverage due to the controversial subject.
     TFoTM supports the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, and believes freedom of speech to be a protected right despite the inflammatory nature of this "piece of art."
     However, without providing both sides of the issue, the "artists" appear to have thrown a blanket over the entire law enforcement community.
     The incendiary nature of the artwork should be questioned and those responsible for its creation should explain why such a topic was chosen with a one-sided view.
     I wonder how accommodating the Westfield High School art teacher, administration, and Board of Education Superintendant would have been had students decided to create "art" depicting an adult teacher engaging in misconduct with a teenage student?
     What would the reaction be if an "artist" wanted to display a water color painting, of an elementary school teacher smoking marijuana after coaching a high school sports team.
     According to a source within the Westfield law enforcement community, what is most disturbing to some is that a retired Westfield police supervisor's daughter contributed to the art exhibit.
   
     In other police news, Westfield police department Captain Chris Battiloro strapped on a backpack landscaping blower to tidy up the front of police headquarters while on duty.  Does that mean taxpayers can expect members of the Westfield Department of Public Works to be patrolling the streets of Westfield in the near future?

     .........and how are the potholes on your street.




   
   

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Westfield Police Chief Wayman Violates Motor Vehicle Law

     Westfield Police Chief David Wayman has the luxury of the free use of a town owned vehicle 24 hours a day.  His "company" vehicle, an SUV, is paid for by the Westfield taxpayers including costs for maintenance and repairs, insurance, vehicle registration, and fuel. This "freebie" is worth thousands of dollars a year in savings for Chief Wayman.
     While Wayman primarily drives his "company" vehicle, he does utilize his own personal pickup truck to haul debris to the town dump but refuses to have the vehicle inspected as per state statute.
     The inspection sticker displayed in the windshield of Chief Wayman's personal pickup truck expired years ago while he continues to encourage his own subordinates in the police department to enforce this NJ motor vehicle statute during their patrol duties.
     It appears that Westfield Police Chief David Wayman is "above the law" while preaching "Do as I say and not as I do."

TITLE 39 - MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC REGULATION

39:8-1 - Motor vehicle inspections

39:8-1. a. Every motor vehicle registered in this State which is used over any public road, street, or highway or any public or quasi-public property in this State, and every vehicle subject to enhanced inspection and maintenance programs pursuant to 40 C.F.R. s.51.356, except motorcycles, historic motor vehicles registered as such, collector motor vehicles designated as such pursuant to this subsection, and those vehicles over 8,500 pounds gross weight that are under the inspection jurisdiction of the commission pursuant to Titles 27 and 48 of the Revised Statutes, shall be inspected by designated inspectors or at official inspection facilities to be designated by the commission or at licensed private inspection facilities.  Passenger automobiles registered in accordance with R.S.39:3-4 or R.S.39:3-27 and noncommercial trucks registered in accordance with section 2 of P.L.1968, c.439 (C.39:3-8.1) or R.S.39:3-27 inspected pursuant to this section shall only be inspected for emissions and emission-related items such as emission control equipment and on-board diagnostics.  The commission shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a procedure for the designation of motor vehicles as collector motor vehicles, which designation shall include consideration by the commission of one or more of the following factors: the age of the vehicle, the number of such vehicles originally manufactured, the number of such vehicles that are currently in use, the total number of miles the vehicle has been driven, the number of miles the vehicle has been driven during the previous year or other period of time determined by the commission, and whether the vehicle has a collector classification for insurance purposes.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

O.P.R.A. Request Reveals WBOE/Town Meeting on Kehler Stadium Lighting

     An Open Public Records Act request has revealed email correspondence between Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea and the Westfield Board of Education regarding the usage of temporary lighting at Kehler Stadium on Rahway Ave.
     Another email from a local resident claims that neighborhood residents aren't opposed to the lighting, contradicting the obvious opposition to the "pilot" program.
     TFoTM will post both emails.
     Kehler Stadium is located in a residential neighborhood zoned RS-12 under town land use ordinances.
     Despite the objection of neighborhood residents, the Westfield Board of Education entered into a joint effort with the Westfield Soccer Association, a private business, to light Kehler Stadium each night until 9:45pm, Monday - Friday for 10 weeks to allow the soccer association to practice into the evening.
     What was touted as a "benefit to Westfield High School sports," has proven to be nothing more than a nuisance to the neighborhood while the temporary lights have not been used by any of the high school sports teams.
     The Westfield Board of Education has yet to provide an "independent" monitor of the lighting "pilot" as they had promised during contentious meetings prior to the approval of the "pilot."
     Westfield Board of Education President Richard Mattessich, in an email obtained by TFoTM, suggested that members of the Board's Facilities Committee had their minds made up prior to the 3+ hours of public comment, before the WBOE voted to approve the "pilot" in March.
     Town officials will not reveal who told the Westfield Police Department to ignore enforcing Town Code 14-12 which prohibits the use of machinery/generators after 8pm.
     The police department had initially fielded complaints from neighbors, logging the complaints into department computers without responding to the stadium to enforce town code violations.      Recently, a police supervisor stated that the police are using "discretion" in allowing the use of the generators during prohibited hours and that the WSA is turning them off at a "reasonable hour."
   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Police & Politics......Who Authorized the WPD to Ignore Town Code Enforcement

     During last night's Westfield Town Council meeting, Mayor Skibitsky was asked who directed the Westfield Police Department to ignore enforcing Westfield Town Code Violation 14-12A concerning the use of generators during prohibited hours.
     Mayor Skibitsky did not answer the question but town attorney Russell Finestein addressed the council.
     While Finestein did not answer the question of who directed the police to ignore the town code ordinance with respect to complaints about generator use at Kehler Stadium during prohibited hours, Mr. Finestein attempted to deflect and divert attention to a state statute that he believes supersedes town code in allowing the generator usage.
     The town attorney may advise a client, in this case the Town of Westfield, of his opinion.  However, it is the duty of the police to enforce a complainant's town code violation, by a neighboring land owner, regardless of an opinion.
     It is the court, the judicial system, that interprets the law and renders a ruling/decision, not civilian government.  While R. Finestein might be correct in his opinion, it does not excuse the Westfield Police from enforcing a Town Code violation that should be adjudicated in a court of law and not in the office of a civilian town official.
     When the town attorney was asked if he had instructed the police to ignore the town code ordinance, he remained silent.  TFoTM does not suggest that R. Finestein instructed the police to ignore enforcing a town code violation.
     However, it is ironic that Town Administrator Jim Gildea, seated next to R. Finestein in the front row of council chambers, remained silent as well, but his face began to resemble the color of a ripe tomato.
     So TFoTM asks Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea ......."Jim, did you instruct the Westfield Police to ignore Town Code 14-12 that will allow the Westfield Soccer Association to run generators on Westfield Board of Education property also known as Kehler Stadium?  In the words of a retired police captain......."Come clean Jim."
Keep in mind that Westfield police personnel have indicated that this is "The Town and the Board of Education" when explaining why the police won't enforce Town Code violation 14-12.

To be continued not only here, at The Fact of The Matter, but also in court.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Accident Shuts Down Rahway Ave In Front of Kehler Stadium

Motor vehicle accident on Rahway Avenue near Kehler Stadium has Rahway Avenue, heading North, shutdown.
Police just reopened the road at 5:58pm.
Westfield rescue squad ambulance still on scene.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Let the "Night" Games Begin: Board of Education Allows WSA Lights at Kehler Stadium


     The Westfield Soccer Association took delivery of four portable light towers at Kehler Stadium this afternoon to light up Kehler Stadium for the next 10 weeks.  The generators and lights will run until 9:45 pm., Monday - Friday.
     By 7:30pm, the lights were raised and the generators were fired up and running.  The raised lights exceeded Westfield's Land Use Ordinance restriction of 15 feet.
     While no soccer practice took place tonight, the WSA spent most of the evening testing the lights and attempting to position them where they'd be less intrusive to neighboring homes.  Only time will tell if they are successful.
     The following photos were all taken between 8pm. and 8:30pm without the use of a flash camera.
     Houses on Grove St., Westfield Ave., Beechwood Pl., Everson Pl., Rahway Ave., and Washington St. were illuminated by the lights.
     The sound from the diesel generators echoed off the metal bleachers and could be heard from 150 ft. away while an odor of diesel fuel permeated the air along the Rahway Ave. side of the stadium.

PLAY VIDEO (on laptop or home computer) TO HEAR LIGHTING GENERATORS THAT SOME BOE MEMBERS DESCRIBED AS "QUIET," WHILE ONE RESIDENT STATED THE GENERATORS SOUND LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN.

video

Rear yard of Grove St. residence

Light in NE corner of field that lights up Grove St. residences

Rear yard of residence on corner of Grove St. & Westfield Ave.

Westfield Ave. at Beechwood Pl.

Light in NW corner of field that lights up Beechwood Pl.

Corner residence of Beechwood Pl. & Westfield Ave.

Parking lot of Lincoln School facing Westfield Ave. & Beechwood Pl.
Corner residence of Everson Pl. & Westfield Ave.

Picture taken from front yard of Everson Pl.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Misinterpretation of Land Use Ordinances by Board of Education Could Cost Taxpayers

     There is no doubt that Kehler Stadium is wholly owned by the Westfield Board of Education and is not a park or recreation field owned by the Town of Westfield.
     There is also no doubt that the board of education does not have to apply to the town for use approval if it is not spending public money.
     That does not, in any way, give the board of education the right to abuse it's position as the land owner of Kehler Stadium.
     If the board of education were to spend public money on alterations to the property, they would have to ask for approval from the town.
     Whether or not they obtain the approval of the
town would not change their duty to the neighboring land owners.
     At no time during the public board of education meeting on Tuesday night, did their attorney state that the board could light Kehler Stadium and create noise to the detriment of the neighbors.
     Westfield Board of Education attorney Richard Kaplow was most specific in stating that he disagreed with a letter of objection submitted to him on behalf of a neighbor to Kehler Stadium, challenging the Westfield Soccer Association's proposal to light Kehler Stadium.
     That is a far cry from stating that his client, the board of education, has an absolute right to use it's property to the detriment of it's neighbors.
     Past apathy by the neighbors has allowed the board to run rampant over the neighborhood.  There should be no apathy when it comes to the board approving the Westfield Soccer Association's request to erect lights and conduct sporting events at night.
     If anybody needs any proof as to the results of apathy in the neighborhood surrounding Kehler Stadium, consider the encroachment of your peace and quiet since the construction of an artificial turf field and the alteration of the property over the years without action by the neighborhood.
     Time will tell whether or not apathy will continue. Time will tell how much it will cost the taxpayers of Westfield for the board of education to defend their position.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Westfield Police Chief Acquires Construction Equipment


     Westfield Police Chief David Wayman is no stranger to obtaining toys.  Whether its a seized BMW from a drug arrest that he and his sidekick Det. Joe Costanzo pestered the Union County Prosecutor for, or a donated sport utility vehicle for the D.A.R.E. program that Wayman reclaimed for his own personal use, he loves to ride in style.  His $300,000 emergency mobile command center has yet to respond to an emergency in Westfield in the two years since town officials approved its purchase.
     What Wayman will do with a mobile crane and bulldozer is unknown, but one thing is for sure, Chief Wayman really knows how to shovel it to town officials that allowed these recent acquisitions from the United States military.
How are the potholes on your street?

Prospect St. Basement Fire

At approximately 5:15 am. this morning, the Westfield  fire department responded to a report of a  basement fire on Prospect St.
Volunteer fire departments from Scotch Plains, Mountainside, and Springfield were requested for mutual aid as were the paid departments from Plainfield, Roselle, Cranford, and Springfield.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Board of Education Postpones Vote on Kehler Field Lighting

   
     On Tuesday evening, March 10th, the Westfield Board of Education tabled a vote that was scheduled to take place regarding a request by the Westfield Soccer Association to place temporary lights at Kehler Stadium for a "pilot" program expanding practice into the evening hours.
     The WSA has requested permission to place four generator-run light towers around the field.  The lights would remain on until 9:40/9:45pm, Monday-Friday, between mid-March and the end of May.
     Residents against the lights showed up to voice their opposition against the request while WSA coaches, and some of the association's board members, touted the "pilot" program's benefits.
     After 3 hours of public comment, Westfield Board of Education President Richard Mattessich suggested an amendment to the WSA's original proposal that had been posted in the meeting's agenda.  Mattessich suggested that the members of the Westfield Board of Education vote on whether or not to approve the installation of temporary lighting pending the review of the resolution by Bd. of Ed. Attorney Richard Kaplow, who was not in attendance at the meeting.
     Earlier in the meeting, it had been pointed out to members of the board of education that they are currently in violation of Westfield's Land Use Ordinances considering some of the non -  board of education activities that take place at the stadium.
     The current WSA proposal for temporary lighting at Kehler Stadium appears to violate several of Westfield's Land Use Ordinances and the Westfield Board of Education, as the land/property owner, would be subject to court action in the event those ordinances are violated.
     A letter detailing the land use ordinance violations was handed to the board of education for their attorney's review.
     Board of Education Vice President Gretchen Ohlig made a motion to table the vote until the board meets on March 17th so that their attorney could review the proposal with regards to land use ordinance compliance.
     A vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th, at 7:30pm.  The Westfield Board of Education meeting will be held in the main cafeteria of Westfield High School according to the school district's official website.