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Friday, June 22, 2018

Email Reveals Lack of Urgency In Mayor Andy Skibitsky’s Harassment Complaint

An email obtained by The Fact of The Matter reveals that Mayor Andy Skibitsky wanted to wait until after November’s mayoral election to proceed with the harassment charge levied against a Westfield resident. 

Skibitsky had claimed that he was in fear for his safety and that of his family’s safety after Kevin Monroe told Westfield Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan, who was campaigning for Skibitsky, “He’s done,” in reference to his desire to see the end of Skibitsky’s tenure as mayor.  The verbal communication was made simultaneously with a hand gesture where Monroe motioned with his hand across his own neck/throat.  Monroe had indicated to Neylan that the community wasn’t voting for Skibitsky. 

Neylan was on Central Ave. near Krausers when the alleged harassment occurred. 
Skibitsky was not present during this incident and the harassment charge against Kevin Monroe was ultimately dismissed in court. 

The incident took place almost a month before Skibitsky finally filed the harassment charge against Monroe, which was the day after his landslide election loss to eventual winner Shelley Wright Brindle. 

More to come on this including sworn statements from the police investigation that ensued as a result of Andy Skibitsky’s claim.  

This Email reveals that former Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky’s sense of urgency, in filing a harassment complaint against Westfield resident Kevin Monroe, was a fabrication in total contradiction to his sworn statement to police. 
The email is from WPD Detective DaSilva to the UCPO. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Former Westfield Mayor Skibitsky’s Harassment Complaint Heads to Trial

Skibitsky/Monroe Trial Update:

•Former Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky is scheduled to have his harassment complaint against Westfield Resident Kevin Monroe heard on June 20th in Clark Municipal court. 

•The trial was moved to Clark due to a conflict of interest in Westfield, Mountainside, and Cranford. 

•Westfield taxpayers are footing the bill for Skibitsky’s representation by Clark Municipal Prosecutor Jon Henry Barr. 

•Skibitsky has alleged he was harassed by Mr. Monroe when Monroe allegedly made comments, and an alleged had gesture, to Westfield Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan while she was on the campaign trail leading up to last November’s town council elections. 

•Skibitsky was not present during the alleged harassment for which he allegedly claims had put him in fear for his and his family’s safety. 

•Skibitsky waited until the day after his landslide election loss, almost a month after the alleged harassment, to file his complaint with the court. 

•JoAnn Neylan and Troy Skibitsky (Andy Skibitsky’s son) are listed as witnesses for plaintiff Skibitsky.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Westfield Police Chief Undermines Investigation with Lies and Deceit

     Westfield police chief David Wayman is no stranger to lies and deceit.  Wayman has manipulated the internal affairs process to give connected cops a pass, including himself, while passing harsh judgement on those that he holds grudges against.
     Chief Wayman must be removed from office immediately while he is under investigation for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident, filing a false police report, lying under oath, official misconduct, and witness tampering.
     Chief Wayman’s ability to lead the Westfield police department has been compromised by the lack of integrity displayed while covering up his own crimes and misconduct.
     The good men and women of the Westfield police department deserve better.  The taxpayers of Westfield expect better.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In Memory of Westfield Police Detective Eric Lieberman: May You Rest In Peace

"The Final Inspection"
The policeman stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining.
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, policeman.
How shall I deal with you?
 Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My church have you been true?"
The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry badges
can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I've been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.
But I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep....
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.
If you've a place for me here,
 It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't.....I'll understand.
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, policeman,
You've borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in hell."
Author Unknown

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Union County Prosecutor Investigating Westfield Police Department......Again

Recent misconduct, chronicled in print and video, that has alleged to have taken place in neighboring Mountainside’s police department, draws attention to police policing police.

The Fact of The Matter has obtained information over the years of pervasive and systemic misconduct in the Westfield Police Department.
In 2009 and 2010, concerns were made known to Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Town Attorney Robert Cochran regarding the selection process for police chief and what would happen if Westfield promoted David Wayman to police chief.  Those warnings were ignored.

In 2012, after obtaining a classified confidential memo from then Police Chief John Parizeau’s desk and posting it here at TFoTM, town officials were not happy. TFoTM received a subpoena from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office mandating an appearance before a grand jury to answer questions on how this blog site obtains such information. The ACLU stepped in to represent The Fact of The Matter (pro bono) and had the subpoena “quashed”....thrown out.....withdrawn.  TFoTM was recognized as a news source and protected under the New Jersey Shield Law that protects reporters from revealing their source(s) of information.

When the Fact of The Matter presented evidence to the Union County Prosecutor, that a crime had been committed by members of the Westfield Police Department, the UCPO detectives assigned to the case were more interested in how TFoTM got its hands on then Westfield Police Chief John Parizeau’s memo detailing theft of time by superior officers.  UCPO detectives Ed Koenig and James Tansey were assigned to the investigation.  When TFoTM was interviewed by these two detectives, they were more interested in knowing who gave TFoTM the confidential memo.  Ultimately, Westfield Chief John Parizeau and his predecessor, the disgraced Barney Tracy, were not held accountable for their failure to administer disciplinary action against superior officers in the Westfield Police Dept. for theft of time.  Westfield Detective Sergeant John Rowe, an alleged suspect in the thefts, and personal friend to Tracy and Parizeau, was not charged with any crime, or at least a departmental infraction, by the UCPO.

While the Union County Prosecutors Office currently investigates Westfield Police Chief David Wayman’s role in the “hit and run” accident that occurred in a secured police lot on town property, many question whether or not the UCPO can be trusted to do a thorough investigation without covering up the alleged misconduct perpetrated by WPD Chief Wayman.  (See previous stories on Wayman’s alleged coverup of accident.)

The mere fact that Westfield Det. Lt. Leo Lugo submitted a one line investigation report on the hit and run accident proves that no investigation took place at the local Westfield PD level.

Now it’s the Union County Prosecutors turn to investigate.

Friday, May 18, 2018

........The Hits Just Keep On Coming documents the pervasive and systemic misconduct and corruption that has surfaced in the Mountainside police department.
Mountainside, a neighboring town of Westfield, NJ, kept the lid on this salacious news story until yesterday when local, state, national, and international news outlets covered the story after a 48 page lawsuit was filed.
Could the Westfield police department be warming up in the batter’s box to defend recent pervasive and systemic misconduct being investigated?

Click on the link below to read today’s coverage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mountainside Police Lawsuit: Sexual Harassment, Racism, Pornography and More

Mountainside police Department rocked by scandal including sexual harassment, pornography, aggravated assault, racism, and more.
L to R:  Lt. Murphy, Chief Attanasio, Det. Sgt Huber

To view lawsuit documents, tap on link below.  WARNING: contents of lawsuit are graphic.
Google Doc

Thursday, May 10, 2018

TFoTM Seeks Answers from Det. Lt. Leonard Lugo Regarding Alleged WPD Cover-up and Official Misconduct

The Fact of The Matter has contacted the lead investigator of the Westfield police department, Detective Lieutenant Leonard Lugo, seeking a statement regarding the “hit & run” accident report and investigation report he authored. 
Many questions remain surrounding the “hit & run” accident in a “secured” police impound lot involving Westfield police chief David Wayman.  (See previous blog stories)
TFoTM has yet to receive any answers or statements from Westfield police in response to emails sent to both Westfield police chief David Wayman and Det. Lt. Lugo. 
The lack of a detailed investigation report is indicative of a “cover-up” and accusations of internal corruption continue. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Westfield Police Chief Absent from Town Council Meeting, No Answer to Email

The Fact of The Matter has requested a statement from Westfield police chief David Wayman regarding the “hit & run” accident the took place in a “secured” police lot at the Westfield conservation center on Lambertsmill Rd. 
TFoTM has yet to receive a response and Chief Wayman was absent from Tuesday night’s town council meeting, which he normally attends, so unfortunately follow up questions couldn’t be asked. 

Monday, May 07, 2018

To the dedicated men and women of the Westfield Police Department, keep up the great work and don’t ever let the corruption from within taint your determination and dedication to do what’s right. 
Life is good. 

Sunday, May 06, 2018

“Hit & Run” Accident Crime Scene Involving Westfield Police Chief David Wayman

     The “hit and run” accident as described in Westfield Detective Lieutenant Leo Lugo’s reports (see previous story) took place in a “secured” area of the Westfield DPW’s conservation center on Lambertsmill Rd. 
     The “secured area” as noted by Westfield’s lead detective, is a locked gated area known as the Westfield police department’s impound lot where numerous vehicles and equipment are stored. 
     The “secured” lot is currently occupied by military surplus vehicles obtained by the police department, a pall barn housing police department vehicles and equipment, and other vehicles seized and stored by the authority of the Westfield police department.
     It is in this “secured” lot that a “hit and run” accident took place involving Westfield police chief David Wayman and subsequently reported by Detective Lieutenant Leo Lugo. 
     The Fact of The Matter has obtained information from sources not authorized to speak on behalf of the WPD and who wish to remain anonymous. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Former Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky Makes First Court Appearance


     Former Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky appeared in Cranford Municipal Court yesterday along with current Westfield Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan and one of his sons......both are listed as witnesses.
     Yesterday was the first appearance for a charge Andy Skibitsky filed against a Westfield resident for harassment leading up to last year's mayoral election.
     The harassment charge stems from a claim made by JoAnn Neylan, that a Windsor Ave. resident made a threat aimed at then Mayor Skibitsky, even though Skibitsky wasn't present at the time the words and a gesture were allegedly made.
     The words and perceived threat occurred weeks before November's election but the harassment charge wasn't filed by Skibitsky until the day after Skibitsky's landslide election loss.
     Stay tuned.........

Friday, March 02, 2018

Westfield Police Chief’s Waste of Westfield Resources.......Shut Down

Westfield police chief David Wayman and his emergency mobile command center will not be attending Hoboken’s LepreCon “drunkfest” this year.  
The wasting of Westfield’s resources will no longer be a burden on Westfield taxpayers.  
Westfield’s former parking director, the disgraced John Morgan, resigned from Hoboken’s parking authority last year due to alleged questionable circumstances. 
It’s quite possible that Westfield’s new administration put the stop on traveling to Hoboken with the $300K mobile command center in tow. 

Caitlin Mott of the Jersey Journal reports:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Stealing Time: Theft in Union...Coverup in Westfield

The theft of time by a police officer in Westfield was covered up allowing Detective Sergeant John Rowe to retire while in Union, NJ, an officer loses his job.

Cop loses job, faces probation after admitting overtime theft

Friday, February 02, 2018

Westfield Police Chief Wayman: Blatant Liability

Should a town employee be allowed to operate a town owned motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol?
How about on weekends, returning home from a bar, or after a lunch date or night out with his secretary?
What about rendezvous at Atlantic City hotels and other convention destinations?

A recent situation has arisen where a public employee is being questioned about her use of taxpayer money while she engaged in immoral behavior. 
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has admitted that she had an extramarital affair with the former head of her security detail.
She has denied improper use of taxpayer money during the affair with her security head, as Metro police Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr.”

It wasn’t long ago that disgraced Westfield Police Chief Barney Tracy totalled a town owned unmarked police vehicle after a night of alleged drinking.  The accident scene in Rahway, NJ allegedly included parked cars and a building.  One rumor speculated that Tracy’s unlicensed nephew was at the wheel. 

After Chief Tracy, Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea named John Parizeau to lead the WPD.  It wasn’t long before his exploits were uncovered by his own subordinates on routine patrol one night when they came upon his parked municipal owned vehicle behind a local business off South Ave. with steamed up windows and a mistress occupying the passenger seat. 

History has a habit of repeating itself.  Must be something about absolute power that currupts absolutely. 

Someone needs to question the town administrators police chief selections. 
Three strikes already. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Former Mayor: Plaintiff Andy Skibitsky

A court case looms in the near future that will potentially expose the retaliatory behavior of the former mayor scorned by his election loss.
More details to follow.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

WPD Mobile Command Center Showcased at Hangover Run.....For What?

     The Central Jersey Road Runners Club of NJ held their annual Hangover 5K run in Tamaques Park on January 1st to ring in the new year.
     Runners and walkers from across the state, including some participants from across state lines, stepped to the start line amid temperatures hovering in the mid teens.
     The Westfield Police broke out their state of the art mobile communications command center to protect runners and spectators from, well, we're not actually sure from what.
     The mobile command center has seen it's glory in Hoboken over the past few years at several street fairs and drunken bar crawls during the holidays.  Unfortunately, for Westfield Police Chief David Wayman and his designated crew of command center comrades, Westfield's invite to Hoboken no longer exists after Hoboken parking director (the former disgraced Westfield parking director) John Morgan suddenly resigned.  No longer will Westfield taxpayers have to foot the bill for the police chief's "playdates" in Hoboken.
     Absent from the WPD doomsday arsenal at the Hangover run were the two Zodiac assault boats acquired years ago that sit unused.
     Allegedly, there was a request to use the boats, minus the motors, as tube rides on the snowy slopes of Echo Lake Park.
     Back to the mobile command center that sat idle in Tamaques Park during the 5K run......the remote tower camera wasn't deployed and it appeared that nobody was inside the unit.  Police Captain Chris Battiloro was seen standing outside the $300,000 command center monitoring the days race along with other officers cruising around in an all-terrain vehicle.
     At least the police officer backing up the mobile command center, onto the basketball courts, didn't back into a concrete backboard post, reminiscent of a past mishap in Tamaques Park by the WPD's elite CRTU (Community Response Tactical Unit).
     Years later, the Town still hasn't replaced the damaged post.
     So look for the mobile command center at a non-emergency event near you like a street fair or maybe a block party.
     Maybe the acquisition of a military helicopter, by Westifled, is next under the government surplus program.
     Wayman can commute to work by air to avoid the heavy Lawrence Ave. traffic and crossing guard at Dudley Ave.
     The number of times the mobile command center has been deployed for a Westfield emergency, during the four years Westfield has owned it, can be counted on one hand.
     Wasteful spending on display.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Westfield Police Chief Obtains Pick-up Truck

Westfield Police Chief David Wayman has obtained a pick-up truck for his personal use which has been parked frequently at his home address in Westfield. 
To avoid the scrutiny of the watchful eye, the vehicle has no identifiable police markings. 
This town owned, taxpayer funded, municipally insured and maintained vehicle, is just another unnecessary acquisition through LESO. 
Time will tell if he plans to outfit the pickup truck with a plow to clear his personal driveway.

Participating in the 1033 Program 

The Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) is accepting applications to participate in the 1033 Program. To date, thousands of Federal, Tribal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have participated. 
As an active member, the LEAs receive a Department of Defense Activity Address Code (DODAAC), which allows LESO to track issued property.  Additionally, LEAs are granted access to web-based applications which will allow them to search for and request equipment. Requests for excess DOD property by State LEAs must be approved by the State Coordinator as well as the LESO.
Once property is received on record, the LEA must ensure its accountability and responsibility of it.  If the LEA desires to Transfer, Turn-In, or Dispose of the property, they must have LESO approval.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Westfield Leaf Pickup

     Ever wonder why the Town does not clean up the leaves left behind after the large piles of leaves piled at the curb are picked up by the large front end loaders and tandem trailers?
     The Westfield DPW pushes the leaf piles down the street into one large pile to be loaded into trailers and hauled down to the conservation center.
     What’s left behind is the leaf debris that doesn’t make it into the trailers and eventually gets washed into the storm sewer system during rain storms.
     In the past, a street sweeper would follow up and clean the remaining leaf debris from the curb line.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Westfield Town Officials Turn a Blind Eye?

•Once again, a Westfield police officer found to have stolen time from the taxpayer via the police department and Westfield Board of Education, remains on duty.
•How many times does the town have to look the other way before something is done to terminate those engaging in theft while wearing a uniform.
•Town Administrator Jim Gildea has to go and should it be proven that Mayor Skibitsky and/or other members of the Westfield Town Council had knowledge of the theft and allowed the continued employment of a corrupt police officer, they need to go as well.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Westfield House Fire on Prospect St.

Sources have confirmed the death of one person at a house fire that occurred in the early morning hours, on Prospect St.
TFoTM will not publish any details of the circumstances surrounding the fire, or the name of the deceased, out of respect for the family and the ongoing investigation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WPD Demotes Supervisor

A Westfield police officer was entrusted with the safety of students at Westfield High School.  The Westfield Board of Education and the Town funded the salary and benefits of this officer while he was assigned to the high school as a school resource officer.
Ultimately, Westfield taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of placing an officer in a school.
The officer was assigned to the high school at a time when there was a heightened alert in our nation's school systems after numerous "active shooter" incidents.
The Internal Affairs investigation conducted by the WPD was done with the utmost secrecy in an attempt to cloak the investigation from prying eyes.  At the center of the investigation is the alleged theft of time that occurred when the officer was allegedly absent from his assignment at WHS.
This is not the first time that a police supervisor has been caught stealing time from the Westfield taxpayer.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Westfield Police Chief demotes police sergeant after internal affairs investigation reveals insubordination and other alleged departmental violations related to his position as the school resource officer (SRO) at Westfield High School. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

TFoTM Archive: The Arrest Of An Out-Spoken Citizen Part I

On June 1, 2004, Westfield resident James Abate was arrested. The arrest of James Abate, after he had spoken at a Westfield Town Council Meeting, had some people claiming it was an act of retaliation.

Monday, May 22, 2017

TFoTM Archive: The Arrest Of An Out-Spoken Citizen Part II

The following is a continuation of last nights blog story. 

     The arrest of James Abate came as no surprise to some of the rank and file of the Westfield Police Department.  It wouldn’t be the only time that Chief Bernard Tracy would be accused of impropriety with regards to obtaining information on a person illegally.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Councilman Mark LoGrippo, You Can Delete a Facebook Comment, You Can't Delete the Truth

Councilman Frank Arena
     At tonight's Westfield Town Council meeting, Councilman Frank Arena attempted to divert from the message by once again attacking the messenger.  He apologized to the public stating, "I'm so sorry you had to see this and hear this tonight," referring to comments made during the open public discussion. He called the remarks "self-serving" and never addressed the fact of the matter which was Councilman Mark LoGrippo's ill-advised and racially charged comment in the public Facebook group "Westfield, NJ."
     The text below is in response to a comment made by Councilman Mark LoGrippo at approximately 11:20 a.m. on April 21st, on the "Westfield, NJ" Facebook group moderated by TapIntoWestfield editor Jackie Lieberman with a membership of 8,760 people.  
     Tonight, Councilman LoGrippo denied posting the racially charged comment by stating, "Where are you getting this from?" Councilman LoGrippo would not acknowledge the fact that he had the incendiary comment deleted from Facebook moments after I commented accusing him of the bigoted comment on April 21st.
     Members of the  town council denied that race is an issue in Westfield and that it's a national issue and taboo to talk about in local politics.  Members of the audience were shocked that the town council denied that race should be a topic of discussion in local politics. 
     Westfield resident Pam Brug approached the microphone to refute this, using personal anecdotes to prove that it is in fact a concern for Westfield residents as it affects them on a daily basis. 

The following was read to the members of the Westfield Town Council and residents in attendance.

"On April 21st I got involved in an exchange of comments in a Westfield Facebook group after another member had posted in the group hosted by TapInto Westfield editor Jackie Lieberman.  A Westfield Councilman joined in on the discussion.

The original person posting, had attended a Westfield "meet the candidates" night and had described how inspired she was by this year's slate of candidates from the Democratic Party. 

What followed were comments from the public in support of these candidates, until a comment was posted by Westfield resident John Barker.  John Barker's wife Alicia Barker, who is here tonight, happens to be mayor Skibitsky's campaign manager for the upcoming fall elections. 

I responded with comments of my own, basically rebutting John Barkers comments, I kept it respectful, as did Mr. Barker.
My comments had gained the support of others in that comment thread, in fact one person posted..... "Mr. Kasko, your comments make so much sense and are so appreciated on here! Thank you!"  

Councilman Mark LoGrippo soon joined the conversation. 

Perhaps councilman LoGrippo felt the need to halt whatever momentum and support these new candidates were receiving, or maybe he was attempting to  contradict my comments.  

He reminded me that as a longtime resident of Westfield, I should be familiar with what happened in Plainfield and eluded to that when the governing body went from Republican to Democrat, stating, “you saw what happened to Plainfield.”

Councilman LoGrippo’s response to my comments, was directed at me, but clearly he was sending a message to each and every other person that was in the discussion, reminding everyone, what he thought had happened to Plainfield and why it has become what it is today.  He insinuated that the demise of Plainfield was attributed to the city government going from a Republican stronghold to a Democrat governing body.  

I then responded with a brief history lesson for councilman LoGrippo and admonished him for posting such an inflammatory comment that wreaked of racial bias. 

After I posted my response, and before I could screenshot his comment, it disappeared. It's quite obvious that he realized the mistake he had made with his inflammatory comment. 

What Councilman LoGrippo didn't realize, is that the riots that started on July 14th, 1967 and lasted 4 days/3 nights, is what brought about Plainfields demise.

The Plainfield riots caused the beating death of a police officer, countless arrests, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.     

The Riots were started by a group of 150-200 residents from the west end of Plainfield. 

Civil unrest was occurring around the country in over 150 other cities most notably in New Jersey’s city of Newark.

For years black residents in Plainfield–including the local NAACP chapter, black ministers and others–had complained about various forms of racial discrimination, including housing segregation and slum conditions, school segregation, racist hiring practices by major employers (including the city government and the local hospital), low-wage jobs, lack of recreational facilities for West End young people (especially a neighborhood swimming pool) and harassment by local police. 

By 1967 only five of Plainfield’s eighty-one police officers were black. Black leaders and their white liberal allies complained that cops and radio dispatchers often used the "N" word to describe suspects over the police radio.

Emotions were at a boiling point. 

Historians have labeled what subsequently happened to Plainfield, after the riots, as the "white flight." 

Plainfield had a number of Republicans serve as mayor from 1915 until 1981. The last Democrat to lead Plainfield as mayor had been Percy Hamilton Stewart in 1914. It wasn't until 15 years after the 1967 riots that a Democrat was elected Mayor again in Plainfield, that was 1982.

During the riots of 1967, nine of the 11 council members in Plainfield were white and two of the council members were black, one of which was a Republican. So at the start of the riots, 10 of the 11 council members were Republican. 

At the time, the Plainfield town Council was dominated by Republican businessman and lawyers not unlike what we have here in Westfield. 

In fact, the Republican town Council in Plainfield in 1967 was reluctant to bring federal job training and other anti-poverty programs to the city which caused more animosity from the African-American community. 

Factories shutdown, businesses left and jobs were lost.  The city of Plainfield never rebounded to it’s glory days of the 40's, 50's, and early to mid 1960's.  

The city of Plainfield's demise had nothing to do with a changing of political party in town government as Councilman LoGrippo insinuated to in his comment, in fact some might say that the Republican leadership in Plainfield and its refusal to accommodate an ever changing demographic is what led to what Plainfield has become today. 

When I ran for town Council as an independent in 2011 against Mark LoGrippo and Democrat nominee Matt Sontz, I took part in a candidates forum here in this Chamber, with Lauren Barr of the Westfield Leader moderating. 

There were approximately 10 to 12 questions we had to be prepared to answer.  

Having been a resident of Westfield, at the time, for almost 40 years and having retired from the police department with some intimate knowledge of how things were being run, the questions were not that difficult to answer. 

I had a few index cards with some key bullet-points I wanted to emphasize, should I be asked a specific question.  Each candidate was asked two questions of the 10 or 12.

Democrat candidate Matt Sontz was well-prepared that night, being able to answer questions extemporaneously. 

Councilman Mark LoGrippo
Councilman LoGrippo sat to my left that night and each time he was asked a question he had to refer to what I now call the "Republican playbook" for his answer. 

When he was asked a question Mark would pause and look down at a three ring binder, flip to the page that would address the question asked, and then would read verbatim, a prepared answer of what was written on the page for him. 

On April 21st, in the Westfield Facebook  forum, Councilman LoGrippo posted an incendiary comment without the knowledge of local history necessary for a factual rebuttal. 

Instead, he posted a comment, reminiscent of that "Republican playbook" in that he had no intimate knowledge on the topic being discussed.  Only this time, his remarks were misguided and are an example of “fear mongering” in an attempt to possibly sway votes.

This town council needs members that will represent the people of Westfield regardless of political party, and not just be a rubber stamp to the policy's of Westfield's mayor, regardless of who it will be. 

Councilman LoGrippo, I believe you owe the residents of Plainfield and Westfield an apology for your public comment on April 21st.

Comparing what could happen here in Westfield, to what happened in Plainfield, should voters elect democrats to this town council, was not only disingenuous in an attempt to sway voters, it was reprehensible. 

Once again, thank you for the time I've been allotted here tonight, I thank you all for your service to the town, and I wish all the candidates for town council the best of luck in November." 

Greg Kasko

     Immediately after I finished speaking I was accused of bringing race into the discussion, however, my comments were in response to Councilman LoGrippo interjecting race and the demise of Plainfield, into his own public online comment.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky Denies Collusion During Purchase of Emergency Mobile Command Center

     When confronted Tuesday evening with facts regarding the purchase of the police department's emergency mobile command center, Mayor Andy Skibitsky denied any collusion between town officials and the command center's manufacturer.
     You be the judge after considering the following.
     *In fall of 2012 - Westfield police chief David Wayman and police captain Chris Battiloro boarded a flight to meet with Power Innovations International Inc. President/CEO Robert Mount in American Fork, Utah.  The purpose of this trip was to shop for an emergency mobile command center.
     *In January 2013 - The Westfield police department plans an exhibition at the armory on Rahway Ave., for town officials and other agencies to get a glimpse, for the first time, a mobile command center that Chief Wayman wanted to obtain.
     *February 11, 2013 - A 96 hour motor vehicle "In Transit Permit" was issued by the state of Utah, to the Westfield Police Department, to have a 2008 Ford Expedition, from Power Innovations International, delivered to Westfield.  The permit lists Westfield as the owner.  See photo below.
     *March 5, 2013 - Westfield town council presents the first reading of a bond ordinance to purchase emergency equipment.
     *March 15, 2013 - pictures are taken of a Ford F-350 Pickup truck parked inside a closed garage of Sevells Auto Body on South Ave. in Westfield.  The Ford F-350 was used to tow the emergency mobile command center to Westfield, from Utah, in January.  The mobile command center was stored at another unknown location.  See photo below.
     *March 19, 2013 - Westfield town council presents the second reading of a bond ordinance to purchase emergency equipment.  A vote was taken and the bond ordinance to purchase emergency equipment passed.
     *April 4, 2013 - Town of Westfield advertises a Public Notice in the Westfield Leader Newspaper, an "Invitation to Bid" to those interested in submitting a proposal to deliver "public safety equipment."  All bids are to be submitted by 10:00 am. on April 16, 2013.
     *April 9, 2013 - Power Innovations International Inc. of Utah is issued a State of New Jersey "Business Registration Certificate" which allows Robert Mount/Power Innovations to obtain specifications to submit a sealed bid proposal to Westfield.  Note: The certificate's effective date is backdated to April 5, 2013.
     *Robert Mount of Power Innovations International submits a "Noncollusion Affidavit of Prime Bidder."  See photo below.
     The "Technical Specifications" are a listing of public safety equipment Westfield is seeking to purchase.  The specifications are a blueprint of the general items, communications equipment, computing equipment, generator transfer switch equipment, and other fixtures of a mobile command center that Westfield is looking to purchase.  Only two companies answer Westfield's public notice inviting companies to submit bid proposals.  Only one company, Power Innovations International, submitted a bid proposal.
     The Town of Westfield accepts Power Innovation International's bid proposal to supply the town with "public safety equipment" now known as the emergency mobile command center that was brought to Westfield in January, along with the Ford Expedition and the Ford F-350 truck used to tow the command center.
     Westfield Police Chief David Wayman is praised by Councilman Sam Della Fera, at a town council meeting, for his negotiating skills and the great deal he got on the town's purchase of the emergency mobile command center.
     It is discovered that Power Innovations International is delivering a "demo" model and not building a new mobile command center based on the specifications supplied by Westfield.
All the while, the "demo" model emergency mobile command center is being hidden in Westfield since its arrival in January long before any bond resolution was voted on.  This alone, calls into question, who wrote the specifications that Westfield supplied to potential bidders?
     The specifications allegedly match the "demo" emergency mobile command center already in Westfield.  Did Power Innovations International supply the specifications to Westfield prior to being a liscensed New Jersey bidder?
     A former Westfield town council member revealed to the Fact of The Matter that Westfield Police Chief David Wayman had appeared before Mayor Skibitsky's finance committee and stated that he could get a better price on the emergency mobile command center if Westfield town officials agreed to allow Power Innovations International to showcase the command center, after Westfield makes the purchase, at expos and other police related exhibitions.
     Was this agreement listed in the specifications or anywhere else in legal bid documents?
     Westfield's emergency mobile command center showed up in Atlantic City and again in Philadelphia at police related exhibitions.
     When Mayor Skibitsky was asked numerous times, at town council meetings, if a "backroom deal" was made with Power Innovations International to showcase the emergency mobile command center at exhibitions in return for a discounted purchase price......Mayor Skibitsky refused to answer and remained silent.  The mayor has a right to remain silent, anything he says can and will be used.....etc.
     A phone call was placed to Power Innovations International in 2013, after Westfield's purchase.  When asked if the same purchase price, for the same unit Westfield received would be available if another police department was interested in buying an emergency mobile command center, Robert Mount stated, "We gave Westfield a special deal."
     When the Union County Prosecutors Office was contacted regarding the questionable bidding process that took place to obtain the emergency mobile command center, it was determined that there was no bribery that took place.
     With the information received from a former Westfield Councilman, months after the Union County Prosecutor released it's findings, should the investigation be reopened?  TFoTM has been advised the the former Westfield Town Council member would cooperate and provide a statement to investigators.
     This investigation should not be done by Union County.  It should be done by a state law enforcement agency or a federal agency employing a municipal corruption unit.
     Why don't  local news agencies question the purchase process now that they are presented with these facts?
     With a municipal election this November, an election that will decide who represents Westfield citizens for the next four years, voters and candidates need to question Mayor Skibitsky and his town council members regarding the wasteful spending, mismanagement, and lack of transparency that has infested Mayor Skibitsky's administration.
     Mindowaskin Pond was drained last year.  Time to drain the "swamp" of what has become a tainted administration run by arrogance, entitlement, and partisan politics.