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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shades of Westfield

Hackensack PD & Westfield PD.......synonymous.
What happened there has happened here.  Harassment, retaliation, and retribution......and not to mention lawsuit payouts for an alleged corrupt police chief running amuck. 
While the circus might be in a different town, the clowns are all the same.........a rogue police chief going above and beyond that which the law empowers him to do. 
Who ends up paying in the end......the taxpayer. 
Click on the following link to read story:  can't help but substitute the names of disgraced Westfield police chiefs Barney Tracy and John Parizeau into the mix.   It's only a matter of time before current Westfield police chief Dave Wayman's back room, back door, and under handed tactics cost the town. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Two Words Mayor Skibitsky: Wasteful Spending

     On March 18th, Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky, once again, refused to answer simple questions regarding the use of the police department's mobile command center outside the town's borders.            Specifically, Skibitsky was asked why the mobile command center was being transported and operated, at taxpayer expense, in the cities of Hoboken and Philadelphia.
     Skibitsky also refused to answer a question regarding the connection between Westfield and Hoboken where disgraced Westfield parking director John Morgan served/serves as the supervisor of the parking authority.
     Morgan, an auxiliary police officer, aka "police special," has ties to Skibitsky's administration and is one of Skibitsky's political appointees to a mayoral committee.
     Mayor Skibitsky diverted from answering the public by recommending that an OPRA request be filed with the Westfield Town Clerk seeking the answers.  All this, from a Mayor that preaches transparency in his administration.
     Mayor Skibitsky has become known to "clam up" when the answer might reveal mismanagement and wasteful spending.  He never hesitates to address issues and answer the questions that make him look good in the eyes of the taxpayer.  He often touts his fiscal responsibility by claiming to do "more with less."  Example:  he continues to brag about reducing the municipal payroll to levels seen in 2006 while forgetting to remind the residents that he has cut public service employees by more than 20%.  Today, Westfield employs 20% less police officers and firemen than in 2006.   These are cuts to public safety that Westfield can't afford.  Hours of operation of departments within the police department have been cut making it more difficult to obtain reports, permits, and other law enforcement related information.  Overtime is necessary to cover police shifts once manned by full time officers.
     Not to be left alone to answer the questions, councilman Frank Arena offered his 2 cents. This is the same guy who proclaims during election years that the town needs to get more "bang for its buck" when it comes to county services but then justifies the spending of nearly $300,000 of Westfield tax dollars on a mobile command center that has been used out of town more than within the borders of Westfield.
While Skibitsky remained silent, Arena chimed in with two words.  In fact, he said, "two words, shared services."  This was his reasoning behind allowing the use of Westfield's mobile command center in Hoboken and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
TFoTM has two words for Councilman Arena, "Nice try."
     An OPRA request was filed seeking the Shared Services Agreement between Hoboken and Westfield as well as the agreement between Philadelphia and Westfield.  TFoTM received an answer from the Westfield Town Clerk yesterday.........there are no Shared Service Agreements between Westfield and any other town regarding the usage of the police department's mobile command center.    
      Shared Service Agreements are official documents signed by each town's Mayor and other officials and then logged with the State of NJ.
REPEAT:  Westfield has no such documents detailing the use of Westfield's mobile command center outside of Westfield.
     When presented with these facts at the last town council meeting on Tuesday night (two days ago) Skibitsky deflected from the facts by claiming some conspiracy theory was being presented to him.
     TFoTM suggests that Mayor Skibitsky stick to the facts presented and answer fact based questions instead of diverting to his age old game of "Shoot the Messenger."
     The mobile command center world tour continued last week with the disappearance of Captain Battiloro and Chief Wayman to parts unknown to the Westfield taxpayer but not to TFoTM.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

No April Fools Joke, Cops Suspended

With a hearing date scheduled for a Westfield police department officer seeking justice regarding alleged retaliatory actions taken against him by superior officers within the Westfield PD, the following news article hits home.
Westfield town officials have allowed the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars to defend the towns unenviable position hoping to hide the truth from the public.
Go to the following internet link to read a story of the steps officers will take to seek retribution against one of their own.
It happened there, and its happening here.  Perhaps maybe something the Union County Prosecutor should be looking into.

http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2014/03/3_edison_cops_charged_with_planning_to_punish_north_brunswick_cop_for_arresting_an_associate.html#incart_m-rpt-1

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mayor Skibitsky Receives Political "Pat on the Back" by County Republicans

     Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky received an "atta' boy" from the Union County Republican Committee on Monday night at L'Affaire in Mountainside.  The award Skibitsky received is named after former Congressman Bob Franks and handed out by Skibitsky's ruling party.
     A Westfield Leader news account of the award reported that Skibitsky "was elected to a third term as mayor, a feat unprecedented in recent town history."  What the news article omits is the fact that no other Mayor, "in recent town history" has ever sought a third consecutive term as Mayor.  There has always been an unwritten rule in Westfield politics that you serve two terms and step aside....not so with the Skibitsky regime at the helm.
     The news article praises Skibitsky for his handling of communications during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy among other perceived exploits.
     Skibitsky continues to flaunt his fiscal responsibility by citing the reduction of salaries/wages in the municipal budget to a level seen in 2005 but forgets to mention that the reduction is primarily due to Mayor Skibitsky's slashing of public safety employees in the police and fire departments by over 20%.  Skibitsky's "shell game" is in keeping with his rally cry of "We are doing more with less" in town government.
     NOTE:  For further coverage of Skibitsky's award, you can read about it in
the town's official newspaper The Westfield Leader, a "Republican approved publication."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Police Chief Wayman Introduces Newest "Elite" Police Officer



     The Westfield Police Department has seen a sudden exodus of officers recently hired under the leadership of former disgraced police chief John Parizeau and current police chief David Wayman.
     At last night's Westfield Town Council meeting, Police Chief David Wayman introduced one of the police department's newest "Elite" to fill one of the voids.
     No longer considered the "finest" by Wayman, the police chief has set his sight on making Westfield Police Department an "Elite" department....in his own words spoken at a recent closed door department meeting involving police personnel.
     TFoTM congratulates police officer Gregory Penn and wishes him the best of luck in his law enforcement career.
     TFoTM will post coverage of last night's town council meeting later tonight.  Mayor Skibitsky remains silent while Councilman Arena pontificates.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Westfield Town Council Meeting

Where: Westfield Municipal Building 425 E. Broad St. 
When:  Tonight, Tuesday March 18, 2014
Time:    7:45 pm

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Theft in Elizabeth is a Free Pass in Westfield

Picture from NJ.com
     Two Elizabeth police officers plead guilty to third-degree theft charges following an investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office into no-show jobs at the city’s Housing Authority.  The two officers were charged with theft by deception.  The officers had clocked hours with the Elizabeth Housing Authority, and were paid for hours that they had never showed up to work.
     Too bad they didn't work for Westfield Police Chief John Parizeau and Captain Dave Wayman.
Parizeau
     Westfield Police Chief John Parizeau had issued an internal memo to all supervisors stating he had evidence of officers "stealing" time from the town by signing into work and leaving early and that "not one was a patrolman."  Parizeau had indicated he had evidence that those holding the rank of detective or higher were involved in the thefts.  The officers collected paychecks that included money for hours when they were not at work.  See TFoTM story to the right titled "Westfield Police Chief Covers Up Theft by Supervisor."
     A source has alleged that Detective Sgt. John Rowe was one of the officers "stealing" time, yet Parizeau elected not to charge Rowe or contact the Union County Prosecutor's Office to report the crime.
     In the memo issued by Parizeau, he stated, "Since I had just started as Chief, I opted not to charge those personnel even though I had been provided with more than sufficient evidence to do so."
     The question still remains the same......why didn't the chief law enforcement officer of the Town of Westfield report the crime to the Union County Prosecutor?  Answer: Probably because Parizeau and Rowe were good friends.  
     Parizeau compromised his integrity and subsequently went on to receive a vote of no confidence from Westfield's rank and file and the thieves were allowed to go unscathed without any disciplinary action or criminal charges filed.
     While Parizeau was police chief, Captain David Wayman was his "Right-Hand Man" often working behind the scenes as Parizeau's "hatchet man" often handling disciplinary issues for the department.  No surprise that Wayman refused to step in and seek disciplinary or criminal charges against John Rowe.....they were good friends.  
     Today, Wayman runs the Westfield Police Department and the vicious cycle continues in Wayman's "Elite" department.  "Elite" is the word Wayman used to describe his department at a recent mandatory meeting of all Westfield police officers.  Perhaps Chief Wayman should be asking himself why officers are leaving his "Elite" department for greener pastures and other police departments.  Not since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's police pension and benefits reform which had many veteran Westfield officers retiring, has Westfield seen manpower reach an all-time low.  
     From a high of 59 sworn police officers, Westfield now has 45 with the latest exodus from Wayman's "Elite" department.  Westfield has paid for the training of officers now leaving for other departments.  Perhaps Mayor Skibitsky will label the exiting officers as "disgruntled" or "bad apples."  
     Skibitsky needs to look at the rotted roots sprouting from the apple seeds he and his town administrator planted years ago starting with the "Tracy Tree."   
     Don't forget Mayor Skibitsky's rally cry, his claim to fame......"Westfield is doing more with less!"  

Have property taxes gone down?    
    

A Tale of Two Cities

How does employee theft  go unpunished in one municipality while another spins the wheels of justice and prosecutes?
Story tonight.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Mayor Skibitsky Approves Wasteful Spending

Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and town officials approved the use of police department vehicles in Hoboken last weekend.  Hoboken's 3rd annual Lepre-con Day which featured drinking and dancing, replaced the annual parade which was canceled after hundreds of drunk and disorderly complaints resulted in police arrests.
Back in February, the taxpayers of Westfield funded the mobile command centers appearance in Hoboken during the cities NFL Super Bowl festivities leading up to the big game at Met Life Stadium in E. Rutherford, NJ.
Mayor Skibitsky has described Westfielders as "altruistic."  When helping fellow Westfield residents, altruism should shine.  However, when it comes to sending equipment and manpower to Hoboken at a cost to the Westfield taxpayer, Mayor Skibitsky should be preaching fiscal responsibility.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Westfield Police Chief David Wayman: Racist or Ignorant Fool?

Photo: Westfield Leader Newspaper
     Westfield Police Chief David Wayman was interviewed by Westfield Leader Newspaper reporter Paul Peyton for a story that appeared in the February 6th, 2014 edition of that newspaper.
     Peyton's "Puff Piece" detailed the use of Westfield's taxpayer funded emergency mobile command center for festivities in the city of Hoboken the week leading up to this year's Super Bowl.
     While Chief Wayman misleads the public with regards to the costs associated with having Westfield provide Hoboken with emergency response vehicles and manpower, Peyton falls short of asking investigative questions that would reveal a waste of taxpayer money and the overall mismanagement by Westfield's administration.  At no time does Wayman or Peyton address the issue sought at a previous town council meeting.
     There have been numerous uses of the purchased emergency equipment and the police of Westfield, distant from Westfield, that have gone unexplained by Mayor Skibitsky.  While it may be useful for Westfield policemen to learn how to control crowds of 50,000 to 100,000 people as Wayman described in his presentation to the town council, it would be interesting to determine when Westfield has such crowds.
     As the Mayor keeps pointing out, we must do "more with less."  How does the Mayor justify the priority given to displaying the Westfield police "toys" in foreign jurisdictions at occasions that can only be considered "equipment fairs."
     These various displays cost Westfield the money to own the vehicles, transport the vehicles. and the manpower needed to do so.  It also includes the overtime for those men and also for the men used to fill the void of the absent officers.
     On the topic of local crime, Wayman describes Westfield as an "attractive" target of criminals because of the "profits they can gain here."  Wayman states that Westfield's location between two of Union County's largest cities appears to be the culprit.  Here is an excerpt from the Westfield Leader of what Wayman suggested:
   
     "He said North and South Avenues both link Westfield to Plainfield to the west and Elizabeth to the east, enabling criminals to access the town via Route 22.  He said these roadways offer criminals an "easy escape" out of Westfield.  NJ Transit trains as well as the NJ Transit 59 bus, which runs from Plainfield to Elizabeth, stops in Westfield.  In conclusion, Wayman states, "Westfield police make motor vehicle stops and are out looking to prevent crimes, which creates an omnipresence."
   
     While assigned to patrol duties earlier in his law enforcement career, Wayman was not discreet in his description of minorities while creating his own "omnipresence."  Long before Westfield began tracking the race of the driver of a motor vehicle stopped by police, Wayman was accused of racial profiling, by an off-duty African American N.J. State Trooper believed to be Erskin Marks.
     Wayman has described the African American occupants of a motor vehicle as "a car load of coal."  He was also accused by another Westfield police officer as referring to that Hispanic officer as a "Spic."
     Wayman's actions as a Westfield police officer throughout his career speak louder than the ignorant words spoken from his own mouth.  However, those words bring to life the actions that other police officers have long suspected were racially motivated.
     Residents of Plainfield to the west, and residents of Elizabeth to the east, what say you?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

As Usual, Mayor Skibitsky Remains Silent. Reneges on Answering Questions

     Mayor Skibitsky refused to answer questions tonight, questions posed to him in December 2013, that he said he would have answers to regarding the operational costs associated with sending the police department's mobile command center "out of town" for non-emergencies.
     In addition to those questions, Mayor Skibitsky remained silent when asked if the presence of the mobile command center in Philadelphia, at an international police chief's convention, or in Hoboken during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, was a deal brokered during negotiations between Chief Wayman and the mobile command centers manufacturer Robert Mount of Utah.
Westfield Police Chief Wayman
in Hoboken on Saturday evening.
     Skibitsky remained silent when asked if the "showcasing" of the mobile command center at these various out of town events was listed in the bid specs during the contract bidding process.
     Previously, Councilman Sam Della Fera had praised Chief Wayman for his negotiating skills with the manufacturer of the mobile command center, so that Westfield could obtain a cheaper purchase price.     Perhaps Mr. Della Fera should educate himself in the area of municipal contract bidding.
     It should also be noted that Chief Dave Wayman and Captain Chris Battiloro received a free trip to Utah in 2012, by the manufacturer of the mobile command center, months before the Town Council ever passed a resolution appropriating municipal tax dollars towards the purchase.  
     TFoTM asks Mayor Skibitsky....Is negotiating between Police Chief Wayman and any manufacturer legal during the bidding process?  Never mind Mayor, we know the answer to that question.  Your silence is noted.

Once again, Skibitsky diverted from answering the following questions.

1.  Who, in government, agreed to supply the vehicles and manpower? (To Hoboken)
2.  What price was sought?
3.  What price was paid?
4.  What was the cost to maintain the men (police) in Hoboken?
5.  How many men were assigned to protect a very costly machine while it sat in a distant city?
6.  What arrangement was made to insure that Westfield was able to receive the instantaneous protection it paid $300,00 for? (Cost of the mobile command center and accessories)
7.  Why was Westfield PD left "light handed" during the absence of its chief and up to eight other men?

Skibitsky's answers.............silence.

     The following text was transcribed from video taken at last night's Westfield Town Council meeting.  Mayor Skibitsky requested his police chief, Dave Wayman, to approach the microphone and address the town council regarding the mobile command centers use.  Wayman read from a prepared statement.
     The video begins shortly after Wayman began to speak.  TFoTM will post the video when it is available on TV 36.

Wayman addresses Town Council
".....um so when when we do need it we know that it works.  Additionally you have our officers that continually train and learn the capabilities of our equipment.  We have assisted Hoboken in the past, by assisting Hoboken that allows our our administrators such as myself my captains to take part in the creation of operational tactical planning before planning large scale events attended by people by by attendance of 50,000 to 100,000 people or emergencies.  It allows us to see the implementation of these plans and their effectiveness.  It allows us to gain experience in emergency planning so we can bring this experience back to Westfield and have the ability to modify these plans to meet the needs of Westfield when the need arises.  Participating in Hoboken for the Super Bowl event was a unique oportunity and maybe the oportunity of a lifetime to take part in from a law enforcement or safe or public safety perspective.  It encompassed an unlimited number of concerns that had to be addressed in the implementation of preventative measures.  We developed working relationship of the municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Ah just just to name a few we ah homeland security, federal bureau of investigation, department of defense, the state police, New Jersey Transit.  In short, opportunities such as this provide the Westfield Police Department with the invaluable training and practical real life experience that can not be achieved in any other way and this training and experience is achieved while no additional expenses are incurred by the Town of Westfield.  What Westfield does get are more highly trained experienced officers".......(a pause by Wayman and Skibitsky thanks the police chief)  Wayman returns to his seat on cue.  

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Westfield Patrols Hoboken Super Bowl Festivities: Mutual Aid In Hudson County or Waste of Westfield Tax Dollars?

Westfield Police Chief Dave Wayman in Hoboken








Confirmed: Mobile Command Center in Hoboken

     TFoTM has obtained a photograph of Westfield's $250,000 mobile command center in Hoboken this week for that city's festivities leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
     What if there was an emergency in Westfield and "should the need arise" to have it local at moments notice.....for say.....a bomb threat, is it readily available?  
     What say you Councilman Jim Foerst? 
     At a Westfield Town Council meeting, 4th Ward Councilman Foerst justified the purchase of the command center for emergency use in the event of  "like a bomb threat." 
     One Hoboken police officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, remarked, "We don't even know why Westfield is here with all their vehicles."
Jim Foerst


Score: Hoboken 911     Westfield Taxpayer 0


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Major Accident at Controversial School Crossing

  NOTE: Video at the bottom of this story is not viewable on an iPad.
   This morning, shortly after 7 am., what appears to be a three car motor vehicle accident took place at the intersection of Westfield Ave. and Park St./Dorian Rd.
     A source close to the investigation, but not authorized to speak on behalf of the Westfield Police Department, told TFoTM that a vehicle travelling south on Westfield Ave. struck another vehicle attempting to make a left turn from Westfield Ave. on to Dorian Rd.  The collision caused a third vehicle, stopped at the STOP sign on Dorian Rd., to be struck in the aftermath of the initial collision.
     This intersection is manned by a civilian crossing guard assigned to the duties of crossing students on their way to and from Westfield High School.
     TFoTM has alerted Westfield Town Council members and the Westfield Police Department of the ongoing issue of the civilian crossing guard standing in the roadway and directing traffic at this very busy and heavily traversed intersection, long after students have crossed.  On numerous occasions the crossing guard will turn his back, walk to the corner while still illegally waving vehicles through the STOP signs. That maneuver is an accident waiting to happen. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
     TFoTM has chronicled, in the past, here at The Fact of The Matter, how the crossing guard will illegally wave motor vehicles through the STOP signs that control traffic heading west on Park St., and also in the opposite direction, east from Dorian Rd., across Westfield Ave. Read related story at the following internet link:
 http://www.07090.blogspot.com/2013/03/no-parking-here-to-cornercrossing-guard.html
     On numerous occasions, the crossing guard can be seen directing this illegal maneuver long after he has crossed pedestrians in an attempt to facilitate traffic that backs up in and around the intersection.

     Numerous phone calls to Westfield Police Department Traffic Safety Officer Sgt. Jason McErlean, regarding this issue, have gone unanswered.
     The Westfield Town Council, including Mayor Skibitsky, has been forewarned of an impending disaster at this location.  Obviously nothings been done to thwart the problem.
     Today the "chickens came home to roost.
............and where is the Mobile Command Center...........still in HOBOKEN tending to the needs of that city's Super Bowl festivities.
Hmm, should the need arise in Westfield for the Mobile Command Center to respond, is it ready and available?  Don't call WPD......call Hoboken.

**The following video was obtained by TFoTM.  In this video the crossing guard at Westfield Ave & Dorian Rd/Park St. can be seen illegally waving motor vehicles through the STOP signs controlling Dorian Rd. and Park St.
Take notice that there are no students in the area/crossing.  Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea and Mayor Skibitsky attempted to deflect from the issue by accusing the person shooting the video of filming children and interfering with the duties of a crossing guard.  Deflection at its best.
video

Saturday, January 25, 2014

(TFoTM Archive) Years Later, The Story Begins To Unfold: Corruption, Cover-Up, and Condemnation

     Town officials are bracing themselves for the fallout looming from another claim of an unfair labor practice filed by by a current police department employee.  Once again, taxpayer dollars are being used to defend the alleged corrupt and retaliatory actions of town officials towards employee(s) attempting to root out the corruption.
     The following story was posted on November 22, 2011.  History has a bad habit of repeating itself within the Westfield Police Department.
     The common denominators of the alleged corruption equation?  Westfield Police Chief Wayman, former Police Chief John Parizeau, Town Administrator Jim Gildea, Mayor Andy Skibitsky.



NOTE: The following newspaper article contains photos not affiliated with the story originally appearing in the September 22, 2011  Westfield Leader newspaper.  The photos were added by TFoTM to identify town officials referenced in the story.  The above title of this blog was also added by TFoTM.

Personnel Files Detail Disciplinary Action on Kasko, WPD Allegations
By LAUREN S. BARR
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
WESTFIELD — At the August meeting of the Westfield Town Council, Mayor Andy Skibitsky called on
Independent Third Ward Town Council candidate Greg Kasko to publicly release a report by now-retired Summit Police Chief Robert Lucid regarding a disciplinary matter that preceded Mr. Kasko’s retirement from the Westfield Police Department (WPD). 
     The Westfield Leader/Times obtained this report through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), along with two other disciplinary hearing reports during Mr. Kasko’s employ, Mr. Kasko’s settlement agreement with the town following a lawsuit and, with Mr. Kasko’s written permission, his entire personnel file. A request for Mr. Kasko’s Internal Affairs file was denied by the town, as it is exempt from OPRA under state statute.
     Mayor Skibitsky told The Leader/Times that he called for Mr. Kasko to release the report because he is running for office and “the public should know.” The mayor said Mr. Kasko stands up at meetings and speaks “lies and (makes) innuendos, especially about our employees,” adding that he does not “know how (Kasko) can talk about honesty and not release the report.” He also said that he previously advised Mr. Kasko to go to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office if he believes there is any wrongdoing in the police department.
Town Administrator Jim Gildea
     Mr. Kasko’s first disciplinary hearing was held in 2006, stemming from a November 3, 2004 incident where Mr. Kasko went to Town Administrator Jim Gildea to file a complaint against then-police chief Barney Tracy.  According to the report, which includes testimony given at the hearing, Mr. Kasko was wearing a heart monitor when he went to see Mr. Gildea and told him, “the man downstairs is responsible – he harassed me and retaliated against me.” Mr. Kasko was found guilty of being discourteous to
Mr. Gildea, as his superior, and publicly criticizing the chief, and received a four-day suspension. The hearing
Police Chief John M. Parizeau
was conducted by attorney James Damato and Mr. Kasko was represented by attorney Julien Neals.
     In May 2006 another hearing was held in which Mr. Kasko was charged with and found guilty of sleeping while on duty and failure to back up another officer. He received a six-day unpaid suspension. Mr. Kasko was again represented by Mr. Neals, and Westfield Chief of Police John Parizeau served as the hearing officer.
     In October of 2006 another disciplinary hearing was held where Mr. Kasko was charged with lying under oath during his May departmental hearing and filing untrue written reports during the investigation.
According to the Lucid report, after Mr. Kasko was found sleeping on duty, Westfield Police Department Captain David Wayman met with Mr. Kasko, and unbeknownst to Mr. Kasko, taperecorded the conversation. Mr. Kasko said while under oath and in written letters to Chief Parizeau that his request for a representative from the Policeman’s Benevolent Association (PBA) was denied to him by Captain Wayman. However, according to Chief Lucid, at no time in the tape recording did Mr. Kasko request a PBA representative.
     Additionally, Mr. Kasko was charged with lying at his October hearing when he stated that he moved his patrol car to aid another officer, and returned to his post at Fairview Cemetery after he heard a different officer respond. According to testimony and GPS documentation provided by Chief Parizeau, Mr. Kasko’s car was never moved.
     Mr. Kasko told The Leader/Times, “I was not sleeping” while on duty.  He provided The Leader/Times with a copy of his Verizon wireless bill from the date in question, which shows outgoing calls at 1:15 a.m. and
1:27 a.m. to a phone number, which Mr. Kasko identifies as Officer Robert Riley. According to the Lucid report, it was around 1:15 a.m. that the other officer requested backup, which Mr. Kasko was found guilty of failing to provide, and Mr. Kasko was found sleeping by Sergeant Todd Earl at approximately 1:25 a.m. According to the police car’s GPS system, his patrol car did not move between 12:42 a.m. and 1:26 a.m.
     Chief Lucid found Mr. Kasko guilty and termination was recommended. According to Chief Lucid, “The issue of credibility, of lying during a hearing or trial, has long been seen as a serious, even fatal, violation of the standards of government employees and law enforcement officers in particular.” 
     Mr. Kasko’s personnel file contained all of his performance evaluations during his tenure at WPD, in which he received “good” and “very good” evaluations based on a point system, which varied from year to year. He received several Certificates of Merit for his police work in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1999. In 2002, there is a note that an incident occurred where Mr. Kasko failed to back up another officer on a motor vehicle stop, but the review states that it was a case of confusion. In 2003, his review states that Mr. Kasko, “needs little direct supervision.”
According to Mr. Kasko, in the fall of 2005, he filed a lawsuit against the Town of Westfield, which he said alleged that the town violated “my freedom of speech right” and that Mr. Gildea “violated my protection under the whistle blower” regulations. According to Mr. Kasko, when he went to see Mr. Gildea in 2004, he went to report his knowledge of “illegal” criminal-history checks being run on residents who were speaking out against the proposed parking decks. Mr. Kasko said during his hearings that the disciplinary charges that were brought against him were retaliation for his lawsuit, statements he still continues to stand by. He told The Leader/Times that, “nobody’s right to report corruption should be silenced.”
     Under his settlement agreement with the town, dated February 6, 2007, Mr. Kasko resigned from his employment, and agreed that “he will not, thereafter, seek employment with the town in any capacity.” The town agreed to withdraw the disciplinary action as laid out in Chief Lucid’s report, without prejudice, and allow Mr. Kasko to remain on the town payroll until November 30, 2007, which permitted him to retire with 20 years in the state pension system. Retirement at 20 years does not entitle an officer to retain his or her health benefits.
     According to Mr. Gildea, the town chose to offer Mr. Kasko a settlement following Chief Lucid’s recommendations as the town wanted to ensure that Mr. Kasko would never again be employed by the town.
     Mr. Kasko told The Leader/Times that, “After consultation with my attorney and my immediate family, I
decided to accept the agreement...I did not feel that I could continue to work under the current conditions at
the WPD.” He said his settlement had “nothing to do with guilt or innocence,” but rather protection of his
family’s financial well-being. Mr. Kasko said he believes, on advice from his attorney, that he would have prevailed in his lawsuit against the town, and could have saved his job.
     Mr. Kasko also told  The Leader/Times that he witnessed Chief Tracy ask a dispatcher to run a DMV check on Sara Strohecker Clarkson following a letter to the editor by her in The Leader/Times. He also said resident John Blake approached him at his home to inquire as to whether he knew anything about criminal - history checks being run. Mr. Kasko went on to say that when he read in the June 10, 2004 Leader/Times Chief Tracy’s explanation of seeing James Abate’s (http://07090.blogspot.com/2010/12/arrest-of-out-spoken-citizen_20.html) name on the warrant list and arresting him during a town council meeting, “it was a lie.” According to Mr. Kasko, the “chief just doesn’t engage himself in looking at the warrant list.” He cited other incidents of people with outstanding warrants meeting with the chief and not being arrested.
     Mr. Kasko also provided, through his attorney, an audit report from the New Jersey State Police of the WPD computer system. In the report, it states that “a total number of 349 inquiries were checked in Computerized Criminal History (CCH) with nine minor discrepancies (eight without a case number; one operator ID didn’t match receiving agent).” The document was provided to Mr. Kasko’s attorney during his lawsuit as part of the discovery process given Mr. Kasko’s allegations of improper use of the CCH system by Chief Tracy.
     During an interview with  The Leader/Times in August 2004 and phone call to publisher Horace Corbin,
Chief Tracy made reference to having “files” on  Leader/Times  staff members and members of the group
WECARE who were opposing the development of the proposed parking decks. OPRA requests to the State Police by  The Leader/Times, and a subsequent appeal to the Government Records Council, seeking information as to whether or not criminalhistory checks had been run on residents, were denied as the records are exempt from disclosure under OPRA.
     Current WPD Chief Parizeau told The Leader/Times that it is his understanding that Mr. Kasko made allegations that someone was running illegal checks, and that while Chief Tracy asked for proof, Mr. Kasko never supplied any.  Chief Parizeau said the State Police audits every municipality computer system every two years. He said if there had been any improper or illegal checks, “it would have been discovered by the State Police and they would have made an issue out of it.” He said that over the years, police officers in New Jersey have been arrested for running inappropriate criminal-history checks.
     Chief Parizeau said when the state comes in to audit the system and finds a discrepancy, which is typically a user error, they then manually review the case file; “they do not let anything go by.” He added that it is common for there to be a handful of errors during usage of the system and thought that nine errors found, and another error regarding a missing person file, was actually a low error ratio for the twoyear period. Chief Parizeau also said that over the years, the state police have continued to make the system more exact to prevent errors and are quite strict about how they expect the files to be maintained and entered.
     Chief Parizeau added that police are permitted to run license-plate checks on a random basis and that if there are no outstanding issues, the computer system only says such and does not provide a detailed driving history.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter Storm

While some might dread the arrival of today's winter snow storm, motorists around Westfield can breathe a sigh of relief.......at least the potholes are filled with packed snow creating a smooth ride down a number of pothole littered streets.
Elections are over so street repairs will remain on Mayor Skibitsky's "back burner" for now while he cooks up another "Doing more with less" idea.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Westfield Police Department: Another Claim of Hostile Work Environment & Unfair Labor Practice

     The Westfield Police Department is no stranger to claims of a hostile work environment, unfair labor practices, employee grievances and the like.  If the town employed a human resource professional to handle the complaints, that office door would be in constant motion.
     Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea has had much to do with where these complaints ultimately end up, either settled amicably or litigated through the judicial process costing taxpayer money to defend the town's often no win position.
     The town has spent hundreds of thousands, if not over a million dollars of taxpayer money to defend against, or settle, alleged claims of harassment, unfair labor practices, freedom of speech violations, and wistleblower policy violations within the police department alone.
John M. Parizeau
     This latest case is just another drain on the taxpayer as a result of town officials dragging their feet and not recognizing that the the people they have allowed to be put into command leadership positions within the police department are the source of the problem.  
     The last three police chiefs, Bernard Tracy, John Parizeau, and current police chief David Wayman have all been recommended to the Westfield Town Council, by Town Administrator Jim Gildea, to become police chief.  Gildea's last recommendation, David Wayman, may hopefully prove the old saying to be true in the case, "Three strikes, you're out."
     A police chief's character and leadership qualities, or lack thereof, contribute to the overall morale within any police department.  The last three police chief appointments have been questioned by the rank and file repeatedly but only Jim Gildea has the answers, some of which have been flushed down the proverbial toilet, or selectively forgotten and/or physically destroyed.  Perhaps stolen from the Town archives Ms Gray?
David Wayman
JIm Gildea
     Gildea will never publicly release the results of any of the examination or testing processes he has had his hands on not only because they are protected personnel records, but also because the truth would be exposed.  If everything was done "above the table," "honestly," "legit," "fair," and with the utmost integrity like any testing process should be, why not ask the last three police chiefs to sign a disclosure waiver and produce the results?  Because none of the "players" want the truth to be told.
     Town officials have attempted to squash, stall, but not yet settle a current claim brought by one of its most respected employees within the police department.  True to form, town lawyers have been paid to defend the Town's unenviable position regardless of the fact that it, no doubt, has an indication they will lose in court.      The evidence and witnesses against the Town appear to be the straw that will break the camel's back once again.  It will come as no surprise that the alleged altering or destruction of evidence by one or more town officials will unravel the Town's defense.  
Mayor Skibitsky
     How much has this cost, or will end up costing the Westfield Taxpayer?  It will cost a heck of a lot more than the $150,000+ that we pay Town Administrator Jim Gildea to run the Town of Westfield.
     TFoTM asks the members of the Westfield Town Council........... ..........1.  "How much of what is going on in the police department are you aware of?"
2.  "How much of what is going on in the police department does Jim Gildea, Police Chief Dave Wayman, or Mayor Andy Skibitsky want to tell you?

TO BE CONTINUED................................................
       

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

TFoTM Archive: Theft From a Police Department Safe? An Inside Job?

The theft of money from a police department safe can't happen, can it?  If the safe is guarded by police department personnel, and money goes missing, could it be an "inside job?"

Like every other town, Westfield is supposed to keep records of money seized from people arrested and money found.  After a period of time, a department advertises that the money has been unclaimed.

Back in 2009, Westfield Police Captain David Wayman authorized the audit of property held by the Westfield Police Department, specifically money seized in arrests and money turned in as found money.  The list dated back to 1997.  Westfield Police Lt. James Schneider was originally in charge of the audit.

Lt. Schneider is alleged to have found variatons between the stated amount of each envelope or means used to inventory the cash, and the actual contents of each.  It was suggested that the Union County Prosecutor's office be notified.

Lt. Schneider was removed from the audit and quickly succeeded by Detective Joe Costanzo who is known to be a protege' of Captain Wayman.

Records of how much money was in each envelope are required to be maintained.  These are like money used for drug informants and drug buys.  Every dollar must be accounted for and consistent with the ledgers kept by the County Prosecutor along with the numbers assigned to the informant and the investigation.

It would be interesting to follow up on the completeness of the audit and the proper reporting of the drug money to the Prosecutor's Office.

To be continued.......

TFoTM asks the following questions:
1.  Why did Captain Wayman remove Lt. Schneider from the audit and replace him with someone else?
2.  Did Lt. Schneider recommend calling the Union County Prosecutor's office after a discrepancy was found?
3.  If Lt. Schneider recommended calling the UCPO, did Captain Wayman make the call and advise the UCPO of the discrepancy in the audit?
4.  Was anyone ever charged with a theft from the Westfield Police Department detective bureau safe if money was stolen?
5.  Was the Public Notice filed with the Westfield Leader by the Town of Westfield Police Department done in an attempt to cover up the discrepancy of missing amounts of money?

The Westfield Police Department's Public Notice can be found at the following link on page 16 of the original October 15, 2009 issue of the Westfield Leader.  If you access the newspaper online at the web link provided, scroll down to see the Public Notice on the bottom left of page 19.
http://www.goleader.com/09oct15/09oct15.pdf




Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mobile Command Center World Tour

The Westfield Police Department's $250,000 mobile command center is in Summit today while the city deals with power outages.
Westfield taxpayers foot the bill for the vehicles purchase and use in the event a catastrophe hits or another town seeks assistance.
It seems that the mobile command center has been used more for out of town events and assistance than it's been used within town borders.
Still waiting for Mayor Skibitsky to put a price on the depreciation value of it's usage by other entities as well as the manpower costs assiciated with operating the unit out of town.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Former Westfield Councilman Sal Caruana: Political Hack

     The following letter to the editor was submitted by former Westfield Town Councilman Sal Caruana to the Westfield Leader.  It was the second of a two part letter that appeared in the November 28, 2013 edition of the Westfield Leader newspaper.
     For whatever reason, Mr. Caruana launches into an attack on Westfield residents Maria Carluccio, Adina Enculescu, and Greg Kasko, all of whom are not named in Caruana's creative writing project and all of whom have attended town council meetings to question the placement of the Hawk pedestrian light on Central Ave., among other issues.
     What his rant has to do with this years election is unknown.  Quite frankly, Mr. Caruana goes so far off the beaten "election" path that TFoTM questions his motive.  Hence the title of this story, "Former Westfield Councilman Sal Caruana: Political Hack."
     It is widely known that Mayor Skibitsky and his sidekick, Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea, along with Police Chief "puppet" Dave Wayman, are all disgusted with the amount of information this site has been able to obtain and disseminate to the public over the past three years.  Their attempts to "shoot the messenger" to silence the message has fallen short of their target.
     What follows is Caruana's fear mongering letter and the rebuttals by residents Greg Kasko and John Blake that appeared in the December 5, 2013 edition of the Westfield Leader newspaper.



   
 Letter to the Editor by resident Greg Kasko
    In last week’s Westfield Leader, “former” Westfield Town Councilman Sal Caruana wrote an interesting “rant” that went from his observations of this year’s municipal election process, into a personal attack void of any fact but full of conjecture in  an attempt to fear monger.  
     As a “retired” Westfield Police Officer, I have the right to carry a concealed handgun.  I have included the following that illustrates that right.
In 1997 N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6.2 was signed into state law .
In July 2004, H.R. 218, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act was signed into federal law. 
     Under both state and federal law, as a “retired” police officer, I am legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun.
     To set the record straight Mr. Caruana, as a United States citizen, I have a right to “bear arms.”  In addition, as a retired police officer, by law, I have the right to carry a concealed handgun provided I have complied with the state statute with regards to application, testing, re-testing, and the overall qualification process. 
     While I legally obtained a carrying permit after my retirement from the Westfield Police Department in 2007, I allowed it to expire and have not renewed it.  I DO NOT carry a concealed firearm, furthermore, I DO NOT even own a gun; both are MY choice.
     If only Councilman Caruana, and other town officials, had been as concerned about a rogue police chief abusing his right as a law enforcement officer, to do illegal background checks on Westfield residents during the parking deck debacle in 2004, as he (Caruana) is about whether or not I carry a concealed weapon into town council meetings, perhaps I might have a little more faith in some of our town officials. 

Greg Kasko

Letter to the Editor by resident A. John Blake 

     Mr.Caruana,you are mistaken when you entitled your articles a "Post Mortem". Those are usually based on facts. Your's was a flight of fancy in which you did not allow facts to impair your rabble-rousing. First of all, the affair of the Central Ave. light began with a proper application by the affected lady to the Town Council. She was told she didn't belong there, had lost her right to complain and that the decision was not the Town's. Each of these has been proved to be untrue. She was abused and mistreated.
     Has the conduct at the meetings on both sides always been good? No. But let us not forget how it started. The then Council mistreated a citizen of Westfield.
     To my amazement, you then launch into a flawed rabble-rousing attack on Greg Kasko. You begin with the fact that Mr.Kasko, as a retired cop, is allowed to carry a gun. You then proceed into a virtual warning to all that he might be attending the Council meetings armed.You skip two important facts. He has allowed his permit to lapse and has not sought to renew it ,which he can do as his right as a retired cop and, he doesn't own a gun, much less carry one.
     I'm surprised at you because you have been the victim of such baseless abuse when an official ran a  record check on you but didn't spell your name correctly. When he advertised the rap sheet of the wrong man, you were angry. The official opened his mouth without the proper facts. He did what you just did to Kasko. Another difference is that you kept quiet about it rather than ruffle Party feathers.
     The Westfield police have attended Council meetings for years. Don't make it sound like the present disagreements with your fellow Republicans has required an upgrade of security. You should remember the presence of policemen at the "Parking Deck" meetings. Don't you remember one objector being arrested on warrants as soon as he exited the meeting?
     As I remember your attempt to "explain the traffic light approval process" you were insulting to the objecting ladies and evaded the question about the failure of any advertisement to say a mid-block light was contemplated.
     You are quick to apply the term " Bully" to those in opposition to the Council. Don't you think the appellation applies to the Council member who originally abused the objector and then obtained support from Party loyalists?
     I agree that politeness and diplomacy should be used at all public meetings, however I don't think candidates need to fear the public's invective. You reap what you sow. If elected officials answered factual questions directly and candidly, they would find the public far more respectful than it might presently be.
     It is when public officials delve into misinformation and insulting rhetoric like your alleged "Post Mortem" that the public becomes enraged. The purple pen you took up to inflame people against Mr.Kasko is a perfect example. It is baseless. It is demagogic and it is like your commentary. It's a bag of wind.
A.John Blake

Friday, December 06, 2013

Updated: Fire Destroying Northside Residence (Police Make Arrest)

Westfield firefighters are currently battling a residential house fire on the Northside of town and have put out a request for mutual aid from neighboring towns.

The historic gate house at the entrance of Wychwood, off of Broad St., was destroyed by fire after firefighters battled the blaze for hours.

A source, not authorized to speak about details of an arrest made at the fire scene, stated the new owner of the Wychwood gatehouse was allegedly arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Westfield Police Department Disciplinary Hearing

The disciplinary hearing of a Westfield Police officer facing termination from employment continues this morning at town hall.
Westfield Police Chief David Wayman preferred departmental charges against a police officer for violations of departmental rules and regulations.
TFoTM asks town officials how they can seek the termination of officers for department infractions while other officers committing criminal acts such as theft of time (Det. Sgt. John Rowe) and the beating of a suspect in police custody (Det. Lt. Barney Tracy at the time) go unpunished and ultimately rewarded with promotion and pensions.
A clear case of its not what you do but who you know.

Friday, November 22, 2013

League of Municipalities Convention

What happens in A.C. stays in A.C.
Town officials spending tax payer money in a way only they know how.
Skibitsky & company doing "more with less."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Westfield Town Council Meeting

When: Tonight, Tuesday 11/19/13 at 8 pm.
Where: Municipal Courtroom, 425 E. Broad St.

*Will Mayor Skibitsky be a "no-show" once again?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Westfield Councilman James Foerst

On the heels of his comments made at last night's Westfield Town Council Meeting, TFoTM has three word for now and will follow up later......POMPOUS, ARROGANT, SELF-SERVING.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Resident: Letter To The Editor


The following letter was sent to TFoTM.  Unlike a local newspaper, The Fact of The Matter does not edit the submissions of our readers.  

Dear Editor,
Skibitsky will say anything to win.
Andy Skibitsky sent a flyer today to the residents of this town accusing Dave Haas of “supporting the Hawk light and process”. This is another lie Mr. Skibitsky put on paper just to deceive Westfield residents.  Anybody who has followed the Council meeting during the last three years could confirm it.
I call on Mr. Skibitsky to apologize to Mr. Haas for the outright lies he is stating about him, this is certainly not Mayoral on the part of Mr. Skibitsky frankly it is a bit disgusting.  Mr. Skibitsky will say anything to keep his job as Mayor so he can further his own political agenda.  
Mr. Haas has been the only proponent of moving the Hawk light from its spot on Central Avenue on the towncouncil.  Mr. Haas expressed numerous times his opinion that the present location of the crosswalk, lights, and signs in the middle of the road are confusing and very unsafe,and they should be relocated to the intersection the way three expert’s reports recommended.
When our community presented a petition that was signed by 122 residents, 53 of them from immediate vicinity of my house (Cedar St, Cambridge, Clover, Frances Ter., Belmar, Rogers).  Mayor Skibitsky not only did not listen to the concerns of the community but he treated each of us with an incredible disrespect. He stated “I don’t spend more than a minute a week on this issue”.  The entire community does not count for him only his supporters count for him. He is the Mayor who only cares about 50% of Westfield not 100%
Dave Haas listened to people in Ward 3 on this issue and many others regardless of party affiliation, he has been a councilman for the people and he will be the Mayor for all of Westfield not just half.  
Mayor Skibitsky’s disingenuousness on the Hawk Lightand now Dave Haas’ record has made me feel ashamed that I voted for him in the past.
I won’t make that mistake again on November 5th.
VOTE FOR TRUTH AND FOR INTEGRITY”! VOTE FOR DAVE HAAS!

Adina Eculescu

Friday, October 25, 2013

PART II:Mayor Remains Silent, Fire Chief In the Dark

     On a night that saw resident Adina Enculescu call Mayor Skibitsky, "The King," the overall tone of the town council meeting was that of discontent with a mayor seeking re-election to a third consecutive term.  After being appointed to complete former Mayor Greg McDermott's mayoral term, Skibitsky was elected to office and has served the longest of any Westfield Mayor ever, thanks to the extension of a mayor's term from 2 years to 4 years.
     Within Westfield political circles, it has always been a tradition that a mayor not run for a third consecutive term allowing new candidates with new ideas to take over.  Andy Skibitsky is flushing that tradition down the toilet believing he has some unfinished business to take care of.  TFoTM suggests otherwise.
     With Republican Governor Chris Christie positioning himself for a run for the White House in 2016, the N.J. Governor's office will be up for grabs.  One of many leading candidates is Westfield's own Jon Bramnick, currently a N.J. Assemblyman.  Should Bramnick vacate his assembly seat in Trenton, expect Skibitsky to throw his name into the mix.  The old adage of "outta sight, outta mind" weighs heavily in political elections.  Skibitsky needs his name to remain in politics up until, at least, 2016.  Those that believe Skibitsky's run for a third consecutive term is based in arrogance.  Skibitsky believes he has some unfinished business.  TFoTM believes that unfinished business is attaining a higher office.  The bottom line is that Westfield residents deserve better than a mayor looking to use his office as a "stepping stone."
     When Westfield resident Karen Egert spoke at the microphone during the open public comment portion of the town council meeting, she once again asked Mayor Skibitsky to sign onto supporting Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
     Skibitsky had passed a resolution months ago citing he is against illegal guns and legal guns that
are used illegally, but he stopped short of aligning himself with other Union County mayors and pledging his support by joining the coalition.  After Egert returned to her seat with no chance of returning to the microphone during Tuesday evening's council meeting, Mayor Skibitsky went on the defensive and read a letter Egert had sent to a local news source that praised Skibitsky on the position he took on gun violence.
     Egert attempted to rebut Skibitsky by speaking from the audience asking if she could respond.  When told her time was up at the microphone and she would have to wait until the next meeting, Egert asked, "How is that fair" and demanded that she be able to respond if Skibitsky was going to use her own letter against her.
     Resident Tony DelDuca, a staunch supporter of Mayor Skibitsky's political agenda began shouting to Egert, "It's the rules, it's the rules!"
Tony DelDuca
     DelDuca is no stranger to standing up to a woman often heckling them from a distance.  During his time at the microphone on Tuesday night, DelDuca reminded everyone that he had to be escorted to his vehicle by the police after being, what he described as, "accosted" by another resident after speaking at a previous meeting.
     Perhaps Tony DelDuca can remember the time he antagonized a group, including the same woman he allegedly accused he was accosted by, as he sat in the sanctuary of his motor vehicle after a previous town council meeting.
     On that particular night, DelDuca shouted from his vehicle, ultimately having to be told by passengers in his vehicle, "Tony, shut up."  The police were called to the scene of that melee after it was suspected that DelDuca had been under the influence of alcohol.  The Westfield Police responded to the scene behind the Westfield Municipal Building and detained and interviewed DelDuca.  he was subsequently released and sent home.
     Councilman David Haas, once again refuted with facts, DelDuca's opinions concerning the HAWK Pedestrian Light on Central Ave. and the purchase of the police department's emergency mobile command center.
Mobile Command Center
     Its ironic that DelDuca stated at the beginning of his dissertation that people were entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.  If only Anthony could differentiate between the two when he spews his political rhetoric at the microphone.  Hint to Tony:  police accident reports, statistical data, expert engineering reports, pictures, dates, and times are all facts.  The personal testimony from a certified driver education instructor is opinion based on training and experience, neither of which has any bearing on the facts of these matters being debated at town council meetings surrounding the purchase of a $300,000 emergency mobile command center, and the placement of a pedestrian light in a location opposing the recommendations of experts.

     Mr. DelDuca, with all due respect, listen to your friends.........they have said it before, "Tony, shut up!"

There may be a need for a Part III.

UPDATE: A police source has revealed that Westfield Police Chief David Wayman was not a "Happy Camper" upon his return to town with the emergency mobile command center after it was MIA earlier this week.  It's whereabouts were unknown by Westfield Fire Chief/OEM Coordinator Dan Kelly and Mayor Skibitsky.      

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Council Meeting Recap: Mayor Remains Silent, Fire Chief In the Dark

     At last night's Westfield Town Council Meeting, Mayor Andy Skibitsky was asked, "Mayor, do you know where the mobile command center is tonight?"  Skibitsky's response, "Please continue."  When asked again, the Mayor muttered, "I'm sure you know where it is."  Why would one ask such a question, to the Mayor, if the person knew the answer?
     The Westfield Police department's tax payer funded Emergency Mobile Command Center was M.I.A. last night.  Not parked in front of police headquarters ready to respond to an emergency, or a bomb threat as a clearly uninformed Councilman Foerst had suggested.
     A police source has confirmed that the Emergency Mobile Command Center is in Philadelphia.
     At the conclusion of last night's council meeting, Westfield Fire Chief Dan Kelly was asked point blank, "Chief Kelly, as the Town of Westfield's Fire Chief and O.E.M. (Office of Emergency Management) Coordinator, do you know where the mobile command center is tonight.  Chief Kelly's answer, "NO I DO NOT."  Thank you for your honesty Chief Kelly.....perhaps you should run for Mayor.
     TFoTM to Councilman Foerst:  Even if the Westfield Police Department had to respond to a bomb threat last night with the mobile command center, it couldn't.  Councilman Foerst, please refresh our readers' memory.  Wasn't it you that stated, if we experienced another catastrophe like Super Storm Sandy, we could move the mobile command center "to higher ground" and run our emergency communication center from that "higher ground?"
     First of all, police headquarters has never been flooded by the overflow of Mindowaskin Pond, and secondly, our Town's emergency communication center has never failed or not been backed up that would necessitate the $300,000 purchase of a toy for Police Chief Wayman.  This "strategic piece of equipment" as Foerst called it, has been the ridicule of neighboring police chiefs, some of whom have said it is "overkill," "not needed," and "a waste of tax payer money." As for Councilman Foerst's suggestion that the mobile command center be used for a bomb threat........Jim, the Union County Police have a bomb squad that responds throughout Union County to such emergency calls for service..  Why not do what your fellow councilman Frank Arena had suggested during his re-election campaign 2 years ago and "Get more bang for our buck from the County."  Words slung during what Arena calls the election season......"Silly Season."  The silliness of Foerst's defense of the mobile command center was made last night at the near pinnacle of this years "silly season."
     When Adina Enculescu, the Central Ave. resident forced to live with a pedestrian activated HAWK light at the base of her driveway, approached the microphone, she asked Mayor Skibitsky about the Town's sewer fee.  As most residents will agree, this fee is a tax separated from the property tax bill to allow room under the state's 2% cap on property tax increases.
     Enculescu asked Mayor Skibitsky why she should be forced to pay the same amount of money for this tax as does a family such as Skibitsky's household?  She explained that she lives alone while he has multiple family members living with him.  She held up a Skibitsky campaign postcard that showed a beaming Skibitsky sitting on his home's front steps surrounded by his wife and four children.  In true Skibitsky fashion he responded, "I don't understand your question."  The response drew laughter from the audience who seemed to fully understand Ms. Enculescu's inquiry.  Remember, its "silly season" and Skibitsky is running for re-election.
     Mayor Skibitsky....here is some simple math, a word problem of sorts....... If multiple occupants of a dwelling flush the toilet and do loads of laundry, and a single occupant flushes the toilet and does a load of laundry.......who causes more sewer water to enter the sewer system?
     When Enculescu asked again, in the most simplest of terms, Skibitsky responded, "I don't understand your math."  TFoTM suggests that Mayor Skibitsky need not apply to be a contestant on the tv game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader."
     When Enculescu moved on to the topic of the pedestrian activated HAWK light installed at the base of her driveway, one response from the Mayor couldn't have been any farther from the truth.  Skibitsky stated, "The thousands of families and children that use the light every month, they appreciate it."  Mayor Skibitsky used to say "hundreds" of people but now its "thousands" of families.  TFoTM understands Skibitsky's motive.....remember people, its "Silly Season" aka......election time.  Skibitsky referenced "children" as well to lead people to believe he is the Pied Piper of traffic safety.
     The meeting wasn't over just yet as others approached the microphone to speak during the Open Public Comment portion of the town council meeting including Maria Carluccio and Karen Egert.  Just as the meeting wasn't finished, neither is this story.

TFoTM will post Part II of this story later tonight.  It only gets better.  Two words, "Tony DelDuca" or "enough said."  Actually that's five, but who's counting.