This site is a free service for communication, self-expression and freedom of speech. We believe this site increases the availability of information, encourages healthy debate, and makes possible new connections between people. While reporting on topics we will ask the questions some newspapers won't. We will print the questions some newspapers don't.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Don't Be Scammed: Phone Solicitors on Behalf of Police Officers

     It's that time of the year again when the phone rings or you receive a mailer requesting a monetary donation to support a law enforcement fund.  Typically, the solicitor or the mailing is not a police officer and has no affiliation with law enforcement except that they say they are collecting money for the families of fallen officers, police equipment, training, etc.  DON'T BE FOOLED......ASK QUESTIONS.
     The first question should be, "What percentage of my donation directly benefits the families of the police officers you are collecting money for?"
     Today, I received a call from a "fund raiser" and when I asked the question regarding what percentage of my donation is passed onto the families in need,  the caller stated, "By law, we must contribute at least 10% of money collected to the families of police officers."
     This is reprehensible......90% of the money you donate can be used for what the solicitor called "administrative costs."
     The fact of the matter is, you should only contribute to your local, county, state, or federal law enforcement agency that you are familiar with and that you know will distribute your donation with the least amount of "administrative fees."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Westfield Police Chief David Wayman: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

     In another example of the double standard that exists with Westfield Police Chief David Wayman, subordinates were issued a new departmental general order today.  Read the order below.
    This order might cause some subordinates to question Chief Wayman's "extra long" lunch breaks with his secretary, lunch breaks where they have disappeared from the police department for hours.
     Chief Wayman has always been a "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of hypocrite.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 13, 2016
SUBJECT: Relieving of Officers at Extra Duty Jobs
ISSUING AUTHORITY: David C. Wayman, Chief of Police

Effective this date, the relieving of an Officer working an “extra duty” assignment by “on duty” Officers; so that the Officer working the “extra duty” assignment can make a “pickup” or leave his assignment for any other reason shall cease immediately.

Personnel working “extra duty” assignments shall be responsible to make their own arrangements for procuring food and drinks without utilizing “on duty” officers to stand-by their location, i.e. bring their lunch and drinks.

If the work crew breaks for lunch, the Officer assigned to that work site IS NOT excused from that location so that they may obtain lunch or take a break. The Officer’s responsibility is to ensure safety to the public which includes pedestrians and motor vehicles; this responsibility does not stop when a work crew is not actually physically working. Therefore, the Officer working an “extra duty” assignment shall remain on scene during the entire duration of the assignment and/or while the work crew is present. At no time shall an Officer leave their “extra duty” assignment unless exigent circumstances exist and therefore are ordered to do so.

If an Officer working an “extra duty” assignment must leave their post for a “personal” reason. That Officer will request a relief from the Watch Commander, if approved, when a relieving Officer arrives, the Officer working the “extra duty” assignment shall come to headquarters to address their “personal” issue. Upon arrival at headquarter the Officer shall notify the Watch Commander that they are present and upon completion, that Officer shall notify the Watch Commander that they are leaving headquarters and returning to their assignment.

Monday, October 10, 2016

State Assemblyman Jon Bramnick Votes "Yes" to Increase Gas Tax

     New Jersey state assemblyman, and Westfield resident, Jon Bramnick has said that New Jersey taxpayers want the Legislature to focus on lowering taxes but yet he recently voted to increase New Jersey's gas tax by .23 cents per gallon.
     This tax increase will cut into the budgets of New Jerseyans costing close to $1000 a year for some commuters and residents.
     Bramnick, a Republican, voted last week to increase the state's gas tax, along with state Democrats, that will hit the wallets and pocketbooks of those he had told he wanted to lower taxes for.
     This gas tax increase is the largest tax increase in 25 years, nearly 10%, since Governor Jim Florio.
     New Jersey's gas tax will now rise to 37.5 cents per gallon, elevating the Garden State from the second lowest in the United States to the seventh-highest.
    The vote to increase New Jersey's gas tax was mostly along party lines with Republicans voting against the increase, and Democrats for it.
     Westfield voters need to remember Bramnick's vote the next time he is up for re-election and vote this "comedian" (pun intended) out of office.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dear Anonymous: A Recent Coverup by Intimidation?

     In a previous TFoTM posting, a comment by Anonymous asked if there was a more recent incident covered up by Westfield police to protect one of their own.
     The question posted was, "How about something that might have happened in this decade, or with the current chief?"
     Here is something that happened in the last decade that allegedly involved the Westfield police chief.
     Chief David Wayman travelled to Toronto, Canada to play in a softball tournament with a group of other law enforcement officers.  He travelled with another Westfield police officer.
     Allegedly, after a night of drinking, and while walking the streets of downtown Toronto, Wayman allegedly broke the plate glass window of a liquor store and stole a bottle of alcohol from a display.
     When TFoTM was attempting to confirm facts of the alleged incident which included speaking to a detective in the Toronto police department that runs the softball tournament, I was paid a visit by the Westfield Police department at my home.
     Two Westfield police officers rang my doorbell and I was told, by them, not to make any further contact with the Toronto police.  I was not given a reason why.
     Why was I being silenced by local law enforcement while attempting to investigate a crime allegedly committed by Westfield police chief David Wayman?
     It's time for town officials and county law enforcement to intervene and look into Wayman's past issues regarding racial profiling, questionable practices as a Union County police academy physical fitness instructor, and his off duty indescretions.
     Another incident involving alleged sexual harassment at the FBI training academy that Wayman was allegedly a party to, should be questioned.
     Mayor Andy Skibitsky has recently expressed his displeasure, to others, with Chief Wayman.  Problem is, he approved Wayman's promotion to police chief despite multiple warnings, not to promote him. Skibitsky is stuck with him.  Unfortunately, so are we the taxpayer.
     Anonymous, if you want to read about another alleged cover-up involving Westfield police chief David Wayman, read "Theft from a Police Department Safe? An Inside Job?  You can find the story at the top of the webpage side bar.....just click on the link to the right, at the top of the main page.

Friday, September 16, 2016

It Happened There, It Happened Here...Only It Was Covered Up

 Retired Scotch Plains police chief arrested for drunken driving following motor vehicle accident in South Plainfield.

Friday, September 09, 2016

School is Open......Be Careful

     It's that time of year again.  Schools are open, teachers are back to work, kids are everywhere as they trek, bike, drive, and get chauffeured to school.  Roads around town are jammed with vehicles and intersections near schools get clogged.  That's why we have crossing guards....or is it?
     Crossing guards serve a vital role in protecting our children as they leave the house on their walk to school.  It seems less and less children are walking these days, opting to ride in a car with a friend to the high school, carpool with neighbors, or be chauffeured back and forth, from door to door, by a parent.
     Crossing guards wield a hand held STOP sign that they are authorized to hold up in the air to stop traffic when it is safe to do so when they see a gap in traffic.  This allows a crossing guard to safely cross pedestrians at a busy intersection.  Intersections like Rahway Ave. & Willow Grove Rd., Grove St. & Rahway Ave., Dudley Ave. & Clark St., Westfield Ave. & Park St. to name just a few.
     What that hand held STOP sign DOES NOT authorize a civilian crossing guard to do is to direct or wave motor vehicles thru a state certified STOP sign located on the corners of each of the aforementioned intersections.  New Jersey Title 39 Motor vehicle laws govern the laws of the road as does the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.)
     Westfield crossing guards have routinely been waving cars through STOP signs to facilitate traffic backed up for blocks, and as a result, accidents do occur.  TFoTM has left messages with Westfield Police Department Traffic Safety Officer Lieutenant Jason McErlean seeking an answer to the legal question surrounding Westfield crossing guards illegally directing motor vehicles through STOP signs. In 3 years, Lt. McErlean has not once returned a phone call with an explanation.  
     In fact, when Mayor Skibitsky was asked about the legality of civilian crossing guards directing motor vehicles to essentially break the law by not coming to a complete stop at a STOP sign and violating the STOP sign statute, he refused to answer.  The least he could have done was consulted with his police chief that is seated in the front row at every town council meeting.
     So TFoTM asked insurance companies what their ruling would be if a driver proceeded through a STOP sign at the direction of a civilian crossing guard, and an accident occurred.  Representatives from State Farm, All-State, and New Jersey Manufacturers all stated that the vehicle at the STOP sign must yield the right of way to the thru street traffic obeying motor vehicle laws.
     Westfield has unfortunately experienced some horrific accidents over the years including one at the intersection of Rahway Ave. & Grove St. where a civilian crossing guard, beloved by many, waved children across Rahway Ave. as a motor vehicle was approaching.  The civilian crossing guard did not properly stop oncoming traffic before instructing the children to cross Rahway and subsequently, a child was struck by the motor vehicle.
     So, before another tragedy occurs, it is time to STOP the long time illegal practice of civilian crossing guards directing traffic thru STOP signs.  Westfield Traffic Safety Supervisor Lt. Jason McErlean needs to stop turning a blind eye towards this potentially deadly practice.  If Lt. McErlean is instructing his civilian crossing guards, off the record, to facilitate backed-up traffic through STOP sign controlled intersections long after pedestrians have crossed the intersection, he should be relieved of his duties as a Traffic Safety Officer.
     If Lt. McErlean is being directed by his police chief David Wayman, the town administrator Jim Gildea, or Mayor Skibitsky to continue this unsafe practice, to satisfy Westfield commuters, parents, and chauffeurs, it's time to blow the stop whistle on it.
     Then again, we all know what happens to whistleblowers in the police department.  
NOTE:  If you are the victim of an accident as a result of the illegal actions of a civilian crossing guard, send your motor vehicle repair bill to The Town of Westfield, 425 E. Broad St., Westfield, N.J., 07090...Attn: Mayor Skibitsky.  
                                                                              BE SAFE!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky....a Career Politician

     Prior to Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky occupying the mayor's office for what is now his 11th year, there was a long standing tradition that no mayor would serve more than two consecutive 2-year terms.  
     Skibitsky refused to adhere to that tradition even while the Republican party had a list of candidates to run for the office in previous elections. 
     It's no secret that Skibitsky covets a job in Trenton as an assemblyman, biding his time until Westfield resident and NJ assemblyman Jon Bramnick announces his intention to run for governor of New Jersey.   Skibitsky needs to keep himself relevant in the world of politics in order to maintain any chance of being elected to a higher office. 
     Skibitsky has become what some might consider to be a "career politician."  Many of  the mayor's politically appointed positions to various town boards have remained the same during Skibitsky's tenure.  
     Westfield is long overdue for a change in leadership to promote new ideas and steer Westfield into the future.  Westfield should not be a stepping stone in a career politician's path to higher residents deserve better. 



Friday, August 05, 2016

Westfield Town Officials Wasteful Spending

     As a result of Westfield town officials refusing to disclose information requested through an O.P.R.A. (Open Public Records Act) request, a denial that has been ruled to be in violation of OPRA, Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky has many questions to answer.
     A recent ruling by the New Jersey Government Records Council has forced the town to comply with the original OPRA request and subjects the town to foot the bill for attorney's fees incurred during the legal process.  These fees are in addition to any fees charged by Westfield town attorney Russell Finestein to defend the town's losing position.
     TFoTM asks Mayor Skibitsky the following simple question:
If Westfield town clerk Claire Gray did not act alone in the decision to redact all of the specifications of the emergency mobile command center, from the OPRA request, who authorized the redactions that were ruled by the GRC to be revealed?
A.  Mayor Skibitsky
B.  Police Chief David Wayman
C.  Town Administrator Jim Gildea
D.  A combination of all of the above

     Mayor Skibitsky's stubbornness, arrogance, and lack of transparency is just another example of mismanagement that permeates his administration and costs the taxpayers of Westfield.
     TFoTM has documented the town's willful wasteful spending in the past.  This time, town officials will have no choice regarding expenditures to cover the cost of litigation as a result of their refusal to reveal something so simple as tables and chairs when asked about the contents of the emergency mobile command center.
Costly oversight or arrogant redaction?

It happened there, it could happen here when town officials refuse to disclose information to the public.  See related story of New Jersey town subjected to attorney's fees for OPRA litigation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Town of Westfield Loses O.P.R.A. Request Appeal Filed by Resident

     The New Jersey Government Records Council ruled in favor of a complainant that was denied access to a public record by Westfield town officials.  
     The original OPRA request was filed in the fall of 2014 on the recommendation of Mayor Andy Skibitsky after he was asked, and refused, in an open public forum, for information regarding the questionable purchase of the emergency mobile command center for the town's police department.  
     Mayor Skibitsky's refusal to provide basic information started the process that has ended today with the decision of the Government Records Council.

*Please note that fees are allowable and allowed.  There is no intention to hurt the taxpayers of Westfield because of the actions of some of their servants.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Westfield Police Chief Creates Street Crimes Unit...aka S.W.A.T.

    Westfield Police Chief David Wayman has created another layer within the investigative branch of the police department. 
     TFoTM has obtained a copy of General Order 2016-04 that clearly defines the duties of the Community Response Tactical Unit.  The purpose of this unit is not much different than the duties of the current staff of the police department including detective personnel and patrol officers.
     Wayman states that these "highly trained and appropriately equipped police officers" will respond to the "ever-changing criminal enterprise" lurking in and around town. 
     Could this be the renaming of Westfield Police Deptartment's Emergency Services Unit (ESU) or is it a weak attempt to provide another title and/or resume booster for a current captain and sergeant?
     Westfield town administrator Jim Gildea and Mayor Andy Skibitsky have to question, on behalf of Westfield taxpayers, how much this redundant layer of investigative services will cost, considering Chief Wayman's intent to "appropriately equip" this unit.  
     A quick Google search of "Community Response Tactical Unit" and it's easy to find where Chief Wayman found the verbiage for his new general order.  Westfield S.W.A.T. In a neighborhood near you. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Accident Alert

Motor vehicle accident this morning at the crossing guard/STOP sign controlled intersection of Dudley Ave. And Clark St.
Westfield Police are on the scene.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Trader Joe's Property To Become Apartments?

     There is talk around town that Trader Joe's is being rebuffed by owners of the property that the store once occupied.  The store was demolished following the roof collapsing under the weight of snow after this past winters storm that dumped over 20 inches of snow on Westfield.
     Plans to rebuild the store were anticipated but lately rumors are circulating that the property owners are interested in constructing an apartment complex.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

WBOE Offers a Consolation to WSA

At Tuesday night's Westfield Board of Education meeting, board president Gretchen Ohlig offered a consolation to the Westfield Soccer Association by indicating proposals to temporarily light Kehler Stadium would be entertained next year.  The following is quoted from The Alternative Press.
"After a letter to the board suggested that town approval was needed in order to erect temporary lights on their own property and subsequent hesitation was given after a court case referenced by the Kehler Neighborhood Preservation Association, the board stood by its original disposition.
“We’ve received confirmation that our position remains valid,” Ohlig said. “We do not, in fact, need the town’s approval to move forward. The town [of Westfield] concurs with our position. However, the delay has rendered the possibility of moving forward to vote. There is no point in us taking any steps this season.”
According to Ohlig, if the WSA or any other organization brings forth a similar proposal next year, it will fall first within the discretion of the "facilities committee and then recommended to the board."
      Whether or not the WBOE has received confirmation that their position remains valid in that they do not need the town's approval to move forward with approving the use of temporary lights at Kehler Stadium, the fact of the matter is....the WBOE refuses to waste any more time or budget resources on the dispute between the Kehler Neighborhood Preservation Association and the Westfield Soccer Association.
     The WBOE is currently discussing requiring organizations, utilizing board of education fields, to pay a fee similar to the fee required by Westfield town ordinance to use town owned fields.  Currently, that ordinance requires a $10 fee for each player of each sport 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Westfield Leader Newspaper "Editor's Note"...a Contradiction

     The following Letter to the Editor of the Westfield Leader newspaper appears in this week's edition.  The "Editor's Note" at the bottom is a contradiction of sorts in that the newspaper HAS altered its reporter's news reporting.......just ask a reporter at the Westfield Leader.  
     A Westfield Leader reporter confirmed, to TFoTM, that a story has been altered after its submission for print.
     The Westfield Leader also creates it's own titles for letters submitted to the editor which don't always reflect that which the author has written.

Are Leader Reporters Biased on ‘Cap’ Bank’?
I smiled recently when I read two Westfield Leader reporters’ articles on the Westfield and Garwood Coun- cils, both voting to establish “cap banks” as part of their budgetary ac- tions.
When reporter Christina Hinke re- ported Westfield’s action, she de- scribed it as “utilizing an accounting measure that could ease budget re- strictions in the next three years.” When reporter Brian Trusdell re- ported on Garwood’s action, he de- scribed it as “essentially granting the borough council permission to use an accounting measure in coming years to evade state limits on budget expen- ditures.”
Wow! Same actions, two different value descriptions. It’s of further in- terest because both towns use audi- tors Suplee, Clooney, who supported the bank creation in both towns and yet have it reviewed so differently in each town. Could it be that publisher Horace Corbin is suing Garwood, and therefore paints Garwood in nega- tive light whenever he can? Or maybe it’s bias of individual reporters? Just asking.
Bill Nierstedt Garwood
Editor’s Note: This newspaper never alters its reporting to promote an agenda. Mr. Nierstedt might like to read the editorial on the complex subject of “cap bank” on page 4 of the March 31 edition. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It Happened There, It Happend Here

     Police chief "ticket fixing" is nothing new.  It happens.....but the political landscape of each town is what determines how far the investigation goes and who gets investigated.  In Westfield, the "whistleblower" becomes the targeted.
     It's not what you know, it's who you know.  Connections to prominent politicians, county investigators, and local government officials inevitably trump corruption claims and thwart proper investigations.
     Just ask disgraced former Westfield police chiefs Bernard Tracy and John Parizeau.  Only time will tell, whether or not current Westfield Police Chief David Wayman can avoid the pitfalls of his own ignorance and arrogance.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Race Relations Panel Discussion

     Tonight's panel was gathered to discuss and address the issue of race relations and what the
Westfield community can do to better understand and resolve the racial divide that has permeated society.
     The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield hosted the event inside the auditorium of Westfield High School.
     The members of the panel were asked questions by moderators Dr. Claudia Cohen and Rev. William E. Lawson and at one point, audience members were allowed to submit questions on an index card of which a handful were presented to members of the panel.
     Overall, it was a well received event and a start to opening up further discussion on race relations in Westfield.
     TFoTM prepared a question but unfortunately it was not selected by the moderators and presented to the panel.   
     Throughout the evening there were some very articulate answers provided by some of the panelists however, early on, it was clear that one member of the panel should have followed his own advice which was, "Maybe not speak so much but listen to everyone here tonight," so as not to expose his incompetence.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

TFoTM will follow-up with a more detailed account after notes and audio recordings are processed.
We just can't make this stuff up.
*NOTE: The panel discussion was recorded by Westfield TV36.  The video will be posted here at TFoTM when we receive a copy so that readers can draw their own conclusions as to the success or failure of this event and formulate their own opinions.  

From left to right: Rev. Ronald Allen, WBOE President Gretchen Ohlig, Dr. Brenda Jemal, WPD Chief David Wayman, WHS Vice Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson, Tamecka Dixon, Rabbi Douglas Sagal

Westfield Police Chief David Wayman Featured Tonight on Race Relations Panel: Racist or Ignorant Fool?

Photo: Westfield Leader Newspaper
     Tonight, at 7:30pm., Westfield Police Chief David Wayman will take part in a panel discussion on race relations.  The gathering will take place in the Westfield High School auditorium.
     Wayman, a former resident of Clark, N.J. and graduate of ALJ High School, has been accused of racial profiling during his career as a Westfield police officer.
     In February 2014, TFoTM posted a story detailing some of Wayman's alleged racial tendencies.
     The public is welcome to attend tonight's event and ask questions.

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?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Roosevelt Intermediate School Students Suspended

     A TFoTM source has confirmed that up to 10 students at Roosevelt Intermediate School have been suspended in the wake of students purchasing knives and selling them to classmates.
     The weapons, described as "butterfly" or "pocket" type knives, were allegedly purchased online and sold for a profit, in some cases close to four times the original purchase price.
     Story will be updated as information is made available.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

WSA Remains In The Dark About Kehler Stadium Lights

     At last night's Westfield Board of Education meeting, a brief update was given on the status of the Westfield Soccer Associations request to use temporary lights to illuminate Kehler Stadium. 
     Bd. of Ed. President Gretchen Ohlig was quick to dismiss WBOE member Chris Langhart's description of a recent letter, received by the WBOE, as a "lawsuit."  The letter, submitted by an attorney representing the Kehler Neighborhood Preservation Committee, has caused the WBOE to table a vote on approving the WSA's lighting request.  The WBOE has not set a date as to when the vote will take place and is waiting until legal matters addressed in the letter are resolved.
     The portable generator/light that was being stored at Kehler Stadium after a WSA demonstration for Westfield BOE members, in anticipation of the WBOE's approval to light Kehler Stadium, appears to have been removed from the site.
     Westfield Soccer Association Trustee Peter Franks has insisted that the WSA needs more fields to accommodate the privately run soccer association's increasing number of participants and lack of time afforded to the WSA on town owned recreation fields.  A check of the WSA website revealed that they currently utilize 21 fields, with 14 of those fields within the borders of Westfield.  Of the 14 fields in Westfield, 9 fields are owned by the Westfield Board of Education.      
     While the Town of Westfield requires a $10 fee to be paid by each member of the WSA to use a town owned field (the WSA imposes a $15 fee on each of its members to cover the cost), the Westfield Board of Education requires no such fee.  The Westfield taxpayer is left to foot the bill for the cost of maintenance and other expenditures associated with the Westfield Soccer Association's free use of WBOE fields.  The Westfield Soccer Association is a private organization not affiliated with the Westfield Recreation Department.
     The WBOE's operating budget has topped $100 million dollars of which 7.5% is allocated for "Maintenance, Insurance, and Utilities."  The BOE's "Maintenance Staff," which includes employees that maintain WBOE fields, makes up 7.3% of total staffing.
     The Westfield Board of Education requires middle school and high school athletes, band members, drama production participants and others to pay a one time yearly fee to the Westfield Board of Education to participate in school activities that offsets operating costs. Currently, that fee is $125.
     The Westfield Soccer Association pays nothing in participation fees to the WBOE to use their fields.......fields maintained using Westfield tax dollars.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Westfield Police Department Patrols Hoboken: Emergency Mobile Command Center

     The Westfield Police Department's emergency mobile command center is in Hoboken, N.J. today for that city's St. Patrick's celebration at a cost to the Westfield taxpayer that Mayor Andy Skibitsky refuses to divulge.
      Drink up and be merry on the backs of the Westfield taxpayer.  Maybe Mayor Skibitsky and his police chief Dave Wayman have been compensated with a free "All Access" pass.

Official Hoboken LepreCon St Patrick's Day 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM (EST)

Event Details

Keep the tradition going strong! That's exactly what we're here to do. The phenomenon that takes hold of Hoboken every single March is quickly approaching. Not only is the weather going to get a little warmer, it is the perfect way to get the party started for St Patrick's Day - a real pre - St. Paddy's day event! The first Saturday of March is a special day in Hoboken, NJ. Not only do all of the great bars and venues in Hoboken collaborate on a star-studded event, this year the "All Access Pass" is the one package you'll need in order to spend the entire day in excitement. Join us this Saturday March 5 during our annual St. Paddy's Celebration as Hoboken unites in solidarity to offer a great package for those who wish to celebrate in style and tradition. It's been a long winter and at, we're definitely ready for the spring to come and the St. Patrick's Day festivities to get under way.
All of the hottest bars in Hoboken will be flooded for this year's annual Saint Paddy's Celebration – so make sure you're ready! With the "All Access Pass" package, you'll be able to visit the best route of venues throughout the entire day. The times might surprise you - starting at 10AM? Yep! That's what Hoboken and the first Saturday in March is famous for. Keep the tradition going strong and make sure to get up early and support the Hoboken community during the great holiday of St. Patrick's Day. This is what it's all about - fun in the streets, socializing with your closest friends, and rejoicing in celebration. You've probably been to Hoboken before but you might not be prepared for the festivities that take place on the streets of Hoboken during this joyous occasion. Gather your friends and come out to enjoy a full day of partying and revel with the ultimate party experience in Hoboken, the St Paddy's All Access Pass!
With the "All Access Pass", you register at the location that you choose (your starting point). You'll receive a wristband, entitling you to reduced admission to all of the participating venues. Each guest only needs 1 All Access Pass in order to participate in the event. You will also receive a full map of Hoboken's best venues to visit during the day. Over 20 venues are participating in this year's Hoboken St Patrick's Day Celebration!
Last Year's Participating Venues Included: Mills Tavern, Biggies, Hoboken Bar & Grill, Tally Ho, Texas Arizona, Reign, Cadillac Cantina, Arthur's Tavern, The Shannon, Room 84, Scotland Yard, Green Rock, Northern Soul, 1Republik, Havana Cafe, Hotel Victor, The Brass Rail, Black Bear Bar, Trinity Bar, Mikie Squared Bar, Village Pourhouse, and more! 
House of Que Line-Up: 9AM - 12PM featuring Whiskey Fuel, 6PM - 9PM Dueling Pianos, 9PM - UFC McGregor Fight, LIVE Music all day long
For more information, please visit
* All Sales are final. No refunds *

Westfield Soccer Association Gets a Free Ride While Raking In Hundreds of Thousands $$$$$


The Westfield Soccer Association has requested permission from the Westfield Board of Education to use Kehler Stadium, once again.  The WSA has plans to light the athletic field nestled within a residential neighborhood at the expense of Westfield taxpayers.
WSA Trustee Peter Franks
     WSA trustee Peter Franks appeared at a board of education meeting in late February to present the lighting proposal on behalf of the privately run soccer association.

     Again, the WSA wants to utilize a board of education field in an effort to circumvent the "pay to play" policies of field usage in neighboring towns.  The WSA is required to pay $10 per player for the usage of town owned fields in Westfield as per town code statute cited below.  By utilizing Kehler Stadium and other Westfield Board of Education fields, the WSA pays nothing and the Westfield taxpayer picks up the cost of field maintenance, repairs, and replacement.
     TFoTM has learned that last years WSA registration fees and other related costs were in excess of $800 per player.  Additional personal coaching/training fees are extra as are the purchase of uniforms and equipment.
     Based on the WSA's membership at all levels of play, well over a half a million dollars is being collected by The WSA......and that's a low ballpark figure.  TFoTM is in the process of obtaining the WSA's financial data.
     TFoTM has asked the Westfield Board of Education how much they charge private sports leagues to use their fields.  There is no record of any fees paid by any of the private user groups such as the WSA, so for now and into the future, Westfield taxpayers will continue to foot the costs of the WSA's use of BOE fields.
     The Westfield Soccer Association website states that it charges each player a $15 fee for the use of town owned fields such as Sid Fey and Houlihan fields located on Lambertsmill Rd. at the intersection on Rahway Ave.
     Town code requires private users groups, such as the WSA, to pay $10 per player for the use of town owned fields.  It appears that the WSA is profiting $5 per player, bringing in thousands of dollars into their coffers without paying so much as a dime to the Westfield Board of Education for the use of multiple BOE fields.

Sec. 16-28. Athletics programs; fees and charges.
(a) Westfield –based youth athletic programs:
A fee of ten dollars per child, per season, per sport shall be charged to, and collected from, each private sports league that uses a field administered by the recreation department, except Board of Education fields. This subsection to take effect January 1, 2006.
(b) Non-Westfield-based and adult athletic programs.
A fee of thirty dollars per game, per three-hour period, shall be charged to adult leagues and/or teams, or all non-Westfield-based teams and/or leagues for use of a field administered by the recreation department, except Board of Education fields.
(G.O. No. 1381, § II; G.O. No. 1438, § III; G.O. No. 1511, § II; G.O. No. 1699, § I; G.O. No. 1851, § I.) 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky's "Snow Job"

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

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Clark Teen Tips Off Shooting Suspects That Family Was On Vacation

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

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

When Egos Clash, Towns Pay Cash

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

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


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

See front page story in local newspaper and at

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Town Officials Retaliate and Harass at the Expense of Taxpayers

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

     See related story of whistleblower harassment and retaliation costing taxpayers when a police officer breaks the "blue code of silence."

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

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