Mayor Skibitsky Throws Yellow Penalty FlagEvery Sunday, at professional football games around the NFL, referees throw a yellow penalty flag in the event of an infraction. Coaches have an opportunity to throw a red challenge flag in the event they want to challenge a referee's decision.
Mayor Skibitsky has thrown a penalty flag, accusing town council candidates of a penalty. TFoTM throws a red "challenge flag" onto the Mayor's field of political play. The Mayor's claims are under review. The readers will be the judge.The Fact of The Matter agrees with the Mayor, however there is justification for concern in some areas that the Mayor does not want to address with facts.
Mayor Skibitsky insists that the public is being mislead by some candidates in order to create a "crisis" where none actually exists. Although TFoTM wouldn't go as far as calling some of the current conditions effecting town government a crisis, there are areas of concern that need to be addressed.
The townspeople deserve facts and reassurances and not ignorance by an elected official. Mayor Skibitsky insists that it is important to balance the needs of our residents with the duty to be responsible stewards of the Towns limited resources. If that's the case, why did the Mayor allow a police detective seargent to remain as head of the police department's parking bureau (over 6 yrs) at a salary of $115,000 plus benefits when the bureau was established to oversee parking decks that were anticipated, and never built? The parking dept. was previously run by a civilian employee at half the cost to the taxpayer.
Why does the Department of Public Works continue to maintain a Superintendents position at a pay rate of $95,000 plus benefits when the Westfield Town Engineer, by way of his education, can supervise the DPW? The "good ole' boy network continues.
Westfield has its own S.W.A.T. team. The police department's ESU (Emergency Response Unit) is a service duplicated by Union County. UCERT (Union County Emergency Response Team) is made up of police officers from around Union County that respond to a municipality's needs. With 21.7% of our tax dollars given to the County, why do we have a S.W.A.T. team when Union County Prosecutor Ted Romankow has told towns to disband their own teams.
At a crisis that unfolded on Elm St. last year, where a woman threatened to jump off the roof of her apartment building because she was allegedly being evicted, Westfield's ESU unit responded. So did the County's UCERT team. Who paid for the Westfield ESU's overtime? Answer: The Westfield taxpayer. Also, the taxpayers 21.7% of the their tax bill to the County paid for UCERT to show up. A duplication of services, a waste of tax dollars. No department is immune to mismanagement.
The Westfield Fire Department has paid out well over $200,000 in overtime this year due to the need for the department to call in personnel to cover shifts that have been depleted by the Town's reduction in staff. When you reduce staffing levels in public safety, it creates a crisis; a fiscal crisis and potentially a safety crisis.
Why hasn't Town Administrator Jim Gildea applied for a F.E.M.A. grant to obtain money to bolster the ranks within the fire department? The SAFER grant is available to towns to supplement it's fire department. Go to http://www.fema.gov/firegrants/safer/index.shtm to read about SAFER grant.
When the Town brags about it's volunteer firemen augmenting the paid members of the department, why did Gildea and a former fire chief turn a qualified volunteer away from becoming just that, a volunteer? Politics.
Mayor Skibitsky states that the reduced staffing level in the fire department has not effected the departments ability to to fight fires. This statement is certainly "egregious." Although the fire department's response time to fires has been unchanged, the department's ability to fight the fire upon first response has been diminished due to the reduction of manpower.
TFoTM won't recap the Central Ave. pedestrian light issue that Mayor Skibitsky claims has become a "game of telephone" with each telling of the story, the basic facts seem to get pushed further and further away until the original story becomes unrecognizable." One fact that remains constant in TFoTM's "phone conversation" with the Mayor......Mayor Skibitsky has yet to provide any written proof from any of his "experts" that the light is located in what the mayor has deemed "the safest location." At current Verizon rates, TFoTM suggests that the Mayor hang up the phone in his "game of telephone." Unless, of course, the Mayor uses his free minutes covered under the "friends & family" option. Now that's an example of getting "more with less"....free minutes.
Westfield Taxpayers are getting tired of the "busy signal" when questions are asked. Mayor Skibitsky, pick up the phone, please answer.
Back to football...........CONGRATS to WHS Football team on their victory yesterday over the 9th ranked team in the state!
On to the playoffs with a #2 seed and a home playoff game!