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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Skibitsky Continues To Deflect: The Devil Made Him Do It

     At tonight's Westfield Town Council meeting things got a little heated in an exchange between Mayor Skibitsky and some residents regarding the Central Ave. pedestrian light and a motor vehicle fatality that took place last Wednesday evening at the intersection of North Ave. and Tuttle Pkwy.  No doubt the little red devil perched on the Mayor's shoulder didn't mind the escalating temperature emanating from Mayor Skibitsky.
     When Mayor Skibitsky was asked what has been done to improve the safety at the intersection of North Ave. & Tuttle Pkwy since Mayor Skibitsky's Traffic Safety Consulting Engineer Gordon Meth issued a report on July 26, 2005 stating the intersection has poor lighting, the Mayor had the proverbial "deer in headlights" look on his face. 
     The report, titled "TRAFFIC CALMING AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS FOR EIGHT (8) LOCATIONS," lists North Ave. & Tuttle Pkwy as a traffic/pedestrian "hot-spot."           
     Instead, Mayor Skibitsky came prepared with a statement to assassinate the character of the speaker instead of sticking to the facts as they are listed in his own expert's report.Unable to refute the facts, the Mayor once again attacked the messenger and not the message.  This has become a common tactic employed by Mayor Skibitsky when he has no answer.  His other modus operandi........silence.  No doubt, fellow Town Council members will be recommending silence the next time the Mayor tries to "fudge" it.

Go to the following web link to read Westfield's Traffic Safety Consulting Engineer's report.  The report was ontained by TFoTM and provided to Town Council candidate Matt Sontz upon request.

     On page three (3) of the report, listed under "Traffic Facts" it states "Poor lighting (0.05-0.15 Foot Candles in crosswalk, versus 0.60 recommended)  When this "Traffic Fact" was referred to, Mayor Skibitsky accused the speaker of reaching an all-time low and falsely accused the speaker of suggesting that the Town caused the tragic death of a woman last week.  The Mayor must have been listening to the little red devil perched on his shoulder at the time because that is not what the speaker stated.  Mayor next time pay attention and don't rudely interrupt. 
     The fact of the matter is, the Mayor's "expert" Gordon Meth, issued the report in 2005 listing both the intersection of North Ave. & Tuttle Pkwy and Central Ave. & Clover St. as hot spots.  The speaker, before being interrupted by Mayor Skibitsky, had intended to ask the Mayor what has been done at either of these locations? 
     Why did the Town pay thousands of dollars to have an expert make recommendations detailed in the 2005 report, and then did not follow the recommendations of their own expert?  The estimated cost of the project at North Ave. & Tuttle Pkwy.....$24,000.

TFoTM does not insist or accuse the Westfield Town Council of causing the untimely and tragic fatality that occurred last week.  What TFoTM asks is, could this tragedy have been prevented?

The estimated cost of a human life.............PRICELESS.


  1. After reading the traffic report my only question is why wasn't anything done if the engineer instructed the town to do x,y,and z? I think the mayor owes an explanation. A woman died at the intersection shown in the report to be dimly lit. Someone dropped the ball here.

  2. TFOTM- Can you please clarify... The map on page 33 of the attached Gordon Meth report, as I am looking at it, seems to be suggesting the pedestrian walkway at its current mid-block location. Meanwhile, my understanding had been that Gordon Meth had recommended the intersection, and Mayor Skibitsky went against that recommendation. If I'm understanding this map correctly, this is not what I expected to see in that report. ???? Please clarify. Thanks. -NR9

  3. The diagram on page 33 is dated June 23, 2005. TFoTM has obtained the same diagram but with a different date, September 13, 2005. Why are there two of the same diagram with different dates?

    It should be noted that the date of the diagram attached to Gordon Meth's report is dated one day AFTER the last public meetings were held concerning the 8 locations listed in the report.

    During the public meetings, residents were never told that a mid-block crossing was going to be built. That might explain why the diagram submitted with the report was dated the day after the last meetings were held.

    Also, Mayor Skibitsky has never identified WHO made the diagram. Was it Gordon Meth, a Union County Engineer, or other. Gordon Meth had originally proposed a crossing at the intersection. News reports from the Westfield Leader report this fact as did former Councilman Mark Ciarrocca.

    At the 2007 Council Candidates forum, Councilman Ciarrocca, touting his accomplishments as 3rd Ward Councilman, stated in his closing statement that a pedestrian crossing would be installed at the intersection of Clover and Central. A video of that statement was posted here at The Fact of The Matter in one of our earlier blog stories.

    If the diagram attached to Meth's July 26, 2005 report existed in 2005, how come Meth was reported in the Westfield Leader as recommending a crossing at the intersection and why does Ciarrocca acknowledge the crossing to be located at the intersection in 2007?

    These and many more questions remain unanswered by Mayor Skibitsky. That is why numerous requests have been made to have Gordon Meth attend a Town Council meeting to answer them. The Mayor steadfastly refuses. Why? What is the Mayor hiding? He could put this issue "to bed" by producing Meth. That way, all the remaining questions can be answered by the Mayor's own expert.


    TFoTM is in possession of a letter from Union County Engineer Tom Mineo to resident Adina Enculescu which was posted on this site, that states the light was located where "Westfield" wanted it....mid-block. If that's the case, why does the Mayor tell everyone that the County put the light mid-block? Answer: Union County was responsible for the physical installation of the light while Westfield was responsible for the conceptual plan locating the light mid-block.

    When was the mid-block concept conceived? Based on Ciarrocca's statement it had to of been after 2007 and not in 2005 as indicated on the diagram.

    Furthermore, on page 31 of the report under "Solutions" the following solutions are recommended:
    Cul-de-sac CambridgeRd at Central Ave.
    Cul-de-sac Belmar Terrace at Central Ave.
    Prohibit left turns into or out of Cedar St. during peak hours and school crossing hours.
    Construct a pedestrian activated traffic signal at this location and relocate crosswalk to it.

    *** What location does meth refer to when he says "at this location" and "relocate crosswalk to IT"

    TFoTM has learned from Police Department officials associated with this issue that residents of Cedar St. were adamant that they did not want a light. Was the original location for the light planned for the intersection of Cedar? Did it get moved to Clover where it met opposition and then was quietly moved to Cambridge? After all, Adina Enculescu has repeatedly stated that she was never told a crosswalk and light would be installed in front of her house and more importantly, a mid-block crossing was never discussed at the public meetings in 2005.

    Why didn't the Town just cul-de-sac Clover St. if the Mayor or anyone else for that matter was worried about limiting the points of contact pedestrians would have with motorists having the crossing at an intersection.

    At least, if the light was located at Clover St., the light pole structure would have been built along a stretch of 6 foot high stockade fence not effecting someone's front yard, and creating a safety nightmare by turning a residential driveway into a faux intersection.

  5. At last night Town Council meeting the things did not get “a little heated”, they got ugly and disturbing when the mayor interrupted Mr. Kasko and started to insult him. It is obvious that Mr. Skibitsky not having any valid argument attacked blindly Mr. Kakos’s credibility. The mayor simply tried to discredit Mr. Kasko because he wanted to cover the fact that none of the four solutions suggested for North Ave-Tuttle Pkway by Mr. Meth in 2005 on pg. 4 of the report mentioned in the article, were implemented by the town. The truth was again on Mr.Kasko’s side, not on Mr. Skibitsky’s side. Especially when he is not right, Mr. Skibitsky displays an unsurpassed arrogance, rudeness and disrespect for the Westfield residents who dare to reveal issues of concern for the entire community. It is deplorable, and it is hard to believe these kinds of things happen in Westfield, our town.

  6. To Anonymous:
    The map on page 33 of the attached Gordon Meth report, shows the pedestrian walkway North of 1310 Central Ave. driveway, approximately at 85-90 ft. from the intersection with Clover, not at the current location that is South of the driveway. According to Mr. Meth report, the crosswalk would be between 1304 and 1310 houses. As the distance from the crosswalk to the corner had to be at least 100 ft., the County was obliged to move it south of my driveway, in front of my house. This report revealed what I said all this year: the location of the crosswalk in the middle of the road, and not at the corner, was specifically requested by Westfield Town. This is not justified in any way because with Cambridge Rd. and Bellmar blocked “the number of points of conflict” decreased very much. The project was not reviewed anymore. All this happened because the former Councilman Ciarrocca and the mayor did not want to inconvenience “other people”. They did not expect the appearance of such an extremely unsafe spot for everybody: drivers, pedestrians and children. They also did not expect such opposition from the residents.
    Speaking of safety,less than 14 hours after the Mayor declared “I’m not reconsidering moving the light”, another near miss accident happened today at approximately 10 am when the mail man was crossing the road on the crosswalk, and a silver car succeeded to stop in front of my driveway, 2-3 feet from the crosswalk not 20 ft. away. We did not need the 6th accident.

  7. If I'm understanding this correctly, PRIOR to the above report being issued, Gordon Meth recommended (verbally or in less formal writings) that the equipment be installed at the INTERSECTION. As of the last public meetings on the topic, that's what the public believed. Then, for reasons unknown to us, that recommendation was somehow changed and this report was issued, showing that a MID-BLOCK light was being recommended (change made either by Gordon Meth or others with the ability to influence Mr. Meth). When was that 2005 report actually released to the public?

    Can TFOTM provide those news reports from the Westfield Leader indicating Gordon Meth originally proposing the INTERSECTION- I presume this was from 2005 or earlier? (I'm sure you've probably posted it before on TFOTM but can you please provide again or direct us to such a previous posting?).

    "At the 2007 Council Candidates forum, Councilman Ciarrocca, touting his accomplishments as 3rd Ward Councilman, stated in his closing statement that a pedestrian crossing would be installed at the intersection of Clover and Central. A video of that statement was posted here at The Fact of The Matter in one of our earlier blog stories." ... Could you please provide date of that TFOTM posting or re-link to it in your reply?

    Thanks for your reply and for clarifying!


    1. Here is the link to the video posted on The Fact of The Matter that shows Ciarrocca stating where the pedestrian light will be located.

      The video can also be found at the following link to the TFoTM blog page where it was posted in October of 2011.

      The May 12 2005 edition of The Westfield Leader has coverage of Gordon Meth's original proposal for Central & Clover.

      It states the following in the story titled: ‘Walking School Bus’ Among Plans
      Recommended at Traffic Hot Spots

      "At Central Avenue and Clover Street, Mr. Meth has proposed a pedestrian
      traffic light which would only be activated by pedestrians, particularly
      Jefferson School students.


      "Mr. Meth proposed that a cul-de-sac be constructed at Clover Street’s end at Central Avenue, in order to ensure that drivers cannot turn off onto side streets to avoid waiting at the light."

      Read again, the report by Gordon Meth linked in the blog story above. Look at the bullets under "Solutions". if you read them in order they suggest that the pedestrian crossing was to be at Cedar St.

      I know from facts provided to me by the Westfield Police Department's Traffic Safety Bureau that residents on the corners of Cedar St. were 100% against a light at their corner and the voiced their oppositon loudly.

      Francis Terr. residents including a major supporter of Skibitsky and Ciarrocca, were concerned about cut-through traffic down their street if a cul-de-sac was constructed at Clover; they vehemently opposed a light at CloverThe light was quietly pushed down to Cambridge without anyone's knowledge.

      Now do you understand why Mayor Skibitsky will not produce Meth at a Town Council meeting?

      Central and Cambridge is not the safest location as the Mayor insists. It was the only location where there was no opposition because the resident, Adina Enculescu was never told or advised of the plan.

      Stick it to an elderly woman thinking no one would care?

  8. Thanks. Mr. Ciarrocca does clearly say "Central and Clover" however, I could sort of give him the benefit of doubt that he could have meant the "vicinity" of "Central and Clover." At that time, in 2007, I was completely unaware of this issue. Back then, maybe a more generic description like "Central and Clover" was acceptable whereas today, discussion on that topic has to be more specific- almost to the point of feet and inches as to where the light is. You would know better than me the historical context back then.

    But, back on Gordon Meth... Something from Gordon Meth showing that he recommended the intersection would be very helpful. Ideally, a written document or Westfield Leader article quoting him or video testimony if any exists. Is there any direct testimony from Gordon Meth himself indicating that, in his expert opinion, the equipment should have been placed at the intersection? I realize that you had attempted to get him to speak at a council meeting and Mayor Skibitsky refused. But, was anything published long ago from Meth, before this all became so out of hand? If so, could you please provide on TFOTM?

    Thanks again.


  9. Mayor Skibitsky will continue to try and assassinate the character of a messenger when he can't refute the facts.
    Facts provided from news papers, videos, and his own expert's reports.
    Mayor Skibitsky never envisioned that it would come to this.
    When I walked out of a meeting with him in October of 2010 after he and his attorney Robert Cochren dismissed my concerns about issues affecting Westfield, I told him he had not seen or heard the last of me. He underestimated me and what I could accomplish. That is when this site was created.
    I think it has exposed plenty. It was the Mayor's own actions that got us to where we are today. The Mayor wants to talk about truth, honesty, and integrity? He should practice what he preaches.


  10. Your replies were helpful. This is what I got out of it…

    Gordon Meth, as reported on pages 1 and 12 of the May 12, 2005 Westfield Leader clearly recommended the following:
    (1) “a pedestrian traffic light which would only be activated by pedestrians.”
    (2) “a cul-de-sac… at Clover Street’s end at Central Avenue.”

    Your observation is that
    (1) Francis Terrace residents, including a major supporter of Skibitsky and Ciarrocca, fought this proposal at Clover Street.
    (2) Cedar Street residents strongly fought an alternate proposal for a light at Cedar and Central.

    Mayor Skibitsky, presumably then had the following thoughts on his mind.
    (1) The Clover Street T-shaped intersection is a lost battle.
    (2) The next T-shaped intersection to the north, Cedar Street, is a lost battle.
    (3) What’s the next T-shaped intersection to the south? … Cambridge Rd… OK, that’s the obvious choice for this cul-de-sac and light/walkway.
    (4) But, I don’t want a THIRD battle on my hands. OK, let’s (a) not tell the Cambridge Rd. residents, (b) not tell that elderly woman, Mrs. Enculescu, who lives directly across from Cambridge Rd. and (c) not get Gordon Meth back involved because he might botch this all up such that we end up with three battles – The Francis Terrace people vs. The Cedar Street people vs. the Cambridge Rd. (and Mrs. Enculescu) people.
    (5) If we keep that third group out of the loop and get everything installed “QUIETLY, under the radar,” they won’t notice till it’s too late.

    I think I understand.

    The proper thing for Mayor Skibitsky to have done probably should have been to get Gordon Meth back into the discussion. Having studied 8 “hot spot” locations in Westfield, Meth could have taken a closer look at this 1 “hot spot” and really studied the merits of Cedar vs. Clover vs. Cambridge. And, if it was then a close call, BEFORE work crews came in and started digging ground and installing equipment, another one or two professionals with similar credentials could have weighed in on Meth’s work. Instead, it seems that the Mayor’s refusal to allow Gordon Meth to speak again at a council meeting was a further attempt to stifle talk that could have gotten Cedar Street and Clover Street back on the table.

    I think I’d rather have had one or more traffic experts conclude which of the three locations was the safest choice BEFORE equipment was installed, rather than someone lacking that experience deciding it on, presumably, political grounds. And, while it’s possible that Meth and/or others may have actually suggested Cambridge as the best of the three… now, after 5 accidents in 7 months, plus lots of testimony of many people witnessing many near accidents, AT A MINIMUM, the mayor should be at least WILLING to re-visit the decision… HIS UNWILLINGNESS TO EVEN DISCUSS THE POSSIBILITY OF MOVING THE EQUIPMENT, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE COUNTY WOULD DO IT FOR FREE- IS VERY DISTURBING.

    OK, I think I got it. Please let me know if I missed something. Thanks.