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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mayor Muzzles Municipal Monarchy

     Mayor Skibitsky made an appearance last night at the Westfield Town Council meeting.  Lately, he has relied on Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan to fill in during his absence.
     Neylan was off the hook last night and sat silent during the time in which the public is invited to the microphone to speak on matters of which the town council has jurisdiction over.
     Two weeks ago, while Councilwoman Neylan filled in as "Acting Mayor", she was asked a simple question with regards to the Town's plans should their grant application for monetary assistance to hire more firefighters falls through.  Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea had stated at a previous town council meeting that the Town had submitted applications for assistance provided by the S.A.F.E.R. grant.  Go to the following link to review S.A.F.E.R grant
     He further stated that if the grants did not materialize, that the town has alternative plans.  Neylan did not answer the question, instead she stated, "We hear you, we will get back to you."  No member of the town council has gotten back with an answer. 
     Last night the same question was asked in the presence of Mayor Skibitsky.  Skibitsky's response was, "Please continue."  There was a brief moment of silence as those in attendance waited for the Mayor to answer the question; he did not.
     Does the Town have alternative plans should they be notified this coming fall that they will not receive assistance or was Gildea blowing smoke hoping not to be held accountable for his statement, a statement that appears to be a stall tactic.  Gildea is good at stall tatics.....just ask any town employee seeking his assistance on employment related issues.
Jim "Pinocchio" Gildea
     The fact of the matter is that Town Administrator Jim Gildea has been caught up in lies in the past and quite possibly never thought anyone would call him out on his statement about "alternative plans."  The Fact of The Matter has learned that when called by a local news media seeking an answer to this question, Gildea has not returned the phone calls.
     On December 13, 2011 Gildea attempted to justify the Town's purchase of a 2012 Dodge Durango for the police department stating that the new vehicle was intended for the detective bureau which had not received a new unmarked vehicle in 7 to 8 years.  Upon delivery of the vehicle, newly appointed police chief David Wayman claimed the keys for himself.  Wayman's town owned Chevy Tahoe is used to transport him to and from his home, in Westfield, to police headquarters every day.  While at work, he utilizes the new Dodge Durango to shuttle himself around town to places like the Muscle Maker Grill at RWJ on Lambertsmill Rd in Scotch Plains and to lunch dates at Vicki's Diner with his closest confidants.  All the while, soon-to-be retired police chief John Parizeau's town owned Dodge Durango sits in the municipal parking lot.
     Why was there a need to buy another vehicle with a price tag in excess of $24,000 when a perfectly operable one was available in the municipal fleet?  Did Gildea lie to the town council and conspire with Chief Wayman to purchase him a new vehicle?  Clearly the need for one just wasn't there; not in these economic times.  Chalk another one up to Mayor Skibitsky's "Doing More With Less" motto.  More wasteful spending with less revenue.
     When Skibitsky can't answer a question, or does not want to answer a question, knowing that the answer will not support his position, he remains silent.  Silence has been golden for Skibitsky lately.  It speaks volumes of a Mayor that states he operates with transparency.
     He just hasn't admitted that the transparency is as clear as a windshield with broken wipers navigating through a thunderstorm.  He is praying he can steer his vehicle, in this case the town council, safely home without crashing.  A few dents along the way won't hurt, or will they?
     All the while, Councilwoman Neylan, sat silent, not once delivering on her promise of "We will get back to you."  To her credit, at least she had an answer when the original question was asked two weeks ago. Was it a stall tactic?  Why not just have Town Administrator Jim Gildea approach the microphone to answer the question of what "alternative plans" were in place.  After all, he was the culprit that originally blurted out the contingency plan.
Della Fera
     Gildea would never and has never given up a chance to respond, to defend himself, unless of course he was rendered defenseless.  The fact of the matter is that town officials don't expect to be questioned and when they are and they don't have an answer, their arrogance and entitlement, feelings of self righteousness, become their excuse.
     The Fact of The Matter gives credit to Councilman Della Fera Jr. for at least responding to Westfield resident Maria Carluccio during her time at the microphone during open public comment.  Some might say he interrupted her.  Despite the fact that Coucilman Della Fera got the facts wrong with regard to where Union County Engineering experts recommended a traffic light to be placed, at the corner of Central and Clover, he at least did what elected officials are supposed to do,  he responded, he got back to a constituent.  See Westfield Patch link for details of Pennoni Report by Union County Engineering experts.
     While Councilwoman Neylan's muzzling by Skibitsky is reminiscent of his admonishment of Councilwoman Kimmins last year, for standing up for residents asking to have the Town's engineering expert appear at a town council meeting, one has to wonder why we have an elected town council......why not just vote for a king, a dictator, a ruler of sorts, every four years.  
     Why, because we live in a democracy and the taxpayers won't allow it.  Time to answer the questions Mayor Skibitsky.  If not, the words "lame duck" might just start preceding your name.  Maybe they already have and your repugnance proves it.

1 comment:

  1. SAFER stands for The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. With that being said the town admits that it's fire department is short-staffed and seeking "adequate" fire and emergency response.