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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Neylan Feels Safe In Chief Whyman's Hands

     Tonight's Westfield Town Council meeting saw the promotion of a police officer to the rank of captain and the swearing in of a new police officer to the department.  
     In the absence of Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who was allegedly delayed in traffic, Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan assumed the duties once again as "Acting Mayor."  Neylan used her time in the spotlight to also congratulate Chief David Whyman for his recent graduation from the FBI academy's leadership school.  Can someone please advise the Acting Mayor and Chairwoman of the Town Council's Public Safety Committee that the police chief's name is pronounced "Way"man and not Whyman.  
Neylan
     On a night when the council approved the purchase of a ladder truck for the fire department, TFoTM recalls when Neylan proclaimed, during her last town council campaign, that the non use of the fire department's previous ladder truck due to a manpower shortage in the FD was no big deal because the ladder truck is used for "scenic aerial views" at fire scenes.
     Never at a loss for embarrassing statements, Neylan, while showering Whyman Wayman with accolades, stated  "I feel very safe in your hands," referring to Whyman Wayman's lead role as police chief in the police department.  TFoTM is not surprised by Acting Mayor Neylan's alleged Freudian slip.  
     Councilwoman Neylan could very well have proclaimed Whyman Wayman as the cherry on top of her favorite ice cream sundae, the apple of her eye or the cream that rose to the top.  TFoTM believes that the apple won't fall far from the Chief Tree and time will tell whether the analogy holds true.  Bernard Tracy's tenure as police chief was clouded in misconduct and corruption.  Whyman Wayman is a "chip off the old block."   

Freudian slip, also called parapraxis, is an error in speechmemory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious ("dynamically repressed"), subdued wish, conflict, or train of thought. The concept is thus part of classical psychoanalysis.

26 comments:

  1. My guess is Skibitsky was a no-show to the Rodger promotion because Rodger refused to attend council meetings to support the mayor. Maybe the mayor should have supported the cops during contract negotiations. Oh well.

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  2. Dave prefers vanilla over chocolate. Remember that he was raised in Clark. When stopping cars it's the opposite.

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  3. The woman from the prosecutors office felt safe in Wayman's hands until she found out the truth, that he was married. Oopsy Daisy.

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  4. Captain? He has the dirt from his Rahway police chief brother on what went down the night Chief Tracy smashed his police car into a couple parked cars and a Rahway building totaling the car and sending his kid to the hospital. DWI coverup? It's advantageous to have the dirt to get ahead. Next up, his squirrelly sibling gets promoted to lieutenant.

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  5. Another cop gets hired but no firemen? How do the cops hire whenever they want bit never any firefighters, smells fishy to me!

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    1. As long as there are town council members that are desirous of an all volunteer fire department, the fire department's staffing levels will continue to dwindle down to a level that will primarily rely on volunteers, slowly phasing out a paid fire department.

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    2. TFoTM has learned that the most recent hiring in the Westfield Police Department is allegedly the son of retired Westfield police chief Bernard Tracy's wife's coworker. The Linden connection continues.

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  6. Why did they apply for the grant then? Did they know it would get rejected, either way theres something shady going on they apply for a grant for more firefighters but there plan is to go all volunteer. Doesn't make sense to me and with the amount of taxes I pay on my house in Westfield which is over 15k a year I want a paid department there 24/7

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    1. The grant the town applied for was for departments that had lost manpower through layoffs. Being that the WFD did not experience layoffs but saw a reduction in manpower through attrition, the appropriate question would be, why did the town submit a grant application under the category covering layoffs? Was it to guarantee no grant money meaning no new hires which leads to less manpower and a move towards a volunteer department through future attrition?

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  7. So why buy a new fire truck that they won't be able to take out of the station because they don't have enough firefighters to operate it?

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    1. The the purchase of the new ladder truck is to replace the one that was totaled in an accident last year. Although the fire department's initial response to a fire scene with the ladder truck may indicate there is sufficient manpower to operate it, this is not the case. The ladder truck has responded in the past and sat impotent until enough firefighters, whether they be Westfield volunteers or mutual aid from neighboring towns, arrive on the scene. In the past two years, Cranford, Springfield, and other towns have had their ladder trucks fighting fires in Westfield because Westfield's initial manpower response lacked the minimum number of firefighters to dispatch their own ladder truck. Due to the fact that a fire doubles in size every minute without fire fighting measures being taken, a ladder truck having to respond from a neighboring town delays the initial response and allows a fire to spread faster.

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  8. Why in a town which continually touts it's great "volunteer spirit" do we have almost no volunteer firefighters? I heard that the department is apparently very selective concerning volunteers, going so far as going to court to prevent an interested person from volunteering. I also was told that qualifications and experience are no where as important as who your father is and his relation is to the department. Shouldn't we be encouraging people to volunteer instead of outright rejecting them? This seems like basic common sense in this economy.

    I didn't move here for local politics/ nepotism to determine how SAFE I am!!

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    1. A claim against the town was made by William McMeekan Jr who was seeking to become a volunteer firefighter. The Town of Westfield allegedly spent thousands defending town administrator Jim Gildea's and fire department official's actions with regards to the McMeekan issue.

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    2. http://www.goleader.com/09may07/09may07.pdf

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  9. I believe that this volunteer segment of the department is meant primarily as a training/proving period for those who aspire to become paid firefighters. The majority of those who volunteer are on track for a paid job--not volunteering just to help out as in true volunteer departments. That is why you need to know someone to become a volunteer. Genetics also helps alot if one wants to become a Westfield fireman---just look at the names.

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    1. Why would we want volunteers they would work for free. Not professional have to be paid for to be professional

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  10. The Leader article cited above states that legal costs were covered by the Suburban Joint Insurance Fund of which Westfield is a member. If this is true then whoever alleges that Westfield spend thousands defending the case is incorrect.

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    1. Legal costs at trial may have been paid for at trial by the JIF. However, you would be mistaken if you believe that 100% of the costs associated with the defense of the Town's position on this matter was paid for by the JIF. Employee salaries and other expenditures other than JIF legal defense money was paid for by Westfield tax dollars. Westfield tax dollars also pay for the association with the JIF.

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  11. Somehow I don't think an all volunteer department can handle a towns size like Westfield being the lack of volunteers they have and the number that actually respond especially during the day when all younger people work and i believe thats why there are young volunteers in hopes of getting hired otherwise there would probably be even fewer. Look at surrounding towns size like Garwood, fanwood etc. From what I hear they can't get a crew half the time who in Westfield wants to wait even longer for an emergency response especially during storms when everyone wants help immediately? Like they say better to be prepared and have more guys than get caught in a pickle.

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  12. I agree a paid department is preferable. But a firefighter who is trained and capable, wether paid or volunteer should not be turned away when more firefighters are needed. I don't understand the logic of claiming that we need more firefighters when we not only turn away volunteers, but go as far as superior court to prevent someone from volunteering. How could our fire department expect to get a grant or convince the council that we need more paid firefighters when they are willing to spend considerable resources to keep someone away who will do the job for FREE?

    How about if they allowed that guy to volunteer and used the money they spent on legal fees to instead hire a couple more paid firefighters? Seems like a really simple win-win to me. Do they really not know the basics of how to operate a business or a department?

    I checked the town code. All volunteers and paid firefighters can only join if our town administrator approves them to do so. The logic of our town officials escapes me. We either need more firefighters or we don't. This incompetence would be funny if it wasn't in the area of public safety. Someone could very realisticly die because of this unquestionable stupidity

    Our firefighters have to stand around at a fire until there are enough firefighters there to go into action. maybe they should be encouraging us to volunteer. Maybe they should seek volunteers. Maybe the court room isn't the best place to deal with someone willing to volunteer in a very dangerous activity.

    Whatever they do if, they are short a single firefighter and my house is on fire (God forbid) and they can't act because they have some system to actively prevent firefighters from volunteering then I think we should look at the often stated suggestion of replacing a paid department that doesn't work with a volunteer one that does.
    After all, as just a local resident, even I have seen both Mountainside and Scotch Plains ladder trucks in use over the years and I don't think either of those departments have ever been paid. No one is going to council meetings in those two towns to say they don't have enough firefighters. On both their websites they are actually seeking volunteers to join their departments, yet in Westfield we turn volunteers away. No where on any Town website does our fire department or our town officials advertise for volunteers.

    We don't seek volunteers and actually turn away those who do want to volunteer. Great policy. How can they think there is any chance of getting more paid firefighters here until they at least make the effort of looking like they actually want firefighters and not just lifetime employment for a few more family members?

    Those advocating for more firefighters have one thing right: We are not safe. But if the fire department won't even take the basic steps other towns do to try to increase safety, how can they expect the council and those who award grants to give them money? How can they expect our citizens to support them when they claim one thing, but work pretty hard (and spend our money) to prevent the increase in manpower they claim to be seeking?

    I for one can't support a department where there is no actual effort made to increase our safety beyond asking for more money. Scotch Plains, Mountainside and Garwood have never suffered the volume of fire loses we have in the past year. If that doesn't indicate that some changes need to be made here-- changes that don't involve more money -- then nothing does.

    I bet if Chief Kelly or Deputy Chief Kelly (is there an echo here?) were standing outside as their homes burned, but couldn't send their men into the fire because they turn away volunteers that could have a positive impact on fighting a fire, then this policy would change right quick.

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  13. Could it be that the town didn't want McMeekan as a volunteer because he scored the highest on the test and if they allowed him to volunteer they would have had to hire him over the sons of other firemen that were waiting to become paid fireman?

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  14. What I love the most about this site is that it has it's finger on the pulse of the political shenanigans that go on in town government. Keep up the great work Greg.

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  15. Could the unions be behind the turning down of volunteers? I don't think they would be inclined to accept or promote the usage of volunteers when they could fight for a paid fireman who would likely be a union member and dues payer.

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    1. The amount of dues paid by a union member are not significant enough for them to block a volunteer from serving the community. However, if the union feels threatened by the number of volunteers willing to show up at a fire, proving the Town could sustain firefighting capabilities acceptable to minimum standards, the union might feel threatened that their livelihood down the road could be in jeopardy. TFoTM believes the Town has reduced the staffing level at the fire department not only as a cost saving measure but also as a move towards increasing the number of volunteers over time. Even with the most junior member of the fire department continuing to serve as a paid firefighter until retirement, it would be at least another 15 to 17 years before a paid fire department is phased out through attrition and a volunteer department takes its place over that time period.

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  16. So then how are they going to man the new ladder truck without enough guys?

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  17. I don't think the firefighters themselves have any say over who becomes a volunteer or not. I believe they would probably welcome any assistance they can get.

    It is the fire department administration and the town administrator that make all decisions concerning volunteers. Why they have worked to curtail the volunteer numbers while also not hiring paid firefighters is a mystery.

    The fact that our council did not step in and address this public safety concern is less of a mystery. They have shone again and again that public safety is very low on their list of concerns.

    Reduce the volunteer force and refuse to hire any paid firefighters. Very professional and genuine show of concern by our elected officials.

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