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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Westfield Town Council Meeting: "Let's Go To The Videotape"

Mayor Andy Skibitsky
     Tuesday night’s Westfield Town Council meeting took place one week after its last public meeting.  Typically these meetings are a minimum of two weeks, sometimes three, apart.  Last night’s meeting gave council members and Mayor Skibitsky less time to respond to a resident’s request that Mayor Skibitsky join Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  Skibitsky came prepared with a resolution stating he would join other mayors in their opposition to gun violence. 
     The verbiage of the resolution, read by Skibitsky, carefully sidestepped the previous request for Mayor Skibitsky to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  It was a “consolation” prize for the grass roots effort of NJ Residents for Action led by Westfield resident Karen Egert. 
     While Egert thanked Skibitsky and town council members for passing the resolution, Westfield Councilman David Haas stopped short of voting in favor of it.  He explained that he would abstain from voting so as not to give the impression he was against the resolution if he voted no.  Go to to see Councilman Haas’ statement made prior to the resolution vote.
     Mayor Skibitsky’s “olive branch” extended to members of NJ Residents for Action is attached to a tree of political rhetoric.  He ignored, evaded, and avoided the request for him to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
     After members of NJ Residents for Action were through addressing the town council, Mayor Skibitsky was asked a question regarding the authority of civilian crossing guards directing traffic in the absence of students crossing the street at school crossings in Westfield.  Mayor Skibitsky remained silent.  As usual, Mayor Skibitsky ignored the question. 
     Westfield Town Attorney Russell Finestein came to Mayor Skibitsky’s rescue and provided an answer to the questions asked.  Finestein stopped short of naming who in Westfield has authorized civilian crossing guards to direct motorists through STOP signs in the absence of children crossing the street. 
     After providing two state statutes, one (40A:9-154.4) giving the chief of police the right to position school crossing guards on any street or highway in the municipality, and another (39:4-80.1) outlining the penalty for not complying with a school crossing guards signal to stop, Finestein was asked about state statute 39:4-144 which governs STOP and YIELD sign compliance.  The statute also states that only officers have the authority to signal motorists through a STOP sign. 
     Seemingly caught off guard, Finestein had no response.  Reminded that the Title 39 statute he provided (39:4-80.1) outlines penalty’s for motorists that don’t stop for a crossing guards signal to stop, he was told that statute 39:4-144 gives authority to officers, only, to direct motorists through STOP signs.  TFoTM thanks Russell Finestein for the information he provided; information that was requested over a year ago from town officials that include the police chief, and the police departments traffic safety officer Sgt. Jason McErlean.  Mayor Skibitsky’s excellent track record of ignoring, evading, and avoiding has permeated the police department. 
Jim Gildea
     Right on cue, with an obvious attempt to ignore, evade, and avoid the question of civilian crossing guards directing motorists through STOP signs in violation of Title 39 Motor Vehicle statute, Skibitsky went on the attack at the close of the meeting. 
     Instead of answering the questions put forth to him, he accused his critic of secretly videotaping crossing guards and possibly children and that he had received complaints about it.  This comes one week after his Town Administrator Jim Gildea stated the videotaping of school crossing guards and crossing children was interfering with the guards doing their jobs.  Videos of civilian crossing guards directing traffic with no students present have been posted here at The Fact of The Matter. 
     So TFoTM asks…….How does one secretly interfere with a crossing guard directing traffic?  Or, how does one interfere with a crossing guard directing traffic while secretly videotaping the crossing guard from a distance? 
     Mayor Skibitsky, Mr. Gildea, please explain…………….or maybe you both can defer to your town attorney.  Either way, please do get your stories straight.
     The use of video on this site is to provide proof of an alleged action that Mayor Skibitsky and Admin. Jim Gildea would most likely deny happened in the absence of such video and given only a verbal eyewitness account.  Simply put, they can attack and question the credibility of the source bringing forth the information as a way to ignore, evade, and avoid the issue.  In this case, and in the words of sportscaster Warner William Wolf……”Let’s go to the videotape.”          


  1. Hey Greg--

    What time are you stopping by Bagel Chateau on Feb 16th to sign Skibitsky's petition to be on the ballot in November?

    1. 11:01 am. Just in time for him to sign mine.

    2. Hey Lauren-
      Slow news week this week? "Only" getting 275 votes as an Independent, c'mon you can do better than that. And the word "former" is getting old. Switch it up now and then. Kind of like referring to you as a "former" editor or "former rescue squad member."

  2. There is only one person on the town council in Westfield who always answers questions posed to him and who is not a mere hand puppet of mayor Skibitsky, and that person is councilman David Haas. I certainly hope he considers running against Skibitsky in November. He would make a fine mayor. Unfortunately the republican machine in our town is very strong, how do you think LoGrippo got elected, It was the amount of lawn signs that won him his seat, What a qualification. Can't wait to see the ever important political Westfield residents such as Kean and Bramnick come out to get their guy re re elected.

  3. The town would be better off with Mayor McCheese............

  4. I am the the founder of this grassroots group, New Jersey Residetns For Action asking the Mayor to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns--Karen Egert
    Since that town council meeting when he started out by saying how we need to be "respectful" of eachother, he wrote a disgusting letter to the editor with horrible character assassinations of David Haas simply because David urged him to join onto Mayors Against Illegal Guns, like every other town around here>
    Our Mayor is a rude, arrogant bully who doesn't have a brain to speak so he has to insult like a fifth grader. My kids never spoke THAT WAY TO ANYONE WHEN THEY WERE IN FIFTH GRADE.
    He insults residents -- and it is really disgusting. I was nice and respectful to him at the Town Council meeting when I said that his letter in the Leader( alias CPAC) was a character assassination of David Haas and was " unbecoming" of a Mayor.
    He still managed to snap back at me the first chance he got.
    He is a childish , immature , rude and boorish person -- and this is who we have as Mayor??
    Its s time for him to go!! David Haas for Mayor !!!