On March 18th, Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky, once again, refused to answer simple questions regarding the use of the police department's mobile command center outside the town's borders. Specifically, Skibitsky was asked why the mobile command center was being transported and operated, at taxpayer expense, in the cities of Hoboken and Philadelphia.
Skibitsky also refused to answer a question regarding the connection between Westfield and Hoboken where disgraced Westfield parking director John Morgan served/serves as the supervisor of the parking authority.
Morgan, an auxiliary police officer, aka "police special," has ties to Skibitsky's administration and is one of Skibitsky's political appointees to a mayoral committee.
Mayor Skibitsky diverted from answering the public by recommending that an OPRA request be filed with the Westfield Town Clerk seeking the answers. All this, from a Mayor that preaches transparency in his administration.
Mayor Skibitsky has become known to "clam up" when the answer might reveal mismanagement and wasteful spending. He never hesitates to address issues and answer the questions that make him look good in the eyes of the taxpayer. He often touts his fiscal responsibility by claiming to do "more with less." Example: he continues to brag about reducing the municipal payroll to levels seen in 2006 while forgetting to remind the residents that he has cut public service employees by more than 20%. Today, Westfield employs 20% less police officers and firemen than in 2006. These are cuts to public safety that Westfield can't afford. Hours of operation of departments within the police department have been cut making it more difficult to obtain reports, permits, and other law enforcement related information. Overtime is necessary to cover police shifts once manned by full time officers.
Not to be left alone to answer the questions, councilman Frank Arena offered his 2 cents. This is the same guy who proclaims during election years that the town needs to get more "bang for its buck" when it comes to county services but then justifies the spending of nearly $300,000 of Westfield tax dollars on a mobile command center that has been used out of town more than within the borders of Westfield.
While Skibitsky remained silent, Arena chimed in with two words. In fact, he said, "two words, shared services." This was his reasoning behind allowing the use of Westfield's mobile command center in Hoboken and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
TFoTM has two words for Councilman Arena, "Nice try."
An OPRA request was filed seeking the Shared Services Agreement between Hoboken and Westfield as well as the agreement between Philadelphia and Westfield. TFoTM received an answer from the Westfield Town Clerk yesterday.........there are no Shared Service Agreements between Westfield and any other town regarding the usage of the police department's mobile command center.
Shared Service Agreements are official documents signed by each town's Mayor and other officials and then logged with the State of NJ.
REPEAT: Westfield has no such documents detailing the use of Westfield's mobile command center outside of Westfield.
When presented with these facts at the last town council meeting on Tuesday night (two days ago) Skibitsky deflected from the facts by claiming some conspiracy theory was being presented to him.
TFoTM suggests that Mayor Skibitsky stick to the facts presented and answer fact based questions instead of diverting to his age old game of "Shoot the Messenger."
The mobile command center world tour continued last week with the disappearance of Captain Battiloro and Chief Wayman to parts unknown to the Westfield taxpayer but not to TFoTM.
This site is a free service for communication, self-expression and freedom of speech. We believe this site increases the availability of information, encourages healthy debate, and makes possible new connections between people.
While reporting on topics, we will ask the questions some newspapers don't. We will print the questions that some newspapers won't.
All sources of information are confidential.
Email The Fact of The Matter at:
Email The Fact of The Matter at: