I was appalled at the juvenile conduct of the minority members of the council, who took every opportunity to distract, demean and misdirect everyone present, including their constituents. They bemoaned their loss at the polls for almost four of the more than five hour meeting on Jan. 17, while berating the current council president for everything wrong in the township. Their demeanor, attitude and conduct shows what is ineffectual about partisan government, as it prevents any and all discourse that might benefit the public interest. Rabid dogs would be easier to control.
I will congratulate both individuals, however, as their conduct at the second meeting on Jan. 24 improved somewhat, although they did seize control of the meeting to spend an unnecessary amount of time uselessly and hostilely advocating for reinstatement of the predecessor solicitor. Despite the alleged training and professional licensure of both minority members, only Tom Carocci participated in the process to hire a new solicitor, asking cogent and well-researched questions that actually produced information about the candidate’s qualification. However, the diversion by both minority members into the subject of who knew who when appeared to be an attempt to create an illusion of partisanship on the part of the majority, despite the majority’s obvious and successful efforts to find a qualified and skilled person for the job.
I also want to commend (councilwoman) Victoria Opthof-Cordaro for being the voice of reason in the storm.
As a spectator to these proceedings over the last three years, it is disheartening to realize that the past misbehavior and misdirection of these former majority, now minority council members will continue for the foreseeable future, until or unless enforceable rules of conduct are adopted and enforced. We need the speech equivalent of enforceable speed limits and stop signs in these meetings. And yet even the adoption of rules of conduct may be interpreted as partisan, based on some of the comments by constituents on Jan. 24. Please remember that without rules and order enforced uniformly, none of us will be heard. The bullies will take over, and more moderate views will shut down.
I want to be clear. Legislative proceedings are intended to be routine action by the elected few to the benefit of all, and are not intended to be entertaining or vituperative. None of us should expect, let alone accept, disrespectful grandstanding BY ANYONE in the council chambers. Our form of government, although not perfect, balances an individual’s rights against the public welfare. All should be heard to speak their own truth. There is no license, and no legal right that allows any elected official, regardless of party or profession, to hijack an agenda, to bully other council members or to spread disrespect, calumny, conspiracy theories and lies.
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