Vote them out

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    To the Editor: The Republicans on the West Milford Council have had more than three strikes, and in November we should vote them out of office. Republican Carmelo Scangarello is running for re-election, and Republican Paul Bailey decided not to run again. The council Republicans have accomplished little positive during their past two years as the council majority. However, they have scored many negative strikes. They vote as a group on almost all resolutions and ordinances. For about a year, their votes were generally unanimous with almost no public discussion on any matter. Then a Democrat discovered that they were having illegal private meetings before public council meetings, in violation of the NJ Fulkner Act. A photograph of a back-room meeting, including Scangarello, provided legal evidence for the violations of the NJ Open Meetings Act, and the matter went to the NJ State ethics board. Fortunately, the land-slide victory of Democrats James Warden and Bob Nolan put an end to those illegal pre-meetings. Over the past two years, the council Republicans, including Scangarello, have supported the township clerk in illegally refusing to give residents and news reporters copies of public documents. The Republican councilmen have, as of now, voted to pay over $80,000 of our property taxes for the legal defense of the clerk’s numerous violations of the NJ Open Public Records Act. Democratic Councilmen Nolan and Warden requested that these OPRA violations, and their costly defense, be discontinued. But, the Republicans, including Scangarello, continued to defend WM’s illegalities. The Republican councilmen, including Scangarello, hired William DeMarco, a criminal attorney, with no municipal law experience, and who gave handsome donations to NJ Republican candidates. During council meetings DeMarco initiated numerous shouting sprees at both township residents in the audience and Democratic councilmen on the dais. These often accompanied DeMarco’s advocacy of legally problematic positions. During a council executive session, DeMarco shoved Democratic Councilman Nolan into the wall, following Nolan’s comments about Republican moves to pay a second attorney, Arthur Timins, without proper administrative procedures or the WM Treasurer’s certification that the money was available to be encumbered. Nolan filed assault charges, DeMarco resigned, and the court hearing will occur soon. The Republicans, including Scangarello, hired Timins who did not disclose his attorney ethics history, as mandated by townshi law. After several months, Timins, the Republican Club Treasurer, and a donor to the Republican Council campaign, was fired by council vote for violating the legal ethics disclosure uMarino and Andy Gargano, the Democratic Council candidates for the upcoming election, requested that the council enact a “Pay to Play” ordinance, whereby political donors cannot be hired to well-paying township positions. After the ordinance was proposed, the Republican councilmen, including Scangarello, rejected that ordinance. I ask that WM voters join me in November to vote for the two ethical Democratic council candidates, Paul Marino and Andy Gargano. They will provide thoughtful leadership for our township. Doris Aaronson West Milford