Martin Schwartz

There was much more “politics” behind the scenes than it appeared within the library vs. council imbroglio this week. Those on the Township Council with fiscal or budgetary concerns about the library operations did not handle their process well at all — and were stopped by a slim council majority who felt the knee-jerk and heavy-handed responses proposed, to take-over the library effectively, were based even on misguided audit information. 

However, the real “failure” here was an unwillingness to be transparent (Councilmen Bill Hurlock and David Cummings as well as Mayor Sean Spiller, with the township manager and the fiscal consultant, Bob Benecke, as their front).

If elected officials have real fiscal oversight concerns, they need to be fully outed and confronted in a public hearing openly first, when taxpayer funds are involved.

The municipal culture we have still, unfortunately, is to try and cover-up dirty laundry, then freak out after when it’s not cleaned or addressed — rather than fully expose or deal with issues when they first appear, letting chips fall where they may if there’s a problem. That’s regardless of who is at personal fault. This, in my opinion, is frequently why our politics sometimes run up to the edge of the precipice — only to hear BS covering rhetoric after that it was all a “misunderstanding.”

Not so. The reason for a down-to-the-wire library vs. township confrontation at this week’s council meeting, was because underlying concerns — right or wrong — were not handled openly from the start for the public and press to see, until now.

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Martin Schwartz
Montclair


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