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Thinking Of You

With Police Chief Kugler away, far far away in Santo Domingo, doing his thing saying it is "an official visit to forge ties and build a networking relationship with the Dominican Republic National Police and the Dominican community in our area," Mayor White has been left alone at the throne. 

Feeling his plight, I couldn't help but think of this song: 


An Apology Is In Order


If you happen to watch the October Council meeting on TV or YouTube, you would have noticed that I appeared at the podium to make a comment. Seeing as I follow Saddle Brook politics quite closely, my annoyance with self-serving inaccuracies constantly being expressed at the podium, got the better of me that particular evening.

I have never before stood up and spoken out at the podium on the subject of Saddle Brook politics, before that evening. In the past I always reserved my opinions when speaking at a meeting, to Saddle Brook Community Television. A subject which is very near and dear to my heart as I created it as a community based activity, and was very dismayed when residents were removed from that equation. The only other occasions when I ever spoke at a meeting, was to support Police Chief Kugler when he wanted to persuade the council to allow him to proceed with his “Chief’s Chat” initiative.

When it comes to Saddle Brook politics, I have always left my opinions to this blog. In retrospect, I sincerely believe I overstepped my bounds by voicing any political opinions at a council meeting.

After I spoke, Mr. Howie Rofofsky, the Vice President of the Saddle Brook Democrat Club, and an employee of the Township (just got himself a new job, BTW), came to the podium and voiced his concern, in a form of a question to me, which I refused to answer so as to follow the rules of the meeting. In truth, it was an often asked yet immaterial question, always used when someone can’t come up with an argument against what I may have said. The place to answer his question is here, not at a meeting.

Yes Howie, I do live in Fair Lawn and yes, I do pay as much attention to Fair Lawn as Saddle Brook. The difference between the two is that working in Saddle Brook for 30 years has allowed me to personally get to know Saddle Brook’s past mayor’s, council people, police chief’s, deputy police chief’s, engineers, attorneys, and the like. Over those many years I have seen the ins and outs of township politics more closely than most. I have not had that level of experience with the politics of Fair Lawn. So, do I believe I know a thing or two about the people I share opinions about?  Yes I do.

To say no one can voice an opinion about Saddle Brook unless they live in Saddle Brook, is, by its very nature, hiding the fact nothing can be said to refute what I claim.  Newspaper editorials are not only written by men or women who live in the community they are editorializing about.

Mr. Rofofsky, I realize you feel a responsibility, a duty, to support your club president, Larry Ratajczak, and I respect that. And to be totally honest, you have made me realize that there is a place for everything. Speaking politics at a Saddle Brook council meeting is really not the proper place for me. There is no legitimate reason people should be forced and have to tolerate listening to me. That is what my blog is for. If people don’t want to hear my opinion then they simply never have to visit here. You have my sincere promise it will never happen again. 


Halloween Party

In case you are wondering what the former mayor is doing for Halloween, she has decided to come to the Township party in style.

Just a joke folks! Don't get all bent out of shape!!



No Comment

No comment should have been the only comment made by the Chief of Police when questioned by a reporter of The Record Newspaper.

In The Record article written by JOHN SEASLY, STAFF WRITER, THE RECORD on October 1st, titled “Saddle Brook mayor issues executive order: No hiring of relatives for municipal post”. Police Chief Robert Kugler commented to the newspaper via email that “he was opposed to the Police Department's inclusion in the executive order, as he was with the council's proposed anti-nepotism ordinances.

"My opinion has always been that if a candidate competes in a state-sponsored written exam and ranks accordingly, he or she should not be excluded from the opportunity they seek. It's basically discriminatory and just plain wrong!"

This is now the second time in three months the chief as publicly excoriated his superiors. The duties and responsibilities of the mayor and council of the Township of Saddle Brook are to make policies while the police chief’s duties and responsibilities are only to carry out those policies. No subordinate has the right to publicly question or ridicule their superiors. I wonder how the chief would like it if one of his Patrolmen, Sergeant’s, Lieutenants, or Captains, decided they didn’t like one of his policies and then publicly denounce it. If that did happen, that officer would immediately be brought up on charges of insubordination with the appropriate punishment brought to bear.

Once again tonight’s Council meeting (Thursday) was forced to face the ongoing issue of anti-nepotism. The mayor, along with two council people (Cimiluca & D'Arminio) explained their positions adequately and intelligently with the mayor further explaining his decision to issue an Executive Order on this subject.

Whether the mayor changed his position for political reason and therefore seemingly deciding against his former boss the police chief, can only be speculated upon. But in my opinion, the most the police chief should have said would have been something to the effect of: Though I have reservations with their decision, I will enforce any and all laws or directives mandated.

I would think some fly on a wall somewhere on Market Street will be listening to a severe dressing down by the now number one toward the old number one. At least I hope so, for no other reason than because the rules apply to everyone and no better way to keep order.

The township’s dirty laundry should stay in the bowels and be dealt with appropriately. There is a reason for a hierarchical system, a rank and file, a system of order, in both a paramilitary organization (a police department), and a Government. Everyone has their place within this order and absolutely no one should be able to overstep that line.

For those wanting or having a need to make me a whipping boy, I have no personal desire to make Chief Kugler look bad. He is human, he makes mistakes as we all do. This was one of them. 

It was a very interesting council meeting last night. Even I myself, got a feeble and old-news dressing down. More to come here and on your local TV soon. 


Concede Without Conceding  

Seems whenever I write in a post that a meeting will probably be boring, it turns out to be the exact opposite. In my previous post I said: “Since there is no mention on their official agenda of reintroducing or further discussing the anti-nepotism ordinance, I don’t expect much of any fireworks”. Well, there wasn’t fireworks, but the subject was broached in a way that was not expected.

I should mention that several issues were discussed that were both interesting and had substance. One issue didn’t and seemed nothing more than making a mountain out of a molehill, wasting everyone’s time. I won’t bother discussing it here and waste yours, (Library fines).

Anti-nepotism took center stage in a way that is hard to define. The mayor reversed himself, but not really, but it could be said that way, but that could be misleading. In other words, %$#@ confusing! Another way to say it might be: he was for it before he was against it, but is now for it again!  

Mayor White announced that he will issue Executive Order 15-1 which essentially spells out what the original proposed anti-nepotism ordinance stated. This order would cover not only the mayor and elected officials, but all department heads as well, which was a bone of contention when the council was trying to enact an ordinance originally.  

I commend the mayor for finally seeing the light and reversing course. Of course the mayor wouldn’t agree with my assessment of “reversing course” and would argue that this was always his intention. Mayor White was quoted in The Record Newspaper in which he stated at the August council meeting: "I'm the one that does the hiring. I'm telling you right now, I'm not doing the hiring of any relatives of any council person" or of his own relatives, he said at the meeting. “I'm going to hold myself accountable to that," White said. By invoking an Executive Order, apparently White is following through with his stated intention.

However past written and verbal statements by the mayor on this subject can’t be denied. The mayor has stated on several occasions that including the police department in an anti-nepotism ordinance might be ‘troublesome’ and indicated it might be something to look into “down the road”.

In a May 19th Op-ed article written by White in The Record, the mayor wrote: “I have every intention of reintroducing the ordinance I originally intended — one restricting hiring of relatives of the mayor and council, an ordinance mirroring the state's law for school boards. Whether we ultimately look to expand this to department heads is a discussion much further down the road, when we can analyze the success of the limited ordinance.”

The only thing that has been clear regarding the mayor’s intentions up to this point was that he was being unclear. That has now changed.

The “Concede without Conceding” however is not necessarily why he went round in circles before committing to clarity of purpose, but the very unusual move of invoking an Executive Order. The reason may be as simple as “politics!”

The mayor has every right to executive orders, he is the executive branch of the government. But since executive orders are not ‘usual and customary” occurrences in the governing of Saddle Brook, it seems only prudent that we sit back a moment and consider the weight those orders hold.

Invoking executive orders should not be taken lightly. It would become a dangerous precedent to overuse this executive power. The mayor is the executive branch while the council is the legislative branch. Not unlike the problem we see within the Federal Government right now, taken to extremes, this undertaking, when involving major working of the government, can become unwieldly at worst. This is not to say the mayor is unreasonable here, but whenever possible, and then only with lesser important functions of government, should the executive branch impose its powers over the legislative branch.   

In this particular case, a simple but concise way of explaining it might be, the executive order which the mayor invoked, has no real need to be written because it amounts to writing a rule of which he already has the right to enforce even if not written. He in the ONLY appointing authority and therefore he can do what he pleases anyway. If he is so inclined as to follow his own rule, then all he has to do is follow it. It’s his call and entirely up to him and him alone. Really no different than being on a diet and announcing that you will no longer eat 4 cookies every night before going to sleep. It’s up to you if you follow your own rule or not. The mayor’s executive order is no different. This executive order holds no weight when compared to an ordinance. It can be rescinded at any time by Mayor White or any subsequent new mayor. An ordinance is a law that must be followed.

When I asked the mayor at the caucus meeting what penalty would be invoked for non-compliance with his Executive Order, he replied: “I’d look like an ass”. Though that would definitely be true, my counter argument might be that it would also be possible to give a persuasive argument as to a justification for not following his own order in a particular case. He’d have no wiggle room with an ordinance.   

The minority council, namely Councilwoman D’Arminio and Councilman Cimiluca, were absolute sticklers when it came to including all departments, and more notably the police department, within the anti-nepotism ordinance. And as we all know, White, D’Arminio, and Accomando, campaigned on creating an anti-nepotism law. After Accomando reneged on his campaign promise and Mazzer and Camilleri followed suit, the ordinance was voted down. The mayor’s flip flopping with his own campaign promise has political ramifications I’m sure. Changing his decision now may be nothing more than looking like the savior. Politics.

In a way not easily seen, the minority council forced the mayor’s hand and in effect, got what they wanted. The only thing left to do is make it real by making it an ordinance as Mr. Cimiluca rightfully suggested at the caucus meeting. Give the law teeth and be done with it. I didn’t hear any other councilperson objecting to the mayor’s order so conforming it into a law should no longer be stymied. With Mazzer and Camilleri running for office again, I would think they wouldn’t want to once again go against the grain, and vote this down. Seems that one way or the other nepotism will be short lived within Saddle Brook.

The mayor made a smart political move, in effect, to concede without conceding. As my graphic board aptly states, power conceded nothing until a minority demanded something, making "looking good" the bottom line!


Caucus / Council Meetings

Don’t forget, another month of fun and games at Townhall. Tomorrow night, September 29th, is the monthly Council Caucus meeting. Then Thursday, October 1st, their monthly Council meeting.

Since there is no mention on their official agenda of reintroducing or further discussing the anti-nepotism ordinance, I don’t expect much of any fireworks.

It is hard to garner any meaningful information from the posted agenda on the Township’s website since their major talking points are all stated as “see attached” but there is never anything attached on the website. So, unless you are there and able to read each and every correspondence, you are not going to know what the hell is actually being discussed.

Caucus meetings are where the sausage is made but they are never taped or broadcast. Council meetings are of course taped and broadcast where you learn nothing from the mayor or council but are privy to the likes of Larry Ratajczak and Omar Rodriquez’s monthly seminars.

Thursday, at the regular council meeting, you’ll get to enjoy the RECOGNITION OF ITALIAN HERITAGE AND CULTURE MONTH/UNICO. I assume there will be awards for being Italian and maybe some free meatballs afterwards.

Read Official Agenda here



New district logo of schools in Saddle Brook

“As we have reestablished our vision over the last two years, we were looking to create a district logo that symbolizes the mission and speaks to educational excellence," said Superintendent Dr. Richard Katz 

I find it odd that the new Saddle Brook District Logo seems eerily similar to the superintendent’s new place of employment. I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg on the face