At its meeting convened on Feb. 4, 2009, the local Democratic Committee nominated George Heflich, Robert Zych and myself to fill the vacated council seat in the 1st ward due to Richard Kane’s resignation. On Friday, Feb. 6th, the entire governing body was notified of these nominations and that a vote would be taken prior to the meeting of the Town Council on Tuesday, Feb. 10. At 4:30 p.m. on the 10th, Mayor Elwell, Council members, Town Administrator David Drumeler, Robert Zych and I gathered in the town hall chambers (George Heflich not being present). At this time something very disturbing took place. Independent Councilmen Gary Jeffas, Michael Gonnelli and John Bueckner through Mr. Drumeler informed Robert Zych and me that a vote would not be taken and that interviews must and would be conducted on February 24th.
Now, in 2004, then Councilman Chris Marra resigned effective Dec. 31, 2004, and Richard Kane was chosen by vote of the council to fill Marra’s vacant seat four days later without the council’s need to interview Mr. Kane or any other nominees. This turn of events raises the question as to why such an interview is required on this occasion by the three Independent members of the council. Councilman Gonnelli and Councilman Bueckner have been especially well acquainted with me and my views over many years. They were keenly aware of my ongoing crusade during the late ‘90’s when, incidentally, Mr. Gonnelli was DPW superintendent, to have the contamination of the Keystone property remedied. In Councilman Gonnelli’s statement he read at the council meeting on Jan. 27, 2009, that he does not want to have the 2nd ward without representation, yet he feels that it is reasonable to have the 1st ward without full representation until these interviews are conducted and reviewed. As to Councilman Bueckner, he supported me in my campaign to win a council seat in 2000 (as the Feb. 11, 2009, issue of the Secaucus Home News can attest) when he was well aware of my efforts to help bring about the clean-up. Furthermore, he was a council member in January 2005 when Kane was nominated to fill Chris Marra’s vacated seat, and there was no mention of an interview request at the time. In addition, when Robert Kickey was chosen to fill the vacated seat held by Dennis Elwell, when he was elected mayor in 1999, no request for a similar interview was made. Councilman Jeffas has been a resident of the 1st ward since some time in the late 1990’s, and to this date still resides five blocks from the Keystone clean-up site, and he received several flyers stating my views during my 2000 campaign.
In light of theses facts, I want to stress the fact that this delay in voting to fill this vacant seat is nothing less than an insult to the residents of the 1st ward and the Town as a whole to say nothing of the unfairness being done to them. This is the kind of political manipulation that has no place in a progressive community like Secaucus. I urge the Independent councilmen to abandon this sham. It is unworthy of you!
Democratic Committee Nominee