Update on the high school intersection temporary bonding issue

 

We can thank many people for getting the first reading of the temporary bonding ordinance completed.  The mayor is not one of them, however.

Thank you to Council President Pryor and the Council majority for pushing forward on the temporary bonding ordinance.  As Council President Pryor mentioned during the meeting of 2/18/2016 several times, we are the project leaders and this item is a critical path item.  And, this ordinance does not commit Lopatcong to actually borrow money without assurances that all funding sources are in place.

Thank you to Engineer Sterbenz for his presentation to council, which gave supporting facts to Council President’s Pryor assertion that this is a critical path item.  If construction starts in April, the intersection should be complete by mid-August.  It’s already a very tight timeline.  We do not have the luxury of playing politics or neglecting to do our duty to protect the residents, especially the hundreds of teen-aged drivers, who will be passing through that intersection.

Thank you to Attorney Campbell for attempting to explain to McKay why Phillipsburg did not send their $100,000 check to us yet.  Under the agreement, which McKay signed, it states that the land acquisition costs for Phillipsburg are to be paid out of that initial $100,000 sum.  Phillipsburg estimates those costs will total around $40,000 to $50,000.  In a perfect world, Phillipsburg could have given Lopatcong the $100,000 and had Lopatcong deal with the real estate transactions for Phillipsburg, but they are choosing to handle it themselves.  With the way Lopatcong is being managed by McKay, we certainly cannot argue with them on that!

Mayor Ellis has also explained this matter in his recent Express Times article:

Phillipsburg says it’s good on money for new school’s road project

It is clear that McKay does not understand the inter-local agreement that he signed or any of the moving parts of this project.   

You deserve a better leader than that, Lopatcong.

Mayor Wants Taxpayers to Pay His Attorney Fees

Yes, you read that correctly.  McKay is currently suing our council, our clerk and our attorneys.  Just recently, the judge denied his request for a temporary restraining order and has allowed our current attorneys to remain as our attorneys, citing “well-settled” law.

Judge rejects Mayor’s change of attorney

Regardless of that decision, McKay added an item to the February 18, 2016 meeting agenda at the last minute:

AgendaItem2182016

February 18, 2016 Meeting Agenda

But that’s not all. When it came time to approve hiring legal counsel for our council and clerk, as is mandated by our Chapter 16 Defense and Indemnification Code, the mayor tried to sneak his item through by saying he wanted to vote on all three items as one.

Not so fast, McKay!  Luckily the council is fully aware that you cannot have the township pay for your legal fees under Chapter 16 if YOU are the one SUING the township!

Chapter 16 of the Township Code

We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried.

Mayor’s Confusion Jeopardizes Opening of High School

After signing an Inter-local Services Agreement with Phillipsburg and the Phillipsburg Board of Education (PBOE) to serve as the lead agency in upgrading the entrance to the new high school; and, after authorizing the Township Engineer to prepare plans and receive bids, the mayor has pledged not to fund the project.

At the council meeting of February 3, 2016, he pledged:

“…the agenda includes a proposed bond ordinance for $850,000. No bond ordinance can be finally adopted without 2/3 affirmative vote of the governing body.  I know that I will not vote to incur this level of debt.  Only one other council member need join my point of view to prevent this proposed ordinance from passing.  As such, I am tabling its consideration pending further investigation as to necessity for such expenditure.”

The ordinance applies to temporary financing (less than one year) that will fund Lopatcong’s share of the project, which is approximately $167,000, and cover the remaining costs until we are reimbursed from Phillipsburg, the PBOE, and the NJDOT, which has awarded Lopatcong a $300,000 grant.  As you can see from the documentation below, this process started almost a year ago.  Any “further investigation” should have been done months ago!

Where does the Mayor expect the money to come from? Surplus? He spent that in last year’s budget.  Or will he just refuse to fund it, cause us to lose our grant money, and jeopardize the opening of the new high school?

Related Documentation:

Here is an excerpt of the minutes from 3/4/2015 authorizing the engineer: Minutes and Resolution Authorizing Engineer  and an excerpt of the minutes from 10/7/2015 authorizing the execution of the Agreement: Minutes Authorizing Agreement

Copy of signed Inter-local Agreement:

Inter-local Services Agreement

Links to full minutes:

March 4, 2015 – Authorizing Engineer

October 7, 2015 – Authorizing Execution of Inter-local Agreement by Mayor

Robert’s Rules of Order? Or, McKay’s Rules of Disorder?

Council meetings are supposed to be conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order.  After more than a year on the job, McKay lets his ineptitude and arrogance prevail over Robert’s Rules.  Council meetings have become a chaotic affair with people speaking at will from the audience, discussions departing from the agenda,  and an overall lack of parliamentary procedure. Last year, a Call for the Orders of the Day had to be issued because McKay was repeatedly pulling other council members’ items off the agenda without authorization!  Most recently, after being challenged on an improper appointment at the February 3, 2016 meeting, the mayor issued his latest nonsensical ruling from the chair:

“You can’t make a Point of Order to me, I’m running the meeting.”

He’s the chair.  All Points of Order are to be made to him.

Both his ruling and his proposed appointment were overruled in about 30 seconds.  Is this the man we want presiding over our council meetings?

Appalled and Embarassed

We do not even know how to describe the nonsense that occurred at last night’s council meeting.  Our law-breaking, unstable mayor is attempting to turn what is a weak-form of mayor into a dictatorship.  He has filed a lawsuit against his fellow council members, the clerk, the township attorney and their law firm.  Last night, in complete disregard of laws, ethics, and conflicts of interest, he attempted to appoint his personal attorney who represented him in the Sexual Harassment Special Investigation as our labor attorney; he attempted to appoint his other personal attorney who filed the lawsuit on his behalf as our township attorney; and he attempted to appoint the auditors that Greenwich just fired as our auditors.  Watch the video below. The council majority was left with no choice but to end the meeting.  We are appalled and embarassed for our township.  Call us at 908-777-0859 or email us at recallmckay@gmail.com to sign the petition to recall this man before he completely ruins our township, at our expense.

February 3, 2016 Town Council Meeting Video

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2016/02/firm_responds_to_lopatcong_may.html#incart_river_index

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2016/02/why_lopatcongs_mayor_is_suing.html#incart_river_index