Update on Recall

On May 26, the Recall Committee submitted the 1264 signatures it was able to collect over the past 6 months.  We were notified today that the Recall Committee was unable to secure enough signatures for the recall question to make the ballot.  We regret that we failed all of you who supported the effort, but thank you for your support.

Regarding the last 160 days, it is important to note that a candidate for Lopatcong Mayor needs only 50 petition signatures to run for office. What that demonstrates is that almost anyone can run for Mayor. What Tom McKay’s election demonstrated is that you don’t have to be competent, ethical or of good morale character to get elected. But what the Recall demonstrated is that more than half of the roughly 2000 people who voted in the 2014 mayoral election, don’t want him in office.  In less than 18 months, Tom McKay has rendered himself unelectable.

Regardless of the outcome, let’s be clear, there were no winners in this process. That Tom McKay’s behavior led even one Lopatcong voter to believe that a recall was necessary or appropriate is ultimately a reflection on his failed leadership and the negative impact his tenure has had on our Community.  That former Council members like Donna Schneider would likewise use the recall platform to resort to the the petty name-calling and flagrant misrepresentations that characterized her brief tenure on Council demonstrates ultimately that until people like  McKay, Schneider, Leifer, Johnson and the entire RLL team are ousted or outed, Lopatcong will remain dysfunctional.

Clarification

We have been informed that a former councilwoman is making speculations about the recall on Facebook.  Contrary to her speculative post, there has been no determination yet by the County Clerk. Accordingly to a Jan 13, 2016 email from William Duffy, Executive Director of the Warren County Board of Elections, the Recall Committee needed 1255 signature for the recall question to appear on the ballot; it turned in 1264, which, undoubtedly, included duplicates. However, as above-reflected, there has been no determination yet as to the final tally. Shortly after the recall we posted the following statement. In light of her recent post, we are including it again:

https://recallmckay.com/2016/06/01/sincere-thanks-for-your-support/

Upcoming Primary Election

Many people who have supported the recall have been asking us whom they should support in the upcoming election.  Many residents are concerned about electing people who will ‘enable’ the mayor to continue to waste our tax dollars on frivolous, meaningless lawsuits, harass the employees to the point of unlawfulness, and wreck havoc on our financial office, to name just a few issues.

We, the recall committee, support the Republican ticket of Caughy and Wright, and the Democratic ticket of McCabe and Murphy.  They are knowledgeable, experienced, and think for themselves.  They will do what is right for us and our township.  

We agree with you – enabling the mayor is NOT the way to go.  We must elect people who will uphold our laws and stay faithful to their oath.  The mayor must do the same, and it is time he realizes that. We cannot elect people who will enable him to do the financially devastating actions he wishes to continue to do.  Doing so will only hurt us all – in our wallets.

Vote Caughy and Wright if Republican – Vote McCabe and Murphy if Democrat

 

Sincere Thanks for Your Support

On May 26, the Recall Committee submitted the 1264 signatures it was able to collect over the past 6 months.  Thanks to all who assisted, supported and participated in the process.

The Committee worked off of the January 13, 2016 excel spread sheet of Lopatcong Township voters provided to it by Mr Bill Duffy, executive director of the Warren County Board of Elections, which list reflected that there were 5017 registered voters in November 2015. Accordingly, the Committee needed 1255 signatures to meet the 25% required by statute. As of this post, we are still awaiting a determination from the County Clerk as to an official tally, after any duplicates or other disqualifications.

Regarding the last 160 days, it is important to note that a candidate for Lopatcong Mayor needs only 50 petition signatures to run for office. What that demonstrates is that almost anyone can run for Mayor. What Tom McKay’s election demonstrated is that you don’t have to be competent, ethical or of good morale character to get elected. But what the Recall demonstrated is that some 25% percent of the registered voters in Town – more than half of the people  who voted in the 2014 election – don’t want him in office. While we do not yet know whether the signatures collected are sufficient to get the recall question on the ballot, we do know that that in less than 18 months, Tom McKay has rendered himself unelectable.

Regardless of the outcome, there were no winners in this process. That Tom McKay’s behavior lead even one Lopatcong voter to believe that a recall was necessary or appropriate is ultimately a reflection on his failed leadership and indicative of the negative impact his tenure has had on our Community.

Budget Anyone?

Since February, the Mayor has spent so much time trying to convince a Superior Court Judge that he should be in charge of everything that he has ignored some of the things he is actually in charge of – such as the budget. The charter clearly assigns this responsibility to him.

The mayor has boasted about his 2015 budget, achieved through “zero based budgeting.” The fact is the initial budget that he submitted to Council in 2015 had a deficit of approximately $900,000, and the only reason you were not hit with an enormous increase was because it was trimmed down by the Council majority with the help of the auditor.

This year, he issued a directive at the February meeting that all Departments were to submit their departmental budgets within 15 days. He has yet to submit a budget to Council. So either, everyone ignored him, in which case he is not much of a mayor, or he got the figures and didn’t know what to do with them.

He will likely whine that he received no cooperation from Council (he didn’t ask for any) or that he was waiting for input from the finance committee (whose job, by ordinance, is to review the Mayor’s budget prior to submission to Council – not prepare it). He sued to be King when he can’t even fulfill the few duties that the charter actually assigns to him. Maybe he should spend more time on his statutory duties and less time on a baseless and expensive lawsuit.

To Appeal or Not to Appeal?

To appeal or not to appeal on an ill-conceived lawsuit– that’s a question that the Mayor has faced several times now and, in each case, his ill-informed decision coupled with an enabling attorney has cost you, the taxpayer, more money.

The question the Mayor faced wasn’t simply to appeal or not to appeal; it was much more complicated than that.  It involves matters such as:

What is the basis for the appeal?

What standards will the Court apply?

What is the likelihood of success?

What are the procedures for filing?

When are the deadlines for filing?

Is it appropriate to file an appeal on a decision that is not yet final?

If the plaintiff and his attorney do not carefully consider these individual questions, then the basic question simply becomes  “Do I choose to waste taxpayers’ money or not to waste taxpayers’ money?”  The answer to that question should always be “not to waste taxpayers’ money” but that is not McKay’s style.

**Please keep in mind as you read the following, that this is the work of the attorney that McKay wants to be the township’s attorney. At a higher hourly rate than our current attorney.**

Here’s the scoop: As McKay explained at the February council meeting, he felt replacing the Township’s current attorney was of such urgency that he requested “emergent relief” from the Court.  That would allow him to do this immediately without the advice and consent of council.  (Such relief is typically issued in the form of an injunction or restraining order.)  When the court ruled at the initial oral arguments that the law was well settled and he could not do this, the plaintiff challenged the Court’s finding.  In a subsequent written opinion, the Court noted:

Even though the Court has previously ruled on this issue, the Plaintiff appears to challenge the Court’s ruling simply by raising the issue again.  The Plaintiff has not filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the issue pursuant to R. 4:49-2, which would be the appropriate vehicle for the Plaintiff to proceed.  Notwithstanding the Plaintiff’s misuse or misapplication of the applicable rule, the Court will address the issue again in this opinion in order to complete the record. 

So, McKay’s initial request for relief was denied on well-established legal grounds and his initial challenge failed to follow proper procedures.

Despite the Court’s strongly-worded ruling, McKay is still is trying to convince the Court to allow him to hire his personal attorney as the Township attorney without the advice and consent of Council.

McKay and his attorney filed a Notice of Appeal on the decision for the temporary restraining order.  The Court questioned whether the Notice of Appeal was proper since it involved a ruling by a trial court that was made before all claims are resolved.  That type of appeal is called an interlocutory appeal.  They are disfavored by the courts and are rarely given.  And, McKay and his attorney did not follow the proper procedures for an interlocutory appeal.

Further, interlocutory appeals must be filed within 20 days of the decision.  The decision was given on 3/11/2016.  McKay’s Notice of Appeal was filed on 4/22/2016 – well after the deadline.

The Appellate Division sent a letter to all parties involved, telling them of the appeal and informing McKay and his attorney that their appeal was deficient for a variety of reasons.  So, what did McKay and his attorney do?   They re-filed what basically amounted to the same appeal on 5/2/2016.

Unfortunately, even though the appeal failed to meet deadlines and follow procedural requirements, all the defending attorneys had to respond, and the cost of the responses falls to you, dear taxpayer.

On May 16, McKay withdrew his incorrect appeal. So all that work you paid for was for nothing after all!  Further, the Mayor has made several attempts to get the taxpayers to pay his attorney’s fees.

Sadly, the moral of the story is that McKay just can’t help himself in his ill-guided effort to be crowned King of Lopatcong (paraphrasing how the Court characterized his lawsuit), even when it comes to wasting your hard-earned money!

The Cost to Be King is Paid for by YOU

One of the most prevailing reasons for the recall is the cost of McKay’s administration to you, the taxpayer.  His actions and inactions are directly affecting our wallets.  Case in point: council had to authorize the spending of $20,000 just to defend themselves in his frivolous and outrageous lawsuit against them, the clerk and our attorneys!  And that amount may not be enough.

Just think about what we could do with the just that $20,000 alone, never mind all the other tens of thousands of dollars he’s cost us to date!  That $20,000 alone could be used for major improvements at the park, such as updated pavilion bathrooms.  It could be used to purchase new police cars, new fire protection equipment, patch up a road in need of repair…the list goes on and on!

We are working on a rough estimate tally of the “Cost to Be King”.  In the meantime, give us a call or drop us an email and we will come by to get your signature on the recall petition.

The Recall is Still ON!

We have to admit, we are completely flabbergasted that McKay and his attorney – the same attorney he wants to hire as our Township Attorney – cannot figure out how to read the rules and guidelines that regulate the Recall process.

We are extremely upset, however, that these two are not just wasting Lopatcong Taxpayer money, but now they are wasting Warren County Taxpayer money!  Enough is enough!

The recall is on, and going strong.  Please contact us to sign or help circulate the petition.   Let’s end this nonsense once and for all.  We cannot afford to have this man in office any longer!

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2016/05/mayor_claims_recall_effort_is.html#incart_river_mobile_home

 

Practical, not Political

If you believe McKay, everyone that is not on his side is evil, sinister, corrupt and part of a grand conspiracy.  This is so untrue, but we know you know that. All of us – your friends and neighbors, the people that coach your children in sports, your PTA volunteers, your Church volunteers – are just fellow residents of Lopatcong, raising our families and working hard at our day jobs to keep the household going, just like you.  Please take a moment to read our recent write up on why the Recall is Practical, not Political.