Heated Exchanges Among Residents, Mayor At Township Committee Meeting
Shouting match at last meeting of the governing body
An ongoing antagonism among some public speakers and Township Committee members boiled over at Wednesday’s regular meeting of the governing body.
Comments, questions and criticisms from frequent Township Committee critics Nicholas Purpura, of Rue de la Port, and Betsy Cross, of New Bedford Road, turned into heated arguments among members of the committee and the administration Wednesday.
Cross and Mayor Jeffrey Foster began shouting at each other after Cross peppered the committee with questions about a township-owned property on Holly Boulevard.
At the end of the five minutes allotted to each public speaker, Cross continued to question the committee. After a few more minutes passed, Foster thanked Cross for her comments to end the conversation, but then insinuated that Cross had not been using her real name.
“Maybe you could use your real name once in awhile, too,’’ Foster said, citing another surname he said was Cross’ married name.
Foster then asked Cross why she did not use her married name, which he continued to cite from the dais when referring to Cross.
“Mr. Foster you are way out of line,’’ Cross said.
Purpura, who spoke immediately before Cross, had numerous questions about the township’s state-mandated affordable housing plan, the Holly Boulevard property and criticisms about the committee’s plan to restructure the Department of Public Works, among other issues.
That also turned into a shouting match between Purpura and Foster.
Purpura indicated that there was something amiss about the purchase of the Holly Boulevard property and said the committee was not answering his questions about it. Foster said he had answered Purpura’s questions.
“Every time I give you an answer, you don’t like the answer,’’ Foster said. “You’ve got to get your facts straight.’’
Some of the members of the committee addressed the meeting’s exchanges during the end-of-the meeting committee reports.
Committeeman Todd Luttman expressed his regret that the “decorum is not always what it should be” during the meetings.
“We do hear what people have to say,” Luttman said. “It’s just a shame that the decorum drops as people’s emotions rise.’’
Foster said he and the committee work diligently to keep costs down and save taxpayers as much money as possible.
“I get a little furious when somebody gets up and says we’re spending too much money because it’s not with the facts,’’ Foster said.