Some of the best and worst aspects of living in Wall were on display last Wednesday evening at the August public meeting of the township committee. The best was easy to spot. The girls’ high school softball team was congratulated for a fantastic season, continuing to conduct themselves as fine examples of student athletes, something which is a credit to our community. Those attending the meeting were also given the chance to see the township swear in our newest police officer, a tremendous occasion for the young man and something which happily benefits our collective safety and well-being.
The rest of the evening unfortunately did not continue on such a cheery note. No, instead those of us who decided to give up our Wednesday evening to actively participate in our local government were treated to a demonstration of arrogance and in what my opinion seemed almost willful neglect of responsibility.
Why did it take 20 minutes to state that the Wall Fair had once again lost money this year? I’m not sure, but the committee seemed happy enough with their explanation that at least we lost less money than last year. Why must it come to the point of having to file lawsuits for the committee to even acknowledge their mistakes? I will retract this statement though, as they did not actually admit to the mistakes they made. However, the fact still remains that the township had improperly contracted an insurance firm which was paid with our residents’ taxes for years. Even more ridiculous, something as simple as appointing a secretary for the township’s insurance fund commission has required a spotlight and a legal shove to motivate even grudging action.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the evening came during the public comment portion of the meeting. We were forced to hear a current committeeman shuffle blame onto any and everyone else to avoid admitting that he and they (his fellow committee people) are responsible for consistently raising taxes in the township. We were also provided with the distinct displeasure of hearing a member of this esteemed body directly attack and belittle one of our fellow residents because her questions irritated him.
What was the lesson to be learned from this meeting? What was the most important takeaway? Simply put, the committee needs to reform how it operates at the most basic level. Government exists solely to serve the community. It is created to represent our voices and can only do it properly when it is both open and responsive to its citizens. As it currently stands, our committee is not living up to either of those most basic of expectations. It needs to change.
Candidate for Wall Township Committee
If you have questions or comments please contact me at: Jesse.Beutell@gmail.com.