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The Best and Worst of Wall

The "ugliness" of unresponsive government

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.

Jesse Beutell

Candidate for Wall Township Committee

 

If you have questions or comments please contact me at: Jesse.Beutell@gmail.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Paul Draper August 16, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I must agree with Jesse, in addition, we need a full "forensic audit" of how Wall Township is spending our money, if you were to look at the budget as published I defy you to tell me where the monies are being spent. This is not the only problem that I find troubling, what do you think? Paul Draper There are categories called "other" sometimes containing millions of taxpayers dollars with no further explainaton, this is not in the least, satisfactory to me and I'm sure other Wall Taxpayers.
Kait August 16, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I agree with Jesse as well. I happened to be at the same meeting and it was humiliating how disrespectful one our very own residents was treated just because she had a question the committee did not like. The town absolutely needs a forensic audit because tax payers dollars are being used without any explanation as to what they are being used for. After what I heard and saw at the last meeting, I will be voting for a change this November.
Stonewalled August 16, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Unfortunately, as long as we keep electing "life long Wall residents" with a sense of entitlement to the Township Committee, we will continue to get this type of behavior. The last group had the same "I know more than you" attitude and lorded it over whoever dared come to the microphone. Unfortunately, this group is worse because instead of promoting an open public dialogue, they have imposed time limits and then reserve an unlimited time for them to respond, leaving the questioner with no ability to refute or discuss the matter civilly on the record. The committee members would rather make back room promises that have no value and that you cannot prove took place then have an open and honest dialogue for all to hear. Couple that with their cheerleaders that come out each month to inflate their egos by telling them how great they are and you have a bunch of narcissists controlling the town. What ever happened to being humble and admitting mistakes when they happen?
Dominick R. Clarizio August 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I find Mr.Beutel's comments The Best at Politicking and The Worst at providing factual information to Wall residents. Taking the political rhetoric aside, Mr. Beutel chastises the Township Committee for overspending on the Wall Fair. The facts do not support his position, and the benefits are marginalized. The budget for the fireworks was $13,000, and the cost was $13,000...on budget. Marginalized are the facts that Wall has provided fireworks for us for the past 40+ years, managed 5 days of days, including the traditional Fire Cracker 5-mile run, and resulted in a distinctive and important sense of community spirit. If Mr. Beutel is against having the Fair, he should so state. As for the resident who "irritated" the Committee member, I strongly believe in freedom of speech, even if I too get irritated. I really question the motives though. While claiming to save taxpayers' money, this resident's requests are costing us a considerable amount of money. Having personally witnessed the interaction between this resident and the Committee several times, I am more inclined to believe that this is politicking as usual. Mr. Beutel, Wall residents deserve more than the just lobbying of uninformed opinions during an election year. We ask for facts and smart arguments.
Keith August 20, 2012 at 03:46 AM
After paying $11,137 dollars in taxes this year for a 150x150 lot, it is definitely time for a forensic audit. Here's a fact Mr. Clarizio, these Committee members made a strong pledge to control our taxes during there last campaigning door to door!
GQ August 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I guess I'm the cheerleader referred to in one of the preceeding comments because I had something positive to say about an incident that affected my quality of life. I actually had the audacity to extend praise to a police officer and the Department of Public Works for responding quickly to a downed tree and electrical outage which was resolved in three hours due to their actions especially since this was during the crisis in Freehold and a storm mode situation. Should I apologize because I had something good to say?
Andy Tonti August 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Gale, I hope that all of us would greatly appreciate the quick and effective response you received from the actions of your local government. But you commented this was duting the crisis in Freehold. Do you reside of work there? Because the entries in this blog all relate to Wall Twsp. government.
GQ August 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I live in Wall but was told by JCPL that everything would be delayed due to the crisis in Freehold. I truthfully believe that if the police officer did not make direct contact with JCPL to inform them that everything was cleared and ready for repair, it would not have happened so quickly.
Lauren McCaffrey August 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Are you willing to pay for this forensic audit? The budget published is acceptable to the state. If you have a problem, then you need to address the state, not the town who is compliant with state law!
Lauren McCaffrey August 29, 2012 at 05:25 PM
The only way someone is treated disrespectful is if they in fact are disrespectful or have been in the past. I have been to many of these meetings or have listened to the recordings. Wall used to allow its' residents to speak as long as they wanted, now it is limited to 5 minutes and the BOE is considering limitations,too! I am offended that someone has the audacity to assume they are speaking on my behalf. When was I or the majority of the Wall Twsp. residents asked if they wanted to be represented by any one person other than their elected officials?
Lauren McCaffrey August 29, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Oh yes, and our government in Wall needs just that......someone "rhetoric"? I saw not only rhetoric, but the beginning of a negative campaign which we could all do without.

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