Letter to the Editor: SP Resident Against Council Receiving Health Benefits

The following is a letter from a Scotch Plains resident.

To the Editor:

I understand that being a member of the Scotch Plains Township Council can be time consuming and in many instances, a thankless job.  While I do not begrudge these elected officials a modest stipend for their service to the community, I am thoroughly outraged that Councilman Kevin Glover takes $25,000 worth of health benefits for him and his family from the Township.  

The fact he has been doing this since he was first elected means that his family has received well over $100,000 of benefits from the taxpayers of Scotch Plains.

Mr. Glover has consistently proclaimed that “We can do better” when it comes to our municipal budget.  Well, we can; and we can start with Councilman Glover.

I call on the Councilman to relinquish his taxpayer funded health benefits, reimburse us for what it has cost us over the years or instead resign from the Township Council immediately.

Brian Power

Father Tom September 28, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Excellent comment Lance.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Mr. Saridaki has noted these comments are not from him and have been deleted.
Holden MaGroin September 28, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and something is rotten in Scotch Plains. The first denied comment from the denying Edward Saridaki called people spineless but appeared to be trying to make the point that he took the pay but not the benefits. The denying Edward Saridaki then continued that he would give up the pay if the others did. Other than the sarcastic crack about people using names that are not in the phone book, it sure sounded like a politician trying to score points. The second comment from the denying Saridaki poster was the one that completely went off the tracks, calling people cowards, spineless again and unAmerican. That comment even replied to another poster about he will speak his own mind. With all the comments flying around in support and opposition, are we to believe that no one who reads the Patch reached out to Mr. Saridaki to tell him about it? And if they did, Mr. Saridaki didn't immediately contact the Patch to ask them to remove it but had to have the editor call him? Lordy lordy I broke my organ of corti. I must not be hearing right. I have a request for Nicole. You may find this hard to believe but I have at times been contacted by Patch editors through my e-mail. I know that those denying Saridaki comments came from the same e-mail and therefore should be in your records. Is it possible to confirm the e-mail used was not related to the candidate? Obviously it shouldn't be published, but a news organization does have that responsibility.
dblas September 28, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Nicole, If possible, I would ask that the original comments be restored. They seemed to rub some people the wrong way, and including them helps frame this discussion. Perhaps you can also include the statement by Mr. Saridaki indicating that he has disavowed them, so we all have the same information? Thanks. Dave
Sharon Magroin September 28, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Hi, I'm Sharon Magroin--no relation. I don't speak Latin and I don't even speak pig Latin. I do, however, have a spine! If I chose not to stand up straight here is my business! @ Lance, your anger came thru loud and clear! I too was uncaring that Mr. S. served on the BoE. I have been keeping an eye on the school board for over 9 years and his name never came up. If you put something like that on your résumé one usually includes the year(s) involved. I find the original letter self serving, as the author's connection to the republican campaign was not disclosed. And the first comment by Mr. Saridaki to be insulting to all. In a way it is refreshing to read something from a politician that is not carefully crafted by a consultant nor so full of double speak that the content can't be found with a magnifying glass. BUT, the truth of how this man thinks will not win him any votes and as we now see, will actually alienate voters!
Holden MaGroin September 29, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is to Sharon. I have a daughter by that name. Do you have any siblings? I want to see if your parents also used the same names for their other kids as Pat MaGroin and I have. We have Phil, Jack, Sharon, Tug (he's our athlete), Craven, Aiden and Cheq. Little Cheq MaGroin is adopted, but that's for another story. My married sister is Ida Claire MaGroin-Golden. She is in an interfaith relationship.
Lance September 29, 2012 at 01:53 AM
To the patch editor. Why has my comment been removed? Did you do it? I would like to know why?
faith September 29, 2012 at 02:33 AM
holden we love reading your comments.
Sharon Magroin September 29, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I'm Sharon Magroin and this is to Holden. I'm an only child and a native of Queens, NY. Would love to meet and compare lineages.
Holden MaGroin September 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Sharon. I don't wear lineages, but Pat does,
firedup49 September 29, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Good afternoon, This comment is not to defend any side. This is about the website article above you posted about Shackamaxon announced sale... One evening in the council meeting, Malool was in a hurry to pass a rezoning ordinance something to do with the state. I went to another meeting and find Shachamaxon is suing because the city wanted to take over that land. I see now by re-zoning it gave them the opportunity to try and grab the Shack. Someone asking the Mayor Malool why move City Hall the fire dept extra, over to the Shack when we have a bond for the repairs of present City Hall. I felt something fishy about that. Then at the same time Courage to Connect came about, to join the towns, Maybe someone has answers. I have pages of information on this, and hopefully getting close.. I do try and go to the council meetings. PS I wonder what else goes on???
Holden MaGroin September 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for firedup. I'm replying down here to your comment way above because I think this information is important to the discussion on this article and may even be worthy of a poll. Your comment seemed to take my linked article, which I'm relinking here to try to say that you're investigating some connection to the ex-mayor malool, the Connectors of our towns and the Shack fiasco. I don't think they're connected, but you keep looking. What I DO find interesting and maybe poll worthy in my linked article is that by the SP republican council majority, they recently voted $5,900 to a consulting firm to change a WORD in the document to devalue Shack. Candidate cell tower is even quote as saying it's like a life insurance policy. The article also states that the next step will be to then spend $10,000 to make a plan. This even beats the Fanwood Democrat-led council voting in August to spend $5,000 on another attorney to write a report that tells the citizens of Fanwood that their council spends their taxpayer dollars frugally. Back to the patriots of SP, so it's ok to throw $16,000 around like nickels on words and plans but a campaign should be based on health benefits? Talk about having a set of ........cajones. http://scotchplains.patch.com/articles/despite-clubs-announced-sale-shack-resolution-remains-on-track
firedup49 September 30, 2012 at 02:33 AM
"Your comment seemed to take my linked article, which I'm relinking here to try to say that you're investigating some connection to the ex-mayor Malool, the Connectors of our towns and the Shack fiasco." Sorry I didn't mean to connect the two, But when the town tried to do to the Shack was wrong. The word to change and devalue, was put there to put it as a Redevelopment and re zone to degrade the value of the land, (for the taking) The plan http://www.scotchplainsnj.com/ord_2011-13.pdf 
What I meant is after the Shack fiasco, that they started on a "new" project to push the towns to connect. OK call me suspicious
dblas September 30, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I don't mean to belabor this, but I actually found the exchange with the user named "Edward Saridaki" fascinating. I'm disappointed there has been no official statement by the candidate's campaign indicating that the comments were not from him. I'm also disappointed that there has not (yet?) been any investigative journalism on the part of Patch reporters to find out what really happened. Was this a plot to discredit Mr. Saridaki? Did Mr. Saridaki make embarrassing public statements and then try to cover them up? I certainly don't know which. But (re)reading the original comments may help understand what transpired. As of this posting the original statements can be viewed here: http://scotchplains.patch.com/users/edward-saridaki/comments Dave
Holden MaGroin September 30, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for firedup. I apologize for misinterpreting your comment. I agree with you that the Shack thing was not handled well and I am also using that as an example of how candidate depowla and her running mate with the big cajones might govern. After all when it comes down to it, that's what we're voting on. How do we want to be governed. I point out that the republicans while governing voted to spend $6,000 to change a word in a resolution and then plan on spending $10,000 more on a plan. I was angry when the Marks led council voted on the poop tax ( that they politely refer to as a sewer fee) but at least I can go to Herbie Hinds house in Fanwood to pitch a deuce. I was just as angry when the Marks led council got rid of garbage pickup, got rid of no fee dump pickup and spent however much on the city hall facades only to have the NEXT republican gaggle come in and propose MOVING the pretty city hall. I think we should heed appointed mayor depowla's advice and all take insurance policies out protecting us from their bright ideas and decisions. Republicans tout self responsibility and owning your decisions. Well unfortunately we've bought and are paying for their decisions, but it is them who must own them. I must take leave now, nature is calling and I hope that Herbie and Bygby are still up.
Builda Wall September 30, 2012 at 04:43 AM
I agree, Holden, these things are aggravating, but surely a round of mini-golf will help you relax!
faith September 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM
holden, u always have great information. thanks
Lance September 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Great post Holden!! I still want an answer from the patch editor on why my comment being critical of Saridaki was removed.
Holden MaGroin September 30, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for both builda wall and dlas. To builda wall - I had forgotten about the mini-golf project. I took little Tug and Cheq there once, but that endless waterfall made me have to pee and we had to leave early. Also I don't swing very well and when I play golf I always wind up having to look for my balls. To dlas - Nice find on the maybe pretend Edward Saridaki comments. I tried to find them but couldn't. I hope you don't mind but I'm relinking them to my comment and will continue to until we find out from our investigative Patch reporter Nicole if the e-mail address used is linked to the candidate. If it's not, I will apologize to Mr. Saridaki. If it is, I would really like an explanation on why he would think it's ok to belittle commenters as spineless and cowards and un-American. As I noted in an earlier comment, I find it hard to believe that it took 3 days and a call from a Patch editor for the candidate to tell her that these comments weren't his. That defies logic that in a relatively small community like ours, with a fair amount of Patch reader, that no one called him to tell him about the comments under his name. If you think about it, hasn't the author of this letter to the editor been outed as a coordinator of Mr. Saridaki's campaign? Wouldn't he be intereseted in the feedback from his letter? Sorry, I don't believe it and now the real coward has been exposed http://scotchplains.patch.com/users/edward-saridaki/comments
faith September 30, 2012 at 06:54 PM
holden, once again i thank u for your information.
Holden MaGroin September 30, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for faith. You're welcome but in this case it is dlas who was able to find the comments that it now seems a real coward made. As I've stated, past Patch editors have contacted me through my officially registered e-mail account if they have felt I may have over reached with a comment. In some cases they have told me they were removing the comment and I should restate it. I've appreciated that because they told me why and didn't just suspend my account. It's because of that that I'm aware they can easily connect the screen name registration with the registered e-mail. And for the coward-calling commenter, pretend or real candidate, yes my officially registered e-mail has my Holden name in it. I would have to believe if we are going to be voting in a little more than a month, that the Patch, as an unbiased media source, owes it to the voters to report if the comments that are in question and were removed only because the candidate said they weren't his has an obligation to tell us if the e-mail address is the candidates. I would think that if I signed on as Marty Marks and made condescending comments to people on here, 2 things would happen. First, people would believe it was really him Second he would be demanding that the Patch find and publish who took his identity. It's because of that and the crickets sounds we hear from the repubs that I don't believe the cowardly denial.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) September 30, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Hi Lance, I removed your comment because I removed the Saridaki comments since Mr. Saridaki noted that it was not him commenting.
Holden MaGroin September 30, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and my Fanwood buddy Mr. Hugh Jass reminded me of another campaign "issue" that Marty Marks and the repubs brought up in 2006. Hugh thinks that because the repub majority was all taking health benefits and stipend at the time that they needed something else to stir the pot. A Mr. Neil LeStrange (retired police officer) was running for council in SP as a dem. Mr. Marks dug up some dirt on LeStrange attending a good ole boy southern policeman event where there was racist signs and made a campaign issue over it. The event was SIXTEEN YEARS prior to 2006. Mr. Marks went around saying LeStrange was racist and an anti-semite. Mr. LeStrange explained that he did attend and left early due to him not being comfortable with the rascist tone of the event. Marks pushed the issue with campaign literature and LeStrange sued for defamation. LeStrange lost the election and there was not much mentioned about the lawsuit until early 2010. The Patch link I've posted shows that the insurance company representing Marks settled for $10,000 to Mr. LeStrange. I'm not sure if the insurance was from the town, but if it was it had to increase our premium and cost us more in taxes. Once again, another example of the still-led by Marty Marks republicans making decisions that cost us money that we taxpayers get zero benefit from. And we want this to continue? http://scotchplains.patch.com/articles/nj-jewish-news-settlement-reached-in-lestranges-lawsuit-against-former-mayor
Jenni September 30, 2012 at 11:23 PM
This was already a debate topic coincidentially during the last SP election. http://scotchplains.patch.com/articles/patchs-scotch-plains-council-debate-the-questions-and-answers
ronnie October 01, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I wish someone would explain why this is such an issue now? Oh wait, its an election year and as usual people will try to dig up whatever they can on the opponent. I would bet there is no one that would have turned down the $25,000 in insurance if it had been offered to them.
Lance October 02, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Has there been any follow up by the Patch on investigating the email address used for the Edward Saridaki comments? Has there also been any follow up by the Patch on any formal statement from Edward Saridaki or the Republican party other than denial?
Nicole Bitette (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Hi Lance, We have not further investigated this, I contacted Mr. Saridaki asking if he had made these comments and he said it was not him and said he would appreciate if they were removed and they have since been removed.
Lance October 02, 2012 at 05:03 AM
I'm disappointed that there is not any further investigation. I have lived in this town for 67 years and I want to know if I've been lied to. Is Holden right? Can you verify if the Edward Saridaki comments used an email address that is his? If he used your paper to write that and then denied it, we voters should have the right to know what kind of candidate we are voting for. I think you have an obligation to us voters to verify if it's true or a lie.
Chris Thompson October 05, 2012 at 09:41 PM
This benefit is offered to the council, (Voted in by a republican led council in the past), and I see nothing wrong with Mr Glover taking advantage of it!
Nicole Bitette (Editor) October 05, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Hi Lance, I can verify that that email address associated with the comments was not either of the email addresses I know of for Mr. Saridaki. Also, the account was created at the time of publication of this letter, where Mr. Saridaki noted creating account for Patch awhile ago and hasn't used it recently.


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