In the wake of Mayor Malool’s sudden departure from Scotch Plains local government, tensions continue to rise as the Scotch Plains Town Council struggles to take the appropriate steps to stabilize.
Although Mary DePaola’s seemed to go off without a hitch, many residents and local leaders are crying foul, stating that the Republican Committee exerts too much control over the decisions made by local leaders. Upon announcing her off the line bid for stated that she and had been shunned by the Committee.
After witnessing Councilman Glover voting against the appointment of Council nominee Edward Saridaki at the last meeting, Scotch Plains Democratic Committee Chairman Lou expressing his support for Glover and Marcus.
“I challenge newly-appointed not to succumb to the whims of a few members of the local Republican Party. Our Mayor should be loyal to the Citizens of Scotch Plains – not to micromanaging political elite… Our Democratic Councilmen and candidates have never been told how to vote or promised retribution in the event that they voted to the contrary.”
Beckerman’s letter prompted a , a member of the Republican Committee. Ginsberg stated that he was appalled with Glover’s decision to request additional information from Saridaki before casting his vote to fill the council vacancy.
The Republican Committee member and longtime resident guffawed at the Councilman’s assertion that he “did not know Mr. Saridaki” – a longtime resident, candidate for Council, and former member of the Board of Education who served on the BOE for nine years.
At the last Council meeting, Edward Saridaki was one of three names submitted to the Council by the Republican Committee as candidates to fill the vacancy. The other two candidates were Llewelyn Jones and Marc Ginsberg. In order for the vacancy to be filled, three members of the council had to vote to approve the same nominee. Mayor DePaola and Councilman Bo Vastine voted for Saridaki. Councilman Marcus chose to abstain from the vote.
After announcing that he could not vote to approve a candidate without first meeting the three and discussing their credentials, Councilman Kevin Glover voted against Saridaki.
This decision prompted Former Mayor Martin Marks – now the Republican Committee Chairman – to approach the podium and condemn Glover’s actions. Marks defended his candidate, stating that Saridaki’s family was in the audience, waiting to see him sworn in.
Patch sat down with Glover this week to learn more about his vote against Saridaki.
“That vote was not personal,” Glover said. “Whenever I make a decision on council, I do my due diligence and make sure I have all of the information before I vote. In 2002, when Marks was mayor, a councilman abruptly resigned. Before casting a vote, the current council members had the opportunity to interview all three candidates and review their credentials before making a decision. I was only asking that the same civic-minded, professional courtesy.”
Glover went on to point out inaccuracies in Marks’ speech, including his statement that Saridaki “had been a resident longer than Glover and Marcus combined.” Councilman Marcus is a lifelong Scotch Plains resident.
Glover also expressed his disappointment in the current Council leadership, noting that he had hoped that Mayor DePaola would continue to make strides in improving bipartisan communication on council.
“When former Mayor Marks stepped to the podium he was given five minutes to react to my decision. When I asked for the opportunity to respond, Mayor DePaola said no. It was only when our attorney advised her to let me speak; she gave me one minute to speak. This makes me wonder – who is controlling her decisions?”
Glover also responded to Ginsberg’s accusations that Dick Samuels had dictated the decisions he made on Council.
“It is absolutely outlandish to suggest that my votes are coming from the committee,” Glover said. “This is typical behavior seen by the Republican committee. I may bring my passion to the council chambers, but I don’t make selfish, impulsive decisions.”
After reading Marc Ginsberg’s letter, Lou Beckerman also chose to respond to the recent accusations.
“I find Mr. Ginsberg’s letter to the Editor mean spirited and full of inaccuracies. I have lived in Scotch Plains over 30 years and don’t think Mr. Ginsberg and I have ever met. I am most offended by his reference to the late Mr. Dick Samuel, former chairman of the local party. Mr. Samuel was an honest and generous man.”