Mayor, committeeman disagree

William J. Morelli, Bordentown Township Mayor
To the editor:
   On Monday, April 20, the Bordentown Township Committee held a special meeting to review the 2009 budget as a sitting committee. We had discussed the meeting date at two prior meetings on April 6 and 13. The only reluctance came from Committeeman (Mark) Roselli who said he would try to clear a conflict in his schedule; and added that if he could not, he would submit written comments for the benefit of the other members. I confirmed on the 13th that if he was unable to clear his calendar he would submit written comments. This is on the public record.
   On the night of the 20th, Committeeman Roselli arrived dressed for garden work — wrinkled golf shirt, old jeans, sneakers. The meeting began promptly at 7 p.m. with a salute to the flag. We voted on two emergency resolutions and then Mr. Roselli asked to make a statement. The essence of his statement was that I was the worst mayor he had ever seen, the process was unfair to the department heads, he had not had time to review the materials, and he should have been in charge of the process because he has more experience than anyone else. Then at 7:11p.m., looking every inch the petulant little child he had just portrayed, he stormed out of the meeting.
   The facts are these: the budget process was conducted over a period of three weeks on a schedule made available in advance. Each Committeeman except Mr. Hill, whose schedule is not very flexible, had ample opportunity to attend any meeting(s) he chose without violating the Sunshine Laws. Each attended the meetings for the departments to which he is liaison and the proposed budget was delivered to his home on April 17. The public meeting was an opportunity for the sitting committee to review the numbers and make comments. Each (except Mr. Roselli) made insightful comments. By 10:30 p.m. the review was completed. I asked each Committeeman if we were ready to introduce at the next meeting. All agreed, and Mr. Hill added that he did not see how we could not introduce it.
   This is a frugal budget given the times. Yet, frugal as it is, we are not deferring any pension payments, we are meeting all our obligations, and the township is on a strong financial footing.
   Here is another set of facts. If Mr. Roselli is not running the process, he is singularly disengaged from it. In 2006, when he was mayor and running for re-election, he missed one meeting before the budget was introduced on April 10. In 2007, when Mr. Chidley was mayor, he missed five meetings before the budget was introduced on June 26. In 2008, when Mr. Chidley was again Mayor, he missed five meetings before the budget was introduced on June 30. This year, he missed three meetings before the budget introduction on April 27.
   By his actions last week, Mr. Roselli abdicated his responsibility to the people who hired him to do their work. There has been talk of dissention among the committee. The only dissention comes from Mr. Roselli, who maintains that his way is the only way. It will pass my understanding if the people he pretends to serve hire him again expecting his behavior to change.