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Bloomingdale Mayor Will Seek Court Order to Mandate Council Attendance

Jonathan Dunleavy said borough business needs to be addressed by Monday.

Conflict continues between the Bloomingdale Council's Republican majority members and Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy as the mayor plans to ask the borough attorney to seek a court order mandating the council members attend Monday's scheduled special meeting.

"I am saddened, as a result of the council majority's inaction, that I must seek a court order to ensure I can properly execute the business of our borough," Dunleavy said.

Should council members not attend, Dunleavy said, he is asking that the court order include a clause that would allow him and Democrat Councilmen Ray Yazdi and John D'Amato, who have indicated they will attend the meeting, to govern the borough and vote without a quorum.

The special council meeting was scheduled after three majority members walked out of a regularly scheduled council meeting last week. The council members left after Councilwoman Linda Shortman said she felt "bullied" by questions by Yazdi on the rejected AvalonBay Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program, although Yazdi said he was not bullying Shortman.

"My whole thing was begging one of them to possibly listen and change their vote," he said.

But Shortman said Wednesday she felt uncomfortable with the way the issue was brought up again at Tuesday's meeting, especially considering the council members had already voted against it.

Dunleavy said Friday that he and Borough Clerk Jane McCarthy had not received confirmation from Council Members Linda Shortman, Mark Conklin or Glenn Schiffman by 5 p.m. Friday when notice of the meeting was sent to members on Wednesday. The mayor said he would need to know in advance of the meeting whether there would be a quorum.

In a Letter to the Editor sent to Patch Friday, Dunleavy said he and the borough clerk had heard from Councilwoman Jo-Ann Pituch, who indicated she would not be in attendance if the PILOT program would be discussed again.

"It's up to the attorney, I have no clue about it," Pituch said Friday in response to the mayor's plan to seek a court order. Pituch did not comment on whether she plans to attend Monday's meeting.

Council members Shortman, Schiffman and Conklin were unavailable for comment. But D'Amato said he plans to attend Monday's meeting because "it's my job." He said he feels it is important that the borough business that was not voted on last week, including items such as applying for a Municipal Alliance grant, approving a fix to a water main break and more, are discussed Monday.

D'Amato said that while issues come before the council at times that are uncomfortable to discuss, the elected officials owe it to the public to meet and make decisions on them.

"We took an oath to serve the borough, no matter what," he said.

Mike Holmes October 13, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Wtf . Do these folks think they are US congressman ?
Jon Arlauskas October 13, 2012 at 03:03 AM
This is rediculous for a small town like bloomingdale. They really need to go through all this stuff just to ensure that they meet together?!? A high school student council group would probably be more mature and effective haha
Kevin October 13, 2012 at 03:23 AM
This is the way Jon works, attack, attack and then ask for sympathy because the council does not want to play by his rules. Yazdi is out of control and Jon loves attacking his competition. I really do wish people would see him for what he is, a bully and a dictator.
Doug Van Dyk October 13, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Are you kidding me?They are voting to help us as tax payers.this vote was totally political.not what good for our town.we need fire in the council.Not this wait til next week to see what happens kind of thought process
Carla DeWitt October 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM
None of this would be necessary if the Mayor insisted on respect for all opinions in the council chamber. I know he does not agree with the decision made on the PILOT program, but the fact remains the vote was taken. There is absolutely no reason to keep harping on something that has been decided. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
Heather October 13, 2012 at 02:07 PM
That was my first thought when I read about their "walk out." I wonder how much this sort of thing is going to cost the borough. I also wish they could understand that a person can respect an idea, and still not agree with it. The last time I checked, debate was part of politics. If a person can't stand up to questioning (no matter how assertive), they should reconsider their position in politics.
Karen October 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM
What is wrong with you people? I can't believe our town politics has come to this!
Jon Dunleavy October 13, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Carla,the action of seeking a court order has nothing to do with the PILOT,it has to do with fulfilling our obligations to run the Borough.The Majority has not responded in regards to attending Monday meetings and as stated there are many timely issues that need to be resolved, that will result in the Borough losing quite a bit of money if not acted on by Monday.I do respect all opinions in the council chambers but it doesnt mean I have to agree with those opinions.Especially when they will so negatively effect the Borough.I have every right to lobby for a position even after the vote is taken.Which you refer to as harping.Thank god I "harped" on the over paid attorney from last year,and secured the vote needed which saved the Borough $120,000 this year.It is more frustrating when the council majority is not prepared.ConklinandPituch both missed all PILOT presentations as they were absent.When offered by Yazdi to learn about it they declined.Shortman gave reasons for her NO vote but those reason are based on mis information which is what Yazdi and I were presenting last Tuesday.Please watch the video on the Borough Facebook page or Channel 77and you will see no one was bullying or badgering Shortman.Furthermore Shortman willing engaged in the conversation as well.Your definition of insanity is true and that is the history of our Borough and you know it.So why is the majority doing the same thing over and over,not providing tax relief to our residents to stop this insanity.
hopenchange? October 13, 2012 at 03:22 PM
the political atmosphere in our entire country from the white house down to the smallest town councils have become more and more devisive, with name calling; "liars" etc it is beyond sad. Nothing is getting done or done correctly at any level of our government. The vote on the PILOT program, from what I saw in the new, is done and it was voted down. Whether I agree with the program or not; its now a done deal. If there is an issue with the fact that it was not approved, then perhaps the public should vote on what they feel is the right thing for these big companies that bully towns into doing whatever they want and with the courts' blessing it seems. I have a big problem with Avalon Bays "court mandated" project from the fact that all they do is use their money to sue town after town and get what they want; and they aren't alone. The really troubling thing about this project; besides the traffic jams on Union Ave, the constant blasting; the constant noise 6 days a week; is the fact that now, due to a simple request for increase sewer hook up fees on the project (things increase in price over time and this project was in the works for years, so the fees went up) Avalon's answer was to run back to the "builder friendly courts of NJ" and then not only did they get the OK to NOT have to pay increase fee; but they now only have to proved less then 1/2 the original COAH HOUSING!! which is how they got the project pushed thru to begin with. Council in-fighting causes unpreparedness
paul bastante October 13, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Hopenchange, it is NOT a "done deal" as you say.
Carolyn October 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
It's kind of hard to "respect opinions" when people continuously stay away from or walk out of meetings and refuse to render an opinion as to why they voted a certain way. There's no good way to spin that, Carla. On little things it may be unimportant to answer "why" but on something as huge as PILOT the town is entitled to an answer. Remember, these ?Council people were elected to represent the town's interests--not their own. . In fact, they are paid to hold these positions. If they don't want them, there are others who do I'm sure.
Ann October 13, 2012 at 11:53 PM
First of all, Mr. or Ms. Hopenchange it is nowhere near "a done deal" Secondly you are talking about a vote of THREE people that will cause our town to miss the biggest opportunity it ever had. Don't we have a responsibility to follow up? If some of them missed the presentations, shouldn't they attend meetings and try to learn what their decision may mean to the future of the town? If a different 3 people made a catastrophic decision about something you would like to see in the town would you then say, the vote is done and it's a done deal? I doubt it. Thirdly, you can despise Avalon and you may be right, but every professional has said this is a WIN-WIN situation. So what if they win, AS LONG AS WE WIN TOO!!!
Carolyn October 14, 2012 at 01:00 AM
You people who engage in name calling are not helping Bloomingdale. In this forum we have heard people called all kinds of names--clowns, bullies, even dictators. Sadaam Hussein was a dictator. We are not run by dictators on EITHER side. We need you all to drop the adolescent name calling and enter the discussion with your reasons why you would or would NOT like to see Bloomingdale benefit from the PILOT program. If you want any respect for your ideas you'll cut the kid stuff. Or maybe you are a couple of teen-agers writing.
wendy October 14, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Mr Dunleavy , Please add the bloomingdale board of education to this legal document the older side of the table has a problem with following law including when children have been told there was no need to follow any evac plan .She and many outhers have been denied many rights ,the board walked out after screaming at us and denied the right of survival, this was a big joke and these people laughed in my familys face and still do .these older people have stated they do not see any need for change .And what would you do if your family was told to stay put and no need to evacuate . So any way add the board of ed to your legal documents .Bloomingdale is in trouble.
judith caputo October 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM
You're absolutely right, Kevin. Jon dwells on issues that have not gone his way even though they have been defeated. If he didn't spend so much time trying to brow beat and bully the council members, a lot of work would get done. Temper tantrums are not effective in the adult work force. Turning your back and walking away from someone who has no idea how to run a meeting is the only way to deal with him. He is the problem, not the council
Ann October 14, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I guess pretty soon we'll find out which of you who have commented here also have the agreement of the majority of voters in Bloomingdale. I think if we see a landslide in either direction then it can or ought to be interpreted as a potential wake-up call for that losing side. Can we then expect that losing side to learn anything or make any changes? I'm guessing "not". That would only happen in a sensible world.
Jon Dunleavy October 14, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Judy, I understand you are a big supporter of the Council Majority, as a matter of fact you are the Treasurer for their political organization and that is your perogative. But the only reason work is not getting done is due to the following: the council majorities voting record, the council majorities absences resulting in 3 meetings being cancelled due to a lack of a quorum and the council majority missing 12 of 21 meetings combined. I will continue to lobby for what I believe are the policies that will best serve our Borough. You call it brow beating and bullying, I call it doing my job as your Mayor.
Sally Fane October 14, 2012 at 03:37 PM
PILOT and Avalon Bay aside, if the majority doesn't show up to perform the "business as usual" business of the council, it is a slap in the face to everyone who voted for them and the citizens of Bloomingdale that are stuck with them (for the next 2.5 months!) Just show up and do your job, it's the very least you can do.
Ann October 14, 2012 at 04:20 PM
In her letter today (Trends) Shortman continues to promote the discredited idea that the schools will suffer or that the taxpayers will have to make it up. That was her original excuse for her vote and discredited a long time. The BOE is on board with the PILOT program. Then she raised the issue of special needs kids which was again discredited simply because the town would have plenty of money to deal with that situation, making it even easier. When Shortman says "where will the Borough get the money?" the answer ought to be staring her straight in the face: from the PILOT!! Then she talks about the "redevelopment zone" and totally forgets that she voted for it! I do understand why a person who ran for office and lost might not wish to see the others succeed but what I don't understand is why anyone would follow the advice of such a person and ignore the advice of their own costly professionals. Shortman, Pituch and Conklin have walked out on the public. Now we'll see how the public reacts to that.
Kristen October 14, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Anne, No one has said that the taxpayers will NOT have to make up the difference, because that is exactly what is going to happen. Just think about it, If the school taxes go up 2% next year, who is going to pay that 2%. You will , I will, the rest of the Bloomingdale taxpayers will. Just a question, if you do not think that is how it will work. who do you think is going to fund the school?
Ann October 15, 2012 at 02:06 AM
You obviously have not read all of the Mayor's statements.
Kristen October 15, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Anne, You obviously do not think on your own. Read what I wrote and think about it. The Mayor is not telling you the truth.
Ann October 15, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Now why on earth would you think he would lie. Don't you think he wants a legacy that shows that he improved Bloomingdale? So you think he wants the town to go downhill? When you present someone with facts and they simply won't believe them then there's no further use in talking with them. The Majority hired Lerch. Lerch recommended this program (with the blessing of the Planning Board, the Attorney and the BOE) The majority said, "we don't believe the numbers". They were their man's numbers for god''s sake! . Are you going to believe the auditor's numbers or your own lyin' eyes? Why did we hire this expensive guy? Oh, please, this is nonsense. It's beginning to look more and more like you guys just are scared of a Democratic Mayor being a success. Trust me, that's what it looks like. You all have the same talking points too. Take a drive and look at the numerous towns who successfully used PILOT and how they're now booming. And we've cut an even better deal than they., Or are you unaware of how many towns have been a success because of PILOT> Don't be a knee-jerk follower. Do some research and do it soon.
Leeann Coleman October 15, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Jon is a very nice man. I've known him for nearly two decades and he really cares about people and also this town. Stop saying stupid stuff. Really. As far as attendance goes, I would like to remind certain council members that you were elected by your constituency to represent them on the council. If you are not there, you are not representing your constituency. I've never made a secret about my being far, far to the right in the political arena. You all volunteered to run, nobody held a gun to your head, and I voted for you. SHOW UP FOR WORK.
Gary October 15, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Ann Let me try to put this another way. The republicans hired Lerch, he suggested that Pilot programs are a good way to get revenue to the municipality. So for this the majority could take the credit. Ray calculated his numbers and said they are the same as the auditors except he left out the library and open space. Library is over 300,000 and open space is 100,000. If Ray had used the auditor’s numbers the result he came up with would be different. The BOE did not vote for the Pilot program. Don’t you think that just maybe the reps are not concerned about the mayor being a success using their auditors idea but they are concerned that the idea was not used properly. Wouldn’t it have been easier for them to just go along with it? Just think about it.

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