Past Newsletters

This is not Okay

Speaking Out

This week I learned that the attorney defending Montclair sought to, on behalf of the Township, have comments that I’ve made publicly regarding Ms. Rao, her case and what I believe to have been retaliation from some in this government, struck from the record. It remains unclear who gave him the guidance or permission to do that. My questions have gone unanswered. I’ll be showing up in Essex County Superior Court tomorrow in support of Ms. Rao and in protest of this Town’s actions against her.

As a result of this rogue action that I am confident doesn’t enjoy the support of a majority of the Council, I have requested the State Comptroller look into this matter. Below is my letter.

Star Ledger Editorial

Today, the Editorial Board of the Star Ledger took this Township Government to task over its behavior. Good for them. Read the piece here. Last week, I intentionally disregarded Township legal advice and commented to the media that I didn’t think the efforts by the Town to seal the court room were appropriate.

Today, the Editorial Board of the Star Ledger took this Township Government to task over it’s behavior. Good for them. Read it here.

My Letter to the Acting Comptroller for the State of New Jersey

Mr. Walsh, Acting Comptroller for the State of New Jersey:
I wish to bring a matter to your attention that I feel requires the immediate action by your office. 
I respectfully request that your review the below communication, which has gone unanswered by Mr. Freijomil of Riker Danzig, our Acting Township Attorney Paul Burr, and our Assistant Township Attorney Gina DeVito. I’m writing to you now after only recently learning that the Town’s legal strategy in Padmaja Rao v. Township of Montclair, has among other things, included moving to strike comments that I have made last Oct. regarding retaliation, from the record – something I understand the Judge did not entertain. I find this alarming.
I have been outspoken for as long as I’ve been aware of the issues regarding Ms. Rao. I am deeply concerned that I was not made aware of the complaint Ms. Rao filed against the then-Township Manager Tim Stafford, internally, nor the details of her legal complaint until all of those matters were made public. I believe that I am being walled off from these decisions.  As a duly elected member of the Township’s governing body, this deliberate attempt to conceal important municipal matters violated the purpose and spirit of my election to the Council by local residents.  Moreover, the current circumstances point to an overarching culture of secrecy by the administration that runs counter to efficient government. 
Shortly after learning of these issues, I publicly called for the removal of Mr. Stafford. Around the same time, I also made comments that I believed certain members of the Township Council were retaliating against Ms. Rao by removing her from the Finance Committee and by suddenly focusing on what to me seemed like only newfound and potential invented concerns about her work performance.
Ms. Rao is exceptional at her job and is the epitome of character and integrity. We should be doing everything possible to protect whistleblowers and encourage speaking up. From my observation, the actions Ms. Rao have taken have been in the best interest of the Township. I am thankful to her for bringing the matters she raised, into the daylight so that they can be properly addressed.  
I am horrified to be part of this government at the current time and I am certain that your review and oversight will be helpful in heading this matter in a better direction. Any assistance you might provide, would be greatly appreciated.

My priority from the very beginning of this fiasco has been ensuring transparency and making sure our employees feel safe at work — not to mention being able to sleep at night. I didn’t hesitate to take action to remove Tim Stafford as Manager back in October, and I’ve not hesitated to speak up and speak truth, even when it is terrifying to do so. This has clearly been a government that thinks retaliation is a way of doing business. I have and will continue to call out behavior that needs to be checked as none of this is okay and it does not reflect the values of the people of Montclair, who I represent.


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Montclair, NJ 07042