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Letter to the Editor: Township Mayor is "Abusing" Power with Budget Freeze

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This mayor is absolutely abusing the powers, that may be in question, that she thinks she has.

I don't care who you are, what power you think you have, what entitlement you think you can have. It should not work this way. The municipal building is on pins and needles for no reason.

Cutting off the ability to buy office supplies, sending back copier machines that were approved in the budget by the council so the town can operate properly, not paying approved council stipends to some municipal workers while paying others cut off the municipality's ability to function and make purchases that the council spent hours approving funds for in the budget sessions. We already have cut out $260,000 of her budget.

Having them like they are one of her students before the department heads or purchasing agent moves forward on the request is pure immature behavior. This is why you have an administrator, purchasing agent and a CFO in place. Let these people, that the taxpayers of Washington Township pay a salary to, do their jobs. Micromanaging, being spiteful, favoring who you like and ignoring or making it hard for people you don't like is not to be tolerated by anyone. I would encourage the municipal workers to voice their concerns.

This mayor is out of control. I am tired of us spinning our wheels, trying to do something and having this mayor think she has the absolute power to do whatever she wants. This form of government can work, if you have a reasonable person in place. What we have now is something different.

We should change this form of government to the borough form where six people make decisions and the mayor is the tie-breaker. You should not leave a final decision up to one person who feels they can do whatever they want to do, unless you a have a reasonable person in place.

I have made calls into government agencies to see if the mayor can legally freeze the municipal budget that she presented to us. I believe that this may not be legal for the mayor to order a freeze as she is the one that submitted the budget for approval, received what she wanted and signed it, unless it has already gone over the line items budgeted, which I know it has not.

The mayor also makes a statement saying that the spending this year is more than last year at this time. The mayor should realize that last year vendors were coming to the council for help in getting paid. Our bills, for the most part, are up to date now, thanks to having proper personnel in place, so yes we are paying more bills the first six months because vendors that were owed money are caught up and are now getting paid on time.

The mayor said she is doing this to build up surplus. You do not build up surplus this way. To build surplus you need to make big changes in your expenses, like switching from ways you currently operate different municipal departments. You need to have a game plan in place, you need to present your game plan, you do not just make a decision on the dais at a council meeting saying you are freezing the budget to slow down spending (that is needed to operate) and state you're doing this to build surplus. One person should not think that they have this power. Yes, you need to be careful on your everyday spending. This is why we pay professionals to do their jobs.

By handcuffing your municipal employees from doing their everyday job you are actually costing the town more money by slowing down the system that is in place. The mayor really should depend on the people that are in place, this is how government works. The mayor should treat the municipal employees with respect and not scream at them or talk down to them. No one is better than the next, Mayor Sobkowicz needs to open her eyes and ears and use the team she has in place and let them do their jobs. This immature erratic behavior needs to stop.


Joe D’Urso
Council Vice President

Glenn A. Scheyhing June 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Which township?
James Leggate June 16, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Washington Township
Jeffrey Tammen June 16, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Hey joe great article ,it's sad that they continue to operate like this as a former fire chief of the township of Washington 2000 - 2001 I had similar problems u worked in temporary budget from jan to about October , and by October it would be passed and and u had month before you were cut off .made it very difficult to operate.during my second year I had Lilly chin and Jackie do force me to give them my password to fire dept acct and they went in as me a took monies allotted for uniforms and other stuff . After I was done I found out it was illegal for them to ask and they told me they could get from the company that manages the computer program if I didn't give it to them .
Jeffrey Tammen June 16, 2012 at 05:30 PM
The mayor is out if control. How come 5star cut down 6 trees no permit in my property line and never replace plus the trees might not have been theirs. We sent letter to mayor and no response yet. It's had been months
Jeffrey Tammen June 16, 2012 at 05:34 PM
There should be a recall just for her not stopping The sale of 5 star and not demanding the clean up before sale seems criminal . She needs to go
B@B June 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
So why did you run in the last election with her, Mr. D.? And why did almost everyone in town vote for her? It isn't as if she was unknown to you.
DoughBoy1 June 17, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Since when is fiscal responsibility a problem? Apparently, In the Mayors opinion, expenses need to be monitored, that is her prerogative and right as the Mayor. The real problem is the council is overstepping their bounds by sticking their nose into the mayors domain. In case you haven't noticed, the council is having trouble managing their own responsibilities. Why don't you concentrate on your own responsibilities and let the Mayor concentrate on her responsibilities. Your ignorance on budgeting is amazing clear. In the real world, most corporations compare their revenues and expenses to the budget on a monthly basis, if expenses are higher than expected, the smart companies will start to monitor, reduce and delay their expenses. Even some line items in the original budget sometimes get cut or delayed. In general, having the Mayor approve all purchases is a great idea. I have noticed that my employees do not spend as much on supplies or wasteful spending when they need to get a signature. This is a very effective method to cut expenses.
Falcon Fan June 17, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Can you say "Disfunctional". The big question is really why did people vote for these clowns. The mayor is a kook, and the council refuses to get anything done. This town is out of control. Janet really needs to go, and Joe needs writing lessons.
resident June 19, 2012 at 12:42 AM
If the personnel are incompetent and the CFO is incapable of monitoring actual spend against the budget, then it is time for a new CFO. It doesn't matter when you spend the money as long as it is in the budget,. Timing difference are always an issue, this is why the CFO should be forecasting out and have a rolling 12 month forecast.. A proper cash flow will take care of the timing issues. Basic accounting 101!
Steve Sass June 22, 2012 at 12:36 AM
This letter sounds like the start of a political campaign for mayor. It is in typical Republican fashion, create a non-existent problem, then run on a promise to fix it. The only thing that can stop him from running now would be a lawsuit against the town because of his incompetence.
george phillips June 29, 2012 at 11:33 AM
D'Urso, Goetz and Cassio... The Axis Of Failure...Why doesn't D'Urso just be honest and tell the citizens he wants to run for Mayor and will do ANYTHING to make the current mayor look bad?
Walnut June 30, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Our wonderful town seems to be in gridlock in part because of our particular form of government. Responsible government and responsible spending in this economy means prioritizing essential services and infrastructure. The debate over Memorial Field the past few months has quite frankly been embarassing on the one hand, but illuminating on the other. Taken into consideration with all the other disagreements between the mayor and council (Memorial Field is but one example), I believe it's become clear that concerned voters consider making some changes in the voting booth in upcoming elections. Although I hope our governing body remains Republican, I believe there are some legitimate questions that can be asked about the competence to govern and common sense of the mayor and every member of the council, given their behavior over the past couple of years. One only has to attend a mayor and council meeting and see for themselves. There is obvious hostility between the mayor and council and alternating instances of common sense and outright nonsense expressed by the mayor and some council members. Of course, changes require responsible fiscal conservatives throwing their hats into the ring. I would prefer a continued republican majority, but this present mayor and council may be putting that in jeopardy. There are more important financial and quality of life issues facing the Township of Washington (our schools, maintaining a safe community, etc) than Memorial Field.
Walnut June 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM
The best part of Mr. Durso's letter is his suggestion to switch to a borough form of government. As I stated in my previous post, I believe there are legit questions about the competence of the mayor and every member of the council to govern and maybe there should be changes in the mayor and council sought in the voting booth. They may all be good and well meaning people individually, but that does not translate into effective governing. What seems obvious is that this is a bad mix of personalities with varying degrees of ability. There are two or three that may deserve to remain and, rather than naming names, I encourage every concerned township resident/voter to attend meetings and judge for themselves.
oldmanwtp June 30, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Dorso and goetz should take a lesson from Hillsdale and resign. Durso 's letter is an embarrassment to both himself and the council. He can run for mayor all he wants but he has no business being a councilman. Remember , if it was'nt for janet , Durso and Goetz would'nt even be there and that is truely a fact. Regardless, they can't win

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