Westwood’s police promotion policy debate is becoming a mythical epic. The Mayor and two Council members argue seniority has value over education, portraying it as a serious complex topic.
It was recently reported in The Record that Montvale is going through a lawsuit over their promotion policy. The article quoted David Grubb, executive director of the New Jersey Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund, who advocates accreditation of police departments. He noted; "Accreditation results in better managed departments, which tend to have fewer lawsuits." Montvale is not yet accredited.
Westwood is already accredited using the currently instituted policy from 2002. That suggests this promotion issue isn’t complex or all that serious. So why then do officials, like Councilman Robert Miller, continue this discussion? Why has the rest of the Council even entertained 10 months of dialogue?
Now we hear they’re drafting an ordinance to possibly change the policy. Legislation defined by the theory of water politicking. Water is not solid, it flows, its patient; and its power comes through volume or time. Water in small quantities has been wearing away stone for centuries, using time to achieve results. Here the minority for change seek to modify the majority’s view, wearing them down, drip by drip.
At the moment, only Council woman Ingrid Quinn continues to show her character, voting against authorizing the attorney to draft a change. She values education and understands principles aren’t part time. You either believe in something or you don’t. She appreciates that taxpayers spend 60 cents of their tax dollar on education and 10 cents on the police budget. Should the community’s expectations be less for their police then their children?
This year’s budget was passed with more spending covered by surplus then anticipated revenues. Discussion time: a couple of months. Flooding solutions, it affects numerous property values; building a concession stand on a landfill without understanding the potential methane gas hazards; suspension of the annual road, sewer and storm drainage infrastructure maintenance; important issues, none of which outwardly received the same dedicated discussion as this promotion policy.
The policy deserved a discussion, and a decision. It had that decision last November. No one has ever defined a taxpayer’s value to justify furthering debate. The governing body, if it had leadership and needed something to discuss, could have reviewed how it spent its share of $7 million tax dollars. That’s the additional property tax revenue received from the hospital property since 2008. At the same time Westwood drew down the surplus, increased municipal debt and raised annual property taxes! Thoma Wanner