Committee Snub Sparks Claims Of Partisanship From Mayor Levine

Democrats say politics had nothing to do with it.

Mayor Brian Levine at the Jan. 1, 2014 Township Council reorganization meeting.

Mayor Brian Levine at the Jan. 1, 2014 Township Council reorganization meeting.

Sparks flew at the Township Council reorganization meeting Jan. 1 when the all-Democrat Council refused to place Republican Mayor Brian Levine on a key township committee.

The refusal sparked a rare show of public anger from Levine, who accused teh council members of playing politics.

But one Democrat said the reason Levine was not placed on the Administration Committee as he had wished was Levine’s spotty record in attending other meetings last year.

The flareup occurred during the appointments to the council’s five standing committees: administration, financial oversight, public safety, land use and public works. The council makes nominations and votes for these committee members.

Council members Phil Kramer, Ward 3; Kimberly Francois, At-Large; Rajiv Prasad, At-Large and Roz Sherman, Ward 2 were nominated for the Administration Committee, which sets administrative policy.

Levine nominated himself, and recorded the only vote for his inclusion.

The snub prompted an angry response from Levine.

“At the last meeting, when I said things were being done in a partisan manner, one of the council members said ‘F-You’,” Levine said. “Now we’re kind of setting up the lines once more for a partisan council. If that’s the way we’re going to do it, you may see my changes in the year, too.”

“The mayor is not on the administration committee, that’s ridiculous,” he said.

Deputy mayor Brian Regan noted that Levine does get nominated and voted onto other committees.

Levine was later placed on the Financial Oversight committee.

Prasad told Levine that the Financial Oversight and Administration committees used to be one committee, but they were separated and share one common member.

“We would be glad to consider you in the future as the one person who serves on both,” he said.

After the meeting, Regan said there were a number of other council members who also wanted to be on the Administration Committee, and added that Levine’s record of attending meetings in 2013 was “poor.”

Levine last year was a member of the Public Works committee and also a member of the old Hamilton Street Business and Community Corp. trustees, and “went to one or two meetings at the most.”

“He has not been able to show his ability to make the meetings,” Regan said.

Levine said the mayor should be included on the administration committee.

“I ask for it every year,” he said.

Levine said that he had trouble making public works’ meetings,which, he said, is why he asked to not be on that commitee this year. But he said his record for attending financial oversight and council meetings was good.

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