Councilman Chase: Prasad Should ‘Consider Resigning’ From Governing Body

Suggestion came after more than an hour of public condemnation of Prasad and criticism of the Township Council.

Township Councilman Ted Chase said his fellow council member, Rajiv Prasad, should “consider resigning” over the “Peace and Non-Violence” monument park issue.

A Township Councilman on Sept. 13 called on an embattled colleague to “consider resigning” over his actions in furtherance of the proposed “Peace and Non-Violence” monument park.

The comment came from Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) after members of the public had eviscerated the council in general, and Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large) in particular, for more than an hour over Prasad’s handling of getting approvals for the monument park, targeted for a quarter-acre on township open space.

Several of the residents who spoke during the meeting’s public portion also called on Prasad to resign.

During the “council comments” portion of the meeting, after the public comment period, Chase said the council should, “at the very least, back off completely” on the proposal, and that Prasad should consider whether the project would win council support “after the way he has handled the proposal.”

“Personally, I think, Rajiv, you should consider resigning,” Chase said.

The comments and suggestion for Prasad’s resignation come in the wake of a Franklin Reporter & Advocate report that showed Prasad worked to get supporters at the Aug. 14 council meeting to speak in favor of the proposed monument park, which would feature bronze statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and bronze busts of Nelson Mandela and Saint Teresa of Calcutta – even though the matter was never put on the meeting’s agenda, and manipulated the presentation of the issue by having it come up after public comment during that meeting, effectively cutting off any dissent.

The report also showed that in seeking licensing rights for King’s likeness, Prasad told a representative of the Martin Luther King Jr. estate that his plan for the statues is being opposed by “Trump emboldened Republicans, who do not want any colored statues in town.”

Mayor Phil Kramer also took Prasad to task at the Sept. 13 meeting, calling his comment to the King estate representative “reprehensible.”

While stopping short of calling for Prasad’s resignation – Kramer said that what Prasad does is “in his hands” – Kramer said he had one thing to ask of the councilman.

“I ask you to give us reason to forgive you,” Kramer said. “I implore you to do that. For instance, the MLK organization you contacted now has an inaccurate view of Franklin and that must be corrected. I’m sure the public would like to see a letter to them setting the record straight.”

Prasad was visibly angered by the calls for him to resign and defended his actions.

He read from a 2007 Township Council resolution supporting the placement of a “Peace and Non-violence” monument park – albeit with only statues of King and Gandhi – at the intersection of Foxwood Drive and Easton Avenue. Easton Avenue is a county road, so the request went to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, where it was denied.

The resolution, he said, “has never been rescinded, so the resolution stands, approved by council as of 2007.”

That’s not true, as township attorney Lou Rainone pointed out. Resolutions passed by a governing body express the intent of that particular body, and expire at the end of the year in which they were passed, so no formal rescission is necessary.

Prasad also argued that the money was raised for the monument park’s construction in 2009, and that donors are asking him where the park is.

“The process was followed,” Prasad said.

The FR&A live-streamed the comment section of the meeting:





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