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In Our Opinion: Township Council Must Re-Authorize Prasad Censure, Back It Up With Action

The January 7 Township Council reorganization meeting is the perfect time for the governing body to follow-up its censure of Councilman Rajiv Prasad by adding some teeth to the measure.

Prasad was censured by his fellow Democrats at the December 2018 meeting for the ethical lapses that have been well-documented in these pages.

The censure resolution expresses the Council’s sense that Prasad (D-At Large) has “engaged in multiple actions in his official capacity as an elected official that are improper for a person in his position,” and that the actions are of “a manner and to the degree that he has lost the trust of many residents and the governing body of Franklin Township.”

The resolution says the Mayor and Council find his actions “unacceptable,” and they “dishonor the important position in which he has been entrusted.”

A last-minute attempt to water-down the censure by removing the “dishonor” clause was, thankfully, successfully defeated by Mayor Phil Kramer.

The resolution carried some pretty strong words, and rightfully so. Prasad has shown over the past three years that he is unfit for the privilege of serving in public office. State law prohibits the Council from expelling him itself, so the only options are recall – which is in process, but is a very tough mountain to climb – or resignation.

Prasad is unlikely to resign – he has continually denied doing anything wrong – and since the Council cannot expel him, it must do the next best thing: make him irrelevant for what must be his last year on the Council.

First, since the censure was done by a resolution which expired at the end of 2018 – not even three weeks after it was passed – the council should pass the same resolution at its Jan. 7 reorganization meeting to extend it through 2019.

Actually, the new resolution should go one step further and demand Prasad’s resignation.

Until the time that he either resigns or his term expires – Prasad is up for re-election this year, as are the other At-Large seat holders and Kramer – Prasad should be excluded from any decision-making.

That means he should get no standing or ad-hoc committee appointments, nor should he be made a liaison to any of the township’s boards or committees.

None of his proposed resolutions – should he deign to actually follow procedure in their introduction – should receive a second.

He should be told his presence is not welcome at events attended by other township officials, or at any council caucus sessions.

Finally, this must be Prasad’s political swan song. The Township Democrats must not place him on the November ballot.

In short, Prasad should be placed in political Siberia.

Some may say that these measures are extreme, and with that we would agree. But they are necessarily so.

The council, in its own words, said Prasad had lost its trust, had taken improper actions and had brought dishonor on his position.

Those are strong opinions, and must be followed by strong actions. Serving on the Township Council is a privilege, not a right, and Prasad has abused that privilege by treating his position as a commodity.

With no power, no influence and no chance of running for re-election on the Democratic ticket, perhaps Prasad will finally see the light and do what is right for Franklin Township: Resign.

 

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