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In Your Opinion: Dangers Of ‘Looking Behind The Curtain’

By Bill Connell, Somerset.

True or not, New Years are times to hit the reset button. I believe in this. It forces you to refocus. At the Township Council reorganization meeting I wasn’t unable to attain that goal. It was just another day. I did not get up and speak because I could not muster enthusiasm to say something positive and snarky condescension seemed pointless.

There is nothing I can add that the Franklin Reporter & Advocate has not reported, but I can tell you what it was like for me to be in the room. Regardless of how you or I feel, the people on Council ran for office and make a sacrifice to help run the town. Even if their motivation is ego-driven, this needs to be acknowledged. The problem for me is in the course of 2018 I looked too close, I looked behind the curtain. I have trouble respecting them because I can see all the double-standards and horse-trading that goes on.

That night a few more things got under my skin. Newly elected Freeholder Shanel Robinson got up in public session and in a soft-spoken elementary teacher school voice effectively told Council to ignore the people complaining and “do the right thing.” Based on the votes, they listened to her.

The core of the Democratic leadership was in the room but none of them chose to speak about the turmoil Councilman Rajiv Prasad has caused or articulate why the recall movement should stand down. Both the Franklin Democratic Chair and Somerset County Democratic chair were in the room. Both these people are not elected by the public, but have a large influence on how Council conducts itself. That night the County chair’s law firm was awarded a $235,000 fair and open contract. All I could think is that she is happy to take our tax dollars but can not get up at public session and help get us past the situation caused by the people under her sphere of influence.

As relates to Council, I was not filled with enthusiasm and hope in the new year. Shame on me for looking too closely. The good news for me is I have another outlet supporting the kids and parents at the Middle School Theater program. If you don’t mind the work, it’s one of the best gigs in town. I get to work with some of the best, brightest and clever people Franklin has to offer. That is the real Franklin to me.

Happy New Year.

 

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