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Kudos Rain On Prasad At His Last Township Council Meeting

Two Days Short Of Year Anniversary Of His Censure

Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad was feted for his 13 years on the Council Dec. 10 by the same Council members who voted to censure him a year earlier.

The Township Council chamber was awash in love for Councilman Rajiv Prasad on December 10 as friends and Council colleagues honored him for his 13 years on the governing body.

Prasad decided against running for re-election this year, following several scandals that resulted in his censure by the same Council members at the end of 2018. The Council will not meet again in December.

Prasad first joined the Council in 2006, following the ascension of Upendra Chivukula to the state Assembly.

Prasad’s At-Large seat was won in November by political newcomer Ram Anbarasan.

Although it was just two days shy of a year since the Council said Prasad’s actions “dishonor the important position in which he has been entrusted,” and that he had “engaged in multiple actions in his official capacity as an elected official that are improper for a person in his position,” Council members nonetheless honored Prasad for what they said were his accomplishments during his tenure in office.

Deputy Mayor James Vassanella (D-Ward 5), in referring to the scandals surrounding Prasad, said, “we’re all humans and the one thing he has in common with everyone of us … we’re humans and we make mistakes. “

“One thing he doesn’t have in common with a lot of people … is to dedicate hours and hours and hours of time,” Vassanella said. “So in that way, you stand out. A lot of people got familiar with Rajiv over the last year and a half, which obviously was a bumpy road for him and the town … but the people who are here generations from now are going to see the accomplishments and the efforts and the tireless drive this man has given this town for the past 13 years.”

Councilman Carl Wright (D-Ward 4) said that he was glad that Prasad sat near him.

“In every family either you love ’em or you hate ’em, but you love ’em or you hate ’em for 30 seconds, and after that it’s smooth sailing,” he said.

Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1) called for Prasad to resign a year ago. His tone was more conciliatory at the Dec. 10 meeting.

“I want to thank Councilman Prasad for all his service, even though I once criticized him, but I know that in general, what he was doing was in the public interest, especially to honor those world figures … and I hope that we sometime will have those statues up, perhaps somewhere better,” Chase said.

“I only wish those who criticized him could have been here tonight to hear all of the praise he’s been given for his extended service to the township,” he said.

Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large) said “it really has been a privilege” to serve on the body with Prasad.

“Councilman Prasad has his own unique way of doing everything,” she said. “I used to say, you’re like a dog with a bone, you won’t let it go. If he’s focused on getting something done, you can believe he’s going to do it. That was always something I admired.”

“He has a lot of passion, he’s done a lot for our community,” she said. “That kind of passion never goes away .. we know you’ll continue to serve our community.”

“Thank you for your service to the community … enjoy your retirement,” said Councilman Will Galtieri (D- Ward 2).

Councilwoman Crystal Pruitt (D-At Large) said that she had a short time in which to work with Prasad, but said that he is “full of passion and he absolutely believes that what he is doing is right and good for the community, and I respect that. I really appreciated the time I’d gotten to be your colleague.”

Mayor Phil Kramer thanked Prasad “for the things you did,” as well as for “the cultural insights that you gave us.”

“I wish you luck,” he said.

Prasad was also feted by his friends, with state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen being the most effusive.

Danielsen noted that some of the years during which he and Prasad worked were “difficult,” but added that the “bulk of our time was extremely successful for the betterment of the people of Franklin Township.”

“Putting aside your style of doing things, which was always a challenge for me … you were always a tireless worker,” he said.

Danielsen said Prasad “led the charge” to get a memorial to the Franklin residents who dies in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and that Prasad “provided the leadership of this township with a unique ability to bring together people from different cultures, communities, religions and languages.”

“I know there will be people out there who will shamelessly forget about all the good you’ve done and instead focus on the mistakes you’ve made … but allow me to remind you, Councilman, that you have many righteous accomplishments that only you own,” he said.

“If it weren’t for you, may great things just wouldn’t have happened,” Danielsen said.

Prasad thanked those who had honored him. He ticked off accomplishments made by the Council during his tenure, and said that he “tried to serve and in my own human way, though I may have had faults, I did the best I could. To that I have no regrets. My heart was there to serve the town.”

“I hope I will continue to make Franklin a better place to live,” he said.

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