Two years ago when Vernon’s Mayor Howard Burrell was on the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees, he voted to censure fellow board member Jerry Scanlan and remove him from his position as vice chair effective immediately because Scanlan had retweeted on social media a post about Democratic congresswomen of color. Burrell and the trustee board issued a statement: “Individuals serving in a position of leadership ... have a greater duty and responsibility to treat, write, and speak about all individuals with respect and decorum and without evidencing any bigotry.” Scanlan, who apologized to the public, was forced to resign.
Last year, Burrell trumped up false accusations and false charges he knew to be false about the chairperson of the Vernon Historic Preservation Commission and asked her to resign. She would not resign because she had done nothing whatsoever wrong. When Burrell could not intimidate and bully her into a forced resignation, he abolished the entire 25-year municipal Historic Preservation Commission and removed all of its members—without due process and without ever stating even a single alleged incident of wrongdoing.
Now, a township recreation department employee and recreation board volunteer display repeated inappropriate social media behavior. One of them, Mayor Burrell’s appointee to the township’s recreation and beautification boards who is also the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, has posted disgusting videos all over social media platforms, some advertising her insurance business! The videos show dozens of images of herself giving the finger with the “F” word splashed throughout. Her images even exploit children giving the finger, captioned with foul language. But the most offensive thing about her videos is the use of the “N” word throughout.
Mayor Burrell, an African American, was asked to call for her resignation for the deplorable use of the “N” word; her foul language; and her bullying, name-calling, and harassment of town residents. He did not ask for her resignation though. He ignored it completely. Instead, Burrell, a lifelong career salesman, sold the public a bill of goods by celebrating the recreation department and board to rehabilitate their inappropriate image with a special presentation lauding them and a letter to the editor, calling them “one of the town’s premier organizations.” No call for a resignation. No public censure. No apology offered to residents, and he continues to post countless selfies all over social media of himself with these same people.
This deplorable behavior is unprecedented of a mayor, a municipal employee, and a board member of our town! Why the duplicity, Mayor Burrell?