With four years as mayor and two as council president with a controlling majority, what has Shortway accomplished?

Vernon /
| 28 Oct 2021 | 03:32

    To the Editor:

    It is apparent that our former mayor and now council president Harry Shortway is once again attempting to deflect attention from the actions of the current council by bringing up issues long since settled by the will of the Vernon voter. He speaks of supporting Andy Pitsker and John Auberger and hopes to improve their image by attacking Brian Lynch and me. I would expect that either of these two gentleman are quite capable of expressing a differing point of view from Mr. Shortway were they to have the freedom to do so.

    Mr. Shortway talks of the mayor’s salary which he also received during his four years as mayor from tax payer funds but which he could have refused if he was so concerned about saving money on wages. Mr. Shortway also took pay from our board of education as a security guard, a position also funded through our tax dollars. It seems that our former mayor has a habit for double dipping in taxpayer dollars. Mr. Shortway calls into question the actions of myself and Brian Lynch in not being careful with the financial resources entrusted to us. Yet he has had four years as mayor and two years as council president with a controlling majority on the council to resolve these problems and what has he accomplished?

    If Mr. Shortway was so concerned over the financial well-being of our township, why then did he and Mayor Burrell choose to bring expensive legal action against SCUMA in an attempt to have a 12-year-old contract overturned when all reliable legal advice cautioned against this action. More importantly, why was this action supported by councilmen Andy Pitsker and John Auberger? As members of the council, they had access to the same information and it was their responsibility as council members to speak out in opposition on these significant issues and not act rubber stamps.

    This was demonstrated again when the decision on this suit was announced by Judge McGovern on the afternoon of October 14 dismissing, with prejudice the lawsuit brought by Vernon Township and the MUA against SCUMA. Yet the mayor and council knowing there was a council meeting that very same evening chose to reveal this information from the public. Could it be because this desperate measure involving not one but two high priced attorneys will end up costing Vernon Township well over $100,000 in legal fees? And yet, they choose to appoint a new council member to a vacant seat with only minimal time being given to interested applicants. Again, why did not John Auberger or Andy Pitsker make this information public during the council comments portion of the meeting? Had they not been told or were they simply following Harry’s Law.

    Mr. Shortway seeks to minimize the contributions of Brian and I during our tenure on the council. However, we can point to 4 years of no tax increases and an increase in commercial ratables of over 30 million dollars. Both Brian and I have held the responsibilities of being council president and meetings were run professionally and with dignity. Together Brian and I have the “experience to restart Vernon” and we would ask for your support.

    Pat Rizzuto

    Candidate for Vernon Township Councili