In an attempt to facilitate matters, Mayor Rich LaBarbiera altered the regular order of business. His first change was to discuss the lighting enigma at West Brook Middle School and to say that the Council was in favor of financing it. This was contravened by Joe Warburton who, as a Paramus resident, wanted to know the details regarding the financing and the assumption of the debt for the lighting. Borough Attorney Paul Kaufman and Mayor LaBarbiera tried to assuage his fears, but the discussion dragged on well past the 5 minute limit and approached twenty minutes. The matter still has to be finalized!
After that came awards. For the main part, Irene Maury of Human Services and the Mayor gave out awards to the disadvantaged people who had helped in the rehabilitation of the Human Service offices and the verdant garden that has been yielding fresh produce to some of the needy families in Paramus. It was a pleasure to see the smiling faces of the people getting the awards.
After that, Steven Benvenisti gave out commendations and awards to the Paramus Police Department. On hand to accept them were Chief Kenneth Ehrenburg and Captain Brian Goggin in addition to Paramus Police Officers Joe Cullen and Ben Fox who had been instrumental in enforcing the ideals that MADD has set up. Benvenisti, a lawyer associated with Davis, Saperstein and Salomon and head of the MADD program here in New Jersey, related his own experiences in being incapacitated by an intoxicated driver and the reason for his devotion to MADD. They were followed by students from the East Brook Class of 2013 .
After the long list of honorees, the Mayor and Council gave their official reports and it was gratifying to hear that they had mastered the secrets of their individual microphones and to see that they extracted the principal parts of the monthly reports that are given to them by the various departments that they oversee.
During the Open To The Public portion of the meeting, it was brought out to them that The highlighting of the huge sign on the wall above them was discriminatory. Three eyeball fixtures on BOROUGH OF PARAMUS drew attention to UGH OF PAR. To have Pride in Paramus, the entire silver colored lettering should be completely lit. Mayor Rich LaBarbiera referred it to Guy Picone, Superintendent of the Department of Public Works, who was in the audience.
In another matter, one of our unions has been operating for three years without being recognized by financial increases. This was presented by Steve Kochik, President of the Paramus Employee Association. The Mayor tried to address the problem without being stopped by the Borough Attorney for touching on negotiation sensitive material. Former Councilman Tommy LoCicero took the dais to back up Kochik's presentation. The Mayor alluded to the fact that all this occurred during bleak financial times and also at a time when he was a Democratic minority. Negotiations are still going on.