The Mayor had a Commendation to give. Mayor Richard A. LaBarbiera publicly acknowledged the dedication and recognition of Paramus resident, Dr. Joan Rivitz who recently received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. Dr. Rivitz was chosen by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to receive the prestigious FBI Director's Community Leadership Award. Dr. Rivitz received the award for the work she did with the African American, Hispanic and Latino Communities in New Jersey utilizing a Kellogg Foundation Grant, "America Healing: A Racial Equity Initiative." The foundation program focused on the youth in our urban communities and the dangers of gang involvement.
Dr. Joan Rivitz was kept waiting for over an hour and a half while the business meeting was going on!
It is now required that Department heads be in attendance to answer questions on Agenda Items asked by the public before being excused and able to return home. Losing an hour and a half before the start of the meeting kept them there waiting for the Council to finish their business in the downstairs meeting room. Councilman Brundage did remind Mayor Rich LaBarbiera that they had agreed to change the rotation of the Agenda order and take the Open To The Public On Agenda Items Only first. The Mayor agreed and asked for anyone wishing to be heard to step up to the dais. There being none the Department heads were free to leave, a complete waste of their time and probably a tad bleary-eyed the next morning when reporting to work at their appointed positions.
Now we get to the Fourth Estate. Members of the press are on hand to gather and disseminate the news of the meeting. They have to stay for the entire meeting in order to give their readers a fair view of the events of the regular meeting of the Mayor and Council. Many don’t work on an hourly basis!
Take me, the Chief Reporter of www.ParamusPost.com. I try to give an open view of the meeting taking into account the where’s and why-fors of the events. Like Councilman Ralph Amato who was four days post-op for a shoulder operation, this correspondent was one day post-op for a skin cancer. Like Councilman Amato, I felt that it was imperative to attend this meeting.
I had turned down a dinner invitation at a Rotary Club in Paterson. Had I known that the meeting was not going to start at the advertized time of 7:45 PM, I could have gone to that and covered the meeting if my post-op health was up to it. As it was, I had hoped for an early meeting so that the dressing on my face could be removed and refreshed! Instead, I, like the other members of the fourth estate, had to sit and wait and wait and wait! Due to the late evening, I almost didn’t make the West Brook Senior Thanksgiving luncheon the next day, a fete that has been a steady part of my agenda, enjoying the middle school children perform and serve.
When the meeting started at 9:15, I was too exhausted to really zero in on the long reports by most of the Council people and the Open to The Public residents who got up to push forward their agendas, some very important (to them) and some not so very important (to the remaining audience). This is unfair to the readers who like to get another opinion of what is being done by the people they elected to office.
While using the microphone properly has improved and every Council person could be heard during their reports, when they turned to address the people at the dais, the voices faded into the direction they were facing and microphone technique was omitted. As previously mentioned, I, among many senior citizens, am hearing challenged and depend on proper microphone technique to understand what is being said.
Councilman Al Brundage did cover some interesting material during his report. A savings of $36,144.00 was effected by an intensive investigation of the Borough phone lines. He also mentioned that the Lighting of The Tree will be done at 6:30 PM at Petruska Park on November 30th. A winter Carnival is planned with rides and games for the youngsters in attendance.
DPW Director Guy Picone did stay until the end of the meeting and was able to answer a question that arose during the Open to The Public portion.
Mayor LaBarbiera ended the meeting with an exhortation to Beat Ridgewood .. AGAIN!