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He's been on the job for a little over a month, but new Caldwell Councilman Edward Durkin is already making a name for himself. As a crybaby.
At his very first council meeting Mr. Durkin pompously pronounced that he'd personally look into a resident's complaint regarding an issue with the Caldwell Community Center. Mr. Big Shot Greenhorn Councilman wanted to make a splash!
Alas, we happen to have a Mayor, 5 other Councilmen, and an extremely competent Borough Administrator. They quietly handled the situation, except they didn't run it by Durkin The Magnificent first.
And when you're a legend in your own mind you don't take that kind of thing laying down. Nope. No way. You throw a public temper tantrum instead!
Durkin, during the council meeting February 5, was upset he was not included in the discussions or letter sent out in the council's name to the Mignone family before it was drafted, written and mailed.
"I reached out to this gentleman (Mignone) to get his side of the story," he noted. "I wanted to hear the resident's side. I cannot believe you guys resolved this matter with a letter sent out from the governing body from our attorney. I had zero knowledge of this letter - zero."
Durkin also said he believes the way the letter was handled was wrong, and that the procedures were incorrect as well, since he was not included.
[Borough Attorney Greg] Mascera disagreed.
"I do not set procedure, councilman," he noted. "You should learn procedure. You do not call out anyone on council in public."
As the argument grew more heated, Mascera said he was instructed to draft the letter by the mayor and governing body.
But Durkin was adamant: he wants to be included in matters impacting residents of Caldwell - saying this was vital to him especially if he publicly states he wants to get involved.
Referring to his fellow councilmen Durkin said, "I know we are not all the best of friends. I'm an elected official and I want the best for the residents of Caldwell regardless."
Caldwell Council President Richard Hauser also commented, saying "Along the lines of some of those comments, I think comments at the last meeting were inappropriate instead of throwing our government employees under the bus."
"I am not apologizing (since) all I need to get is two (sides) of the story," he said.
At one point, Durkin said they could "step outside" to talk further about the matter, but this statement was taken as a threat by Mascera who said he wanted this statement to be put into the official minutes of the meeting.
Mascera, who runs the council meetings with a professional and courteous manner, was upset by the discussion. Truly, over the past 4 years as borough attorney, he has never been seen as this upset and emotional, and has instead usually been the voice of reason during arguments.
"I have never been spoken to in a council meeting, in four years, or accused of any wrong doing in a council meeting for four years," he said. I resent the fact that Mr. Durkin did not pick up the phone and tell me to discuss the situation."
Yeah, "step outside" is Real Professional. Classy even. What's next Eddie? Holding your breath until you turn blue? All because you didn't get to play hero?
In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." Maybe you should write that down Ed.
Later in the evening Mr. Mascera offered a little wisdom.
Mascera said Durkin's reaction may be a result of him being green.
"Most new council members get their feet wet gradually and learn the process and then act accordingly," he said.
He added, "There is no place for partisan politics at a municipal level. Partisan politics in my view get in the way of what is best for the community."
OK, Caldwell Democrats, it's time to muzzle your attack dog before he
embarrasses himself again. But in case he doesn't take the advice, we'll
be sure to have the Waambulance on standby outside the next council meeting.
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