As Mayor of Sayreville, it is with profound regret that I find I must apologize to the residents and employees of Sayreville for the actions and behavior of the majority of my colleagues on the Borough Council at the meeting of January 9th. It showed a lack of respect for the office they hold and the citizens who elected them, and was an embarrassment to the borough.
Without any discussion with me or Councilman Nick Perrette, five council members made a decision to fire Business Administrator Jeff Bertrand. Just minutes before the meeting, Council President Lisa Eicher and Councilman Bill Henry went down the hall to his office, informed him they were terminating him, and told him he should not even attend the meeting. To his credit, he attended anyway. After eight years of hard work, dedication, and efficiency, Mr. Bertrand was never given notice that they considered his job performance in any way lacking. He was offered no discussion of any issues they may have had with him, no warning that some sort of improvement was required, nor what might be done to accomplish this. Their Democrat-selected attorney brought with him the completed paperwork, which he had drawn up even prior to the meeting, prior to any discussion, and prior to the council motion, seconding, and voting on the matter at that night’s meeting. Having made the decision privately, secretly, and knowing that they would have their five votes to one, in their arrogance council members Mary Novak, Bill Henry, Frank Bella, Lisa Eicher, and her brother Dan Buchanan felt no need to follow proper norms and procedures and chose a means of their own. I apologize to you for the behavior and lack of respect displayed by them.
The dismissal of Mr. Bertrand, and the manner in which it was handled, came as a shock to me, to Councilman Perrette, and to the residents in attendance. There was a public outcry, and when residents tried to question the Council majority, they were told only that this group of five wanted to take Sayreville “ in another direction,” a prospect I find distinctly alarming.
It had been my deepest hope that the Council would be willing to put the best interests of Sayreville and its citizens at the forefront and work cooperatively toward that end, without motives of power or partisan politics. It has already been made painfully apparent that this is not to be the case. The actions of the council were not only a slap in the face to the wishes and opinions of the voters who put them there, but what kind of message does it send to the rest of our borough employees? Obviously, it was intended to send a message to the residents and borough employees about who is in charge. I have never witnessed, nor do I approve of nor condone this “management style.” Those responsible have it wrong. The residents are in charge, and we are in their service. They elected us and we are here to carry out their wishes, to conduct ourselves with dignity and character, and to run and plan for the future of Sayreville in the most efficient and inexpensive way possible.
Once again, on behalf of five of my colleagues on the council, I apologize to the residents and employees of the Borough of Sayreville for what transpired that night. In order that you keep well-informed of the workings and decisions of the borough and your council representatives, I invite you to attend as many future council meetings as you are able, ask the questions when you have them, and make your wishes and opinions known.
Mayor Kennedy O’Brien
Sayreville, New Jersey