COMMUNITY VOICE: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

With regard to the photos and short story entitled, “A Friend to the Kearny Cottage,” appearing in this newspaper on 1/16/13, I have to correct and supplement the record. The story begins by stating that Dot Daniel thanked our Business Administrator for appointing her to the Kearny Cottage Historical Commission. I have no idea what that means since no such group exists. In the 37 years I was involved with the Kearny Cottage Historical Association, Inc., which I incorporated and for which I obtained State and Federal tax exempt status, there has never been a Kearny Cottage Historical Commission, and the Business Administrator never appointed a member to the Association. The Association is composed of volunteers who give of their time to maintain, preserve and repair the Kearny Cottage. The members join when they pay annual dues. No one is appointed. The group is separate and apart from the City of Perth Amboy and is apolitical. The Association is a friend to the City.

As far as the porch is concerned, that restoration project could not begin until the porch roof was rebuilt. The roof had to be fixed first since it leaked excessive amounts of water onto the porch which caused wood rot. It was understood and agreed between the City (Office of Community Development) and the contractor that any wood rot would be replaced after the construction of the roof. It turned out, in this case, that most of the porch had rotted away, and the contractor built a beautiful new porch. Construction of the porch and the timing of that construction had nothing to do with any complaints about the timing of the work. Again, the porch was built in a timely fashion after the roof was built.

Believing in giving credit where credit is due the new roof (which should last 100 years) and the porch construction are the results of hard work of Mr. Michael Keller and his staff at the Office of Community Development before he retired, Danny Cleaver and the Department of Public Works, Bill Pavlolvsky, former City Historian and Chairman of the Perth Amboy Historic Preservation Commission and the party who restored the Proprietary House, the contractor, who admittedly got a later start on the roof project for a variety of reasons, and me who observed the damage and pushed for its repair and/or restoration, with the use of community development funds derived from grants.

I would rather have expert work done on a historic structure on a late or delayed basis rather than shoddy or average work done on the exact day it was to be done. Our contractor was recognized by the State of New Jersey as the best person qualified to do the job, and the results speak for themselves. No one could have done a better or more thorough job.

Very truly yours,

Jack M. Dudas, Esq.
Former Councilman City of Perth Amboy
Former President Kearny Cottage


To set several things straight: Mr. Dudas said that he was proactive in pushing for repairs of the Kearny Cottage. The application for the Community Block Grant was given to Mr. Dudas because he was the registered agent for the Cottage. It was his responsibility to fill out these forms. Mr. Dudas passed the forms onto the at the time President of the Cottage, Vilma Novak. Vilma Novak had several meetings with Michael Keller, Danny Cleaver and others that were responsible for obtaining this contract for the work to be done.

Mr. Dudas also states that he got the contractor. This is true, but it was not his final decision, nor was it Mr. Pavlovsky. It was the Board of the Kearny Cottage Historical Association that approved the contractor. Neither Mr. Dudas or Mr. Pavlovsky were present at the interview. I could honestly say in the past two plus years as being the President of the Kearny Cottage (formerly a trustee and Vice-President) under the period of this construction, Mr. Dudas never appeared. He may have driven by the Cottage to look at the progress. He was not instrumental in getting the job done. The job honestly took more than two years to replace the tin roof and do other repairs.

A number of times I have called Mr. Dudas complaining about the lengthy time that this was taking. The Board decided to give the contractor one last chance to correct the situation or they would to terminate him. Then the contractor showed up, worked for a while and did not show up for weeks on end. He had other jobs that required his attention. Several times I contacted Mr. Pavlovsky and Mr. Dudas with my complaints before the Board acted once again to get rid of the contractor. Mr. Dudas and Mr. Pavlovsky were of no help in this matter.

I am not nor is Ms. Daniel taking away from the excellent work the contractor did. We were disgusted by the lengthy time the job took. If the job had taken any longer Superstorm Sandy would have taken its toll on the Kearny Cottage. In defense of Ms. Daniel, she came to the Cottage and saw the condition it was in before and during the repairs. She also disgusted about the length of time these jobs were taking. Ms. Daniel introduced me to the B.A. Greg Fehrenbach and explained the situation. His answer to Dot Daniel and myself was that he would check into it and this job should have not taken this long. I cannot speak for him, but believe he was annoyed at the situation. Dot Daniel was active in getting this job done and deserves the credit as does the B.A. If it wasn’t for Ms. Daniel and the B.A. pushing to get the people who were needed to get the repairs done in a timely fashion, the Cottage would not be standing. Dot Daniel did not take any credit for getting the contractor, the grant or getting the job done. She just wanted to thank Greg Fehrenbach for allowing her to the help the Cottage. She is on the Board of the Trustees to the Cottage and is a great asset. Before anyone makes any remarks or any misjudgments they should know I was around for the duration of the repairs. I know from the word go who, what and where took place. And I could truthfully say Dorothy took the time and spoke up when I couldn’t.

Paul W. Wang

President Kearny Cottage Historical Association

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