Is there a word that blends embarrassment and anger into one feeling? Because that’s how I feel
today this week about the state of Cape May City Council. And I’m a little confused, too.
Cape May City Council meetings are important. People like Dennis and Anita DeSatnick know this. Gerry Gaffney knows equally well how important council meetings are, they attend all of them. I don’t attend them all, but I do watch each meeting on Livestream.
Without a hot button topic, council meetings are pretty boring. Council reads a few resolutions, pays a few bills and discusses whatever pressing issues the city might be facing.
Until the other night that is, when things got really ugly. Why?
Since March of 2015 Cape May City Council has been haunted by the fallout of its decision to demote Captain Robert Sheehan from the position of Police Chief. At almost every meeting since last March, Cape May City Council has been peppered with questions about the reasons behind their decision.
Meetings have been contentious in recent months, including the public scolding of the youngest member of Cape May City Council Shaine Meier, regarding comments he made publicly. It was overheard on a hot microphone that the scolding solicitor didn’t have the council member’s correct phone number. Pertinent, since the solicitor claimed to try to reach out to Council Member Meier.
Now we have Council member Roger Furlin using his chair at the table as a bully pulpit, in what clearly appeared to be an attempted character assassination. Behind the disguise of a rebuttal to a question, Mr. Furlin received a month earlier, Councilman Furlin (without interruption from anyone but Shaine Meier) continued tounge-lashing Mayoral Candiate Chuck Lear for twenty minutes.
You can fast forward the video slider to 58 minutes and hear Mr. Furlin’s remarks for yourself. In my opinion Mr. Furlin used an open council meeting as a campaign stop for the incumbent Mayor. It was embarrassing.
Less than three weeks before one of the most important elections the city has faced, a sitting city council member calls a former public servant, and now candidate for Mayor, corrupt? Are you kidding me?
Dr. Scott Maslow, (in public comment session) tactfully pointed out the corruptness of Mr. Furlin’s outing of Mr. Meier’s closed session voting record the prior meeting. High School student councils behave better than this.
The meeting continued to spiral downward from there.
During the open public comment portion of the meeting, citizen after citizen vociferously chastised not only Councilman Furlin, but the Mayor and Solicitor for not only tolerating but permitting the comments. Citizens also condemned council and the Mayor for their approach to beach safety in the surf zone.
In a page right out of Wikileaks, Anita DeSatnick read verbatim emails obtained via OPRA as public records. These were emails between Mayor Mahaney and the Army Corps of Engineers in which he is alleged to take credit for inspiring the beach safety committee.
Not every citizen of Cape May has the inclination to attend council meetings. In an election cycle the citizens should be aware of what takes place at these meetings. They can be watched from the comfort of their own home or location via Livestream. Caution, though; you may experience emotions as I did like embarrassment and anger.