I am very disappointed with the conduct of new Washington Township Committeeman James LiaBraaten.For more background, here's the disposition of LiaBraaten's bogus complaint along with a letter from the WMRHSD stating the cost incurred by taxpayers as a result of LiaBraaten's revengeful actions.
As a member of the Washington Township Board of Education, Mr. LiaBraaten harshly criticized fellow board member Ruth McCurdy for filing an ethics charge against their colleague Jim Harmon, endorsing a motion to have her compensate the district for Mr. Harmon’s legal fees.
Then, after losing an election for a one-year seat on the regional high school board, Mr. LiaBraaten filed ethics charges of his own. These charges were thrown out in less than 24 hours after they were heard.
It seems only appropriate that before assuming office, Mr. LiaBraaten should issue the taxpayers both an apology and a check.
By voting for Mr. LiaBraaten, the Township Committee is clearly condoning his behavior, particularly his refusal to repay the legal fees resulting from his actions. This is in direct contradiction to the stance they took earlier when they were board of education members. At that time, a majority of the current committee, Mr. William Roehrich, Mr. James Harmon and Mr. LiaBraaten, served together on the K-8 board and were all highly critical of Mrs. Ruth McCurdy’s filing of an ethics claim and instrumental in the attempt to have her reimburse the district .
What does this tell you about our Township Committee? Apparently, the majority of them do not hold themselves to the same standards that they have set for everyone else.
In a time when the community is facing a number of very critical issues such as our never ending town budget woes, a declining economic base and the proposed flea market, we need to know that we can trust the decisions made by our Township Committee. We need our committeemen to make choices based upon what is best for the community and not for each other.
We now have four committee members who have yet to serve one full term. They will undoubtedly be making important choices on behalf of our community for some time to come. Their decision to appoint Mr. LiaBraaten is not a reassuring start.