Today… a reprint from last night’s meeting:
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak at my final Council meeting. As you all know, I did not seek re-election to Metuchen Borough Council. This decision was not a political one nor a reflection of any action taken by the Council. Instead, it just feels like my time to go. I have been fortunate enough to serve these past three years with Mayor Vahalla and my fellow Council members. While the faces may have changed a few times, the desire to do the best job possible was ever present. It feels good to be told that I will be missed and I suspect that is mostly because people like to see what I am wearing or what hair style I am sporting at any given time. Nevertheless, as my mother always told me, “ It is best to leave a party while you are still having fun!”
On a more serious note, I want to take this chance to thank Metuchen for the support and kindness you have shown me and my family. In almost every encounter, people have been gracious and warm and I have many more friends now than I had before. I have had a front row seat to celebrations and losses, ribbon cuttings and parades. I witnessed the Congressional Medal of Honor being awarded and the expansion of our cultural and artistic community. I have seen businesses thrive and some unfortunately fail. I have awarded Girl Scout badges and watched Emergency Management literally save our lives multiple times. I have been honored to witness the events of so many Metuchen residents up close and personally.
However, in government there are difficult and frustrating moments. At those times, I hope that residents and Council members remember that we are all neighbors and that our official actions are personal too. The hardest part of the last few years was reading hateful and false comments about the Council online or hearing rumors spread unfettered. I wish there were some way I could assure those of you who feel disenfranchised and angry that the men and women sitting up here are serving without pride or glory. There is no personal gain, no back-rooms deal, no secret society. In fact, you may be surprised to learn, that Mayors and Councils have unselfishly allowed the given stipend to remain unchanged for more than thirty years. Metuchen is a model of honesty, ethics and good management. If you take time to learn the truth, I can promise you that the joy of shared contribution will be much more rewarding than spreading lies could ever be.
As in all walks of life, things could always be better. I’m not here to pat myself on the back. I want to take this time to speak of things that did not get done. I will not be present to complete some important projects we started like ensuring that the thoughtful development of Pearl Street is realized, providing borough-wide wifi, the appointment of a communication specialist, and the expansion of the farmers’ market to a permanent space. A few of the most pressing items to me that remain unfinished are the development of an Accessibility Commission to promote the needs of residents with disabilities and additional funding and greater attention to the best uses of our Senior Center. We have failed to look carefully enough at the benefits of having a borough-wide community center and we have not answered simple questions about the development of that public space. Additionally, I have spent three years with our Senior Citizen Commission and I implore the Council to consider an increase to the budget for our senior’s programs and services. Finally, we must spend more time planning ways to afford necessary upgrades to our infrastructure and utility systems especially considering the risk of future storms like those we have seen recently.
I leave my fellow Council members to hold these and many other projects dear. I trust that you will do the right thing in all circumstances and I will always remain proud to have worked with each of you, the employees of the Borough, and countless volunteers who make Metuchen a special place to live. Thank you again for this opportunity and best wishes to all for a healthy and happy New Year.