To the editor from David T. Wood…
On Saturday, May 24, I had the opportunity to attend my first Brigantine council meeting after being a part-time resident for 11 years. My hope was to witness something other than the bickering and infighting that these meetings have become notorious for. Those hopes were unfounded as discussions regarding finances, civil employee contracts, positions taken, and unauthorized release of information became fodder for sniping.
On one occasion a council member stated that the town can’t be run like a business. Really? Our taxes are the revenues that we entrust council to spend in a prudent manner in providing us (your customers) with services. In that regard, council is bankrupting us.
Perhaps the only issue that was resolved was the impromptu discounting of 4×4 beach permits for veterans. This was without any real debate of the merit, precedent, or consequence. Let the meter begin calculating how much revenue will be lost on that maneuver. This is the type of “I want mine” attitude that has gotten us in the fiscal mess we currently find ourselves in. Maybe the rest of us should get a discount for having to endure this nonsense.
It was at this point that I could take no more, and left the meeting. As I walked out of the city hall, I couldn’t help but notice the eight or so police officers standing in a group doing nothing. I don’t know whether it was due to a shift change, but really, is that the impression you want give when negotiating a contract?
As I drove back to the south end of the island, I followed a Brigantine police SUV that passed bikers riding against traffic, and then made a turn without signaling. It was at this point that I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of a town where a council discussion of who has the right of way at the town’s only traffic circle had no consensus.
David T. Wood