Below, you will find a link to a statement released by Mayor Ken Short of Washington Township, New Jersey. In the letter, the mayor defends his own decision to take a vacation in the middle of the worst hurricane to hit New Jersey in more than a century. Virtually the entire township of Washington was without power for two entire weeks, including the township's schools, which were closed the entire time, opening only just this morning. There are still some parts of town that don't have power, and fallen trees, snapped telephone poles and downed power lines still block many of the roads around town, and the mayor and his vice mayor Bill Roehrich are vacationing in Aruba with their wives. Worst of all, when news of the criticism reached Mayor Short, he released a statement defending his decision to go on vacation when his town needs him most. Below are some excerpts from his letter:
Before you conjure images of me sipping pina coladas in the sun while too many residents in town sit in cold, dark homes without power, let me assure you that I have not ceased working on your behalf
But that IS what he is doing...
I realize that there are people who will be dissatisfied with my efforts no matter what I do. I continue to serve those people tirelessly even as they malign me and personally insult my family and me.
Criticizing an elected official constitutes "maligning" him? Protesting about his taking a vacation in the middle of a crisis, which mayors are elected to handle, is insulting? You know what they say; if you can't handle the heat, get out of
the kitchen Aruba.
Again, I see no value in pointing fingers. I realize that I open myself up to criticism by serving as an elected official. I continue to seek the opportunity to be a public servant although I am not paid anything for this work.
If he realizes that he opens himself up to criticism by serving as an elected official, why is he whining about being "maligned"? Why is he talking about "pointing fingers"? He is the MAYOR; naturally fingers will point at him if his town is a mess, power company officials are unable to reach him personally, and he is sitting on a warm, sunny beach while his constituents freeze in the dark. On top of that, the comment about not being paid is very strange. Does it imply that he doesn't owe the township much because he is not getting paid? He is in his second term as mayor; he knows what the job entails and what it "pays". He is welcome to step down at any time if he is unable or unwilling to carry out the duties, or if he doesn't like the lack of pay. Talking about the fact that you don't receive a salary at a time like this is totally inappropriate, to say the least.
Governor Christie took a lot of deserved criticism for his decision to go to Disney (and remain there) while his state was suffering through a blizzard. Mayor Short is not above the same type of criticism.
The statement can be read in its entirety at the following link: