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Daughtry: 'How About Best Qualified?'

Art Daughtry is running for a spot on the township committee.

When Art Daughtry decided not to run for Montville Township Committee last year, it was because he had made a campaign promise not to serve more than two terms.

But now, one year later, Daughtry is running again, after being asked by Mayor Jim Sandham. His reason, he says, is simple: He is unhappy with Deb Nielson's performance on the committee, wants to promote transparency, and, according to Daughtry and Sandham's campaign website, perform a review of all township spending.

According to Sandham, Daughtry was at first reluctant, but by late February or early March, Daughtry decided to jump back into politics.

Recent developments with regard to creating a more transparent committee, Daughtry called commendable, and he specifically referred to the efforts of committeeman Scott Gallopo. But Daughtry says these are only the beginning, and more transparency still is needed.

"Scott is addressing the more traditional definition of transparency," Daughtry said. "The problem I have is…closed session is the hiding ground of things that really shouldn't be talked about in closed session; That needs to really, really be looked at if the township committee is really being honest and open with the public."

Daughtry went as far as to say he'd like to sit down with a polygraph machine and discuss township issues with members of the township committee.

He believes his integrity makes him a good candidate.

"Everyone that has ever worked with me in this Township knows 'I don't Dance," Daughtry wrote in an email to Patch. "I will not mislead our citizens, unions, or our town employees. Does this approach get me in trouble-sure-but in the end I believe we are all better for being honest with each other."

In a recent , Montville Democratic Committee chair Truscha Quatrone asserted that Sandham and Daughtry are teaming up to unseat Nielson.

"Well my response to the question is Truscha is correct regarding Jim and I trying to unseat Deb," wrote Daughtry. "I do not at all agree with the inference that this is the men against women. How about best qualified?"

Daughtry vies for a chance at one of two open township committee seats, along with his running mate Jim Sandham and opponent Deb Nielson, all Republicans. Sandham is current mayor and Nielson and Daughtry are former mayors.

The primary will be held on June 7.

For an article about Jim Sandham, click here.

For an article about Deb Nielson, click here.

Tim Braden June 01, 2011 at 05:05 PM
"I will not mislead our citizens, unions, or our town employees. Does this approach get me in trouble-sure-but in the end I believe we are all better for being honest with each other." Thanks Art. One out of two ain't bad! Tim Braden
Truscha Quatrone June 01, 2011 at 06:49 PM
I have attended most township committee meetings over the past 9 years and six of them Art Daughtry was either Mayor or committee member. I personally requested numerous times for more transparency from the committee and the mayor's. There was ample time for Art Daughtry to make the township committee more open and transparent while he was mayor and committee member. There was no attempt or even an introduction of a proposal to do so. Art's first ran against John Rosellini on the platform of lowering taxes. In his six years on the committee our municipal taxes have gone up every year. During Art’s and Jim tenure the Police and municipal’s unions have all been given raises. Deb Nielson has voted for every budget cut or expense that Art and Jim have voted for so where is the difference in budget agenda? I voted for you Art the first time you ran in for office. I withdrew that support when you and your partner sued Montville Township while you were Mayor; btw the lawsuit is still not open for review 5 years later. Respectfully, Truscha Quatrone Montville Democratic Committee Chair
jim sandham June 01, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Truscha - see below. You depiction that 'Deb voted for every budget cut...' is not correct, according to the minutes! In 2010 Deb voted for a LARGER tax increase than necessary! See minutes of 4/27/10 - discussion item#1. The Township Committee had previously agreed to a 1.75% budget increase for 2010. Then the issue came up for a formal vote. Deb took advantage of one TC member's (Don Kostka) unexpected absence to disagree and change what had already been proposed. All because there were some municipal employees and their supporters (voters) in the audience. Deb said she "wasn't ready" to accept a 1.75% increase and she & Tim voted NO, deadlocking the vote at 2-2. Then Tim made & Deb seconded a motion and voted YES to a 2% increase! Jim & Art voted NO! If Don was present the first motion at 1.75% would have passed. Art sted so and everybody on the dais knew it, Deb & Tim included. So we wasted 2 more weeks before Don came back and we passed a 1.75% budget increase. Truscha - please check the records before making statements. Thanx, Jim
Truscha Quatrone June 01, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I was at the meeting Jim and it was not the final meeting for the budget it was a discuss of what the increase limit was going to be. State the facts correctly Jim. Have you and Art been planning to get rid of Deb since 2010?
jim sandham June 01, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Truscha - read the minutes of 4/27/10. There were budget discussions at previous meetings - maybe that is what you recall.
Truscha Quatrone June 01, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Jim copy of the minutes. NO. 1 – 2010 MUNICIPAL BUDGET: Bastone reported as instructed two weeks ago I prepared exhibits for a 1.75% increase in the tax levy. I need the approval of that to introduce the budget. We continue to work with the unions. We have made some progress. The police department will have one early retirement and there is a proposal by the PBA for the 4th of July. Nielson stated my preference would be to work for the next two weeks and come to a decision. Braden stated we are talking about the difference between 2% and 1.75%. What is that per household? Bastone stated $5 per household. Braden stated 2% is a comfortable number. I think it would motivate the unions. Motion not approved. As I said state the facts as they are not what you want them to be.
Bob Gannon June 02, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Tim: I guess you're going to ignore Art's advice to let people know that you are speaking as the treasurer for Deb Nielson's campaign. Apparently, you have been appointed the hatchet man of the campaign too. Where is Deb Nielson in all of this? Where is her response to voting for a 2% increase after you all agreed to keeping the increase down to 1.75%? Where is Deb Nielson's response to taking health care benefits and misrepresenting about voting against health care benefits for Township committee people in her campaign literature? The truth is on Art and Jim's side. Anyone can go to Montvillenj.org, search the official committee minutes for April 13, 2010 and see that she did not vote to rescind township employee's health benefits, as her literature clearly states, but was absent for the vote. By the way, the minutes on the school board vote show you voted for the same 18.46% reduction to the school board budget that you talk about above. The people of this town want transparency. These half-truths don't work any more. The minutes speak for themselves and that is why I am not afraid to sign this, Bob Gannon Co-Chairperson of the Campaign to re-elect Jim Sandham and Art Daughtry
Tim Braden June 02, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Jim, You are trashing Deb Nielson for a 0.25% give-back. After the Township Committee voted to cut the Board of Ed budget by $984,000 you proposed to reduce that cut by $184,000 or 18.70%. I could say that this is the pot calling the kettle black but it's not even close. I know you'll argue that it's not the percentage but the dollars involved but the point is that people in glass houses..............should have integrity! Tim Braden
Concerned Citizen June 02, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Tim- it wasn't even a .25% give-back; it was just a vote on the cap that you would not exceed during budget talks- you still could have went BELOW that cap but if it was set at the lower amount you would not have been able to exceed that and then it COULD have come down to laying off police in order to meet the cap which was being discussed at the time- Didn't some police officers receive RICE letters? Where the example you site with Jim is an actual give-back that he was suggesting. Talk about public theatrics and with taxpayer money!
Tim Braden June 02, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Good point! Thanks you for pointing this out. By the way, if you are a fan of public theatrics just wait for your mail this weekend when more accusations will fly with no opportunity for rebuttal. That's real INTEGRITY!
jim sandham June 02, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Truscha - why didn't you post all the minutes that show the whole stroy and let the readers decide? You can't claim being fiscally responsible and then try to 'back door' a budget increase when someone in the majority vote wasn't there. See next posting for the minutes...
jim sandham June 02, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Bastone stated I need the direction to introduce the budget in two weeks. Introduce budget with 1.75% tax rate increase for next year. Motion: Daughtry. Second: Sandham. Discussions: Nielson stated she is not ready yet to strike that number until there are further negotiations with the unions. Sandham asked when do we have to introduce the budget? Bastone stated we are being pressured by the State to introduce the budget or there could be a penalty. Nielson stated my preference would be to work for the next two weeks and come to a decision. Braden stated we are talking about the difference between 2% and 1.75%. What is that per household? Bastone stated $5 per household. Braden stated 2% is a comfortable number. I think it would motivate the unions. Motion not approved. Roll call vote – Daughtry, yes; Kostka, absent; Nielson, no; Braden, no; Sandham, yes. Introduce budget with 2% tax rate increase. Motion: Braden. Second: Nielson. Roll call vote - Daughtry, no; Kostka, absent; Nielson, yes; Braden, yes; Sandham, no. Motion not approved. Daughtry stated if all five members were here, I could comfortably say that the 1.75% would be approved. We were trying to “distribute the pain” as I called it. We are now at an impasse and our Administrator needs direction. We will have to approve at the next meeting. Sandham stated we are at risk of a penalty from the State.
Tim Braden June 02, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Bob, Do you REALLY want to get into the truth? Let's visit the closed session minutes (now public) from January 12, 2010. Those minutes speak for themself as well. Just remember, you opened the door!
Scott Gallopo June 02, 2011 at 11:25 PM
And now for something completely different (sry Monte Python)... Art - I am very pleased to see we are on the same page regarding transparency and e-911 (we are of like minds on the Dispatching issues). I would like to provide a quick update on the current TC’c closed session "openness and honesty" focus over the last 5 months. Last year, I was made aware of prior Committee’s closed session issues that were a bit disconcerting. I hope you will be happy to know that in January and February we engaged in lengthy discussions regarding "rules of engagement". A number of questions were raised with council regarding closed sessions, communication between committee members outside of open public meetings, and our interaction with the Township Administrator and his department heads. I can post my email to our Township Administrator on this topic dated January 14 on my Blog, but I would like to speak with him tomorrow before I post the document. The bottom line is that we have come a long way in five months. Not only do we “self-police”, but both Council and our TA have taken a renewed focus on keeping open session topics out of closed session meetings. Scott Gallopo
Concerned Citizen June 03, 2011 at 01:30 AM
Scott- Art doesn't share your view on transparency, they are just election year buzz words! He see's your success and wants to jump on your coat tails! Voters are smarter than that. They know he had 6 years on the committee and never spoke a word about it or did anything about transparency- don't let him blow smoke up your butt. You are too smart, I know you have to see through that! BTW you are doing a great job!
art daughtry June 03, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Hi Scott Thanks for the update. I doubt this will ever happen however I do hope some day closed session minutes are recorded. I think that is why more issues that should be discussed in public end up in closed. The First Aid Squad mess was a perfect example. I promise you if I’m elected I will not be in a hurry to attend the CC meetings prior to 1/1/12! ( Dan P are you laughing?) Regards, Art
Lisa LoBiondo June 05, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Art Daughtry was absent NINE TIMES his last year in office and late to FIVE meetings!!! You have to SHOW UP to be considered BEST QUALIFIED! Not only that- he not only VOTED YES on the budget which delivered the highest tax increase in the past decade of 18% but he seconded the motion to pass the budget- yes it's all there in the minutes as their campaign would like to say, the only problem is because it's from 2005, it is not available online. OPRA request the minutes from 2005 and you can see for yourself!!!! It's easy to state that you lowered tax increases by 90% when your starting at 18%
Dan Pagano June 05, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Art, I am not opposed to newly elected committee members attending closed session meetings. What offended me was the hypocrisy of some committee members who benefited from attending closed session meetings prior to being sworn in, denying that same benefit to Scott Gallopo. For the record I am not laughing but I am enjoying all the comments. Concerned citizen, Isn't it a bit hypocritical for someone who is afraid to use their real name to be commenting on transparency?
Ron Soussa June 06, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Art, Did you really miss 25% of Township Committee meetings in your last year?
Lisa LoBiondo June 06, 2011 at 01:36 PM
no Ron it's 9 of 27 meetings- he actually missed 30% of Township Committee Meetings
Michael June 06, 2011 at 01:59 PM
A few weeks ago the Patch ran a story on a councilman riding along with the police department. From what one can gather the purpose of riding with the police was to get his take on how the police dept. works considering talks of the Morris County Communication Services possibly doing the dispatching for the town. Why haven't any of the other council members who are running taken the time to do this and give WE THE TAXPAYERS their personal take on the entire issue? As a tax payer I commend the gentleman who took the step to get involved to see what the police do and inform the taxpayer. As a taxpayer I believe my services should stay in town, why would the town council make a move that could cost the tax payers MORE in the long run, and put our safety at risk and NOT inform us that this is even a possibility...but yet we hear about it on the website?!. Is it true that there are police officers who will get laid off as a result of this plan???????? Please explain. Why would the town council even consider making a change without talking to all the residents who pay thousands of dollars?????? It is one of the most important issues since the entire motive is political?? Why aren't the residents being told about the facts and possibilities of things changing (i.e. Costs, Safety issues, possible police layoffs, overall impact on the residents in the years to come)?--having Answers from all those running will help the residents with who we vote for!
Soccer Fan June 09, 2011 at 12:29 AM
He believes his integrity makes him a good candidate. what a joke. what about only serving two terms?

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