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Mayor: Township Is Top Priority Despite Absence

Ken Short releases statement as power in township continues restoration.

Dear Residents of Washington Township, 

I write this to you from Aruba, where I have been on vacation since Saturday with my wife and two dear friends. 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 even while I am out of town. 

This vacation had been planned for eight months and, for many reasons, was not one that could be cancelled. Luckily it did not have to be cancelled, and I can continue to serve you from here.  

The immediate leadership of Washington Township was left in the capable hands of Tracy Tobin and the other township committee members whom you have elected, and they are able to reach me if necessary. I continue to communicate with them as well as to reach out to JCP&L and other area leaders. 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.  Their personal attacks do not make me work any harder or care any more than I already do; it’s simply not possible for me to work harder or care more.  

There are hundreds of examples I could give to illustrate that so much of this was out of my control. If it were in my control, wouldn’t I have had power restored to my own home, the homes of my friends, my daughter’s house, my son’s business, the school where my grandchildren go?  

Sandy wreaked absolute havoc throughout the state, and the job of restoring power has been overwhelming to the power companies. I have focused on preventing loss of life, doing what is possible to improve quality of life, and communicating with JCP&L so that they know what areas are out of power. I am in regular communication with members of Congress, other local mayors, and the Board of Public Utilities.  

I wish that I could personally get each resident back on the grid, and I absolutely would if I could, but that is not within my power. I do not want to point fingers or make this any more negative than it already is. I want everyone to have their power restored. I want everyone to be warm and healthy and safe and secure. I want you to be proud to live in Washington Township.  

Aside from quotes in articles, I do not have a regular presence on the Patch because I try to stay above the personal insults and blame game. I have tremendous respect for Jason Koestenblatt and the Patch team and believe that they do a great job of helping residents have their voices heard. I am grateful for that. I have spoken with Jason and his team often throughout the Sandy ordeal and trusted him to disseminate available information through his avenue. Additionally, I spoke several times at length on WRNJ to update people on the progress, or lack thereof, of the utility companies. I was also interviewed on 101.5 and National Public Radio. I believe that these methods of communication worked well. Further, all residents of town have access to my home address and phone number, and I spoke with hundreds, if not thousands, of people during and after the storm.

While I did not communicate through Twitter or Facebook as some suggested I should have, I assure you that I did communicate constantly and thoroughly. I regret that I have to spend any time defending myself. I would much rather continue to work to get power to those areas of town that are still dark and to help people get their lives back together and achieve some sense of normalcy.  

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. It is my honor and privilege to serve the town where I have raised my family and where I can now watch my grandchildren grow up.

Let us rise to the challenge of maintaining our sanity in the midst of this insanity. Let us build one another up rather than break each other down. Let me thank you sincerely for your patience, your honesty, and your contributions to our town.  

We are in this together.

With respect and gratitude,

Ken Short, Mayor

Richard Black November 12, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I agree with the majority of the statements on here, just resign Mr. Short.
LV Resident November 12, 2012 at 06:55 PM
We moved into LV nearly 10+ years ago to place our kids in a better school district and have a better standard of living. The town we came from had little power losses and power was restored in a matter of three days. Yes we were out of power for 12 days but I wouldn't have traded the last 10+ years of living in LV and the benefits my kids had growing up in LV and the LV schools / WMC High School for the 12 days of power. Not having power was an inconvenience and we lived through it - we weren't happy but we survived. Think about those that died because of the storm and those that still don't have power or homes due to the storm. For the record, I couldn't pick Mayor Short out of a lineup (no offense but I really not political) if he was the only one standing in front of me. That being said, the power outage is not his fault and him being in town or away on vacation has no bearing on when the lights come back on. Don't get distracted from the fact that JCP&L is at fault here and the root cause of the problem was their lack of maintenance and planning for an event like Sandy and their lack of communication as to when we could expect restoration of power.
Aldo Cammalleri Jr November 12, 2012 at 07:11 PM
you can not blame the mayor for going on vacation he planned it 8 moths age .Remeber last year the govenor was at disney world durung Irene .He did not come back early . I lost power for 12 days and what I did was start to take things into my own hands like contacting the media .Like I told everyone else to do I got cbs onto my block to bring light to this situation. I dealt with Mayor Short last year I never met him but last year he was helpful .This time I will go to town meeting to meet him.Like evry one esle should do Remeber what would you do if you where on vacation ? the airports where closed for 2 days how was he going to get home (drive) as far as people many the phone and keeping us informed THANK YOU
Aldo Cammalleri Jr November 12, 2012 at 07:24 PM
the Mayor can stop by my house any time
The Dacey's November 12, 2012 at 07:28 PM
LOL wow and I was wondering how he could have run unopposed, who the hell would want the job. No one has addressed the helpful things I suggested, its all negative. My grand ma use to say "if you have a complaint better have a suggestion how to fix it as well" And for the record I just got power today. From the sound of it the acting mayor was busting his behind and Mayor Short I am sure was in contact with him at all times. Mayor thanks for taking the flack keep strong because from what it sounds like if you did not step up we would not even have a Mayor!
goconnell November 12, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Kathyln Carter, please, are you for real? "This is the kind of thanks that Mayor Short gets?" Are you out of your mind? Poor Mayor Short has to make a few pathetic phones call that amounted to nothing and he should be relaxing and enjoying himself? He doesn't have to be mayor, and stop mentioning that he doesn't "receive any compensation." He wanted to be mayor and those are his duties as such. Really, Mayor Short is the only one who confronted JCP&L and he made "numerous demands?" Such lauhable drivel. Sorry to say that you are living on the same planet as Mr. Short, or maybe you are in Aruba enjoying cocktails together, because you sound out of it.
Jon November 12, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Honestly, folks, what do you think would carry more weight at JCP&L: A phone call from an irate small town mayor saying "my town is without power", or six thousand calls from six thousand irate residents of that same small town saying "I am without power" ? I personally called several times. I reached a live person immediately every time I called. That says to me that they weren't very busy on the phones because there weren't enough of you calling. I'd love to see the statistics on how many calls they received from Washington Township residents, and specifically how many calls they received from disgruntled Patch posters.
Nicole Faulkner November 12, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Kathlyn, I too am disturbed by the negative, mean-spirited personal attacks by some of our LV neighbors. Whether or not anyone supports Ken Short or holds him responsible, why are some people seemingly incapable of voicing an opinion in a mature & respectful manner?? Your post sounds genuinely 'sad' & so I want you to know that there are still in fact selfless and compassionate people in LV : ) I know, because I collected in-kind donations from them last week & traveled to our Jersey shore with my family this weekend to deliver them to true victims of Sandy. In just 2 days, we collected clothing, coats, blankets, toys, books, toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies & more. We had to take 2 vehicles just to accomodate everything! And several of these people who donated were still 'in the dark'! That's right - they had yet to have their power restored & yet they took the time to do what they could for others who have lost so much... It has been so upsetting to read many of these unproductive posts, so I just keep reminding myself of the kindness others in LV demonstrated when they remembered our neighbors down the shore. So I thought it might be helpful to share that with you too!
Liberty November 12, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The long and the Short of it: a mayor should not leave his town when it is in crisis. The citizens want their leader to jump into the fray, literally & figuratively, with sleeves rolled up, ready to do the work he was elected to do. He knew when he took the job that there was no pay, that someone would always be unhappy with his decisions, etc. So what if he planned this trip 8 mos. ago--travel insurance is a good investment. Yes, a lot of people do their jobs remotely, they are set up to work that way. A town mayor by definition, does his job in town. They don't leave with the town still in crisis. Someone said "how was he supposed to get back", he never should have left in the first place! And for those of you saying we should use real names (like Johnnythetruck?). There are two reasons I don't: my name is not relevant to what I post and, I don't trust strangers!
Liberty November 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Ever heard of the First Amendment, Bill?
Mary Ann November 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Thank you Mayor Short for your hard work during Sandy. I heard you on the radio many times giving information and know you did your best to get JCP&L to repair the lines. You did an outstanding job and deserve a hard earned break. Enjoy!!
Jon November 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I'm confused - did you want the mayor to start clearing trees from the roads with his chain saw, or did you want him to replace the broken poles on your street and then climb up and reconnect your power lines?
Susan Gustavson November 12, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I agree that the communication was a piece that was totally lacking and unacceptable in this day and age.
Liberty November 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Well, Kathlyn, I am really glad the town has changed since 1988! I also think you are way out of line judging people and making assumptions about your fellow townsfolk based on Patch comments from a very small percentage of the population. But since you seem to know so much about everything LV, you can be mayor when Short resigns! And no, real names can't be required--First Amendment still works!
Steve Carter November 12, 2012 at 10:35 PM
For Liberty, what's your point. Perhaps you should read this: Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Anything there about posting anonymous crap ?
Liberty November 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Well, Steve, I'm glad you agree about not trusting strangers! And it's the free speech part that allows you to post "crap." (Duh) Your real name means nothing, I don't trust you anymore than I do "Johnnythetruck." And no, Jon, we used our own chain saw to clear the tree. And he wasn't away when it happened, he left while it was still going on--that's the part people take issue with.
Joan D'arc November 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Mr. Nedd could you be any more disingenuous?
Mike Hodgetts November 12, 2012 at 11:27 PM
The best thing for our family was listening to the WNRJ with our radio. Mayor short was on their almost everyday giving status on what he knew. It was awesome to see how people called in to give data on who had gas, which roads are blocked and so on. You have to make best of the situation and when it get's tough saying the "Serenity Prayer" does wonders.
Minuteman Too November 12, 2012 at 11:27 PM
"A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not".
tonydavis November 12, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Kevin, if you run next time, I WILL vote for you. (I've voted for you before).
tonydavis November 12, 2012 at 11:40 PM
No pay? Mayor Short is no newcomer. He knows what the responsibilities and duties of the job are, as well as the "pay". If he's bitter about not getting paid, he can always step down. Tracy Tobin or one of the others who stayed here and have done the real work can step up to the plate if they want the job...
tonydavis November 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Never in my life have I ever seen an elected official and his friends and family complain about not getting paid when they are under fire for not doing the duties for which they were elected. I've never seen such an irresponsible, despicable attitude. Is this what was taught in homes 50, 60 years ago? Really? I was taught to take responsibility; that if I signed on for something, I did it.
tonydavis November 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM
"I would not blame Mayor Short if he resigns, but wonder if anyone else would be willing to take the job and listen to all of the hurtful and malicious comments," He SHOULD resign; clearly, he's not interested in carrying out his duties and he and his supporters apparently pissed off that he's not getting paid. (Why he's suddenly surprised and indignant at that, when he's no newbie, is beyond me). as for malicious comments, again, if he feels that being asked to do his job is "malicious", then clearly, he's not cut out for the job. Oops, I mean "voluntary position". Wouldn't want to anger his friends and family.
tonydavis November 12, 2012 at 11:47 PM
"Town clown". How old are you, Mr. Young? How sad that we have so-called adults resorting to this type of ridiculousness.
tonydavis November 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM
"Anything there about posting anonymous crap ?" It sure doesn't forbid it. And when you consider that Thomas Paine wrote "Common sense" anonymously, and Ben Franklyn used both male and female pseudonyms, including "Silence Dogood" and "Richard Saunders", to name just two examples. it's obvious that our founding fathers recognized the need for anonymity. With the way people are becoming so hostile and insisting upon knowing real names, it makes one wonder what they plan to do with the information once they get it. Hmmm.
Liberty November 13, 2012 at 12:26 AM
tonydavis--excellent post! A lot to be said for "Common Sense." I also wonder about this need to know "real names." For that matter, how do we know those objecting are using their real names--because they say so? Bill Young or Steve Carter could really be Mayor Short trying to defend his absence!
Jon November 13, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Excellent news - I'll see y'all in Aruba!!
Tom H November 13, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Wayne, NJ already has a petition on their town website to remove JCP&L's franchise to sell electricity to their town. Their mayor was on News 12 today talking about how PSE&G, which services most of Wayne, had power back in their service areas in a few days while it took JCP&L two weeks. I would love to know what our options are. I switched to Dominion as our electricity supplier earlier in the year and got a lower price for supply, but know JCP&L still delivers the electricity. Is there a way to totally cut JCP&L off in this town, or are all the transmission lines/transformers, etc their property and is getting rid of them impossible? I do agree with the majority of folks posting and neighbors I've talked to...no one can believe the mayor left town during this. He should resign without question. But I am very grateful for the folks who stayed, all the volunteers I saw at different churches helping people in the community, and all those hardworking people from places like Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania far from their families, working until all hours to get our power back.
Ann November 13, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I would like to thank Mayor Short for all he has done and continues to do for the town. I don't think many residents know how much he has done over the past two weeks. Since the morning after the hurricane, everyday and all day, Mayor Short was with the OEM, organizing shelters, getting food to the elderly, meeting with the police, driving around town to survey and report the damage, talking to residents, passing out ice/water to the community, updating WRNJ and the Patch, calling, helping, and emailing hundreds of residents about their concerns. He contacted and had numerous conversations with JCP&L, Senator Bucco, Assemblyman Bucco, and the Governor's office. He has worked and continues to work for the town, for you, even those of you that insult him. It seems to me that he left the town in good hands, the Township Committee that we elected. They know what to do. Before leaving, Mayor Short knew what JCP&L's plan was, that their priority was to get the schools up and running over the weekend, and that most, if not all, people would have power in town by Sunday night. All of this did happenend, even while working remotely. I think we need to remember all that he has done for our town, during the first two weeks after the hurricane and what has still been accomplished while traveling, rather than dwelling on the fact that he took a well deserved, planned vacation.

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