This Friday, the Windsor-Hights Herald's Editorial was in response to the Councilman. Unfortunately, I can't find it online, so I'll hit the hightlights here:
And now that local voters have once again rejected the budget for East Windsor Regional Schools, it is the responsibility of the governing bodies of East Windsor and Hightstown to review the budget.
They have the right to cut the budget, leave it alone or even add to it.
They don't have the right, in our opinion, to ignore their responsibility.
But that seems to be the plan of Hightstown Borough Councilman Patrick Thompson. ...
Mr. Thompson says the school budget should be the sole purview of the local school board and schools Superintendant Ron Bolandi. He salso says that a regressive systm of taxation has created the local budgeting problem and the education of local students is too important to support any financial cuts.
These are reasonable opinions. They are also safe and easy statements to make.
But using those opinions to justify a course of non-action is wrong if you've made the choice to run for a municipal governing body in New Jersey.
Essentially refusing to take part in a process to which you are legally bound is simply irresponsible
Mr. Thompson says that taking his stated position shows leadership. We think leadership involves doing your job, even when it's tough and/or distasteful.
Upon learning of this editorial, Mr. Thompson said that he would "obviously" review the budget and "reserve the right to change my mind."
We hope he reviews the budget with an open mind and takes the will of the voters seriously.
I just re-read the Councilman's letter, and nowhere do I see that he would refuse to review the budget or decline to be part of the process. Indeed, I see that he said "I intend to hold Mr. Bolandi accountable as much as the next taxpayer." Also, remember that 45% of the taxpayers who came out and voted in the school election did vote to approve the budget as is; someone should be representing their interest in the town administration reviews. He may be the only dissenting vote (ok, I'll bet he WILL be the only dissenting vote) when the councils review then cut the schools' budget, but he gets that right. I expect also that if he finds an obvious, non-harmful cut that can be made, he will support it- he said as much in the recent editorial.
He is doing his job. I believe that sometimes, being an elected official requires doing something unpopular, if it is in the public interest. (And if the voters don't support his actions, they'll vote him out next election, as is their right.)