.

Westfield Resident Greg Kasko Refutes Credibility Attacks

The retired police officer said he presents facts and figures rather than opinions.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday evening's meeting of the Westfield Town Council, resident Greg Kasko began by noting that his speaking time at the last meeting was cut short leaving him unable to thank Council members Keith Loughlin, Mark LoGrippo, Vicki Kimmins and David Haas for treating him with "decorum."

Kasko, who regularly attends Town Council meetings to question not only the midblock location of the pedestrian-activated HAWK light on Central Avenue but also to ask how the light ended up at that location, has had his credibility called into question by both Town Administrator Jim Gildea and Mayor Andrew Skibitsky in recent months.

On more than one occasion, Gildea has referred to Kasko as “a disgraced former police officer.” 

“Half the things you say aren’t true,” Skibitsky told Kasko at the meeting held on Sept. 18. “Don’t you have any conscience?”

Wearing a black t-shirt that displayed the address of his website, The Fact of the Matter, Kasko addressed the Council, minus Skibitsky, whom Acting Mayor JoAnn Neylan said was stuck in traffic on his way home from a business trip, and LoGrippo.

"Town Administator Jim Gildea claims that I have no credibility with him or this Town Council," he said. "I am not interested in his opinion, I am interested in facts, as, Mayor, you should be, with facts." 

Kasko then said when he presented a letter from the State Comptroller's office that contradicted a quote from Gildea, is it Gildea's credibility that should be questioned and not his own.

"He attacks the messenger in order to evade the message," Kasko said. "Mayor Skibitsky said the town is fortunate not to have me as a police officer since my retirement. It would seem that the mayor overlooks my entire career as a police officer before I made a complaint against his then-Chief of Police Bernard Tracy. It would then seem that he ignores the protection the law gives to what has been designated as the whistleblower."

Kasko continued by saying "Mayor Skibitsky's police department is so taken" with his credibility that a 30-plus-point questionnaire was created to determine, which, if any, officers had had contact with him and could have given him information that appears on his website. Every police officer and civilian employee of the Westfield Police Department was required to fill it out and sign it, he said.

"The questionnaire was worthy of Senator McCarthy and resulted in nothing except the reprimand of a police officer who had the misfortune to copy that questionnaire. The investigation was a waste of taxpayer money that funded it," he said.

Kasko said the town is so taken with his lack of credibility "that it leaned on its friends at the Union County Prosecutor's Office" to have him subpoenaed to divulge the sources of information for the content that appears on his website. Kasko said attorney John Blake, who has also appeared at past council meetings, "used his influence with the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain a withdrawal of that subpoena." Kasko offered to produce the letter that states as much and referred to the subpoenaing as another waste of taxpayer money.

Kasko went on to discuss safety and the HAWK light, saying that he has brought accident reports with him to council meetings to prove that accidents did not occur where the Town of Westfield's report said they did. 

"Mayor Skibitsky keeps saying that the Town did not put the light on Central in front of Mrs. Enculescu's home. Yet the County Freeholders and the County Engineer have specifically stated that the Town of Westfield requested the location of the light midblock. When the County told the Town that its engineer's location of the light did not comply with the rules set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, this council had the ability to relent and move the light back to the corner of Central and Clover. This council insisted that it be placed midblock," he said.

After stating that he has a copy of the letter sent from the county engineer to Enculescu, Kasko said, for the second time, "This is a fact on which the mayor's credibility will be judged, not mine."

Kasko said he intends to continue to come before the council with facts and figures and if the mayor can't disprove those facts, that is no reflection of Kasko's credibility.

"The mayor's opinion or any other opinion concerning my credibility is irrelevant unless you prove my facts to be wrong," Kasko said. "Please remember that at one time, the official teachings were that the world was flat and the Earth was the center of the universe. At the time, the Pope had declared Galileo a heretic and excommunicated him. Mayor Skibitsky has accused me at the last Town Council meeting of giving a revisionist version of history. I believe, in the mayor's opinion, the pope would still be right and Galileo a heretic." 

Keith October 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Here Here...Showing up with a tee shirt to promote a website ??? This has now spun out of control. Local TV is embarrassing enough, let's not wind up on the evening news.
Keith October 11, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Sorry John, but the impression is that the light is just an outlet and of little real concern to someone with an old ax to grind. If it wasn't the light it would be something else...and will be. I see no reason to believe moving the light will change this behavior. Time to move on !!! Encouraging this guy to make a spectacle of himself isn't fair to him or anyone. Can't you see that?
Wally Westfield October 11, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I agree with John. The Westfield of the past, which contributed to making this town what it is, would not have the placement of this light to be tolerated, and there would have been more citizens like Mr Kasko to stand up and fight for what is the right thing to do. Let's not forget the real reason the light was placed on this womans lawn, and that is was a "political" favor granted by the councilman who is now a judge. Talk about justice. Let's also not forget the 30k spent on an election trying to ram in turf fields. That $$ could've been used to move the light. Good for Greg for standing up to the bullies !
UnionAtty October 11, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Ok, now I see how this works. Wally gets to have his opinion (although misguided) but not his own set of facts. On what do you base the fact that Mark Ciarrocca was made a judge because of the installation of a traffic light? Nothing I presume. Mark Ciarrocca was made a judge because he is an extremely competent and intelligent trial attorney. He was vetted by the bar association, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and his nomination had to be voted on by the entire Senate and approved by the Governor. Appointed as a political favor for a stupid traffic light? Hardly.
UnionAtty October 11, 2012 at 03:23 PM
As for Wally mixing in the turf field issue, that was the BOE's mess up. The town council had nothing to do with it. And by the way, was Greg Kasko at those meeting? No. I did not hear him chiming in with anything remotely constructive on that issue or any other issue other than the traffic light. See, this is the problem - people like John Mancini and Wally get to spout off whatever they want and make outlandish assertions but do not have to bear the consequences of their actions (other than to have some unwitting person who does not know any better get duped into believing their fiction). The Central Avenue light is on a county road. Only the County can install the light. And as for Mrs. E. getting screwed, the funny thing is that she received multiple notices about the planned installation of the light, had the opportunity to contest the installation BEFORE it was ever installed and, instead, cooled her heels and did nothing. Greg Kasko is a hero to no one and he offers nothing but a lot of talk. He is, in the parlance, someone with way too much free time on his hands.
A.John Blake October 11, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Sir, You are correct that Kasko is not Galileo but Galileo was right and the mosy powerful agency in the then world could not make him wrong. The present question is not about a light. It is about the refusal of government to truthfully respond to facts.It is the actions of the government to stifle those who produce proof of facts the government wants to ignore. Why not ignore the question of a light and voice your opinion on a police department conducting a witch hunt to try and find a leak? What opinion do you have when a subpoena is issued to determine the source of information of an administration critic? Why don't you forget Mr.Kasko for a moment and turn your attention on the substance of the story that there is an effort being made to stifle criticism and a concerted effort to attack the messenger rather than the message. A.John Blake
Wally Westfield October 11, 2012 at 04:11 PM
UnionAtty, where in my reply did I infer that Mark C was granted his judicial role because of the traffic light situation. But if this floats your boat, go for it
David Deutsch October 11, 2012 at 04:21 PM
A. John, I agree with you...free speech should never be stymied. So, why not present this in the court system, bring it to the ACLU? Just take it out of the monthly town council meeting. Clearly, no headway is being made in this venue. Let's just move on. Take it somewhere else.
WEA Watchdog October 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
@ UnionAtty If you think that Ciarroca was appointed to the superior court based solely on merit you are as dumb as a teachers union head that thinks teachers deserve tenure solely based on years served. Ciarroca has political backing from politicians just like a teachers union rep has the backing of teachers.
UnionAtty October 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Message? That is the point- there is no message other than, "Look at me I'm Greg Kasko. Here's my website and here's my lawyer (add t-shirt here)." The only "issue" that is of any concern to Mr. Kasko, 2 residents, and his attorney (Mr. Blake) has been discussed ad nauseum. His questions have been answered, he just chooses not to listen; and honestly, I would not really run around promoting the fact that you partnered up with the ACLU for anything because they might be the only group that has an agenda even crazier than your client. Look, I get it everyone- Greg Kasko and A. John Blake act as if they are running for office; and maybe they are. Maybe they aren't. Maybe Mr. Blake is bitter he wasn't made a judge or the town's judge. Maybe he's engaging in shameless self promotion. I have no idea nor do I care. As for finding a leak in the department, yeah, I'd want to know AND fire whoever is dumb enough to talk to your client as well. Check that off my list things I could care less about as well (see, ante, at Central Avenue light).
UnionAtty October 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Of course, when you have nothing constructive to add, use the old ad hominem attack. As I said before, Mark Ciarrocca was made a judge because he is an extremely competent and intelligent trial attorney. In fact, Nicholas Scutari (the chair of the Judiciary Committee and a Democrat) talked a whole lot about his qualifications. He was vetted by the bar association, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and his nomination had to be voted on by the entire Senate and approved by the Governor. Ciarrocca, a GOP nominee, had to pass through a Senate controlled by the Dems. I assume you did not read about the last two judges they tried to appoint in this State to the Supreme Court and how that ended. A whole lot was made about qualifications. Contrary to what seems like more of a wild guess, Ciarrocca's appointment to the bench was not a gimme.
UnionAtty October 11, 2012 at 05:02 PM
The impression I got from your comment was that somehow this was all politically connected with the end result being Ciarrocca was given a judgeship as a result of it. If it is not, then I stand corrected. But now I have this question, who was the recipient of the "favor"?
WEA Watchdog October 11, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Not a gimmie and not just based on merit. Political connections will always play a role in judicial nominations. Maybe you should dig a little deeper and to find the favor to Scutari for not blocking the nomination. There is more to it than the eyes can see and you'd be the fool to think otherwise.
UnionAtty October 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM
No need to dig because I imagine that most of Westfiled, like me, just does not care about it. Unless you have an agenda, why in the world would anyone care? If this is such a key issue for you (because it is not for me), I imagine you could spend most of your time, much like Greg Kasko, looking into "the favor." And why would you assume Scutari or the other Democrats did not block the nomination because of a favor? Maybe they thought Ciarrocca was qualified for the position. Silliness I tell you. Folks, look, not everything involves a conspiracy- I assure you that we landed on the moon and Andy Skibitsky, Dave Haas et al. are not listening in on your telephone conversations. Contrary to a small minority of opinion, our volunteers are not sitting in some room twisting their mustaches trying to hatch the next plot to get everyone. Greg Kasko needs attention. Now he's getting it. Welcome to the life of a public figure.
A.John Blake October 11, 2012 at 07:38 PM
To Mr.Deutsch, I could not care less about the light on Central. A proper venue for bringing out facts that have been avoided is the venue where the evasion takes place. It is easy, inexpensive for all concerned and easily ended. If the council dealt only in complete facts or pointed out where the critic was factually incorrect, there would be no problem. The problem is not with the critic. the problem is with the officials who avoid the facts and attack the critic. Evasions repeated often do not gain veracity. Facts repeated often do not lose veracity. Does it become tedious ? Yes. Would you rather have short concise Council meetings where your elected officials are comfortable knowing that no one will question them? Don't you think that elected officials have a duty to give direct answers to factual questions? A.John Blake
David Deutsch October 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM
A. John - Who mentioned anything about the light? As I said, at this point, it's time to move on...take it somewhere else. You come across as someone who's rational...can't you see that at this point you and Mr. Kasko are now coming across as irrationally bitter? Please, take a step back and think this though, ...stop wasting the far majority's time by continuing this non-sense. Again, if you have proof that Mr. Kasko's first ammendment rights are being trampled on, file a complaint...but as you stated, I suspect you and Mr. Kasko prefer the easy and cheap way to bring attention to yourselves. At least, that's how it appears to 95% of Westfielders. This will be my last reply. I do not want to be a part of the problem, which is feeding into dignifying this silliness you and Mr. Kasko seem to revel in.
A.John Blake October 11, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Union Attorney, There are few people who write in to this site with the bitterness and venom with which you try to deflect the argument.You sound like an advisor to the teachers' union attempting to avoid a defense of high teacher raises by claiming that everyone who is opposed is against children. Would you kindly put aside your insulting musings and pay attention to the real questions at hand. Should public servants answer factual criticism or be allowed to avoid answers by insulting the critic? If the Public is bored with the subject matter, why shouldn't the matter be put to rest by the elected officials who could answer the facts with facts? As you are probably aware, the Board of Ed was just taught a lesson concerning the manner in which they treated the voter on the subject of "necessity" vs. " desirable". They are now facing a population who looks askance at the previous "holy cow". The Bd. of Ed. is now going to have to regain whatever credibility it had and can no longer count on the public swallowing the Teacher Union Kool-Aid that " It's for the children". Please stop the invective by which you wish to deflect the argument and stay on point. A.John Blake
A.John Blake October 11, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Union Atty, I do feel sorry for the union which might have you as an attorney. Your lack of knowledge is amazing. Your revisionist history of the notices concerning the light on Central is pure fiction. Concerning Mr. C's support from Nick Scutari,a Demodrat, you must have missed the law school class that taught the N.J. Bench must be evenly split between the two political parties. If Scutari wanted support for his Dem. nominees, he had to support the Rep. Nominee. It certainly sounds like you drank some of that Teacher Union Kool-Aid but reading your alleged facts, it must have been laced with an hallucinogen . A.John Blake
South Westfielder October 11, 2012 at 10:57 PM
So, there really is something to the reality that both lawyers AND politicians sell their votes, their favors, their influence, and their souls to the devil. You both make me sick.
South Westfielder October 11, 2012 at 11:00 PM
One of the few people that write with more venom is A. John Blake himself. The pot calling the kettle black.
South Westfielder October 11, 2012 at 11:00 PM
So, there really is something to the reality that both lawyers AND politicians sell their votes, their favors, their influence, and their souls to the devil.
South Westfielder October 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM
John, he is no longer an officer.
A Teacher October 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM
South Westfielder and UnionAtty are the same person. K.S. you've been ID'd.
Sick of Kasko October 12, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Let's get back to the former police officer that fell asleep on the job and was "fired." Move on. People are sick of you. You are doing more harm than good. Spend time with your family. Take up a hobby, Do some volunteer work.
Franklin_Roosevelt_WHS_AlumHomeOwner October 12, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Oh my- what a joke my beloved town has become. Outsiders and thugs of all kinds making our once proud town a circus on one hand and an abusive police nanny state on the other. There are plenty of us with education and italian last names waiting in the wings, ones that have lived here for 30 years, gone through every school level we have, know many people and other long time residents. Eventually all of you will wake the sleeping natives. Sooner rather than later.
South Westfielder October 12, 2012 at 04:57 PM
@ A Teacher - what are you talking about?
Gotcha October 12, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Hey South/ Union- Busted!....
South Westfielder October 12, 2012 at 07:21 PM
@ Gotcha - you have to be a school kid.
Super Trader October 22, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Kasko was not "fired" as you stated. If one gets fired there is no pension for which to collect from. He was quietly let go with a handsome offer so as not to "ruin" or "blow the lid off" of the corrupt officials in this Town. Why would Westfield pay someone who was "fired." So, get your facts straight and get yourself a hobby ...
NR9 October 22, 2012 at 06:24 PM
@Super Trader. Well said! I couldn't agree with you more. Kasko does a great service to our community in bringing important issues to our attention. For those who have not yet found his website, see: http://www.07090.blogspot.com/ He has a large readership in the Westfield community with over 267,000 page views to date. If it was all made up, as those like "Sick of Kasko" seem to think, then he and his site would have folded long ago. Instead, there are many in the community who read it weekly and add to the discussion regularly. @Sick of Kasko. After nearly two decades with the Westfield Police Dept., Kasko RETIRED. He was NOT fired. Be sure to check out the movie "Serpico" with Al Pacino (Frank Serpico was a NYPD officer who wanted to do the best he can as a policeman. He decided to expose what he saw, but was then harassed and threatened by his colleagues within the NYPD). Granted, the Serpico/NYPD comparison is a bit extreme but there are definite similarities, on a smaller scale, to what happened with Kasko and the Westfield Police Dept. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Kasko writes of the smoke. You may agree/disagree with his opinions and/or his facts but better that those opinions and facts are out there. You can bury your head in the sand if you want but I have to think that there must be at least some truth (probably more than "some") to most of what he writes.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »