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Committeeman Recuses Himself, Called 'Deceitful'

Jeff Grayzel will no longer have a vote in the Honeywell process after township discovers his wife is a former employee and still holds a pension fund with the company.

Committeeman Jeff Grayzel will no longer have a vote in the redevelopment planning process, which has lasted more than two years, after he recused himself Wednesday night at the of the township attorney.

Grayzel, the only Democrat on the committee, was asked by Attorney John Mills to voluntarily recuse himself because his wife is a former employee of Honeywell and still holds a pension fund and retiree savings plan with the company, which Mills said could pose a conflict of interest.

After the meeting, Mills said the information was brought to his attention in mid-July when he received a call from someone related to Honeywell. Mills did not disclose any other details as to how he received the information.

"I am quite disappointed that the hint of conflict has to compete with the legislative obligations I have to the voters of Morris Township who elected me to this position just nine months ago," Grayzel read from a prepared statement while announcing he was recusing himself.

"Although many of these residents surely voted for me to be their vote in these hearings specifically, it should be understood that I always try to speak out for what is best for Morris Township as one community and for all its residents no matter where they live," he continued.

Grayzel will still be able to participate in the upcoming hearings as a member of the public.

At the special meeting on Wednesday night, originally scheduled to be the first public hearing of the zoning ordinance, the township committee reintroduced the ordinance without Grayzel's vote. The public can comment on the ordinance at the next township committee meeting on Aug. 15.

The ordinance, which comes after more than two years of public hearings and discussion, would allow Honeywell to move along with its redevelopment master plan to add in 235 townhomes and office and lab space on its property.

Because Grayzel voted on the ordinance when it was , the township committee had to start the process over without his vote.

Mayor Peter Mancuso responded to Grayzel, saying he has appreciated his commitment to the Honeywell process and is upset that he is unable to continue given the circumstances.

"We have a monumental task ahead of us, one that will resonate in the township for years to come," Mancuso said. "But partisan politics has no place in this process. And Mr. Grayzel, having been elected to serve the public would have done his best to represent the greater interest of all of our 23,000 residents. This is the oath that we all take when we are sworn in, that we try to do the best of our abilities to adhere to."

Committeeman Bruce Sisler had a different response to Grayzel, saying that he was displeased with Grayzel's lack of disclosure, especially after he argued at the last meeting to have a "fair and open process," to change the public hearing dates to September when residents return from vacation.

"I am disappointed that we are here tonight, saddened by the lack of integrity, offended by the absence of honesty and most importantly, embarrassed for all the residents of Morris Township that have to endure this deceitful gamesmanship in the name of balance on the township committee," Sisler read from his prepared statement.

While Sisler and other committee members spoke about their disappointment in the matter, other residents thanked Grayzel during the public portion, including township committee Democratic candidate Ron Goldberg.

"I'd like to publicly thank Mr. Grayzel for doing something very difficult," Goldberg said. "I know that nothing's more important to him than giving voice to the people of Morris Township and serving them. Stepping aside for such an important process is I'm sure very painful for him."

After yet another setback on the Honeywell rezoning process, the next step will be at the next committee meeting on Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at the where the public will have the first chance to comment on the ordinance.

The delay might be what residents hoped for after all, since several community members agreed with Grayzel that too many people would be on vacation during the condensed hearing dates in August.

Mancuso said the Aug. 15 meeting will begin with a presentation from the township financial expert, who will interpret Honeywell's financial analysis, which is posted on the Morris Township website. A traffic expert will also give a presentation at the meeting before the public commentary.

The township committee will decide at the next meeting if more public hearings are deemed necessary. Mancuso said he expects more dates to be scheduled.

Rob Burke August 05, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Here, here! Well said. Term limits would solve a lot of NJ's woes. As would the elimination of the in-bred passing of the elected official torch from one Bucco to another Bucco to a Sisler, etc. Hackensack has the Zisa family, seems like every town with a decent sized budget in NJ has a problem with in-breeding. That said, there is no doubt that the taxpayers of Morris Twp are concerned. They are concerned b/c the Town Committee isn't even making a half-assed effort to protect our interests in keeping our property taxes under control. This is not a republican issue or a democratic issue or even a Lyndon Larouche issue (that was a tip o' the hot to you, Tom Luby). Its a common sense issue. Postpone these middle-of-vacation bum's-rush hearings and commission a legitimate study. We can hear the outcome in September, get taxpayer input and then take your up and down vote. What's the downside? Why wouldn't the Township Committee do that? There's nothing to lose whatsoever. And plenty opportunity to gain. Its a no brainer. Unless they have other motives.
Thomas F. Higgins August 06, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Rather than malign those members of the committee who actually disclosed potential conflicts, why don't you ask Mr. Grayzel why he failed to disclose the entanglement with Honeywell? While you're at it, ask him why his wife left there? Maybe there actually is a "conflict of interest" that would color his judgment?
Rob Burke August 06, 2012 at 02:24 PM
1. I haven't maligned anyone. I have complained that Mancuso single handedly failed to report what he did with the Ginty Carnival money and the State thereafter shut the carnival down. Truth being an absolute defense, Mr. Mancuso is free to post here and engage in this dialog if he chooses. 2. I continue to complain that the Town Fathers (who appear also to be brothers, cousins and uncles of each other) have yet to undertake an independent financial analysis of the Honeywell Proposal. I'd like to know what the property tax ramifications of the various scenarios are along with the assumptions. I'd like an analysis that starts with a blank canvas rather than an interpretation of Honeywell's predictions. 3. Grayzel's Honeywell relationships are fair game to be questioned and analyzed. I don't think Grayzel's wife's former employment with Honeywell has any impact on his impartiality. That said, what I think doesn't matter -- he has recused himself. So that pretty much ends that issue. Sisler on the other hand? His employment with Honeywell Affiliates doesn't bother him or the Town Attorney all that much. Curious, that little bit of incongruity....
Lee Goldberg August 07, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Tom, Just to add some notes of clarification .1) At the Twp. Comm. meeting last week Mr. Mills had each of the Twp. Comm. members indicate holdings in Honeywell, either individual stock or mutual funds. All Comm. members answered they did not have either with the exception of Mr. Rosenbush. Mr. Rosenbush indicated that he and wife checked portfolios and neither owned shares. Mr. Rosenbush indicate dthat he had not had a chance to look into mutual fund question, I was hoping Mr. Mills was going to chime in "Mr. Rosenbush can you please look into that and get back to me for the record? "(or something along those lines). Instead just passed over and evaporated into ether so to speak. . I guess I can e-mail Mr. Rosenbush or ask at 8\15 meeting.2) As far as the Board of Ethics is concerned i believe during my questions to the Twp. Comm. last week Mr. Mills indicated that he was sort of acting as the "Board of Ethics" by himself. In fact Mr,. Mancuso indicated in response to me that he took responsibility for not appointing or forming a Board of Ethics as part of the yearly Twp. reorganization. In fact I think Mr. Mancuso's exact words were "I was negligent". I think the names he proffered last week were in fact the people he wants to populate the to be formed Board of Ethics. These are just the facts as I remember them and wanted to add my two cents in the spirit of representing what I believe the reality of the situation.
Rob Burke August 07, 2012 at 10:44 AM
WOW!!!! Let me see if I have this straight. Mancuso and friends rip into Grayzel because his wife once worked for Honeywell and they still have a pension. Yet Mancuso and friends still haven't bothered to form an ethics committee, they ceded by default all ethics decisionmaking to Mills without formal action to do so, and Rosenbush wasn't even asked by Mills or any of his other good ol' boys if any mutual funds he owns in turn own Honeywell stock. Meanwhile, Mancuso single-handedly wrecked a decades old tradition known as the Ginty Carnival, because Mr. NYSE himself blew off 18 years of IRS filings that would have disclosed money in & money out in connection with this "charitable" event. Simultaneously, former Morris Twp GOP Municipal Chair Luby ludicrously claims that he isn't partisan and Bruce Sisler calls Jeff Grayzel names. Break out your scorecards and keep track. Popcorn, lemonade, a few big red noses -- the circus is indeed back in town. Just like Mr. Goldberg recently wrote. Oh -- and let's not forget the fact that NONE OF THESE HOLIER THAN THOU OFFICIALS HAVE COMMISSIONED AN INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ANALYSIS OF THE HONEYWELL PROPOSAL. Gentlemen: WHAT ARE THE PROPERTY TAX IMPLICATIONS OF THE HONEYWELL PROPOSAL????? Are you going to simply rely on Honeywell's rosy analysis, modestly discounted? Disgraceful.

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