While Deputy Mayor Bruce Sisler's potential conflict of interest in the Honeywell process was brought up at last week's Township Committee meeting, he believes there is no conflict, and it is instead "political retaliation," NJ.com reports.
Last week the township committee on the zoning ordinance that would allow Honeywell to redevelop its property because Sisler's employment with Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr. could create a conflict, Township Attorney John Mills said.
Mills received a press release that outlined Bucco's sponsorship of the Business Retention and Relocation and Grant program and his incentives to keep Honeywell in Morris Township. Sisler's job as the chief of staff for Bucco could cause a potential conflict, Mills said.
While Mills declined to comment on who the press release was from, Sisler said resident Lee Goldberg—who has strongly opposed the Honeywell process—sent it.
Goldberg declined to comment Monday if he sent the letter, but said it is only fair for Sisler to go through the same process as Grayzel.
"I don't view it as retaliation," Goldberg said. "I view it as keeping the process pure and untainted without a hint of conflict."
While Honeywell did not apply for tax credits under the BRRAG bill, it was seen as an incentive to keep its headquarters in Morris Township.
"Whether or not Honeywell availed themselves under the grant program under BRRAG, the potential for an appearance that Mr. Sisler would be tempted to vote in a way that would be what his employer would expect, still exists," Mills told Patch last week.
According to NJ.com, Sisler believes this perceived conflict, however, is "political retaliation" after he spoke up when Committeeman Jeff Grayzel This potential conflict is just another delay, Sisler said.
Sisler said at last week's meeting that his responsibilites working for Bucco has nothing to do with the legislation, and should pose no conflict.
"My purview is to do many different functions including distributing mail, reviewing calendars and schedules, dealing with constituent concerns," he said last week. "But no where in my job description does it have the legislative aid, or legislative issues under my purview."
The township ethics committee will review the case and come up with a recommendation if Sisler should be able to keep his vote.
Other concerned residents part of the Citizens for Better Planning in Morris Township have also been opposing aspects of the redevelopment plans in Honeywell.
The group's latest effort is when they submitted a petition on Aug. 15 to the township committee to mandate the ordinance to be passed by a "Super Majority Vote," meaning four "yes" votes. The petition legally needed 20 percent of residents sign it who live within 200 feet of Honeywell's property. The petition is now pending the township's approval.
The development process for Honeywell's 147-acre property has now been going on for over two years. After several draft changes, the plan would now allow the addition for 235 town houses and office and lab space.
The next public hearing is on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Morris Township Municipal Building.