Texting at the City Council

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What do you think of elected officials texting while conducting City business in the City Council chambers?

What do you think of elected officials READING OFF  texts they have received from outside parties during public meetings?

There is ONE member of the City Council who CONSISTENTLY refers to his texting device, using it like a teleprompter or a cue card... grasping onto it like a life preserver in a stormy sea.

WHY does he need to do this?

WHO is texting him? 

A friend?  A developer?   NJ Transit?  A vendor?  Someone with a business item on the agenda?

GA thinks it is highly inappropriate conduct for an elected official.   

Further, he's getting PAID to be there.

You know that GA serves on a municipal Board- all 9 of us turn off our electronic devices; I have NEVER seen anyone texting during our meetings, and they average 5 hours. 

The hubris, arrogance, and lack of professionalism that this Councilman displays with his dependency on his electronic gadget is astounding.

Yes, in the case of an emergency receiving a text is understandable.  To to use it to conduct City business is not.

Not unless we can OPRA the texts.  It's about TRANSPARENCY.

The people have a RIGHT to know WHO is texting our officials and WHAT it is about.

And that is why I would like the City Council to consider a ban on using electronic devices- texting in particular- while meetings are being conducted.

What do you think?


  1. Posted this before, and I'll post it again: Get me started on phones during a meeting (or even checking out at a supermarket register with a line 8 people deep). We can't be far from the day of mid-council-meeting disputing a charge on one's Amex card or calling out for takeout food for the walk home. Possibly coming to a future near you: "Council President, can you hold on a sec, I gotta take this, I've been trying to get in touch with my plumber for three days". Dovetail the obsession with monitoring smart phones on the dais with the fact that councilpersons not attending more oft than not can not be reached by phone to vote. Does not compute.

    Also factor in that the Old Guard bends over backward to make all meetings as drawn out and boring as possible in an effort to wear opposition down, with meetings needlessly being a four hour time commitment, so mid-meeting checking e-mails become more understandable, but not so much forgivable. Sure, we all need to be in touch 24/7/365 for emergencies but IMO the definition of emergency gets downgraded on a continual basis while the acceptance of multi-tasking get upgraded on a continual basis, and therein lies the rub. Everyone please, we need your full attention.

    1. I agree with everything you've said, ply.

      And in this case, the fact that the texts are communications that an ELECTED OFFICIAL is 'using' to conduct City business during a public meeting. They are no less significant than emails or the kind of written communications which can be OPRA'd.

      I'll say it again- we don't know WHO is communicating with him. The party clearly has an interest in the City's business, but what KIND of interest. Business? Financial? Political? What is so urgent that (I'll say it) Occhipinti can't discuss it AFTER the meeting?

      I want the City Council to ban this conduct formerly. Unless there is a personal emergency, these devices should be turned off until the meeting is over.

  2. I would probably be one to be guilty of texting. I mean, who in the world has the patience to listen to the pathological lies by the MORTe council???? I don't, I have little patience for stupidity and cheatery, so I'm against stopping playing with the phone. On the other hand, I would agree with the council vote to stop the idiocy, and vote the stupid out of the council. If you're a sociopath or a crook or simply an idiot, perhaps your colleagues should do us a favor and vote you OUT.

    1. hadenough, I am a big texter myself. Many of us are.

      The point is elected government officials being 'coached' or 'prompted' via text by anonymous 3rd parties is unacceptable.

      "Playing with the phone" is OK for us, not OK for an elected official conducting the City's business with the help' of an anonymous 3rd party.

      Devices should be shut off during meetings. They can be checked during breaks.

      You want to see the idiot without his life preserver?

    2. I was just being sarcastic. I am fed up with these 4 crooks. I would like them to be gone.

    3. Ha! Maybe we should try voodoo?

  3. Some of the actors simply can't function without a prompter.

    Ban devices on the dais. Then watch how it morphs into awkward improv from the MORT troupe.

    (Mason's "Wee the People," as in frequent "bathroom breaks" for the Incontinent Four.)

    Any which way it plays, you're still watching theater of the absurd.

  4. At one public meeting, based on their back and forth use of their phones, I believe Freeholder Romano was texting Occhipinti. At other times, it's probably Bajardi or Cryan.

    Also, it's understandable why Mrs. Richard G. Mason would need a small, vibrating appliance with fully charged batteries at the ready.

    Every wonder how upscale restaurants deal with this problem? Are you curious as to why you won't hear a cell phone ring in Per Se? If council won't pass a resolution banning use of these devices during meetings, perhaps the public can bring one of these to council meetings: http://www.thesignaljammer.com/

    1. Terrific suggestion, Oracle. If CC doesn't do the right thing & enact a ban, then by all means, the public should engage in civil disobedience by signal jammer.

      Also for BoE meetings, if necessary.

      (And then get ready to bear witness to some priceless melt-downs from both sides of the dais.)

    2. "Also, it's understandable why Mrs. Richard G. Mason would need a small, vibrating appliance with fully charged batteries at the ready."

      HAW HAW HAW... you are my kind of bad, Oracle.

  5. They require that all cell phones be turned off in the courtroom during jury duty, right? Let's just do the same for CC meetings. If Lane, Stick or anyone else is so desperate to influence the CC then they can just run for office instead of electing a puppet to do their bidding.


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