Teague: A political turf war | Paterson Times

Teague: A political turf war

There is an old swahili proverb that says: “Wapiganapo tembo nyasi huumia.” Translated in English it means: “When elephants fight the grass gets hurt.” This proverb is used regularly to describe local officials whose disputes and divisions end up hurting local residents. This case is no different. Paterson’s elected bodies seem to be engaged in a political turf war.

After reading the recent article concerning the boycott which took place, I was compelled to offer commentary and to offer a rebuttal (so to speak). I resent the notion that the board was engaging in a secret meeting. All of the conversations surrounding this topic were properly published, to my knowledge and belief.

I don’t like what’s happening. I don’t like being disrespected by other elected officials. We were elected to work together – not fight each other. Wednesday, the board and council had the opportunity to hash out any differences we had, out in the public. And the word would have been publicized due to the fact that two major city media outlets were present.

The rumors are what’s most upsetting. Especially, when the rumors are based on a lie.

It’s spewing into the community. Those rumors, grossly unmerited, have begun to spread far and wide. So, I want to dispel any lies that have surfaced regarding me accepting any sort of ‘political favors’ as a result of my vote. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I stated at the joint session held on January 15th, I didn’t receive a dime, a penny, nothing of the sort.

Presently, there appears to be an ongoing feud between members of the city school board and members of the city council. To my knowledge and from reading recent articles, it stems from an aqusation that the board allegedly railroaded the public by hosting a private closed meeting. Not true. Miscommunication is to blame for the current disagreement in place.

I believe it was unprofessional for the council to call a meeting and only 2 members show up. We had the opportunity to discuss various topics which included a proposal to allow school buildings to be used as recreational facilities, both topics were equally as important as the November elections topic. I was disheartened by what occurred at the meeting, honestly.

If we truly want Paterson to move forward, then we must be respectful of one another and find a way to push in the same direction. Disagreeing is fine, but being disrespectful isn’t. In conclusion, let the record show that I will not be attending any more joint sessions until there is a concrete agreement that BOTH elected bodies will be present.

(The contents of the following letter are my opinion and do not reflect the opinions of the board of education, I’m speaking for myself.)

Corey L. Teague, is a school board member, who attended Wednesday’s joint school board meeting with the City Council.