The SandPaper printed Barbara Crystal's "Letter to the Editor" on October 18th 2023
Here is the article:
To the Editor:
Late last spring, I read about a $1.6 million settlement decision against Carmen Amato, the current mayor of Berkeley Township and 9th Legislative District Republican Senate candidate, and two other Berkeley Township employees, for creating a hostile work environment for the township’s Jewish female recreation supervisor. According to the news articles, Mayor Amato and the two other township employees made anti-Semitic remarks to her and took actions against her because of her religion.
The court’s ultimate settlement decision was based on other factors involved in the conduct of the three township employees. Mayor Amato plans to appeal the decision, which could possibly result in more court costs and legal expenses for both parties being funded by Berkeley Township’s insurance coverage and/or Berkeley taxpayers themselves.
Mayor Amato and the Berkeley Township Council also held their public hearing for the 2023 municipal budget on July 3, 2023 at 5 p.m., right in the middle of the 4th of July holiday. This was obviously designed to limit public participation in the public hearing.
Eleven years ago, my daughter played softball for the Berkeley Barracudas, and I helped the team as one of the assistant coaches. I have fond memories of those times, and friends who live in Bayville. I attended the hearing and noticed that $575,000 worth of capital improvement expenditures for 2022 and $600,000 of the same type of expenditures for 2023 were simply line items for their respective years. The actual capital improvement projects were not listed nor itemized in the 30-plus-page budget document. No details were provided regarding individual projects, start and end dates, locations of the work, or cost per project.
I approached the dais and asked the mayor and town council where the details of each of the projects were located in the document, and they did not have that information. The mayor then said he would get that information to me, and I said that he needed to get that information for the residents of Berkeley Township so that they could see where, and on what, their tax money was being spent. The lack of transparency in the process, and in the actual composition of the budget, was staggering.
Carmen Amato has served as the mayor of Berkeley Township since 2012. One of his earliest and most repeated campaign promises throughout the years since then was to develop the vacant Beachwood Shopping Center into a prosperous commercial retail area. It is still desolate to this day, and residents have been asking for stores, restaurants and other ratable businesses to be established in that location.
Also, Berkeley Township’s roads have long been in need of improvement. Mayor Amato has proven to be very capable of promoting numerous concerts and other forms of entertainment at Veterans Park, but has he truly led Berkeley Township responsibly, transparently and effectively?
I have lived in Manahawkin for 26 years and have recently retired after teaching for 28 years at Southern Regional High School. Both of my daughters grew up in Stafford Township and graduated from Southern Regional. One is a hospital corpsman third class in the U.S. Navy and the other graduated from Temple University and is the computer aided design department head for a prominent jewelry design company in Philadelphia. Our community has been so good for our family, and I want to ensure that it continues to thrive and to remain a very desirable place to live.
Our legislative district consists of towns ranging from Manchester south to Little Egg Harbor. I have very serious concerns about the upcoming state Senate election in the 9th District, with regard to the leadership record and character of the Republican candidate and current mayor of Berkeley Township, Carmen Amato. In addition, I have been unable to find his campaign platform online, to determine where he stands on issues that are important to the district’s constituents.
You can see the article in the SandPaper by clicking HERE
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