HALFACRE: SPEAKING OF DISCLOSURE…
Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre
As noted above, here’s Mayor Mike Halfacre’s response, solicited by redbankgreen, to Art Kamin’s op-ed piece, which ran this week in the Asbury Park Press.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Kamin, despite his background in journalism, has chosen not to disclose some important facts about his experience with Fair Haven and his quest for public information.
First, Mr. Kamin failed to disclose that he and the Borough of Fair Haven have a long-running dispute about the responsibility to pay for maintenance of the private pond upon which his house is adjacent. Mr. Kamin does not like the fact that the Borough will not pay to clean-up and maintain his privately owned pond, which has no public access and which is bordered on, and owned by, several private homes.
Second, Mr. Kamin does not acknowledge that he sought some confidential information about Borough employees, which, by law, cannot be disclosed.
Third, Mr. Kamin does not include in his piece the fact that I answered all of his questions about current salaries, and it was only when he asked for historical information, from several years, for all of the Boroughs professionals that I advised him that his request was so broad that I could not personally attend to it, and that he should complete an OPRA request at Borough Hall. Mr. Kamin, however, wanted to be provided with special treatment.
His reaction, i.e. comparing the response from neighboring municipalities to his phone calls for current salary information for one position (one held by me) to his requests for historical billing information for multiple professionals, over multiple years, clearly indicates his lack of objectivity.
I would also like to point out that to date, Mr. Kamin has not actually submitted an OPRA request for the info he feels is so important. Which raises the question of whether he ever wanted the info in the first place, or was simply using the burdensome request submitted to me to help illustrate his larger point about OPRA.
The Borough of Fair Haven during my time as Mayor continues to be one of the most transparent governments possible. Our website has been updated and now contains agenda, minutes and other items previously unavailable without a trip to Borough Hall. I have a personal website, which has regular updates about what is happening in the Borough, and I have an email newsletter that goes out to nearly 500 homes, on a monthly basis. Could we do more? Of course. But Mr. Kamins take on his personal experience paints an inaccurate picture of how he was treated, and as a journalist, he should know better.
Michael I. Halfacre
Mayor, Borough of Fair Haven