Editor's note: In response to Councilwoman Hedy Grant's lawsuit naming him as a defendant in her claim petitioning the court to invalidate the appointment of Borough Attorney, Marc Leibman, of the law firm Kaufman, Semeraro, Bern, Deutsch & Leibman, Councilman Austin Ashley has issued the following statement:
We are in desperate need of leadership that isn't motivated by political bossism. That is why, this January I voted with the New Milford Republicans to appoint a Borough Attorney that is qualified to represent the borough on all fronts. That has not gone over well with the current Democratic political organization and frankly, I don't care.
Each council person is sworn into office on the Holy Bible and swears to uphold the constitution of this country, this state and the bylaws of the Borough of New Milford. This is a responsibility that I don't take lightly. And it is exactly what I have done and will continue to do. But there is more to this oath than the constitution and our bylaws. We have a responsibility to the people whom we represent.
This week, I (a Democrat) along with the mayor (a Republican) and the Borough of New Milford have been named in a politically motivated lawsuit by Councilwoman Hedy Grant. Our supposed violation was the appointment of a well qualified Attorney against the wishes of Councilwoman Hedy Grant (and her political boss) and their wishes to install the Mayor of River Edge's wife as Borough Attorney, who had not applied for the position. Instead of accepting the defeat of their political machine, she chose to file a lawsuit that will ultimately cost our borough tens of thousands of dollars.
Who is best served by this lawsuit? The people of New Milford? The ego of Councilwoman Hedy Grant? The interests of the current Democratic political organization?
There are real issues in this town but because of Councilwoman Grant's actions they will be put on hold to settle a political score. These issues should be settled at the ballot box and not at the cost of the tax payers in the court room. Councilwoman Grant should focus on the needs of our community and not the wants of her political boss. We need to move forward for the people of New Milford. That's our job and should be our number one priority, not politics.
Councilman Austin Ashley