Former Mayor’s Donation Rescinded Due To Non-Delivery/Non-Payment

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Published: August 26, 2015 @ 5:37 PM EDT

At the July 30th Mayor & Council special meeting which was needed to approve the capital budget, the governing body formally rescinded Resolution 262-14 which was a donation of a sign by former Roselle Park Mayor Joseph Accardi. After seven months of Mr. Accardi not delivering neither a sign nor the funds to have one made and the current sign becoming unusable, the municipality needed to have the sign in front of Borough Hall replaced. The resolution needed to be rescinded in order for the governing body to proceed with another resident who would construct a municipal complex sign.

Mayor Emeritus Accardi approached the governing body at the July 30th meeting during the public comment portion to express his dismay over the rescinding of his donation. Amid his comments, he failed to mention that he neither had a sign made – as was qualified in the resolution he requested – nor had submitted a check for seven months.

In December of last year, the very last item of business at the very last council meeting of the year – a special meeting – was Resolution 262-14. At that time, then-Mayor Accardi commented that he asked the Borough Clerk to find an appropriate sign for the front of Borough Hall. He stated, “What I’ve done with my salary since I’ve been on council – as mayor – I’ve been putting it into an account and I then donate that money to different causes; mostly in town but other causes as well. In the account there is a balance of approximately $1,000 that I have not donated. What I’d like to do is before I spend that kind of money on the sign, I want to make sure that council approves it and that it will remain in front of the Borough complex in its design [and] manner and maintained properly for the lifetime of the sign, so I would ask that you all consider that my gift to the community on my way out as the mayor.”

Resolution 262-14 reads:

BE IT RESOLVED, the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Roselle Park hereby accept the donation by Mayor Joseph Accardi of the attached sign (copy of sign in the Borough Clerk’s Office) which shall be located in the front of the Municipal Complex Parking Lot, 110 East Westfield Avenue. Said sign is to be installed and maintained for the lifetime of the sign by the Borough.

Then-mayor Accardi stated that the sign would be the same as the other wooden-style signs throughout Roselle Park with gold lettering which was estimated to cost $1,650. The donation was unanimously approved by the governing body.

That was eight months ago.

An Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request was submitted by Roselle Park News in late July. The municipality’s response showed that neither a check nor a sign was ever delivered by Mr. Accardi. If a check had been written in the amount of $1,650 – or even a down payment of the aforementioned $1,000 – it could have been submitted at any time by Mr. Accardi as a show of commitment. Had the sign ended up costing less than $1,650, Mr. Accardi could have had his excess donation returned to him or left in place to be utilized for other municipal philanthropic use. Mr. Accardi could also just have had the sign made, as stated in the resolution, and have it delivered to Borough Hall or picked up by the Department of Public Works (DPW).

In reaching out to Mr. Accardi, his response was ‘I have no comment’.

Another Roselle Park resident, Kevin Murphy, offered to construct a new sign from recycled material to save on money and to be environmentally conscious. Utilizing material from the old train station signs, Mr. Murphy stated, “The sign substrates themselves were made of recycled material and were still in good shape. The substrates themselves can be recycled and you can re-do the sign at the municipality without spending more money than would be necessary.”

Sign substrate or backing is the material that gives rigidity to signs. Mr. Murphy submitted a few ideas and once approved, proceeded with constructing the sign.

Mr. Murphy continued, “The hardest thing was matching up the paint to the Borough’s colors. With the help of Newark Paint II, we finally got it to the Borough’s colors. I also had some 22-carat gold leaf left over from a previous sign that I did which was just enough to use on this sign.”

With the help of Newark Paint II, located at 340 West Westfield Avenue, Mr. Murphy constructed a sign that will be installed at Borough Hall.

“At the end of the day, the sign was made with recycled material from two old signs,” Mr. Murphy concluded, “If we hadn’t use that material, it would have gone into a landfill and gone to waste.”

One thing absent from this sign will be the name of Joseph Accardi. According to two sources, one of Mayor Emeritus Accardi’s stipulations for his sign was that he have his name put on it.

The sign constructed by Mr. Kevin Murphy was approved for an estimated amount of $350. A source has confirmed that the amount for of $350 will be covered by an anonymous donor. In the interim, two white posts stand in front of Borough Hall holding nothing where a sign that could have been made or even paid for by Mr. Accardi eight months ago should be.

Below is a photograph of the sign that was constructed by Kevin Murphy and to be paid for by an anonymous donor:

RP Municipal Complex Sign (Kevin Murphy)