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Fields Referendum Fails by Wide Margin

Residents vote against spending nearly $8 million for high school athletic improvements.

The fields of dreams will have to wait.

Parsippany voters came out in the biting cold Tuesday to have their say about the Board of Education's $7.7 million athletic fields referendum. And by a wide margin, they said they were not willing to support the proposal to bring artificial turf fields, lights, refurbished lights and more at Parsippany and Parsippany Hills high schools.

In the end, the referendum did not carry a single polling place, and the unofficial tally performed by Municipal Clerk Yancy Wazirmas showed that no votes outpaced yesses 2,373-1,745.

Board of Education President Susy Golderer, who questioned the cost of the proposal during the referendum planning stages, said the result surprised her.

Still, she said, "The people have spoken. Now we must come together to find another way to give the children and the town fields to bring us pride."

The unofficial breakdown is as follows:

   POLLING PLACE            YES        NO     Brooklawn Middle School 235 295 Central Middle School 119 218 Eastlake School 153 207 Intervale School 155 227 Littleton School 313 409 Powder Mill Firehouse 146 180 Rockaway Meadow School 385 578 Troy Hills School 235 250 ABSENTEE    4    9 TOTALS 1,745 2,373
Mike Begley January 25, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Mr. Crawford, My wife and I have been quite involved in the schools, with my wife leading two PTA's, and working together on the board of our PGT program. Unfortunately my involvement was curtailed a few years back by a double lung transplant. However, with the way things are going right now, it may be time to start going to meetings. Regarding my opinions on your BOE service, you were more than one of nine - you were the chair of the committee tasked to oversee buildings and grounds. I understand the limited budget, the win/win scenario of the capital improvements that are state-subsidised, as well as Marlene's persuasiveness. But Bob, you were in the position to flag areas of need, and with your constant attendance at PHS games, those needs were in your face on a regular basis. You're not a shy man Bob. And when you see things wrong you are quite adept at making yourself heard. Yet I don't recall ever hearing anything from you about the shape of our fields, and as chair of buildings and grounds that was right up your alley, budgetary constraints or not. Now I know nothing about the internal politics of a nine-person board, or of those involved in working side by side with other board members, Dr. Seitz, and Marlene on the buildi gs and grounds committee. But I do know that if your idea of chairing was to march in lock-step with district management, then you were not up to the position at all. Continued...
Mike Begley January 25, 2013 at 02:50 AM
It seems to me that your responsibilities on that committee would certainly include the identification of facilities in poor shape and requiring improvement, and communicating that information to district management, as well as to your fellow board members. Perhaps these items get pushed down the list due to budgetary contraints, but they must be documented, if only to avoid allegations such as mine, and of many others in town, that the BOE was asleep at the wheel during this time, and let the fields degenerate to their present condition. You've said that Marlene guided you, and that Dr. Seitz was responsible for managing the district. But your commitee plays a key role in that equation Bob, as the check and balance over the district's spending power. You were not in that position to follow - as chair you were there to lead. If nothing else, to tell everyone else involved that you had a laundry list of issues that, while not being immediately addressed, were on the radar screen. I don't recall anything like that being said about the fields, and that's a fail for you and the other board members at the time. But since you were the chair, and you're obviously capable of making yourself heard, it reflects even more on you.
Bob Crawford January 25, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Mike How about meeting me for a cup of coffee sometime this weekend? I suspect we might have more in common than we think Name the time and the place and I'll be there. I look forward to talking to you and sharing some ideas Thanks Bob
joe raich January 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Mike Begley: Previous Boards refused to listen to Bob Crawford when he made B&G reports,and being a 1 vote of 9 got lonely. Bob deserves " the Profile in Courage " award during these troubled times...
Peter February 10, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Who payed for the fields you used as a child.

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