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Mayor tells his side of the story in dustup with councilman (Video)

Mayor Bruce Packer speaks out on public spats last week with Councilman Art Pazan


Glen Rock Mayor Bruce Packer sat down with Banana Tree News (see video above) on Thursday to discuss the controversial Borough Council meetings of June 12 and June 14, in which the mayor, a Democrat, was attacked by Republican councilman Art Pazan, who called him “divisive’’ and demanded an apology from Packer for a Facebook post the mayor wrote on a private, closed-group page earlier this month.

(Read BTN’s account of the June 12 meeting here, and of the June 14 meeting here.)

Packer explained his reasons for writing the Facebook post and for joining the Climate Mayors movement, and supporting the Welcoming Resolution, which the Borough Council was considering voting on. He said he reached out to Pazan after the meeting of the 14th, but Pazan had not returned his call.

BTN reached out to Pazan, who returned a call Thursday afternoon. He said he has not been able to arrange his schedule to meet with the mayor, but promised that he would reach out to him before the weekend. In fact, the two men spoke Thursday afternoon, after both had spoken with BTN, and agreed to meet.

In the interview with Packer, BTN asked the mayor whether he will be able to work with Pazan and the other Republican councilmen, Mike O’Hagan and Bill Leonard, moving forward. He said yes. Pazan also said he doesn’t foresee any issues with the council working together moving forward.

“The status of our relationship has not changed,’’ Pazan told BTN. “We have things in common. We were both (Glen Rock Baseball Softball Association) presidents, and we’ll be able to work together. I don’t think the incidents on Monday and Wednesday would influence, or create any problems with us.’’

Pazan said his only problem with Packer joining the Climate Mayors movement was that he believed the mayor should have notified the council he was doing that before making the news public via a newspaper. And he said the Welcoming Resolution had gone through many edits – he had his own version of it, he said – and was not ready for a vote.

As for calling the mayor “divisive,’’ Pazan said he called him that because he believes the mayor chooses to focus on national issues that divide Democrats and Republicans, rather than on local issues that affect all residents of Glen Rock, like fixing roads and improving the athletic fields in town.

“I called him ‘divisive’ because it’s a national issue that splits the council,’’ Pazan said, pointing out that the Borough Council is currently made up of three Republicans and three Democrats. “And the community is split, too.’’

Pazan said he asked permission at the council’s work session to speak about a Facebook post and was granted permission by the mayor to do so. He said had the mayor not granted him permission to speak about the post, he would have stepped down from the dais and joined the line of residents seeking to speak at the open public comments section. And he promised that once his council term is up (he is not seeking re-election in November) he will be an active speaker at council meetings.

“I’ve lived in this town for 27 years,’’ he said. “I’m not going away.’’

The next meeting of the Borough Council is a work session on Monday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. The council will then hold a regular meeting on Wednesday, June 28 at 8 p.m. at Borough Hall.

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