I attended this past Tuesday evening’s Town Council meeting after reading last week’s (September 29, 2014) Parsippany Focus article titled Mayor, Golf Director Accused of Hiring Town Employee to Run Private Golf Camp on Town Time and Property and viewing the September 23, 2014 video clip of the Parsippany Council discussing Knoll Country Club.
Reference was made in the article to the fact that several councilmen had called for an independent criminal investigation and that “…the Township did not receive any money but in fact all fees (from the summer golf camp offered at the Knoll East Club) went directly to a township employee (identified as John Traina) who earned and pocketed all the money while working on township time”. Also during the meeting Councilman Valori, made a number of statements including “It doesn’t sound clean” “It doesn’t look good” and asked how “is he (Mr. Traina) doing it?” (his job).
Intentionally or not, the impression, left by Mr. Valori’s comments suggested the possibility that Mr. Traina might have done something wrong. And during the ensuing dialogue between Councilman Valori, Town Counsel Inglesino and Public Golf Utility Director Paula Cozzarelli, Mr. Traina and his reputation seemed to get lost in the extraordinarily confusing and somewhat dysfunctional point and counterpoint that occurred.
I thought that that uncertainty was unfair to Mr.Traina and over the past couple of days I have conducted a bit of research. Based on that research I concluded that Mr. Traina had done his job as it was defined to him in a manner that brought credit to him, to the Knoll East Golf Club and to Parsippany. Having concluded that he had done nothing wrong I attended this past Tuesday’s Town Council meeting and during the public session asked members of the Administration and the Town Council (including the Mayor, the Town Counsel, Council member Valori and the Public Golf Utility Director) if they believed Mr. Traina had done anything wrong. They all strongly voiced the opinion that he had not done anything wrong.
I don’t know Mr. Traina but I do know, from personal experience, that a person’s reputation in this electronic age needs to be guarded carefully and public accusations once made are hard to correct. With that in mind, I would ask our elected and appointed officials, and in particular Mr. Valori, to remain mindful of that reality.