Union Representative Threatens to Sue Town Over OPRA Requests

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Ron Meischker, an out-of-town Edison resident, and a representative from from the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters made it very clear he will sue the town over Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests








PARSIPPANY — Ron Meischker, an out-of-town Edison resident, and a representative from the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters addressed the Mayor and Council at the Tuesday, November 22 meeting, and made it very clear he will sue the town over the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests.

Ron Meischker, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

Meischker said “I’ve submitted some OPRA requests for some emails, texts, and social media postings and we’re well beyond the date they’re due. I wanted to get a status update from the solicitor on that.”

Township Attorney Michael Lavery replied “Information was requested and we can’t provide what we don’t have. They don’t exist, so we can’t provide them. I understand exactly what the statute says, but what I’m telling you is the information that you requested, was requested of the councilman and we’re told that it does not exist, so we can’t produce it.”

Mr. Meischker, responded, “So you understand that we’re going to seek to compel those documents?” You’ll lose on that. And I don’t wanna cost, you’ve got plenty of taxpayers in here that are very concerned about their local library and their sense of community and their tax dollars. We don’t want to cause tax ramifications due to litigation because you’re getting resistance from the individual (referring to Councilman Justin Musella) who doesn’t want to give up the documents.  It is very clear there’s precedent here that says that those documents should be turned over.”

John McGovern

According to an OPRA request filed by Parsippany Focus, Mr. Paul Prenergast filed an OPRA request with the Municipal Clerk on October 13 for “Email attachments.” On October 18, Mr. Paul Prenergast requested “J Musella e-mails.”

The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills introduced an ordinance “2022:24, Entitled Project Labor Agreement (PLA)” at the agenda meeting of Tuesday, October 11 for the first reading and for public discussion with the second reading and final vote to take place on Tuesday, October 18.

The audience during the Council meeting of October 11 was filled with Union workers supporting the passing of the ordinance. Parsippany residents complained they could not get into the meeting and were harassed by union workers.

During the meeting, Councilman Justin Musella voted against the ordinance. He stated “As it stands, a thorough and competitive bidding process at the lowest responsible cost is what is best for the taxpayer. We should reject costly measures like PLAs that ultimately reduce competition, harm small businesses, and provide no real benefit to the end user — you.”  The ordinance was introduced 4-1. (Click here to read the complete article)

With the anticipation of a larger crowd, Council President Michael dePierro changed the location of Tuesday, October 18 Township Council meeting to Parsippany Hills High School.

Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters started a campaign to harass Councilman Musella. They parked a truck at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102, 50 Parsippany Road, a location where the abandonment of union workers was meeting before the October 18 Council meeting, then drove in caravans to the high school. There they met in the parking lot and marched into the building.

The truck displayed rotating messages of clips from speakers during the October 11 meeting as well as two messages that said “PLA All the Way” and “Tell Justin Musella: Support Jobs for Parsippany Workers.” Then the truck moved to Parsippany Hills High School where the October 18 meeting was being held.

At that meeting, the ordinance was passed 4-1, with Musella voting against the ordinance.

Pictured is a truck with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters logo. A large video sign on the side of the truck displayed the image “Tell Justin Musells: Support Jobs for Parsippany Workers”
Union workers met at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102, 50 Parsippany Road, on Tuesday, October 18, and drove in caravans to Parsippany Hills High School, where the Township Council meeting was being held. Pictured is a truck with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters logo. A large video sign on the side of the truck displayed the image “PLA ALL THE WAY.”
Pictured is a truck with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters logo. A large video sign on the side of the truck displayed the image “Tell Justin Musells: Support Jobs for Parsippany Workers and Keep Parsippany Tax Money in Parsippany.”

Councilman Musella started a petition against PLAs. When the article was released on Parsippany Focus there were over 300 signatures in 24 hours from local Parsippany residents. (Click here to read the article). Musella wants to obtain over 1,000 signatures before making a case to the council and Mayor James Barberio to reverse course on the project labor agreement ordinance.

The petition flyer was mailed to all Parsippany residents

The PLA means that municipal public-works projects costing at least $5 million must have a pre-established collective bargaining agreement. This gives certain unionized workforces advantages in obtaining contracts for these projects.

Supporters have said the agreement helps guarantee skilled labor and eliminates delays that can arise from labor conflicts or worker shortages. But critics, including Musella and many residents, say such arrangements will drive up costs for the township trying to work its way out of budgetary woes.

The petition’s goal is to convey a message to the Councilpersons who supported the PLA that this culture of overburdening taxpayers with pricey mandates is causing community members financial harm while driving other residents out of town to less expensive areas.