The question for Morristown Mayor Sami Barile at the June 1 meeting of City Council was simple. Will you comply with the City Charter and obey a City Ordinance?
Mayor Barile's answer was a simple "No."
Apparently, Mayor Barile feels that the City Charter and laws and local ordinances do not apply to her or to council despite her sworn oath of office and her duty to enforce all ordinances: It shall be the duty of the mayor...to see that all the ordinances of the city are duly enforced, respected and observed within the city; [and] to take an oath of office before he enters upon the duties of the same....
Mayor Barile, Councilmembers, and City Administrator Tony Cox have been provided with a copy of the section of the City Charter and a City Ordinance--both of which state that city sewer money must be kept in a separate bank account and not mixed with other city funds. Click here.
[Presently, sewer funds are mixed with all kinds of other city funds in one big old bank account. This is a clear violation of the City's governing charter and of an ordinance that was passed many years ago.]
Almost four months ago, I asked Cox to address this violation and set up a separate bank account for sewer funds. He did nothing.
On May 4, May 18, and again Tuesday (June 1), I asked Mayor Barile to address this violation and set up a separate bank account for sewer funds. She did nothing.
In fact, on June 1 Mayor Barile made it clear that the City Charter means nothing to her and that city ordinances apply to other people but not to her. Despite the fact that it is her sworn duty to enforce the laws and ordinances of the city, Mayor Barile refuses to direct that the Charter and Ordinance requiring that sewer funds be kept separate be followed.
With Mayor Barile's arrogant disregard of city law, is it any wonder that many elected officials are held in low esteem?
It was just a few short weeks ago that Mayor Barile and councilmembers were sitting as judge and jury and giving businessmen a choice of (1) $1000 civil penalty or (2) suspension of beer license for 30 days.
But when the shoe is on the other foot--and it is the Mayor and Council and City Administrator who are violating a City Ordinance AND the City Charter--Mayor Barile apparently thinks it's OK for elected and appointed officials to violate the law. The "Barile Doctrine."
So, the next time you get a red light ticket or a parking ticket in Morristown, just tell the officer that you are covered by the "Barile Doctrine" ----the law doesn't apply to you, and even if it does, you'll obey it only when you are good and ready!
[What I expect the Council to do now that THEIR violation of the Charter and Ordinance has been brought out is to change the Charter and Ordinance at some future date. In the meantime, however, the City is violating its own Charter and Ordinance and the Mayor is clearly violating her oath of office in refusing to enforce the Charter and Ordinance requirements.]
What about the City Attorney and Councilmembers? On May 4, May 18, and June 1, City Attorney Dick Jessee and City Council did nothing and said nothing as the City continues to knowingly and willfully violate its Charter and Ordinance and as Mayor Barile openly violates her oath of office and fails to enforce the ordinances of the City.