Franklin Councilman vs. the Police
Ironically, Dave Fanale got his first taste of politics as a DJ at a fundraising event put together by former Freeholder Glen Vetrano on behalf of Sheriff Candidate Mike Strada. Once bitten, Fanale got involved locally as a Republican county committeeman and then ran for Franklin Borough council in 2013 on the Republican ticket. Fanale easily defeated both a Democrat and a write-in candidate and was sworn into office in December 2013.
To say that Councilman Fanale is "skeptical" about the general latitude the public gives members of law enforcement would be an understatement. While many have raised concerns over the militarization of modern policing and the use of the police by local politicians as revenue privateers (ticket quotas, speed traps, and all the rest of it), Councilman Fanale takes it a step across the line into juvenile mockery of those who, after all, put their necks on the line to protect their fellow citizens.
Earlier in the year he suggested that a police officer be reprimanded for saving the lives of animals caught in a fire. This laudable, human impulse was nothing short of heroic and the officer was deserving of and did receive praise from Councilman Fanale's colleagues. Better an empathetic police officer than a callous one who would allow "lesser" creatures to burn to death.
Councilman Fanale now finds himself embroiled in a controversy after posting a cartoon character peeing on the police "thin-blue-line" symbol and "giving the finger" on his Facebook page. The "thin-blue-line" symbol is often used to represent those officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Councilman Fanale claims that he didn't know the meaning of the symbol and has removed the offending image but has yet to own up to the juvenile act and apologize for his behavior.
If he has an argument, Councilman Finale should make it, as is his right. Childish pranks are no substitute for intelligent language. Besides, much of Councilman Fanale's ire appears to stem from a personal incident that involved one or maybe two police officers. He shouldn't turn one incident into a personal Jihad against all police. To personalize an elected office like that and use it as a vehicle for revenge is unethical.
Which brings us to another issue. Why don't Sussex County residents have a Board of Ethics to bring complaints against elected officials when they act unethically? The year-in-year-out goings on in towns like Vernon, Wantage, Byram, and Hopatcong would keep an Ethics Board busy -- not to mention having a Freeholder who fails to file his campaign finance reports on time year after year after year after year. It seems like Sussex County is begging for an Ethics Board, but when will we get one?
So citizens of Sussex County, do you think we should have an Ethics Board to hear your complaints about elected officials?
It could be made up of volunteers drawn from the voters list, like jury duty. You wouldn't want to have politicians appointing their friends because then it would never do anything worthwhile. We can't let the politicians pick who their judges are, can we?
Let us know what you think and how we should go about it.
There is an online petition being sent around if you would like to join the cause in Franklin, NJ to Recall Councilman David Fanale. https://www.causes.com/posts/918236
Or if you would rather support Councilman Fanale, you can contact him directly here.