Candidate forgets to show at debate, blames others

Green Party candidate for Assembly Kenneth Collins failed to show up to a debate that has been an annual fixture in Ogdensburg for more than two decades.  The debate, which featured both candidates for Assembly and for Freeholder, was held on Tuesday night, October 13th. 

Instead of just owning up to his mistake (and mistakes happen to everybody), candidate Collins went off on the event's volunteer organizer, a retired school teacher.  Collins claimed he was given the "brush off" by the organizer and blamed others for getting the date wrong, despite the fact that this event was advertised in the Herald (with the correct date) a week ago.

Ogdensburg hosting candidates' forum

Posted: Oct 05, 2015 10:52 PM EDT Updated: Oct 08, 2015 11:34 PM EDT

By ROB JENNINGS

OGDENSBURG -- Sussex County's longest-running candidates' forum returns next week with a twist, in that time will be set aside for attendees to ask questions.

Moderator John Kibildis, organizer of the annual event for more than a quarter-century, said he stopped allowing questions several years ago because supporters of various candidates were manipulating the process.

Upon reflection, Kibildis decided to take a leap of faith and allow questions Oct. 13, when the candidates for New Jersey Assembly, Sussex County freeholder, Ogdensburg council and Ogdensburg school board will appear at the forum.

"I think it's important," said Kibildis, 71, a retired educator who taught for 38 years at the Ogdensburg Elementary School.

Kibildis was the borough's mayor from 1981 to 1985. He launched the candidates' forums not long after leaving office.

A registered Democrat, Kibildis does not endorse candidates.

The event organizer made it very clear that he would include independent and minor party candidates if they took the trouble to contact him.  In fact, two independent candidates for Freeholder did and they were included in the debate.  Collins either didn't or did and then failed to show up.  Either way, he was a no-show Tuesday night and then tried to shift the blame to the organizer.

Oddly, because they should know better, the New Jersey Herald looks like they are taking Collins' side in this dispute by pulling comments from its website that set the record straight and leaving those comments by Collins that impugn the reputation of the event's organizer.