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Deputy Mayor Sorry for Late-Night Call to Resident

Portion of Bruce Sisler's hour-long discussion with man recorded, posted on YouTube.

One Morris Township resident claims Deputy Mayor Bruce Sisler called him after midnight on Aug. 3 and harrased him over conflicts involving Honeywell's rezoning ordinance.

Resident Lee Goldberg—who has been vocal throughout the whole Honeywell process—posted about 12 minutes of the phone call on YouTube earlier this month and said it caused a "disturbance in the household."

Sisler said Goldberg's complaints about the phone call have been referred to the Township Ethics Committee, which only first convened two weeks ago with its newly appointed members. The committee is currently reviewing the matter to determine if any action needs to be taken.

Sisler released a statement via e-mail Thursday apologizing for the late call, and said he only called Goldberg because he received an e-mail from him at 11:25 p.m. that night that criticized his work on the township committee in 2010.

"I was bothered by his e-mail's tone but regardless, I made a mistake by calling him at that hour," Sisler said. "The next day, I received an email from Mr. Goldberg that addressed some of the issues we discussed in our hour-long conversation that included ideas he had regarding township business."

Goldberg, when reached for comment Friday, said that his e-mail was not critical of Sisler's work, and instead he offered suggestions to Sisler about the e-mail messenger alerts that are sent to residents.

Goldberg also said his e-mail the following day was about an unrelated matter not involving the phone call.

The day Goldberg sent that e-mail to Sisler before the late-night call, he had received a messenger alert from the township about the West Nile Virus spraying. In Goldberg's 11:25 p.m. e-mail, he suggested to Sisler that he should use the messenger for publicizing the Honeywell process.

Goldberg also critiqued Sisler for including all of the residents' e-mails in the messenger, saying that it approached a breach of privacy.

"I was simply sending back a suggested e-mail saying, 'in the future you should be more careful.' There's a way to mask all of those e-mails," he said.

Goldberg has previously brought up issues regarding Sisler's potential conflict of interest. Last month, Goldberg sent an email to Township Attorney John Mills that suggested Sisler's current employment with Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr. poses a conflict of interest in the Honeywell proceedings. Sisler then recused himself, but has since been reinstated because residents signed a petition that requires a supermajority vote on the Honeywell redevelopment project.

This zoning ordinance for the redevelopment plan is currently before the township committee, and if approved, Honeywell can move along with its plans to add residential and office and lab space on its 147-acre campus.

When Sisler found out about the complaint from Mills about two weeks after the call, he said he immediately asked Mills to set up a meeting to apologize to Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg, but said the Goldbergs rejected the request.

Goldberg disagreed with Sisler's statement, and said Friday that Mills never hinted towards a definite meeting. Goldberg said Mills asked if he would be interested in a 'possible solution if he could arrange it,' and said it was not an acceptable conclusion.

"We were not happy with that sort of outcome," Goldberg said. "We thought the public should know about the behavior of their township committeeman."

Goldberg recounted the phone call to NJ.com Wednesday and said the "call woke him up, and struck him as odd."

"Mr. Sisler wakes my household after midnight, his words are menacing, harassing and he's angry. What's he going to do next?" he told NJ.com. "Mr. Sisler has disgraced himself and our township and should resign."

In the portion of the phone call that is recorded on YouTube, Sisler first asks Goldberg about his motives.

"I just want to know, what's your game plan, pal?" Sisler says at the beginning. "I just want to know, what's your game? What [do] you want?"

Goldberg responds and says, "to participate in the community I live in, is that not my game?"

Sisler says to Goldberg—who records township committee meetings—if he records himself, and asks, "Do you look at this and go, 'Am I being a jackass, or am I being thoughtful, or am I being critical, or am I being thoughtful?' Do you look at that?"

Goldberg answers, "All of the above."

Throughout the rest of the recorded portion, Sisler and Goldberg go back and forth, and later argue over Committee Member Jeff Grayzel's recusal, which was two days before the phone call. Grayzel has also been reinstated.

Sisler says in the call that Grayzel clearly had a conflict with his wife being a former employee with Honeywell while still holding a pension fund, and the problem is the fact that he didn't disclose it.

Sisler has called his conflict that was brought up "political retaliation"in response to Grayzel's conflict.

Mills told NJ.com that he doesn't believe the ethics complaint will hold up the Honeywell redevelopment process, and described it as "an unusual allegation."

The next step of the redevelopment process will be at the next public hearing on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Morris Township Municipal Building.

Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 09:16 AM
This story highlights the despicable influence that multi-billion dollar corporations exploit while New Jersey's economy and unemployment rate are among the worst in the country. We surely can have a spirited debate as to whether a $40 million taxpayer funded corporate welfare payoff to keep Honeywell in NJ is good policy. But reasonable folks cannot disagree that stereotypical "Sopranos" style thuggery perpetrated by Town Committeeman Bruce Sisler has no place on Morris Township's governing body. Nor can there be a sliver of doubt that Sisler's midnight rambling threats should not be tolerated by Asm. Bucco, for whom Sisler serves as Chief of Staff. Yet in reply to my letter to him, Asm. Bucco was content to let a newly convened, paper tiger, Township Ethics Board to have the final say, while the Township Attorney declared he saw nothing wrong with Sisler's bizarre behavior. Perhaps Sisler was just following his bosses orders. Regardless, Honeywell appears to be more important to Bucco than the public trust he is charged with defending. All those Honeywell campaign contributions that are reported on NJELEC to Asm. Bucco and his father, Sen. Bucco, may finally be paying off. Corporations are people too, my friend.
Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 09:20 AM
The author left out perhaps the most salacious remarks from this story, which can be found around the 9 minute mark on the recording, in which Sisler says: "You're not pointing (explicative) out. What you're pointing out is bull(same explicative)." Sisler is commenting about how Goldberg is pointing out that Sisler is Asm. Bucco's Chief of Staff and that Bucco sponsored the corporate welfare payola to Honeywell. Ergo, Sisler can't be impartial because he knows the guy who pays his salary wants to make sure Honeywell gets whatever Honeywell asks for, so help him God.
Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 09:25 AM
Bucco has declined to defend Sisler. Bucco is correct that as a State Legislator, he is not responsible for disciplining a Township Committeeman. As Sisler's Boss, however, Buccp has the authority to determine whether Sisler is fit to continue to serve as a legislative Chief of Staff. A position funded with tax dollars that earns generous benefits and pension dollars. Instead, Bucco gives we the people the brush off, in this 9/24/12 email: Mr. Burke, Thank you for your email concerning the Honeywell redevelopment proposal and the procedural issues surrounding the Township’s review of same. I am aware of the concerns raised regarding Mr. Sisler’s ability to objectively review the proposal as a result of his employment in my legislative office. You should be aware that I recommended that Mr..Sisler present the issue to the Township’s Ethics Committee and be guided by its decision. While I appreciate the issues that you have raised, please understand that as a State Legislator, I have no decision-making authority at the municipal level. I recommend that you bring your concerns and issues to the Morris Township Municipal Attorney, John Mills, Esq. and the Chairman of the Morris Township Board of Ethics for their review and consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Tony Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco 1040 Route 10 West, suite 104 Randolph, NJ 07869 973.927.2526 973.927.2529 (fax)
Lee Goldberg September 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Sisler has not spoken to us following his two harassing midnight phone calls. Not to discuss issues or apologize. We are glad he now admits what he did was despicable. There was never an offer of an apology from Sisler....NEVER!! As of now, there has been no statement of apology sent, shown or told to us accept by mention in your article. This was the first that we had heard of it. If there was a statement of apology, we're not sure who it went to, it was not us!"
Morris Township Resident September 28, 2012 at 12:40 PM
How do I locate the statement of apology that SIsler released on Thursday? Was this a public statement?
Morris Township Resident September 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM
If it is a public statement, why is it not linked to this article? If it is not a public statement, who has access to it?
Lee Goldberg September 28, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Gail, Excellent question, thanks for asking! We were wondering the same?? Lee
Lauren Mennen September 28, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Lee and Gail -- the apology was sent via e-mail, and we have posted it in a separate post: http://morris.patch.com/articles/deputy-mayor-s-apology-for-late-call
Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Lauren: Can you provide more information about that email apology? To whom was it sent? When? From what email address? Its really silly that an apology gets posted online, only after Sisler's reprehensible behavior is publicly criticized. And that the email apology was never sent to Sisler's victim. Indeed, what's the purpose of this "apology" anyway? If Sisler wanted to say "I'm sorry" no one was stopping him from picking up the phone and calling, After all, we know he has the Goldberg's phone number. This smacks of desperation and insincerity, driven by political necessity.
Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I'd like to know what position is being taken by Sisler running-mate Rosenbush on this quintessentially unAmerican behavior by Sisler. Mr. Rosenbush: Do you support your running mate? Or do you think he behaved in a manner unbecoming to an elected official? Will you close ranks with him? Or will you here and now take a public position? Silence is tantamount to your support of Sisler's behavior.
Debi Goldberg September 28, 2012 at 04:34 PM
We were never asked to have a meeting so that Sisler could apologize. We contacted John Mills two weeks after the call to inform him of the outrageous behavior of an elected town official and was told that maybe he could reach out and try to get Sisler to apologize. Also, this "apology" does not acknowledge the overall inappropriateness of the phone call. This call would have been just as inappropriate at noon!!! Debi Goldberg
Debi Goldberg September 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Also not acknowledged in the "apology" is that not only did Sisler have the poor judgement to call a resident after midnight, he actually called twice. The unwelcome-ness of the call was pointed out and the call was ended by Lee. Sisler called back 3 minutes later... Insisting on this conversation!
Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM
There are certain realities here. Chief among them is that Bucco has gone to great lengths to ensure that Honeywell gets what it wants. We know that because he legislated with that purpose in mind, and lo & behold Honeywell got $40 MM of corporate welfare from the State just a couple weeks ago. The 'apology' is too little, too late -- and filled with untruths. Never mind its an apology to Patch for the purpose of influencing public opinion, rather than to the Goldbergs for the purpose of apologizing. In the end, everyone who pays attention will be disgusted with Sisler's behavior. And Honeywell will get everything it wants, with a big ol' cherry on top. This isn't ok with me and it shouldn't be ok with you. So what can you do about it? I hesitate to publish a call to action. But there's a lot you can do. For one thing, you can vote in the Town Committee election in November. If you're as disgusted as I am with Sisler's behavior, vote him off the Committee. But don't stop there. Email Sisler's boss, Assemblyman Bucco, and demand that he stop spending our tax dollars to pay Sisler's salary, benefits and pension. Here's his email: asmbucco@njleg.org EMail the Town Clerk and ask her to circulate your criticism to each Committee Member: CAmelio@morristwp.com Come to Monday's meeting on Honeywell. Don't sit silently. The next time that midnight call gets made, it might be made to you.
Tomas Rolle September 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Rob, Many thanks to you and the Goldberg's for standing up to this "carnival". Maybe after this one is shutdown and rebuilt to represent the people's interests the next step would be to return a fun (and ethical) township carnival to the kids !
Rob Burke September 28, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Speaking of carnivals...did you know that you can get a professional carnival company to come in and do the whole show just for being able to sell tickets to the public? And they will donate 20% of the take to a local charitable organization? One wonders why Mancuso needed to take control with his own company and then failed to file nearly 20 tax returns, with the State then coming in shuttering Mancuso's operation. Anyway, I have such a carnival company ready to go and we want to bring back the carnival in the spring. I'd say we should have it on the Honeywell property, but I"m not dumb enough to have kids and young families running around property with carbon tetrachloride contamination all over the place.
Harriet Knevals September 30, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Ah, someone here should heed the wisdom of these words, "...doth protest too much!" Somehow the process of turning an outdated company campus into a site better suited to both the company and the residing community has become the playground of petty words and accusations. The leopard(s) will not change their "spots" no matter how hard reasonable people try to convince them to do so. It would be best if our elected officials just nod their heads and thank people for their opinions and presentatioms.
Rob Burke September 30, 2012 at 08:36 PM
That's interesting, Harriet. So if I read your comments right, you suggest that the folks with concerns about the redevelopment should be ignored by the elected officials, and then the elected officials should do whatever they want in spite of concern from their constituency. That's crazy!!! But not as crazy as Sisler dialing the digits at midnight to curse out one of those constituents. Maybe I'll bring a bottle of Honeywell Pond Water to the meeting tomorrow night and see if anyone is brave enough to take a drink.
Patriot September 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Are you for real? With the dire situation our country is in you want to waste time with this garbage? So a phone call was made...big deal...get a life. Stuff happens. The mere fact that you had to go and make a larger than life problem out of it and feel it is newsworthy shows how terribly self absorbed you are. Grow up! Get serious about the big issue like Agenda 21 devouring New Jersey. Honeywell, BASF! The Pfizer Pharmaeutical property in Morris Plains...just to name a few.
Rob Burke September 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
You're damned right I'm for real. And since you hide behind your screen name, you aren't. Indeed, you are nothing more than another Honeywell consultant looking for more corporate welfare. For if you were truly the patriot you claim to be, you would be outraged that corporate America can pay politicians to do their bidding and chill the very Constitutional rights on which his great country depends. Yup, that's right. It's about Honeywell contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to pols like Anthony Bucco Jr. and then getting whatever they wan, paid for by we the people. it is unacceptable and outrageous that one who speaks up, speaks out and participates in this purported democracy should be on the receiving end of harassment and intimidation from a paid off elected official. If its ok with you, no one cares. Not till you grow a set and sign your name. Maybe you can put your phone number too, so I can give you a ring at 2 a.m. Coward.
Rob Burke September 30, 2012 at 10:17 PM
PS -- the only ones who made this newsworthy were Bruce Sisler, Patch, nj.com and Morris Newsbee. You don't like the stories? Write a letter to the editor. But ya know what pal? Ya gotta sign your name to letters to the editor. You're a joke.
Patriot September 30, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Obviously you both neither correctly read nor comprehended my response. Yes, I am a Patriot and believe wholeheartedly in America. I am against the socialist Agenda 21, and if you knew what that was you would realize I am on your side. I am against the Honeywell Project, as I am against corrupt politicians and those that ar only interested in profiting monetarily from there positions. I do believe that one should stick with the issues rather than playing the name game with red herrings that divert attention from the end goal. Perhaps your method of attack should center on Honeywell being an Agenda 21 issue. Agenda 21 is a United Nations initiative. Those entities involved with Agenda 21 are systemically dismantling the foundation of our American society and the freedoms it stands for. Taking actions in line with Agenda 21 violates our Constitution, and is tantamount to treason against the United States of America.
Rob Burke September 30, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I'm not against the Honeywell Project. I am against this ridiculous process. I don't care about Agenda 21 or the United Nations as it relates to Morris Twp. And you can't be on "my side" if you insist on hiding behind a screen name. Sisler's behavior is unacceptable. That he works for Bucco suggests that his unconstitutional behavior was at Bucco's direction. That these dolts would rush this process to a vote while three ethics charges are pending against Sisler is beyond comprehensible.
Harriet Knevals October 01, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Mr. Burke...I wasn't suggesting that the public be ignored when speaking or presenting. There are citizens of any community whom feel that their opinions are the only correct ones for everyone. It is the duty of elected officials to listen and add those opinions and offered facts to the process. However, it is not correct for said elected officials to comment; but, rather to gather all facts both positive and negative to any proposal and bring the final proposal to the table for further discussion. Change is difficult; elected officials must do what is best for the entire community. Also I'm a Jersey girl and I know better than to drink any pond water. Your comment was just not nice and, if one wants to push buttons, it borders on a veiled threat. I also believe that you would not actually harm anyone in such a way. However, you have shown how a differing opinion can digress into unacceptable words and proposed actions.
Rob Burke October 02, 2012 at 12:04 AM
@Harriet: No, Bruce Sisler has shown how he can dial digits after midnight to harangue a citizen who is responsible enough to actually participate in his community and his government. For you to defend Sisler's harassment by attacking me for criticizing him is bizarre. What if I called you up at 2 am to interrogate you about your comment on patch? You'd call the police! Rightly so, I might add.
Harriet Knevals October 02, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Mr Burke: I clearly stated that it is "not correct for ... elected officials to comment." This does not in anyway defend Sisler nor attack you.
Patriot October 02, 2012 at 08:13 AM
Harriet..you are just too politically correct...possibly a cop out. Good to see you still alive and kicking and still friends with Don C. Cheers!
Rob Burke October 02, 2012 at 09:55 AM
Hey Harriet! Out of context, your comment might seem even keeled and sensible. Bui the context matters. Sisler made a call to a resident at 12:30 am in the middle of the night after he was hung up on the first time. Sisler proceeded to curse at the resident and harass him for his participation in this community. For you to merely say, "not correct for elected officials to comment" glosses over the despicable, outrageous behavior for Committeeman Sisler. And instead of properly criticizing him, you prefer to criticize me because I criticize him! No wonder the country has gone to hell in a hand basket.

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