A line in the sand has been drawn by Delran’s Council President, Tyler Burrell, who at last weeks council meeting asked for the resignation of the Township’s Solicitor, Sal Siciliano, and also indirectly asked for the resignation of Delran’s Mayor, Gary Catrambone. The Mayor fired back days later with his own 5 minute message, letting the people of Delran know that he will not be asking the Solicitor to resign, nor will he be resigning, setting up a political showdown for next weeks highly anticipated Tuesday night council meeting. Over the last several months the Council, Solicitor, and Mayor, have all been publicly scrutinized over what first started with a question about how much did the Township spend on the Carli Lloyd Retirement party, but it has expanded into a months long investigation that has uncovered some very serious allegations against the Township that include racketeering, abuse of power, trespassing, harassment and an attempt to cover up the fact the Town didn’t timely filed an insurance claim, which in turn cost the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars and avoided an investigation by the insurance company.
The last council meeting also brought verbal attacks against the activist who has been asking questions for the last 4 months, Patrick Duff, by Council Person Tom Lyon, Solicitor Sal Siciliano and Delran’s Communications Director, Wendy Mitchell. Mitchell claimed that the police and council warned her to not attend the Winter Festival because Duff posted a photo of her publicly available FaceBook page on his blog, which included a background image of her son, a claim that Delran Police and Council say they have no responsive records to from an OPRA request Duff made last week, so that claim is unfounded.
A question was asked if Mitchell is insured and the Mayor quickly responded that she was, yet from an OPRA request seeking a copy of Mitchell’s insurance from 2021-2022 it shows she went uninsured as a township contractor until 1-17-22. So for the entire year of 2021 Mitchell was in control of the Township’s communications without any insurance, creating a massive liability for a position never needed prior to it being suggested by Gary Catrambone.
Council Person Tom Lyon called “an individual”, speaking about Duff, a “Carpet bagging, self serving disingenuous person..looking to make money any way that he can through lawsuits”, but then he went on to say that the same individual “asked some pertinent questions” that the Mayor and Solicitor failed to answer. Even though Lyon admits that the Mayor failed to answer pertinent questions, he also claimed he thinks that the Mayor and Council did nothing illegal or wrong, which doesn’t make sense. If the Mayor failed to answer the pertinent questions that have lead up to the rift in the local Delran Democratic machine, wouldn’t that be considered doing something wrong?
The political tensions are palpable in Delran as the Town Council prepares to meet this Tuesday for the first time since Council President Tyler Burrell asked Solicitor Sal Siciliano to resign two weeks prior. Burrell will have an uphill battle though as he faces off with Mayor Catrambone in the fight to choose the township’s Solicitor, especially considering that Catrambone is not just the Mayor but he also the chairman of the Delran Democratic Comittee. Even with Catrambone’s held positions and the promises he made of a new attempt at transparency, the support online and in town for Burrel is very strong, some even preparing to launch a recall campaign to unseat the Mayor.
The Mayor promised that a memo by the Solicitor would be released to answer some of the “pertinent questions” that Duff and others have been asking for the last 4 months, questions that should have been answered when first asked, not months later after the damage has already been done to the trust of the public in their representatives. The Mayor claimed that the Delran family is under attack, insinuating that by people asking questions about his own unethical, immoral, and illegal actions, the entire Township’s character has come into question.
What the Mayor fails to realize is that it is his own actions and decisions that have cost the Township hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs for actions and decisions that he has failed to answer for, even after giving him 4 months to do so. Now, after 4 months of conflicting responses, and several uncovered scandals that have gone unexplained, the Mayor claims that he and the Solicitor are finally going to answer peoples questions. Questions that are sure to be posed to them and the Council and Mayor at this Tuesday nights political showdown in downtown Delran as the tale of the Delran Debacle comes to a climax that nobody thought possible. Hence, why you don’t bluff with Duff.