No Longer Hightstown Council President, McGinty Hopes to Be More Effective
The Democrat says she’ll now be in a better position to ask questions.
In a surprise announcement Monday night, Democratic Hightstown Councilwoman Isabel McGinty stepped down from her position as council president, effective immediately.
“When it comes to police issues, I’ve been asking many questions and there’s been a remarkable lack of discussion,” she said during discussion of the retirement agreement with Police Chief James Eufemia.
“I see it as a duty on council to ask questions, not for the purposes just of being a pain, but it’s because it’s through questions that you have informed discussion and that you have a full and fair airing of issues,” she said.
“In order to continue to ask these questions, and in a meaningful way that I can prod more for answers, I am stepping down as council president… because what I see here is a facilitation of the lack of discussion,” she said.
The council agreed to select a new president at the start of its next meeting on June 20.
After the meeting Monday, fellow Democrat and Mayor Steve Kirson said he had been unaware of McGinty’s plans.
Speaking with Patch Tuesday, McGinty said she thought she would be a more effective council member outside of the position of president.
“Fundamentally I disagree on methods of analysis with some other council members in what are important issues and how we should approach important issues,” McGinty said. “I think I am better positioned as not the council president in trying to get other council members to look more carefully at particular issues of importance to the borough.”
She said the major issues of contention were “those that cost the borough the largest amounts of money” and “quality of life issues.”
“I don't know that [my stepping down] is going to change what I do on council, whether I have the title or not, but being as I think that there are some responsibilities attached to being council president which are not being used within the borough right now and which didn't seem to be of much important to other officials, I will leave that responsibility to someone else,” she said.
Asked about the timing of her announcement, during discussion of the chief’s retirement package, she said, “I think that the matters relating to the police are an example of how fundamentally I disagree with a number of other elected borough officials.
“I think when you have a vote coming down to where it's 5-to-1 and I'm in disagreement on so fundamental an issue, then it does raise a question in my mind as to how I am serving the council as its president as opposed to as a council member who sees the importance of voicing dissent.”
Overall, she said, “I think I may serve the borough better by being a council member as opposed to the council president.”