I normally don’t write letters to the newspapers; however, some events that transpire in our community require comment. The recent discussion at a town council meeting by out-of-town individuals receiving summonses for parking in handicap designated areas evolved into criticism of our municipal judge that is unwarranted and a disservice to Judge Walrod and to the town itself. First, the current administration rightfully hired extra enforcement officers to police the parking situation in the heart of the town and also to correct parking violations in outreach areas, such as the Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club complex. These officers, or one of our regular police officers, issued the summons, not Judge Walrod. Her responsibility is to see that that all summonses are adjudicated properly. That is exactly what she did in a very straightforward manner. It should have been explained at the meeting that the Administrative Office of the Courts, a state body, sets the agenda the court must follow. First the attorneys are heard, followed by the first pleads, and finally the trials. The complainant indicated that the Judge made her wait for three hours, which was totally inaccurate as the entire session did not last that long. If someone elects to come an hour before the court actually starts its session, that’s their decision, no one encouraged that situation.
The judge is bound by state statute when it comes to handicap violations. Her firm explanation of the law and the penalties that that must be applied for violating said law, is not a question of ‘’’rudeness,” but rather a statement of fact. Her “no nonsense” approach to the law, combined with a professional police department, is a good recipe for a safer Secaucus. Those who complain about the judge’s professional actions should refocus their efforts into not committing the violations that bring them into court in the first place.
While managing the towns’ affairs as Mayor, I was faced with the decision of the appointment of the judge, since the term of office had expired in September. I took my responsibility seriously and fully investigated the operations of the court. I determined that because of her strong support for the rule of law and the competent manner in which she operated the court, Judge Walrod deserved a reappointment. I stand firmly behind that unbiased decision. The protection of Secaucus is essential during these times, and I truly believe most residents want someone who is straightforward and honest serving in that position. I encourage any resident to visit a court session and see it in operation. You might then understand why I took the time to write this letter.
Rich Steffens, Former Mayor