ELIZABETH—A councilman who invited voters to attend several ‘town meetings’ within weeks of his attempt to win re-election in the June 8 Democratic primary is being criticized for campaigning with city funds.
Fifth Ward Councilman William Gallman, who already has been under fire for voting to give himself a pay hike after 1,500 city residents lost their jobs in the wake of the 2008 mortgage crisis and stock market crash, mailed invitations to the campaign-style events at taxpayer expense.
Although Gallman has not formally announced his intention to seek another term, the close ally of Mayor J. Christian Bollwage has obtained nominating petitions that have been circulated among city voters.
Gallman was elected after Bollwage enlisted the assistance of Tony Teixeira to run as a spoiler siphoning votes away from then-Councilman Tony Monteiro in the June 4, 2002 Democratic primary.
After spending in excess of $75,000 in campaign funds raised by Bollwage, Teixeira drew about a quarter of the votes from Monteiro’s base and allowed Gallman to win with just 48 percent. Since Gallman voted to give himself the pay hike, another 1,500 residents lost jobs and a total of 3,000 families lost their homes to foreclosure.
Meanwhile, after Gallman retired from his job as county director of golf operations officials closed one golf course and announced that the division lost $1 million. Gallman receives full health benefits for life on top of his $80,850 pension, which is based on his final year taxpayer-funded salary of $118,895.
The invitations request residents to join Gallman 7 p.m. on March 25 for a gathering in the Blessed Sacrament School at 1086 North Avenue, at the corner of Monroe Avenue. Gallman will be holding a dozen more town meetings prior to the June 8 Democratic primary election.
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