EDITORIAL: Kennedy snub at Belleville Council meeting was telling

The late Belleville Councilman Kevin Kennedy

Admittedly, The Observer hasn’t covered a Belleville council meeting in a while. However, thanks to technology, we often watch the videos of said meetings because they’re broadcast live on Facebook, on Mayor Michael Melham’s mayoral page.

However, with that said, we couldn’t help but notice that the last time the council met — just days after the untimely death of its former member, Kevin Kennedy, that at no point at the meeting was his death mentioned nor was a moment of silence called for in his memory prior to the Pledge of Allegiance. The same apparently occurred when former Mayor Ray Kimble died.

This is politics at its worst form.

We understand and acknowledge that the American Flag was lowered to half-staff in front of Town Hall and we’re aware that purple mourning buntings were also placed properly outside the building for a short period of time.

But for a man who served 20 years on the governing body in Belleville, much more should have been expected, regardless of where political allegiances rest. (Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Melham were on opposing tickets last election.)

To make matters even more intriguing, the Township of Nutley — at a recent meeting of its commissioners — called for a moment of silence in Mr. Kennedy’s memory. They did the right thing, though there was no expectation of such an honor.

So while we applaud the placement of buntings and the lowering of the flag in Mr. Kennedy’s honor, we are equally as disappointed that he was not given a moment of silence when the council met a few weeks ago.

Politics should never be played when a politician dies. But they were, in this instance, played against all rules of better judgment. Period. We expect better from our local leaders.  In this instance, leadership was a complete and utter failure — and we hope never to see anything like this … ever again.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.