Mayors can perform marriages. So why can’t they be mediators, too?
That’s the newest role for Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, who intervened on Monday moments before a downtown dispute reached a municipal judge.
The Mayor persuaded the plaintiff, Dave Walsh, manager of Tashmoo, to meet later this week in the Mayor’s office with the defendant, Bill Braunschweiger of Braunschweiger Jewelers, to see if they can resolve their differences amicably and improve relations on DeHart Street.
“Dave Walsh and Bill Braunschweiger have agreed to meet and talk about the issues. They will use the Mayor’s office to try and resolve their business issues,” said the Mayor.
He said he noticed Dave and his mother, Linda Walsh, majority owner of Tashmoo, in town hall on Monday and remembered reading about the dispute, reported here last week.
Dave has pressed a criminal mischief complaint against Bill stemming from an incident on Christmas Eve.
Bill has acknowledged depositing broken beer bottles in the vestibules of Tashmoo and the Dark Horse Lounge, another bar owned by the Walsh family. He said he got fed up having to constantly remove such refuse from his store parking lot, which adjoins Tashmoo’s.
Dave has said it’s hard to prevent items from spilling out of garbage trucks as they make their pickups.
Bill, whose family jewelry business has been in Morristown for 52 years, said his complaints were ignored and so he banned garbage trucks from accessing the Tashmoo dumpster via his parking lot.
That has complicated life for the bars.
Other area businesses have complained about noise and dirty sidewalks that they blame on the Dark Horse. Pat Walsh, manager of the Dark Horse, contends some problems are caused by patrons of other local bars who park in DeHart Street lots.
At first, Dave Walsh was hesitant to take up the Mayor’s offer. Legal mediation failed, he noted. Garbage truck access remains a sticking point.
But the Mayor suggested it’s in everyone’s best interest to strive for harmony downtown. He added that he has friendships with people on both sides of the dispute.