Letter to the editor: Wilson responds to Morris Township Committeeman Caffrey

Cathy Wilson
Cathy Wilson

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.


Thank you, Mr. Caffrey, for sharing your letter of Feb. 17th with the public. Your own words speak volumes about how you view your constituents (as children wanting trophies???) and how you approach your work as an elected official (belittling those who disagree with you).

If anyone wonders whether this is a one-time rant from Mr. Caffrey, it’s not. As one of a handful of residents who attend the meetings of the Morris Township Committee on a regular basis, I’ve seen this kind of outburst many times.

Cathy Wilson
Cathy Wilson

The venom, the sarcasm, the inaccuracies, the hypocrisy, the condescension, the stereotyping – none of this is new. What IS new is Mr. Caffrey’s willingness to share such a full-blown display of it with a wider audience. And people are noticing — finally.

Many may wonder: Where is all this vitriol coming from?

To my view, this is just the latest skirmish in a battle I’ve been waging for years: The battle to break down the barriers of an entrenched, top-down power structure and expand citizen participation in our local government.

Mr. Caffrey and I are definitely on opposite sides of that battle. Our greatest flare-ups over the years have come when his autocratic “I know best what citizens want” style comes in direct conflict with my efforts to prove that there are plenty of citizens in our community who want something different than what HE says they want.

I admit: Mr. Caffrey’s “noise” comments at the Dec. 21 meeting pushed my buttons. The arrogance. The rudeness. The entitlement. NEVER have I editorialized when posting anything on my You Tube channel. But when the then-mayor of your town thinks it’s OK to publicly ridicule resident concerns as “NOISE,” it’s time for a little pushback from “his subjects.”

To anyone who’s offended by Mr. Caffrey’s views and does not feel well represented by his approach, my advice is to put your concern into ACTION:

Show up at the regular meetings of the Township Committee. Ask questions. Make suggestions. Express your concerns.

Press the Committee members to explain their views re: The widespread call from residents across the county — including Morris Township – for Congressman Frelinghuysen to participate in a Town Hall and answer residents’ concerns directly. Their encouragement could be helpful. Are they willing to help? How well do their views represent yours?

Take my advice (which Mr. Caffrey singled out for attack) and get educated about what’s going on with the Master Plan review.

Take heart: Only in Morris Township is a call for public participation in such an important community process condemned by officials like Mr. Caffrey as some type of conspiracy. Show up at the Planning Board meetings and declare yourself (by your presence alone) a proud “co-conspirator” in this process.

Subscribe to my You Tube channel: Friends of Televised Access in Morris Township. Watch whatever parts of the meetings you’re interested in. This is a great way to keep informed if you can’t attend the meetings in person.

If you find that Mr. Caffrey’s letter activates your “Age of Trump” concerns, you’re not alone.

Mr. Caffrey has done a fine job of highlighting the parallels between the local battle against autocracy that been going on for years and the national battle against autocracy the Age of Trump has unleashed.

One last reminder to Mr. Caffrey: Americans expect their elected officials to represent their concerns, not demean them. Your Feb. 17th letter is yet another glaring example of comments that are beneath the dignity of your office.

Not only do we expect better of our elected officials; we deserve better.

Cathy Wilson
Chair, Morris Township Democratic Committee

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  1. Thank You for taking the time to publish a response to Mr. Caffrey’s commentary published last week. More importantly thank you for your time and effort to publish video of Morris Township Committee meetings. I watched your public comments (link included below ) from the 1\18\17 Morris Township Committee meeting and found your comments on the topic of video and “noise” insightful and appropriate.


  2. Thank you, Ms Wilson, for encouraging constituent participation in the democratic process. People are energized like never before and we recognize the elected officials that welcome our participation rather than trying to silence us.

  3. Well written.
    Language is important, Mr. Caffrey’s remarks illustrate his viewpoint.
    I recall a similar attitude at a League of Women Voters event several years ago.
    Any Republican in Morris Township should vote for at least one Democrat for Town Committee whether or not you believe in those party’s principles. Lack of any ‘loyal opposition’ only leads to an entranced and out of touch authoritarian rule.

  4. I very much appreciate this response to Mr. Caffrey and your approach to a transparent governing process with an emphasis on civic engagement and participation. This is an approach every politician should take no matter what their political opinions are.

  5. Thank you Ms. Wilson for your insightful commentary. I was disturbed by the inaccuracies ( a common theme these days) in Mr. Caffrey’s whiny commentary. My husband and I met you when you came to our home during your campaign, you had our vote then, but I’m more impressed now. It warms my heart that you sit across from this wannabe autocrat and represent the voice of reason and grown up discourse, not ignorant pronouncements. I wish there were more politicians like you.

  6. Thank you, Ms. Wilson, for your response to Dan Caffrey’s nasty and condescending attack.

    I live in Morristown, though just yards from Morris Township, and hope your letter encourages more citizens show up to Planning Board meetings to annoy Mr. Caffrey.