IRVINGTON, NJ — Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers confirmed that Renee Burgess, the Irvington Municipal Council vice president, has filed a formal complaint against Elouise McDaniel, president of the Irvington Joint and and Nesbit Terrace block associations, with the Irvington Police Division, as a result of her alleged behavior and comments at the council’s Tuesday, Dec. 12 meeting.
“I can confirm that a criminal complaint has been lodged, which needs to be adjudicated in court,” said Bowers on Tuesday, Jan. 2. “In the meantime, a police officer will be in attendance at the caucus and council meetings, to make sure that everyone is safe. Please note that a police officer at the council meeting is customary; however, at the time of this incident, the assigned police officer had not gotten there yet.”
According to township clerk Harold Wiener, the fact that the meeting was shortened may account for the officer’s delay in arriving, Bowers noted. Council President David Lyons was not present at that meeting, so Burgess served as acting president and ran the meeting.
“The meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m. It started at 8 p.m., so it was seven minutes long. There was no public participation,” said Wiener on Tuesday, Jan. 2. “There were 35 resolutions total; 32 were on the consent agenda, two were on the non-consent agenda and one was a walk-on that got defeated because it only had four affirmative votes and, according to law, it needs five super affirmative votes to pass. There were three resolutions that weren’t on the consent agenda. They took three roll call votes. Two members were absent.”
Wiener confirmed that West Ward Councilman Vern Cox and Lyons, the North Ward councilman, were both absent from the meeting, which had not been videotaped by his office.
“We don’t videotape the meetings,” said Wiener. “There are security cameras in there but, for my purposes, they’re not part of the official record. They’re for security reasons only. We verbally record the meetings; we don’t videotape them.”
McDaniel confirmed she is scheduled to appear in Irvington Municipal Court on Friday, Jan. 12, at 9 a.m. However, she said she has retained an attorney to represent her and therefore is unable to speak on the record about the pending court matter.
According to a report from the Irvington Police Department, on Friday, Dec. 15, an officer was dispatched to 101 Union Ave. on a harassment report.
“Upon arrival, I was met by Councilwoman Renee Burgess, the victim, who stated that, on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at approximately 8 p.m., she was conducting business as usual at the Irvington Town Council meeting,” wrote the officer filing the police report about the incident. “Victim stated at the conclusion of the agenda she posed the question to the audience: ‘Is there anyone who would like to express concerns at this time?’ to which no one responded. Victim stated she posed the question again and, since there were no citizen-raised questions or concerns, the meeting ended at approximately 8:20 p.m.”
According to the police report, Burgess, “stated that, moments after the gavel was lowered and the meeting officially adjourned, Ms. Elouise McDaniel, the suspect, jumped from her seat and shouted: ‘What are you doing? The meeting isn’t over,’ and proceeded to charge the dais where the victim was sitting.”
“As the suspect charged forward, she continued to shout: ‘I want to talk,’ and directed her eye contact toward her, stating: ‘I’m gonna get you,’ ‘you’re gonna pay,’ ‘I’m gonna get you,’” the police report states. “Victim stated citizens in the audience attempted to calm the suspect down and, although she did exit the building, she remained outside the door for several minutes, shouting: ‘I’m going to get you,’ ‘You’re going to pay,’ ‘I’m pressing charges.’ Victim stated she was unable to vacate the Municipal Building for at least 20 minutes, until she was certain the suspect was gone, as she was in fear for her safety.”
According to the police report from the Irvington Police Division, a copy of the surveillance video and council meeting and the resident sign-in sheet for Tuesday, Dec. 12, was placed into evidence and Burgess “was advised to court for complaint purposes.”