UPDATE: Michael Beltranena in the New Brunswick Mayor’s Office says Bray tendered his resignation on Monday December 5, two days prior to his verbal confrontation with Tormel Pittman.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Maybe he knew he was on his way out and didn’t give a hoot.
On Friday, the Mayor’s Office confirmed their long-time spokesman William Bray had resigned his position as Public Information Officer, though interim spokesman Michael Beltranena insisted the break was “on good terms,” saying Bray tendered his resignation two days before he engaged in a “shouting match” with an activist at a City Council meeting, according to The Daily Targum.
During Bray’s final year in the position, which he has held since January 2005, he created the city government’s first-ever video propaganda series: “The Hub.” He also began videotaping the City Council’s meetings and posting them on the internet in their entirety for the public. After a conspicuous absence from the November 16 Council meeting, Bray returned to videotape their meeting on Wednesday December 7 , a day that will live in infamy for the Cahill administration.
Towards the end of a long night, Council President Robert Recine was visibly offended by Bray’s interjection during the remarks of Tormel Pittman, a citizen activist who was speaking against the administration’s decision to re-locate elementary students into a temporary school/warehouse.
Pittman has been leading regular protests against police brutality and street violence in New Brunswick since Brad Berdel, a New Brunswick Police Officer, shot and killed city resident Barry Deloatch on September 22.
After an extended back-and-forth with Pittman as the meeting dragged on, Recine ordered Bray to sit down and stop speaking. Bray ignored his request and continued arguing with Pittman, who had been recognized by Recine during the public comment portion of the meeting.
When his efforts to stop the bickering proved fruitless, Recine banged his gavel and ended the meeting.
Beltranena said Bray’s departure was unrelated to the shouting match.
“It had nothing to do with his resignation. That’s one of the things we’re trying very hard to establish,” he said Tuesday, acknowledging a “rumor” that Bray’s behavior at the Council meeting was related to his departure.
Beltranena said Mr. Bray was leaving the administration for a higher-paying position in the private sector. According to his LinkedIn page, Bray is now working as a senior account executive for Steinrich Communications, a public relations firm based in Hackensack, NJ. He began the job on Monday, according to Beltranena.
Beltranena said that Kyle Kirkpatrick, an employee in the city’s planning department, will assume Mr. Bray’s duties filming the Council meetings. He also said the video of the meeting that included the shouting match will be uploaded soon.
Bray served 3 years as a Township Comitteeman in Oxford Township before deciding not to run in 2010. His commute to Hackensack is 1 hour, and 18 minutes, 10 minutes longer than it took him to get to New Brunswick each day.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.