Lebanon is a Borough in Hunterdon County. And as of the 2000 Census, the borough population was 1,065, which has jumped to 1,830, as of the Census Bureau’s 2006 population estimate. One of those 1,830 people in Lebanon Borough is Faust Coyle, a recently elected Republican Councilman. Yes, “Faust”.
Councilman Coyle has somewhat of a way with words. Some he likes, and some he does not.I called him for an interview for this article, and discovered that perhaps he has an aversion to the standard phone greeting “hello”: He answered the phone, “This is Faust,” —with a slight upward tone of voice, almost as if he were asking a question. At last Wednesday’s Council meeting a debate flared up—a debate led by Councilman Coyle over the use of the word “wonderful” to describe his home town. Yes, really.
A plaque honoring volunteers in Lebanon Borough is to be placed on the wall of the new addition to their Borough Hall, and Council members discussed the wording, names and punctuation for the plaque. The proposed wording was to include, “…to the volunteers, past, present and future, who have been committed to making Lebanon Borough the wonderful community it is.”
Councilman Coyle, the ever diligent public servant that he is, criticized the periods, semicolons and commas, and asked for the word “wonderful” be eliminated. “Nothing is ‘wonderful’,” he declared. “If you look at the word ‘wonderful’ in the dictionary, one of the meanings is objectionable,” shared Mr. Coyle. My curiosity got the better of me, and I inquired as which one. He asked me to hold while he got his dictionary. I heard him return to the phone, and turning pages. “Ah, here it is,” he read. ” ‘excellent; great; marvelous…of a sort that causes or arouses wonder; amazing; astonishing.’ That’s like out of a fairy tale. To a lot of people living here, they think it’s a nice place, but not ‘wonderful’.” Glad that the Lebanon folks who think the town is merely ‘nice’, have found someone to represent their interests on Council. As to the new wording, Councilwoman Kathy Bross abstained and Coyle voted ‘no’. But the next day, Coyle had a change of heart. He said that he voted the way he did “because I was a spoiled kid… I probably should have voted yes, but that’s the way I felt at the time.” Good plan.
And so, instead of spending valuable Council legislative time discussing why the project is behind schedule or is costing $2.6 million or why there are glitches on phone and data lines or how the work done has required (in the words of project manager David Tillou) “inspections, inspections, inspections”, Coyle required the Lebanon Borough Council to debate on punctuation and the word ‘wonderful’. All while the Town attorney, town engineer and Project manager Tillou are getting paid on the taxpayer’s dime.
Hmmm. Perhaps, Councilman Coyle, it will be for the voters to decide in a year or two when you’re up for re-election—-if you’re ‘wonderful’ enough to remain on Council.