PHILLIPSBURG, NJ (Warren County) – Phillipsburg’s Council president Frank McVey has been charged after allegedly calling 911 to do a “welfare check” on the town’s mayor and police chief after not hearing from them in twelve hours, according to the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.
On August 13, McVey, 56, sent an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to the Phillipsburg Town Business Administrator. Under OPRA, the town would have seven business days to respond, authorities said.
Hours after the request was made, McVey sent an email to a number of Phillipsburg employees stating: “Maybe most of you … work Monday through Friday 7-3 but I don’t with this position. Somebody give me an answer and respect the $.35 an hour that I’m getting for this job. If I don’t receive correspondence by 6PM I will be calling 911 asking for an officer to come to my house and to give me an answer on this inquiry,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Then at around 6:00 p.m., McVey called the 911 emergency telephone system, acknowledged that his call was not an emergency, identified himself, and requested a “welfare check” on the Mayor and Police Chief , from whom he had not heard in twelve hours. He stated that if an officer wanted to come by his house, he would be on his porch, authorities said.
A Phillipsburg police officer contacted McVey, who advised the officer that he had not heard from the police chief or mayor in “12 hours” and then began discussing the mayor and police chief’s salaries, authorities said.
McVey then stated that he wanted to make sure the town was “safe” before stating that, since town leadership was either away or non-responsive, he was “in charge”. The Officer advised Mc Vey that the 911 system is strictly for emergency purposes and offered to provide McVey with the non-emergency telephone number, though McVey stated that he would “figure it out later,” the prosecutor’s office said.
“It is an offense to knowingly place a call to a 911 emergency telephone system without the purpose of reporting the need for 911 service,” the prosecutor’s office said.
McVey was charged on August 18 with fourth-degree false public alarms (Misuse of 911 System) and has a pending court appearance, authorities said.