An Independent Weekly Newspaper, serving Hunterdon since 1825

Thursday, November 26, 1998      PAGE A-15 (Front page)


Website's Owner Gets Councilman's Apology
By Lillie Dorchack

Annick Elzière, creator of a commercial website lauding Flemington's history and businesses, got an apology from Councilman Joey Novick on Monday night, after threats of possible legal action drove her to shut down her site.

Ms. Elzière had been sitting at the back of the council chamber without comment and had heard Mr. Novick field questions from several people about the website she created, when she raised her hand and asked: "What happens now?

She introduced herself, and Mr. Novick re-stated an apology he had made during discussion with  the audience regarding his handling of the matter.

"I'm here now and I'd like my apology," said Ms. Elzière.

"I apologize for having caused you upset," Mr. Novick said. "It was not the way that council usually operated in the past and I take full responsibility for not calling you to work things out in a person-to-person," he said.

Borough officials remain concerned about Internet users confusing the Elzière site with the "Official" site created on the borough's behalf.

"It's a matter of controlling how our reputation is promoted, even if it's done in a good way. We can't control the content of the site," said Mr. Novick.

After receiving a letter from Borough Attorney Peter Buchsbaum on Nov. 5, Ms Elzière first changed her web page, adding bold information about the borough's own site and giving its address "for more accurate information." But then she decided to shut down the site as the borough's deadline to cease and desist approached on Nov. 19.

Mr. Novick promised to call Ms. Elzière to talk the matter over this week and decide what to do, since she would like to keep her website open, and she has received some support from visitors to her site to continue her webpage.