The Essex Watch can probably best be described as an independent news blog, action-oriented watchdog group, and community advocacy platform, all rolled into one.
The purpose of The Watch is to ignite a true grassroots movement to get people involved in local issues, large or small, by raising awareness via the internet and social media outreach. We are working to effect a positive change by encouraging citizens to get informed on important issues and when the time comes, to drive voters to the polls where they can make a difference.
Our mission is to help foster more open government, to increase civic engagement and election participation, to right political injustice in our community, and to demand better governance and accountability in local politics.
Above all, we are here to help fight financial waste, corruption, and abuses of power by elected and appointed officials, thereby protecting the interests of the taxpayer. No one is on our side. Therefore, we must fight for ourselves.
We believe the best way to do that is by holding politicians accountable, upholding the supremacy of law, and voting in record numbers, thereby ensuring that a fair democratic process always prevails.
About the Author
Lee “Griff” Dorry is a citizen journalist and the founder of The Essex Watch (formerly Nutley Watch, established in February 2014). The Essex Watch Project is dedicated to promoting civic engagement in local issues, open government, increased voter participation, and accountability in public office.
Within the first year of his project, Lee established a visible presence across two townships, Nutley and Belleville. For his long term goal, he intends to expand his project by linking arms with other local community advocates and organizations in order to eventually form a “Watch” – a unified network of interconnected watchdog groups sharing resources – in each of the 22 municipalities in Essex County.
Lee has been featured twice on News 12’s popular “Kane In Your Corner” series for his investigative journalism that helped uncover a $4 million deficit being hidden by the Belleville Board of Education, and for exposing a USB flash drive scandal involving a sitting Belleville Councilman.
To date, issue campaigns undertaken by The Watch have been featured five times on News 12 New Jersey.
Lee is a former securities trader and has been a professional IT business consultant for over 15 years, specializing in information security and project management. He is also a lifelong aviation enthusiast and occasional skydiver.
In addition to running The Watch, Lee currently serves on the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government.
NJFOG is the only statewide organization in New Jersey dedicated solely to improving public access to government records and meetings, educating citizens on OPRA and OPMA, and strengthening those laws through the state legislature.