Jane Christy wrote this letter in support of Steve Wymbs – the man in charge of a coffer of money that Lou Magazzu wants to pilfer. i don’t know if Steve is as much of the saint that Jane paints him as, but he is certainly an able and qualified director. He has shown responsibility in running the most efficient improvement authority in the state. He shines, and that is another reason Lou hates him. Lou cannot stand anyone that displays excellence.

I find the references to Leadership Cumberland County amusing, as Lou is one of only two people to fail to graduate. Lou signed up, and promised to abide by the rules of the prgram, and then in typical fashion decided that he was above the rules. The rule he couldn’t keep? Showing up. Yep, just showing up. Thankfully they stuck by their guns and failed him.

Cumberland County needs Steve Wymbs

by The News of Cumberland County

Monday August 24, 2009, 4:40 PM

To the Editor:

Cumberland County Improvement Authority is undergoing a transition, and it may not be for the better. This is a letter of encouragement and support of Steven Wymbs, CCIA’s executive director.

Mr. Wymbs needs our help because his job is in jeopardy; his contract was deemed “Null and Void” at a recent CCIA meeting.

For the past six years I have witnessed Freeholder Louis Magazzu openly criticize Mr. Wymbs and CCIA’s operation. Several times he created roadblocks in its operations and has most recently maneuvered the appointments to this board, resulting in a board majority that answers directly to Mr. Magazzu.

Mr. Wymbs has effectively solved critical problems for us. He preserved the former Millville National Bank, a landmark that became the cornerstone for Millville’s downtown revitalization. This improvement set the tone for Millville’s successful Arts District.

He was an invaluable member of committees that worked to repair and preserve the famed Holly Murals and the Governor Stokes Mausoleum. This work would not have been successful without Mr. Wymbs’ direct involvement.

Under Mr. Wymbs’ leadership, the CCIA sponsored the “More to Offer” tourism campaign, which the CCIA’s Magazzu-controlled board voted to cut this year. In comparison, and in a down economic market, all of our surrounding counties either continued their tourism campaigns or initiated one where one had not existed before.

With Mr. Wymbs at the CCIA helm, many local civic-minded groups have benefited by his sponsorships, not to mention the thousands of individuals who have benefited by the CCIA’s many Environmental Enhancement Grants each year.

The County Leadership Program, which was developed by Jill Lombardo-Melchiore to ensure a continuous source of strong leadership in our community, is sponsored by the CCIA. To date, 200 existing leaders have come through the program.

Another is the Master Gardeners’ Program. Mr. Wymbs’ CCIA sponsors Cumberland County’s Master Gardeners’ program and its Expo that is held at WheatonArts during May each year. Sixty certified master gardeners have completed the five-month program during the past four years.

Cumberland County needs Steven Wymbs to continue building and maintaining our communities. His continuation with CCIA as its executive director should be an essential concern of anyone committed to improving our county.

Jane Y. Christy
Independent Leader Candidate for Freeholder
Certified Master Gardener, 2008
Cumberland CountyLeadership Graduate, 2009

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32 Responses to

  1. tryagain says:

    Since there has been considerable discussion regarding conference/convention expenses, it would be quite interesting to see Mr. Wymbs’ expenses for travel and expenses. And perhaps his other sources of income? After all this too is taxpayer money! Glad that you at least admit Mr. Wymbs may not be the Saint, Mrs Christy portrays him to be. The money he has handed out so generously is indeed our tax dollars as reflected in what we all pay for trash in our County. No free lunches at the CCIA as some would believe!! TAXPAYERS money he spreads around buying goodwill!!

  2. Wow! I am impressed. Lou, I mean tryagain actually answered the post and stayed on topic.

    Please do post Mr. Wymb’s expenses for travel so that we can see that your accusation has some substance, and is not yet another empty whisper campaign to take the public’s scrutiny off of your own misuse and abuse of travel expenses.

    And while we are at it, do you ever plan on reimbursing the taxpayers for last year’s NACo campaign tavel expenses that we paid for?

  3. Deep Throat says:

    It would be even more interesting to include the travel expenses of board members. Particularly showing proof that they actually attended the conventions. One member seemed to be over 100 miles from his ocnvention, but got the airfare to CA paid by the Authority. Lou knows how to put the fox in the hen house.

  4. JC says:

    Jane,

    Q: How many master gardeners does take to create a job in Cumberland County?

    A: Must be a shitload because ain’t nothin’ happened yet!

    Come on, Jane. Steve Wymbs is the candy man. None of it is HIS money. He’s the nozzle man for an out of control stream and you want us to thank him? He should kiss our butts. I wonder if he learned how to do it from Al Kelly, or if AL used Steve for a model? They’re birds of a feather for sure. And you, Jane, with your blinders for all things Wymbs are very naiive. You and Carol Musso have at least two things in common. Geez.

  5. RIchard says:

    HaHa! You go, JC! It sounds as if you and I are kindred spirits regarding CCIA and Wymbs.

    But I’m concerned that folks might begin to think that the election has become a battle between Dark Lord Lou against the White Knight Steve.

    This in itself is ridiculous as Wymbs has never been elected to anything. He is, as you say, the candy man. What a great job it must be to wander around and give out money. Of course, there’s always a string attached, but folks ARE sometimes naive.

    It’s obvious that Lou wants the spending power of the CCIA. That’s a no brainer. I’d prefer that he not get that power, but I’d like to see Wymbs lose it too. I agree with Cindy Zirkle that authorities are generally unnecessary. They are often just the result of political cowardice and the buck passing of a controversial issue to a newly formed authority.

    The problem is, these authorities always exceed their original mandates, and often they expand so rapidly that there can be no proper oversight. They are in the business of perpetuating their authority more than anything else. No matter what they might choose to do, we (the people) NEVER get to vote. This sucks!

    So, JC, I hear you. But we’d best be careful not to turn it into a Wymbs versus Lou thing. Let’s knock off one at a time!

  6. tryagain says:

    Would be interested to see if this site goes after the financial records and expenses of Mr. Wymbs as hard as they go after Magazzu? That Authority has spent a fortune of taxpayers money to their own little private projects!! Who makes these decisions? Who gets how much and why? A thorough investigation of the Authority is certainly in order. Agree that Mr. Wymbs portrays himself as the Knight in Shining Armor with OUR money!!! Think there is probably plenty of fire coming from that smoking building! No small wonder they are housed in a bank! Must be something to the discussion of his crazy contract if even he(Mr. Wymbs) is willingly to sit down and re-negotiate. Jane C. looks infatuated with Wymbs and the Master Gardening Program! Really scary and what the heck is the Master Gardeners and who really cares? Wished I had a job like the Candy Man!

  7. whoknew says:

    Tryagain, I mean Lou Magazzu, you’ve just criticized a group of volunteers, the men and women who make up Cumberland County’s Master Gardeners. Big mistake. They will remember this on Nov. 3rd. Who’s next on your list to belittle, Hospice volunteers?

  8. tryagain says:

    Sure glad the Candy Man aka Mr. Wymbs is around to give away my tax dollars. Only Master Gardner who thinks it is fine for Mr. Wymbs to give away OUR tax dollars may very well be Mrs. Christy!!! Didn’t criticize their group just wanted to know what gives Wymbs the right or the authority to give them or anyone my tax money!! Definitely need better oversight of this multi million dollar authority and their Executive Director Wymbs. Think a thorough investigation of that entire organization by an outside and independent law enforcement agancy may be warranted!

  9. Rev. Higgs Boson says:

    You ask about the money CCIA gives away, but doesn’t the CCIA Board have to approve these expenditures? Can Steve Wymbs make these decisions and just give groups money all on his own? lou, you call for an investigation into Steve Wymbs travel expenses, but doesn’t the Board have to approve them? Doesn’t the CCIA Board know about the Authority’s accounts, expenses and liabilities? I realize a couple of the Board members are new, but how long has Al Kelly been the Chairman? Doesn’t he deserve as much, if not more, responsibility than Wymbs?

  10. abondroit says:

    Tryagain admits it. That’s what Lou is after, Steve Wymbs job.

  11. RIchard says:

    I agree with Rev Higgs Boson that Al Kelly should share in the culpability for CCIA excesses. He’s been on the board since the mid 80s. But, anyone who has worked for an authority knows that the executive director shapes policy and board decisions by the manner in which he dispenses information to the board members: Kind of like, “you don’t really want to do that, do you? Do this instead”. And of course, usually, the board marches in lock step to the executive directors cadence.

    I think an outside investigation into the workings of the CCIA is a good idea (tryagain’s) but only if the public and employees of the CCIA are given an opportunity to state their allegations. It is DELIGHTFUL that this forum is having this conversation. All of a sudden folks are beginning to see CCIA in a different light and the blind acceptance of Wymbs divinity is in question. I also know this is the Maggazzu Watch site, and CCIA is off topic, but corruption in our county government is unacceptable, though somewhat common. We need to collectively “out” these slimeballs to the extent that even an infatuated Jane Christy can understand.

    Not to repeatedly bash Jane, but she is really being duped by Wymbs. Does anyone remember the tv character Eddie Haskell? He’d smile and lay his unctuous charm on Mrs. Cleaver, and behind her back he was a common thug. I contend that Wymbs is our own Cumberland County Eddie Haskell. What he can’t tolerate is the fact that Lou sees through it. I hope that eventually everyone else does too.

    I’m not a Lou fan, not at all. But, I am glad to see he has the balls to take on Wymbs. Who knows, maybe Lou even knows the double-secret handshake and gang signs needed to discuss Wymbs employment. And, like him or not, and most don’t, at least we get to vote for or against Lou. With Wymbs, we have no say at all.

  12. Deep Throat says:

    Ii is often said that if you listen closely that Lou will tell you what he is going to do.His first post to this issue is one day before the CCIA rejects the Levoy loan. He talks about their “generous” handing out of money. If he is going to accuse Mr. Wymbs of earning outside money, then show Mr. Wymbs financial disclosure forms. Lou still has not responded to one of his appointments to the CCIA board and their use of funds for travel and then not showing up at the convention.
    The review by an outside agency of the Freeholder board is what we really need. Thousands spent with no public discussion and no vote by the board. Clear violation of the Open Public Meetings Act.
    Watch for the land for contracts and endorsements in the political campaign.

  13. tryagain says:

    INVESTIGATE THE CCIA!!! Lets take a very CLOSE look at Mr. Wymbs’ expenditures and expenses!!! Because he has given away hundreds of thousands of OUR tax dollars some will come to his defense but do the investiagationa and let the chips fall where they may! Maybe the new appointments willpay closer attention to the GRANTS at taxpayers expense that have been going on for years. Also let’s look closely at the Wymbs’ expense account and travel and other sources of income while working for the CCIA. Should be rather interesting. Think Jenn Swift may have been the driving force behind his hiring. Prior to that what was his experience?

  14. tryagain says:

    That’s Jenn Swift as in Jennifer Lookabaugh Swift! Former Freeholder Director I believe! Maybe even at the time Wymbs was hired. Interesting story there perhaps?

  15. DEEP THROAT says:

    Show the other income Mr. Wymbs has. Financial disclosure statements. One board member that Lou picked went to court for the illegal apartments in Deerfield Township. Still is missing in action at work most of the time. Majority of towns do not want to work with the shared services co-ordinator aka CCIA hatchet man for Lou.
    Lou keeps trying to cover that one up. Another Lou choice for board member on CCIA traveled on CCIA dime to never showed at conventions. Lou board members have been looking at those expenses of Mr. Wymbs for over 2 years now. Seem to be having trouble finding the smoking gun on that one.

  16. Frank74 says:

    Am I understanding this correctly? The CCIA takes in revenue for the county and instead of using it to lower our county taxes, they give it away to recipients the CCIA board members deem worthy? If that’s the way it really works, then I have a problem with that.

    If Magazzu wants to gain control of the CCIA to ensure that revenues are being used in the best interest of the county tax payers, then that’s fine with me. However, he will have to take responsibility for the actions of his appointees and be held accountable.

    And as for the CCIA chairman Mr. Kelly, isn’t he the same individual who wants to raise the county tax rate to pay for the Bridgeton Zoo? I read in another blog on this site that he receives a huge salary as Director of Tri-County Community Action; a private non-profit, funded primarily through government grants,(tax dollars) much of it funnelled through the State Dept. of Community Affairs.
    Considering the tax dollars he controls through Tri-County Com. Action along with the tax dollars he controls at CCIA and the tax dollars he controls for the City of Bridgeton, this is one powerful individual. If Steve Wymbs is “the Candy Man”, what does that make Al Kelly?

    No wonder we pay such high taxes in New Jersey. Maybe we do need a major County investigation; Or maybe there’s one already under way and we’ll wake up one morning soon to the news that 44 or so South Jersey politicians have been marched off to jail. One can only hope.

  17. Watcher#1 says:

    I cannot wait to see the paddy wagons loaded with Magazzu and his cronies zooming off to one of the many prisons we have here in Cumberland County.

  18. tryagain says:

    Yep Frank 74 you got it right!! Wymbs uses OUR TAX DOLLARS to fund certain “pet projects” that some committee choses. No clue as to IF there are even any REAL guidelines! This money COULD and SHOULD be used to lower OUR taxes, not support someone’s favorite projects. Certainly would be in EVERYONE’S best interest if the Freeholders had more control over the purse strings of Candyman Wymbs.

  19. AMUSED says:

    Tep folks you heard it! That’s exactly what tryagain Lou wants. He’s dying to get his hands on the CCIA pot of money! Problem is how long will it take him to destroy the Authority and deplete all of the funds? My guess-not long at all. Mr. Magazzu you are truly a hyprocrite! How many times have you gone to the CCIA pot with your hand out when you needed money to make you look good during campaign season? The problem you have is you want control so you won’t have to ask or answer to anyone as to where the money is going! Guess you’re planning another trip at the taxpayer’s expense? Yeah, that’s just what we need…Magazzu to control another pot of taxpayers money!

  20. JC says:

    Frank74 asks, “If Steve Wymbs is “the Candy Man”, what does that make Al Kelly?”

    How about “Sugar Daddy”?

  21. tryagain says:

    Good One JC!!

  22. tryagain says:

    A COMPLETE and THOROUGH investigation of Mr. Wymbs and the CCIA and theri expenditures may very well be in order!! Even Republicans should agree to that!!

  23. I agree for once. That should be the case with any organization that deals with public money.

    I believe a thorough auditing of Tri-County is definitely in order immeidiately, as it has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that Tri-County has no controls in place to prevent employee pilfering for personal gain.

  24. Rev. Higgs Boson says:

    I agree. I would love to see an investigation of the CCIA, Tri-County, and the entire EZ program.

  25. AMUSED says:

    And let’s not leave the Freeholder director off that list!

  26. RIchard says:

    All of the above sounds good to me. Why stop there? I’d also like to have an independent investigation at the township level. Fairfield is a rat’s nest, Vineland is the same old same old, and Deerfield Township taunts the sunshine rule. Hell, Carol Musso and John Stanzione are living together. If Cosmo shows up for coffee, they have a quorum. A bit too cozy, don’t you think?

  27. tryagain says:

    Sounds like it may be time for the Attorney General to take a CLOSE look at the CCIA operation and the Candyman!

  28. AMUSED says:

    Be careful what you ask for tryagain,because you may be next in line. Not everyone is as stupid as you would like. And you’re certainly not as clever as you think.

  29. tryagain says:

    BRING ON THE INVESTIGATIONS STARTING WITH THE CCIA!!!!! Seems something may just smell there and it may not be the trash!!?

  30. Frank74 says:

    Historically (back through the 70’s) private non-profits like Tri-County Community Action used to be called “Anti-Poverty Organizations”. In Cumberland County specifically, they often didn’t fare very well under the microscope of state/federal auditors. Frequently imprpopriaties were uncovered, resulting in the resignations of their directors and/or staff. In several cases it became evident that the only poverty being eliminated was that of the administrators and their friends.

    Many of these types of organizations provide valuable services to the community, but much too often their primary goal is to create cash flow to provide big salaries for their administrators. More programs bring in more grants; and more grants bring in more administrative dollars for bigger salaries. Taking care not to step on the wrong political toes, and spreading good will in the right places, over time a publically funded, private sector bureaucy is created. The politicians take credit for funding seemingly worthwhile social programs, the administrators of the programs get paychecks and maybe some of the money winds up in a program that actually accomplishes something. Accountability for program success is not usually a big part of this equation.

    The State Department of Community Affairs, whose director was recently forced to resign, pays out huge sums of money to Tri-County Com. Action as well as to similar entities throughout the state. A close scrutiny of this department would probably reveal it to be nothing more than a huge slush fund used by our state senators and assemblymen to funnel tax dollars from the state treasury to their recipients of choice. Thus friends are made and political good will garnered from the voters of the district receiving the funding.

    Whenever large sums of tax dollars are entrusted to entities such as Tri-County Community Action and the CCIA, the opportunity for abuse exists. The leaders of these organizations are not public officials and thus do not answer directly to the tax payers or to our elected representatives, even though it is our tax money paying their salaries. Technically they can tell us all to go to hell and spend our money as they see fit.

    We must demand that our elected officials take appropriate action to keep these organizations honest by closely monitoring their activities and making them publically accountable.

  31. JC says:

    Nicely said, Frank74.

    Well written, too!

  32. tryagain says:

    Sounds like an argument for the County government to be much more involved in the CCIA!! At least we can vote on public officials as opposed to a “lifetime” contract for Mr. Wymbs!!

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