Linda Forbes reports that the Magazzu-run freeholder board nixed her continued service on the county’s Human Service Advisory Council. Refusing to continue the service of an active member is highly unusual and is apparently Lou’s payback for her questioning of some of his actions last year.
Forbes told us, “I moved into the county as an early retiree with a set of skills I felt would be of use to the community.” During her career, she was a Senior Vice President at United Way of New York City, where she served as the organization’s chief planner. She also worked for United Way of America, where she wrote a book on strategic management. She worked around the US as a planning consultant to United Ways and other nonprofits.
Two things led to her service on the Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC). Soon after she moved here, she developed an extensive analysis of the county’s demographics, which she presented to the county Planning Board and other bodies. She says, “The one thing that struck me was the off-the-scale rate of teenage pregnancy in the county.” The other event was meeting Jane Christy, who welcomed her participation and served as a mentor. During her service on HSAC, Forbes chaired the subcommittee that conducted events and published analyses that brought the teen pregnancy issue to the awareness of the public.
Forbes says, “From the start, Magazzu and Dr. Riley were extremely hostile to the work we were doing in HSAC on the teen pregnancy issue. I really don’t know why. The best explanation I can come up with is that I was a friend of Jane Christy, and Magazzu was not going to give her credit for anything.” As funds became available to support small scale programs addressing the teen pregnancy problem, Magazzu disparaged HSAC recommendations, which were formulated from conversations with teens. Some of these were gathered at the HSAC-sponsored “Children of Children” exhibit held at Millville’s Renaissance Center for the Arts. Instead, he accepted an award from Community Health Care Inc. recognizing all he had done on the teen pregnancy issue. In turn, Lou threw the funding in their direction. Forbes publicly questioned the propriety of the award and the “no-bid” funding, stimulating more public insults from Magazzu and Riley.
Forbes tells us she was not at all surprised by her removal from the Council, but is disappointed she will not be continuing work with Council members, whom she highly respects, and with its outstanding staff. She says, “It’s really sad. I feel I could have made a valuable contribution to the county, but politics, or should I say Lou, got in the way.”