Yesterday marked the reorganization of the Cumberland County Freeholder board. Tom Sheppard was sworn in as the lone Republican, vastly outnumbered by a hostile Democrat majority that follows every whim and dictate of Lou Magazzu.
Lou talks a good talk. He even manages to have a positive outcome for the residents of the county as he continually diverts money into his pet projects and to his favored flunkies.
One thing that he says sounds good – “consolidation”. Consolidation was the mantra of New Jersey’s failed governor, Jon Corzine. Jon did his best to ram consolidation down the throats of the most efficient towns and townships merely because they were small. Jon looked the other way at the waste and corruption that permeated his favored cities of Camden, Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, et. al.
Consolidation is not a panacea. Many of the smaller towns that suffered under Corzine’s heavy hand would not have seen any measurable benefit from consolidating. The one area where consolidation would have a measurable impact is in public education. New Jersey has 21 counties, but something like 500 school districts (don’t quote me on the exact number there). Most states have one district per county.
There are superintendents in every district, and hence hundreds of positions paying in the six-figures – and that folks, directly hit you in your wallet. But our politicians are gutless, refusing to challenge the Democratically controlled NJEA. After all, the NJEA supports Democrat candidates almost exclusively. In exchange, their power base is never challenged, and your pockets continue to get picked.
To be fair, the education system is not within King Lou’s jurisdiction. But as a loyal Democrat he would never challenge the system. Instead, he is intent on empire building. He is looking to bring all municipal services under an umbrella that he controls. Let me explain why this is a bad idea.
We will take the CCUA as an example. Millville and Vineland have their own authorities. It would seem to make sense to include the administrative aspects of these authorities under one roof and eliminate duplication, resulting an a cost savings for all users. However we have reported frequently Lou’s massive lack of judgment and oversight of the CCUA. Board members are actually paid to attend meetings – and al too often those board members get paid for not attending meetings. This makes the CCUA a great no-show job opportunity, as has been reported lately concerning the extremely absent Todd Edwards.
In addition, these same board members are eligible for taxpayer funded health benefits that in Lou’s own words cost $20,000 per person. So it is worrisome that our make-believe county-wide utilities authority would be under this same lack of oversight, serving to be nothing more than another avenue for Lou Magazzu to buy support and reward party loyalists.
I urge people to read between the lines when Lou opens his mouth. He does nothing for the public good, unless there is a way for him to personally expand empire. And his control also helps him squelch dissent. The more people that are employed by a county he controls, the more people he can keep silent out of fear of retribution of losing employment.