Chapel tabled

Lou was absent from his duties, yet again, as Freeholder Director. He seems to be neglecting Cumberland County altogether, which is actually a good thing – we might see some honest government come out of his absence.

Tom Sheppard and Bill Whelan, who appear to be the voices of fiscal reason, voted against appropriating money for the Veterans Chapel. They voiced the same reservations others have – the county just does not have the money to spend on feel-good projects.

The Cumberland County Freeholder Board on Thursday tabled a pair of ordinances that would appropriate $800,000 from the county capital improvement fund toward, among other things, the construction of the proposed veterans chapel because not all members of the board were in attendance.

Whelan was looking at next year, saying the budget process would be just as arduous as it was this year. Both he and Sheppard feel that the money, if available, should be used for road repairs and building maintenance. Jannerone and Pepitone voted for the allocation, with Pepitone claiming it would create jobs. I have to take issue with that statement, as Nelson Thompson has agreed publicly that these sorts of union jobs would likely go to Camden County people, and that there is no way to guarantee that Cumblerland County jobless would get dibs.

This project is simply a way for Lou and Nelson to reward the Camden County unions  for their magnanimous generosity in financing the party campaigns. There doesn’t appear to be anybody ultimately involved in the project, developers or architects, that haven’t been steady supporters of Lou’s machine.

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3 Responses to Chapel tabled

  1. Calhoun says:

    First, while I know it’s summer and people are vacationing, I still think that the freeholder board should not be doing the business of the people with only four of the seven members present. That being said the actions taken last night are interesting.

    First, the board failed to approve a change to KBA’s work order that would have effectively reduced the amount from $980K to $700K (or less). Sheppard and Whelan voted “no” (Jannarone and Peptitone voted “yes”) and one can assume the two voted “no,” not because they wanted to keep the amount at $980K, but because they’re uncertain about this project going forward at all at this time. Also note that the board did take action on this (as opposed to tabling it), and one must assume that the freeholders knew going in that they were going to kill this with the 2-2 vote. KBA is linked to Salmon; so another recent example of Salmon’s bloc getting the short (crappy) end of the stick (recall the previous preference of the board of Lammy Giorgio over KBA; see the MWatch “Freeholders asking for rebid on Vine St. School” post from last March).

    The Camden Co. crowd fared a bit better as the other ordinances relating to the chapel construction were simply tabled. One must then ponder how the full board might someday vote on this. We know Sheppard and Whelan are likely “nays” and Jannarone and Pepitone are likely “yays.” Based on Thompson’s previous comments, he too is a likely “yay”. Before assuming Dunkins to be an automatic “yay” here, let’s go back to the 14 January board meeting and the vote on Resolution 2010-64, Resolution Approving the Use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the Vine Street School Project. Dunkins (and Sheppard) voted “no” on this agreement, while the other five voted “yes.” This vote is telling, as it possibly shows that Dunkins (rightfully) feels no allegiance to the Camden Co. powerbrokers. He is a public employee himself (City of Bridgeton), and does he really want to be shown as handing over goodies to the construction unions from up north when the county is laying off and furloughing public employees? I suspect not and am not convinced he is a “yay” here. If he’s not, then it all comes down to Lou (the other six freeholders likely deadlocked 3-3), who likes to brag that he is a “fiscal conservative.”

    Of course no true fiscal conservative could vote for this in these times. But what is Lou going to do? Will he prove himself to be a true fiscal conservative or will he cave to the special (possibly his own) interests? Bets anyone? Maybe he should pray to Helios, Greek god of the sun (think solar energy) for some guidance.

    Also, I have a question for some of the more religious readers of MWatch: Is it wrong of me to pray to God that this chapel not be built? It seems like an inappropriate thing to ask of God. But anyone who follows Cumberland County politics knows that this project is not going forward for the veterans but rather as political paybacks to those who are owed. The veterans angle is nothing more than a smokescreen. However, before I get on my hands and knees and pray, I want to be sure I am not at risk of being smitten (as in a heavy blow, not an infatuation) by God.

  2. Hang 'em High says:

    With the way the Veteran’s cemetery is laid out, once the “chapel” is completed, the County may have to put up places of worship for other religious groups.

    Unlike in military units, the cemetery is segregated. Without going into details, the cemetery has reserved burial sites for one specific religion. So maybe the next move will be to erect a synagog, a mosque etc…

    More work for Lou’s buddies.

  3. Curious says:

    I am Curious why Nelson Thompson the construction trades guy didn’t bother to be at the meeting to get his guys work.
    Iam Curious that his vacation is more important than his union brothers.
    Oh, that’s right, his union brothers have been on unemployment vacation for 2 years.

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