NJAC skirts the spirit if not the letter of OPRA

A freeholder who oversees the taxpayer-financed New Jersey Association of Counties told 22 trustees — most of them elected officials — they could skirt public-records laws with this advice: “Keep these documents solely in your personal possession.”

The Star Ledger broke this story over the weekend. Why is this important? Your tax dollars are supporting this private group. The NJAC used to be under the control of Lou Magazzu, before his fall from grace.

But it seems that even with Lou out of power at the NJAC, his style of politics still rules. This organization is rife with misuse of funds, and power hungry politicos seeking self-enrichment fromthe public trough.

But back to Lou – this article was just the lead in I needed to explore the state of affairs in Lou’s Cumberland County. Is it me, or is Al Kelly the new power broker in the county? It seems that Magazzu is a non-entity anymore.

Sure, he sometimes warms a seat at Freeholder meetings. However, it seems that Whelan and Sheppard have taken the reins over any policy that really matters.

The Cumberland County Democratic Party, once dominated by Lou’s caustic personality and unbending ego, is now a ship adrift in the Horse Latitudes.

I wonder if Lou keeps volatile documents on his person? And I wonder what he keeps in that storage unit on North Delsea Drive – the one he was behind in payments on a while back.

There is a hurricane coming up the coast this week; I wonder if Lou has his own personal hurricane coming?

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3 Responses to NJAC skirts the spirit if not the letter of OPRA

  1. Calhoun says:

    Below is some political potpourri. Unlike regular potpourri, this variety stinks as opposed to being fragrant, so hold your nose.

    While Big Al, is all but king in Bridgeton, I am not sure his influence extends much beyond the city’s limits at the moment. And besides, given the poverty in our county seat, being the big cheese in Bridgeton is small potatoes. Some of the usual county Democrats paid their respects with donations (e.g., Salmon Ventures, $500), and, given Kelly’s name recognition in Bridgeton, he and his council slate won in a cakewalk. Nonetheless, it is worth watching Kelly to see if he tries to expand his political influence by making inroads into the urban areas of the county’s other towns.

    Nonetheless, Kelly, at the last freeholder meeting, failed to convince the freeholder board to delay its vote on the contracts for the work on the new prosecutor’s office, to give him time to line up an alternate site (see 27 Aug article by Barlass in AC Press). If he was really a big powerbroker, I would think the freeholders would have ceded to his wish.

    Speaking of that, the freeholders, as expected, did award the primary contract to Lammey & Giorgio of Camden Co. even though they were not the low bidder (see 28 Aug article by Laday in the News). Interesting here was Thompson’s and Dunkins’ “no” votes, the two freeholders wanting to go with the local lower bids (i.e., KBA), even though the bidders may have had some licensing/certification problems. So, Lammey & Giorgio got the big contract ($290K) for the Vine Street School, TJD got the smaller garage contract ($118K), and KBA (ties to Salmon) got nothing ($0).

    Right now Cumberland County has a political power vaccuum. The Ds are indeed adrift but the Rs aren’t much better. It will be interesting to see if any one person does come forward to fill this void. Kelly is certainly a candidate, but even if he can knit together an urban coalition is that enough for the whole county? Whelan (on the D side) and Sheppard (on the R side) have potential, but, to their credit, I don’t think they want to fill Lou’s shoes as the county’s political bigwig. Pepitone is Deputy Freeholder Director but I don’t see him as freeholder director. He’s just so nice. He is much better at spinning cotton candy (as he was doing at Millville’s last Third Friday) than spinning politics. Good for him. Jannarone and Dunkins also don’t strike me as wanting to advance into a higher profile position.

    Maybe this vaccum shouldn’t be filled. After all Lou filled it and that was a disaster. Nonetheless, history would suggest someone will step forward and that someone needs to be watched as carefully as Lou. And this time let’s hope the Watch begins from Day One before too much power is accumulated and damage is done.

    As to the NJAC issue, it is high time to simply pull the plug on all taxpayer financing of such organizations. These quasi-governmental groups (like NJAC) are similar to NJ’s numerous authorities and commissions and become political patronage cesspools. Let’s hope that Ms. Carpiano is the last politico to feed from this taxpayer funded political trough with her 106K retirement plum. Yeah, Sweeney recently introduced legislation eliminating the perks for NJAC, but the bigger question is who sponsored the legislation that established these perks to begin with?

  2. Curious says:

    Iam curious if Cumberland County will continue to support NJAC with our tax dollars.
    Iam Curious if it is not time to pull the proverbial plug on that cesspool.
    Iam Curious why $400,000 in tacpayers money is being spent on architects.
    Iam Curious since a building is already designed that is adequate for the purpose and costs less than this project.
    Iam Curious because Vine Street School is too small for the purpose.
    Iam Curious because besides the cost of this white elephant, No one is calculateing the costs of the other 4 buildings the prosecutor will still be using.
    Is anyone Curious that the excuse not to build the building already designed is that the site is too far from the courthouse?
    Is anyone Curious since a large part of the staff is now in Hopewell.

  3. Oinkforfreedom says:

    I am curious.

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