What is the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization?

Have you ever heard of the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization? It appears as yet another quasi-governmental body that operates behind the scenes, but yet wields a lot of power and money.

A friend pointed out recently that Louis is the Secretary/Treasurer of this organization, which is of fairly recent vintage and is headquartered in Vineland. What is most interesting is that Lou in most of his public profiles doesn’t brag about the fact that he is the Treasurer of this organization. On the County’s website he is only identified as being the County rep for SJTPO. This makes me curious, especially given that the Treasurer has “custody of all funds of the MPO [i.e., SJTPO].”

Does Lou take a salary from this organization? If so, it is a salary for a no-show job, as the minutes posted online indicate that he doesn’t attend meetings regularly. And digging through the records, my friend found a few more anomalies.

According to their bylaws, “in the absence of the Secretary/Treasurer at a Board meeting, the Chairman may designate an alternate Board member to carry out the duties that require attention, such as signatures on meeting minutes… .”

At the 26 July 2010 meeting, Lou was absent yet his name appears at the end of the minutes in the certification! How did he certify the minutes of a meeting he didn’t attend?

Furthermore, look at the revised agenda for the 28 June meeting; here he has an SJTPO employee, Monica LaGuidice, sign for him. That is not allowed according to their bylaws either, she is not a Board Member!

Is Lou getting paid to be the Treasurer of SJTPO? Does he have a budget? We at Magazzu Watch believe SJTPO requires much more scrutiny, especially with Lou’s history of taking personal loans from organizations in which he has control. Take a look at the 26 July meeting. Only two people of the Board physically attended, the rest were either absent (like Louie) or called in. Unless this was an emergency meeting, there is no reason for the majority of the board not to arrange their schedules to attend.

Transportation in Cumberland County is among the worst in the state. If you rely on public transportation to get to work, you can figure on adding at least two hours to your work day, if you can even get close to your place of employment. This issue is much too important to leave to bureaucrats that seem too willing to take it all too lightly. It is certainly too important to allow Lou as much sway as it seems he may have.

A very special thanks to Haystacks Calhoun for the diligent research on this article.

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One Response to What is the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization?

  1. Deep Throat says:

    There is no salary attached to the SJTPO Board.
    They problem is they have been holding most of their meetings by phone conference. Millions of dollars for key road projects, and Lou and his cronies don’t even bother to meet.

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