Cumberland County propaganda machine in full swing

I don’t know if anybody saw the propaganda piece in Saturday’s Daily Journal,  an article lacking any critical thought whatsoever. It could have rolled off the County presses it was so one-sided. The article seems to have one purpose, and that is to disseminate fiscal fear. Joe Smith is usually more discerning, but he disappointed me this time.

Cumberland County can’t complete a sale of its money-losing nursing home before Jan. 31, 2012, according to lawyers for the county.

That legal determination is seen as a serious setback, given the likely repercussions to the county’s 2012 budget. The county forecasts another multimillion-dollar budget deficit in 2012.

I cannot fault the article on a factual basis. It gives a clear overview of what needs to happen legally before the Manor can be sold. However, it doesn’t ask the question of whether the Manor should be sold.

It references the figure bandied about about the $2 Million annual loss of revenue at the Manor. And this figure is accepted as bedrock, unchangeable. However, county taxpayers paid for an intensive study last year. this study showed that over $2 Million could be saved if certain changes were implemented. My question to the Freeholders, none of which have ever even spoken to the accountant at the Manor, is why have these changes not been implemented?

Was that study a fraud? Was it simply another way to pump tax dollars to Lou Magazzu/Bill Whelan cronies with no intent of ever following up on the advice? Why hasn’t the plan been given a chance? The Manor was profitable once – profitable until the Lou Magazzu juggernaut figured out a way to use it as a political outlet rather than run it like a nursing home.

And not one person in the county will publicly ask about the almost million dollars in PEER funding that will be lost, or the many county safety-net programs for impoverished seniors that will be jeopardized.  Nobody in the county seems to care about the time-card fraud at the Manor and at the 911 Call Center (employees that bring this up tend to be fired or reprimanded). These time card issues, for one, seem to be a way to bring expenses under control.

It would be refreshing if even one of our local papers would take the lead on this story, and report the other side. The sale of the manor would lead to a one-time net positive for our taxes. One time! That’s all. It would also be a factor in increased unemployment, as many key positions would be eliminated by any company with an infrastructure already in place.

The very fact that two investors are lining up to buy the Manor indicates that money can be made. If this is the case, why shouldn’t Cumberland County taxpayers benefit rather than investors? And why should we give up almost a Million in PEER funds, and be saddled with the costs of relocating (or paying rent for) several agencies and the prosecutor that share the building? Not one person from either political party, let alone the local media have asked these questions. Haste makes waste, and in this case haste can hurt the taxpayers much harder than we imagine.


12 Responses to Cumberland County propaganda machine in full swing

  1. Yes I did read this just this morning and was actually going to ask you about this. One of the ways they wasted money was giving the employees FREE lunches!! WHAT!! I want to buy my lunch thanks!!
    I did read a comment from Wolffie on the DJ Forums. One of the Republicans seems eager to sell it too. So it may not ONLY be the Dems who want to make a quick killing on this sale. The Republicans might be just as eager since they stand a good chance of controlling the Freeholder Board come January. I know the part of the Republican way is to privatize as much as possible and give to their buddies.
    Just wondering. I think the County politics is a good ole boy network and the Republicans want a piece of that pie.
    Please fill me in on this one if I am way off base!!!

  2. CBKennedy says:

    Isn’t Bill Wheelen in banking? I think I remember hearing that when he was still the great white hope of the freeholder board. Isn’t selling off assets to cover short term debt to be avoided—a sure sign that a company/individual is in serious trouble & doesn’t know what else to do? And that it pretty much always ends badly? In many ways I think Wheelen is just as if not more insidious than old Lou. His actions seem desperate and reactive,and expensive to the ever dwindling minority in Cumberland County who actually pay taxes.

  3. baba says:

    CB, you are wrong about Whelan. He is nothing like Magazzu. Blame Lou if you like but don’t just paint everyone with the same brush, unless you don’t care what the truth is. Whelan studies the situation and is even willing to change his mind. Focus on the issues, not character assassination.

  4. twocents says:

    Baba, how do you expect us to believe in Whelan when time and time again he fails to step up to the plate and prove to us that he isn’t Lou Magazzu? He had a very simple opportunity with the whole Magazzu fiasco and the unknown story of the cell phone, but he was evasive at best, at least that is until the local Dems couldn’t keep the story buried any more.
    The Freeholders led by Whelan should not be so hell-bent on selling the Manor until there is an accurate accounting as to why it is in financial disorder. On the surface there appears to be issues of financial mismanagement on the part of the politically appointed management and the fact the County was drawing money from the Manor, as if it was a cash cow, to the tune of a million dollars or so a year. Who was responsible for oversight of all this? Magazzu. Now it appears that Whelan wants to get rid of the Manor not so much for revenue but as a way of sidestepping the problem. Instead of trying to fix the issues get rid of the Manor and you get rid of the questions and problem seems to be the politically expedient tactic. So, this all gets back to the what would Magazzu do versus what would Whelan do comparison. Sorry, but guilt by association and imitation is the best form of flattery are valid interpretations when there is nothing else.

  5. WuLi says:

    Whelan is more insidious than Lou was. With Lou, we knew what we were getting, heck, he even bragged about it all the time. Whelan, on the other hand, pretends to be open and honest but behind the scenes he stabs people, fellow freeholders, in the back after supposedly coming to an agreement with them. This comes from those freeholders directly. There was a reason he was made Director.

  6. CBKennedy says:

    @ WuLi—-exactly–that’s why I said insidious. He is not as he appears and the only act that has him going against L.M. is he claimed to have asked for L.M.’s resignation 2 weeks before he resigned!!! Wow, that guy really has juice! It gives the appearance that more damage control was being done to contain the situation(how are those cell phone records coming??….,hmmm..) rather than get it done quickly and move on to business.

    @baba, always open to a different opinion, but character assassination? Really??? Whelan is a public figure—and I think my statements would fall under the protection of political debate—are you a lawyer ; )? Regarding the Manor situation, there is a saying in the Markets that ” when you can’t sell what you want,you sell what you can…”( if you don’t believe me,check the Dow @ now…) the quick sale of the Manor is a move made from desperation and no plan—like to cover a margin call—-and is a big red flag to the competence of the Freeholder Director Whelan, who is supposed to have a reasonable grasp of finance.

  7. baba says:

    The Manor is a necessary part of county government. We need it and we need it to work efficiently. This conspiracy theory about Whelan is far fetched. Maybe Lou should come back.

  8. Guess-Who says:

    Let’s make this SIMPLE, over the last 10 years at the Manor in Cumberland,NJ.

    How many years has there been a PROFIT ?

    How much MONEY has been LOST overall in the Last 10 Years?

    How many Employee[s] are on the Payroll ?

    How much does it C0$T the Tax-Payer[s] of Cumberland,NJ for their(Manor Employee[s]) Benefits (Pension / Health Care / Sick Leave / Personal Days / Vacation)?

    Someone should be able to Answer the Questions without any Rhetoric or BS 🙂

  9. baba says:

    I think we all miss the point about the Manor. It’s not McDonalds. It isn’t designed to make a profit only. The Manor is a back stop for local citizens in need. Making the Manor more efficient is the goal so they can come closer to breaking even. I believe selling the manor will not benefit local citizens in need and will in fact close the door. Anyone who has to put an old person in a nursing home knows it’s impossible unless you are quite rich or very poor. In the end someone needs to take care of the old people who for many reasons end up destitute and alone. Selling the Manor to a private company who will only take care of 10 medicaid residents while sucking the big money out of everyone else isn’t the answer.

  10. WuLi says:

    Along the lines of what baba just said – there is a lot more to the Manor then the “bottom line”. We paid for an audit/study by professional agency, and the study has recommendations that if followed will save over $2 million a year. That closes that $2 million loss to what I am not that good at math, maybe someone can tell me?

    The Manor used to be profitable until the Lou Magazzu machine took control and did what he and the CCDO have done to EVERY agency in this county – used it as a source to reward party loyalists. All funds were considered booty and plunder to be used for personal profit, not the good of the county.

    We know that a sale will be a ONE TIME kick, and after that, the county will be exactly where it is today – only worse off. We will pay to prematurely move the prosecutors office before the new digs are completed, at a cost of probably a million. We will have to move the blind center and the maintenance dept and other departments to a location where they will likely have to pay rent.-

    Maybe they can share the albatross called the social services building – remember that midnight Magazzu deal to lease Bernie Brown’s building fr a million a year. It is assessed at 3 million. We the taxpayer have paid three times what it is worth.

    And, we will lose close to a million dollars annually in PEER funding that pays for programs for the indigent elderly. Of course, we can just kick them into the gutter after allowing them to pay taxes for the last 60 or so years of their life, and forget about them.

  11. Guess-Who says:

    Nobody wants to ANSWER the Simple Questions!

    Here is a Link to the Salary of some Cumberland County Employee[s]

    10 Years at $1.5 to $3 Million would be a LOSS of $15,000,000.00 to $30,000,000.00 of Tax-Payer Money.

    WHAT is the overall C0$T for these Employee[s] at the Manor ?

    Remember the Tax-Payers are PAYING their Salary 🙂

  12. James says:

    @GUESS-WHO “remember the tax payers are paying their salaries” and the employees at the Manor are taxpayers so what is your point? How can people continue to regurgitate the same phrase? How could you possibly place the financial blame on the workers at the Manor? The wages they receive for providing care to residents whom I add were tax payers does come close to what one could make working in a unskilled position in a glass factory. Why don’t you dig deep and ask where is the money going county wide instead of pointing fingers and placing blame on honest hard working county tax payers???? HOW TYPICAL!!!

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