Cumberland County Mental Health Administrator “Unqualified”

If you wonder why your county taxes are outrageous, it more than likely has to do with mismanagement and cronyism at a county level. Take for instance the County Division Head for Mental Health Services, Jack Surrency.

Upon Ethan Aronoff’s retirement, the position was advertized. Fifteen applicants, at least one of which was qualified for the position, submitted applications. Four interviews were conducted, as a pretense of open government and fairness. But after that fraud of fairness was concluded, Bill Whelan moved to place Jack Surrency in that slot. His salary is $68,000 a year, and the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services participates in the funding of that job as long as certain rules are followed. Due to the arrogance of Lou Magazzu and Bill Whelan, the taxpayers of Cumberland County are responsible for Surrency’s salary.

Why, you ask?

Surrency was hired June 14, 2010, but the NJ Division of Mental Health Services (the Division) had not received any resume or proof of Surrency’s credentials as required under N.J.A.C. 10:37-3.7, even though the information was requested June 10, 2010, and Lou Magazzu was apprised of the laws as early as November 5, 2009.

The Division finally received Surrency’s resume June 15, 2010 – the day after he was hired. So Lou Magazzu and Bill Whelan, in order to give a job to a political crony, gave up state assistance on Surrency’s salary. However, what is even more disturbing is this assessment  of Surrency’s qualifications by Valerie Larosiliere, the acting Assistant Commissioner:

Additionally, based upon the information submitted, Mr. Surrency lack the minimum qualifications required to serve as county MHA, including the necessary educational background and experience and knowledge in the administration and field of mental health.

And Bill Whelan wants to pretend that he is worthy to be re-elected, that he can be trusted to put the health and welfare of county residents first?  A political hack is now on the county payroll, and we will be funding his pension, even though he is not qualified to do the job to which he was appointed. This is dirty back room politics at its worst.

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8 Responses to Cumberland County Mental Health Administrator “Unqualified”

  1. CBKennedy says:

    @WuLi, 9/8 you had a post about the time sheets being faked. You provided a link 2 the Daily Journal story where Veronica Surrency being appointed acting superintendent while the investigations took place. Is this women any relation to this Surrency? Just curious. A lot of nepotism in County government.

  2. WuLi says:

    @CBK – I am not sure if they are related or what that relationship is, possibly one of our readers will know.

    And you are right on about the nepotism. how much more efficient would County government be if we had qualified people in positions of authority?

    It really is scary that our health department is in the control of somebody that even the State of NJ has absolutely no confidence in.

  3. Deparego says:

    Check out the Board of Social Services too for lack of qualifications-the Executive Director is NOT qualified for the job. And then there is Joe Velez the child support attorney making 89K annually for 20 hours weekly while collecting his state pension yet Jennifer Webb-McCrae was only paid $60K for the same job prior to Joe being rehired (probably because she is a woman – that is also a major theme in the county) – Jane Christy questioned how Velez could work at social services and be Vineland Court Judge at same time and was shut down by Lou. You are correct – Jack Surrency should not be in charge of Mental Health – One Stop was glad to see him appointed though.

  4. WuLi says:

    I was given this bit of information by an anonymous friend:

    Jack Surrency is also missing from work most afternoons.
    He comes in part of the day and takes off.

  5. CBKennedy says:

    @WuLi—nepotism/favoritism is also a perception problem. It really breeds cynicism.

  6. WuLi says:

    @CBK – I think people in this county have a right to be cynical, we have earned it. I get more cynical by the day as I uncover a rat’s nest of corruption, from a simple hiring of a political supporter, to ignoring 24 resumes and refusing to hire a qualified candidate so that Surrency can be placed in a position he is eminently unqualified to handle. And the public health and welfare is at risk because of cronyism!

    EVERY department that I look into has similar problems – I am hoping to find at least one that has not been tinged with the dirty backroom politics that have been the hallmark of the Lou Magazzu regime. And it becomes more and more apparent that ANYONE that was recruited into the party under Lou is just as tainted.

  7. Guess-Who says:

    Is Lou Magazzu still CONTROLLING the County of Cumberland, NJ ?
    I have been told that he is still pulling the Strings of the Freeholder[s]!

    Does anyone have any info on Lou Magazzu & former Gov. Jim McGreevey ?

    I heard a Rumor the other Day that caused me to LMFAO.
    Just use your IMAGINATION.

  8. WuLi says:

    Personally, I don’t think Lou is pulling any strings at this time. The higher-up Dems were happy to see him go – they were probably wishing for better timing – I mean how embarrassing that Jeff Van Drew had his face plastered on Billboards proclaiming Lou Magazzu was the best thing since sliced bread!!!

    But beginning with the NACo scandal, Lou was the cause of a major decrease in donations to the local party.He became a liability.

    But – hey always do take care of their own, and I am sure they are trying to find a discreet way to reward him for his years of service – he will get some appointment that nobody hears about, eventually.

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