If you check out the Cumberland County Freeholder Meeting Portal, you will notice that the last meeting that has minutes posted is from July 26, 2011. These minutes are important for those that for one reason or another, such as disability, lack of transportation, or work schedule, cannot attend the meetings. And yet, as election season draws nigh, our Freeholders are purposely, it seems, neglecting to have the meeting minutes publicly posted.
What votes and activities are they trying to hide, knowing that when the minutes are publicly posted, they will be used to call them out for their actions? For instance, I am looking to the recent settlement with Comtec – a settlement on the backs of taxpayers simply because under Lou Magazzu and with Bill Whelan’s cooperation, a contract was given to a high bidder in Cherry Hill to satisfy Cumberland County obligations to the Norcross Camden County political machine. Cometc was the low bidder and most qualified of the top bids. But the owner, who told me he was asked to donate to political campaigns and declined, as he is not political, was illegally forced out of the process.
Now it seems the county taxpayers have been forced to ante up an additional $15,000 (yes, petty cash, but there is a principle involved) to settle up the dispute with Comtec. But nowhere has the local media reported this incident, nor has anybody questioned the legal fees which would have been completely unecessary had the Freeholder Board abided by the law.
Following is an incomplete list of legal fees – monies paid to politically connected law firms, many from Camden County and north.
2011 (to May) $299,703
How much of these legal costs were unnecessary, simply brought on by poor decisions of the current leadership of the county? We know for a fact that the county has been forced to hire a law firm to defend against the four federal complaints involving the County 911 and OEM centers. And still the Freeholders support the leadership whose conduct caused this unnecessary expense.
We discover recently (Sept 27, 2011), in a news report in the Bridgeton News, that the acting director of the Board of Social Services is unqualified for the job.
In addition, Freeholder Director Bill Whelan stated current acting director at the county Board of Social Services, Kathy Rodriguez, would be soon replaced. However, officials stated the replacement is not because of last Tuesday’s rush.
“When it’s said that (Rodriguez) is currently not qualified for the position, that is based on civil service — it’s nothing disparaging toward her,” said Whelan. “It’s a matter of the civil service.”
It seems that our current leadership is happily appointing friends and cronies, in blatant acts of nepotism, without any regard to qualifications. See our story about Jack Surrency – his appointment has resulted in a loss of state funding that would go towards his salary because the freeholders insisted on denying a qualified candidate the job in lieu of appointing a political friend.
When is this madness going to end?