I posted extensive articles on MagazzuWatch about the Comtec situation. The lowest qualified bidder, Comtec, a local company was awarded and then denied the contract after Geroge Norcross demanded that a Cherry Hill company be given the contract. The Camden County company came in third lowest, and as only two bids were awarded, one of the winners had to be kicked to the side.
Michael Vertolli told me that he had been approached during the process and asked to donate politically. He also received phone calls and was told he could have the contract as long as he hired his crew “from Camden County.”
This deal was orchestrated by Magazzu, but Bill Whelan rubber-stamped it all along, and never once raised any objection about our local jobs going out of town.
Freeholders James Dunkins, Bill Whelan, Nelson Thompson, Joe Pepitone and Louis Magazzu — all Democrats — approved awarding the work to NJ Business Systems and Aloha. Freeholder Thomas Sheppard, a Republican, voted against the measure; Jane Jannarone, a Democrat, abstained.
And now in order to avoid a costly lawsuit, where the county would most certainly lose, the county is settling. Of course the taxpayers are being forced to pay the cost of their political machinations. Cumberland County taxpayers lost when two out of county firms were awarded and our jobs were given away. And now we lose , I agree is it only $15,000 – but that is $15,000 that could have gone to benefit this county.
Cumberland County will pay $15,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Vineland electrical contractor who cried foul in 2010 when the county rejected his bid to do work.
The county risked paying damages and lawyer fees of more than $30,000 if the lawsuit brought by Comtec Systems Inc. went to trial, county counsel Brendan Kavanagh said recently in defending the decision to settle.
I love Brendan Kavanaugh’s double-speak in the article. It was he, after all, who came up with the distorted argument the county used to reject Comtec. If you want the details, type “Comtec” in the search bar on MWatch, and you will see copied of documents and the entire story. However, Matt Zager did a very nice job of reporting the facts.
Of course, if you wonder why the cost of government is so high, take a look at the salaries in question. The question was whether the successful bidder had to have a “certified apprentice program” in place. Of course, if that were actually the law, as Kavanaugh damned well knew wasn’t the law – nobody but union shops would be allowed to bid on any public contract.
This is the reason that the Vo-Techs do have certified apprenticeship programs in place – providing a workforce for non-union, smaller shops for projects such as this. The law only mandates that wages meet a certain level; which they did in every case.
However, am I the only person that finds a wage of $32.50 to $41.99 for someone that hasn’t been fully trained on a job, hence “an apprentice” is a bit extreme? Is it any wonder that projects such as the Prosecutor’s office cost us in the millions?
But that is the bigger picture, something that has to be addressed at a state level. What we can addresses at a local level, however, is a demand that our elected Freeholders put the companies and citizens of Cumberland County first – and hire us rather than third-place bidders falling under George Norcross’s protective graces, in Camden County!