Parking Garage Controversy

At the recent freeholder meeting, a Burlington County union hack complained, much too late in the process, about the pre-fab construction being used for the new parking garage that is part of the new Prosecutor’s Office complex.  If you have not had to do business or jury duty at the Cumberland County Courthouse, you might not be familiar with the deplorable parking situation; It is desperate. Citizens serving on jury duty are forced to park in dangerous sections of the neighborhood, areas were recent murders have occurred.  The county needs expanded parking – like several years ago.

Cumberland County officials this week awarded a $5.7 million contract for a parking garage that will accompany the future headquarters of the county Prosecutor’s Office.

The freeholders awarded the contract to the lowest bidder (for a change – more on that later) but not before having to listen to nonsense from a central Jersey union crybaby, wailing because Cumberland County wasn’t dumping our tax dollars into the pockets of his union.

Now we have a Burlington County union rep complaining because Cumberland County actually did something right in writing up the requirements of the bid on the new parking structure. Precast systems are the most cost effective method of building a parking garage, costing up to $1,000 less per parking space than other construction methods.

The contract award followed objections by a labor union which contends that the pre-cast construction method required for the parking garage shuts out many South Jersey workers from the project. The union proposed an alternate C method, which it said would put more South Jersey laborers to work.

You have to understand that when union reps talk about “South Jersey workers” they mean Camden and Burlington county – it is rare that workers from Cumberland County get to work on county projects. I challenged Nelson Thompson on this several years ago, and he simply said, “That’s the way it is.”  After all, these unions are all about lining their own pockets, the workers are an after-thought. It is unfortunate.

What is interesting is this statement from the union rep (emphasis mine):

Pre-cast concrete is not produced in the state of New Jersey and therefore does nothing to alleviate the unemployment crises we are all facing,” Gerety states in a letter sent to the freeholders earlier this month. “In fact, I believe it would … place many more local trades people to work without adding any additional cost.

As a matter of fact, Precast Systems, Inc., of Allentown, NJ is a supplier and manufacturer of precast concrete products for projects such as bridges and… surprise – parking garages!

Anyway, this contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, which is sort of an anomaly in Cumberland County where the higher bidder usually gets the project (in return for their generous contributions to the party in other counties, as a way of sidestepping pay-to-play laws).

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