In a very disappointing move, Mary Gruccio stabbed her Republican compatriots in the back and sided with Bill Whelan in a move to protect the jobs of unqualified political appointees. It seems Whelan will do anything to save the job of Jim Matlock.
The jobs of six department heads are safe — for now, at least — thanks to Freeholder Mary Gruccio breaking with her fellow Republicans Thursday to vote against opening those positions to an application process.
Bill Whelan saw the writing on the wall, and just prior to the last election concocted a scheme to protect the jobs of loyalist political appointees and employees. Bill had to save face; he is the person that recommended and moved to hire Jim Matlock ($72,000 a year). Under Matlock, the OEM/911 Call Center has been mis-managed, now faces four federal EEOC lawsuits, and morale is at an all-time low. Under Matlock, one employee was fired for signing a complaint, another was placed on administrative leave for cooperating with investigators. Every employee lives in fear of their job, and is unwilling to speak up. They ones that have been willing to speak have all confirmed that the 911 Call Center is a “Hostile Work Environment”.
Don Olbrich ($70,000 a year) was major, hard-core, blinders-on supporter and contributor of Lou Magazzu and his regime. Olbrich was a “see no evil” sort of person when it came to partisan politics. As a reward, when he ran his own business into the ground he was give a plush county job with a pension, in a department that he had absolutely no experience running.
Jack Surrency ($65,000 a year) is a long-time party insider. He was appointed to a position heading the county Mental health Division despite the fact that the State of New Jersey declared him “unqualified” . As a result, the county is losing out on a State subsidy of Surrency’s salary.
And now Mary Gruccio is helping to ensure that the situation continues unabated. Make no mistake that this move by Whelan was a preconceived delay tactic. First a report is ordered, and now the waiting game. The report will be discussed, and tabled. Delay, delay, delay – the plan is to delay until next November when the Democrats will most likely win back their majority. At the very least, Whelan is buying time.
I would like to give kudos to Finch , Surrency and Olbrich for agreeing to participate in the public hearing, and to answer questions regarding their performance and job duties. I agree that they should not be forced to undergo a public flogging – nor should they be subjected to a witch hunt. However, the public does deserve to know what their jobs entail, and whether or not they are competent.
Personnel issues, and discipline issues, however, should only be done in private. I find it amusing that Bill Whelan was vocally against having this hearing public:
The meeting itself proved to be a point of contention among the freeholders, with Whelan leading the Democrats in questioning why the department heads needed to be questioned in public, adding they don’t have sufficient information to make a decision on consolidation or cast a vote on opening an application process.
MWatch began life, in part, because of a public with hunt led by Lou Magazzu. Magazzu and his minions public excoriated Ethan Aranoff in a shameful public execution of character. That sort of spectacle is never appropriate. However, every head needs to answer to the public about their duties so that we can make informed decisions.
It is a shame that Redkoles and Matlock refused to participate. What do they have to hide?