David Mazur – “Not so fast…”

A letter to the editor with a word of caution today:

To the Editor:

An open Letter to the freeholders of Cumberland County: I like to discuss with you the hiring and firing process of our county employees. It is my understanding that as the governing body of Cumberland County you want to layoff or fire some of our department heads. The department heads are listed as follows: Jim Matlock, Public Safety Director, Public Works Director, Don Olbrich and Department of Aging Director, Dale Finch. Other possible layoffs include Jack Surrency, Mental health Division Director, Theresa Van Sant, Director Cumberland Area Transit System and finally 911 Emergency Division Head. At the state of the Cumberland County address, Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein stated that we closed the Cumberland Manor Nursing Home because it is the best position to take for all the citizens living in Cumberland County today.

Some of the children of the workers at the Cumberland Manor might say differently when they have nothing to eat and their parent’s homes are put into foreclosure. These children are Cumberland County residents too. This did not help them. Now we want to put six department heads jobs out for open competitiveness. County Administrator Ken Mecouch stated that one preliminary assessment showed the potential of a savings of $24,750 based on the consolidation surrounding one position, and attrition would yield savings difficult to calculate on an exact schedule. The freeholder director said that the Republicans had a right to fire everyone as the ruling party.

What about the taxpayer? how is it going to effect their taxes? As a taxpayer, I want to know how much is the hiring and firing going to cost Cumberland County taxpayers?
Mr. Mecouch stated it might save us a very small amount of money. But does it really? In 2006 I did a research report on how much money it cost the taxpayer from the moment the employee first came to the personnel office to apply for a position in government until the time they got out of orientation, which is about three weeks. Based on my findings, it cost the taxpayer about $8,500 per employee.

This amount includes background checks, fingerprints, processing fees, etc. Now we have probation period for each employee of about three months, which costs the taxpayer an additional $4,500. The grand total for each employee is $13,000. I am going to times $13,000 by six because the freeholders of this county are going to fire six department heads, which comes to $78,000 and we are going to times that number by two because the freeholders are going to hire six new employees, which comes to another $78,000, which comes to a total of $156,000. A dollar for every man, woman and child living in Cumberland County today because the Freeholder Director Kirstein told me that there are 156,000 citizens living in the county today.

I am now asking the freeholder board to form a committee to look into how much is it going to cost the taxpayer to fire six employees and to hire six new employees. Even if Mr. Mecouch figures it did save some money, $24,750, it’s going to still cost the taxpayer about $131,000 more in tax dollars. We the people demand that the freeholders form a committee to look into the hiring and firing process of our employees and to see if it is cost efficient to the taxpayer. A few years ago, I went to the courthouse and made a speech to the freeholder board. I stood with a woman who lives in Bridgeton. Freeholder Bill Whelan is the only one still having his seat on this freeholder board when I made that speech.

That night a woman from Bridgeton, Mrs. Dee Ryan, and myself were the first ones to present to the freeholders a plan on looking outside the box for solutions to solve our problems here in this county. Now everyone seems to be looking on the outside of the box to solve the county problems. I must say that I was wrong that night with looking outside the box to solve our fiscal problems. I have just proven this in our hiring and firing process.

You must look inside the box to find the right answers. When I look inside the box, I see five components — county government / tax dollars / taxpayers / employees and solutions. Being a program analyst and a writer for as long as I have, I know that sharing services with other counties and communities does not work. This does not work because everybody is fighting for control of anything, forgetting what the real problems are. What does work is shared sacrifices. Case in point again is our hiring and firing of county employees.

Government officials should get over the thinking concept of a certain party has the right to hire and fire employees and making citizens pay more taxes just because they are the ruling party. This format is working outside the box and not inside the box. We the people want to keep our employees. We the people want to keep our library and we want it fully funded. We the people want our landfill and we the people want our Cumberland Manor nursing home back so we can care for our senior citizens, not to put our problems off on someone else.

We the people do not want a shuttle service that is going to cost the taxpayer $1,100 a day and run for six months for a grand total of $2.5 million. We the people want a committee to look into the hiring and firing of our hard working employees. We the people, want the freeholders to put a freeze on the Rice notices to those county employees who are going to be effected by the notice until the committee looking into the way that the freeholder board hires and fires the county employees completes its investigation to see if it is beneficial to the taxpayer.

We the people do not want the county government officials to hire and fire our employees for political gain and not to save the taxpayer any money. We have heard from the politicians, we have heard from the government officials here in Cumberland County, and now the people have spoken, and they have spoken loud and clear.

David W. Mazur

3 Responses to David Mazur – “Not so fast…”

  1. Who appointed Mr. Mazur as the representative of the county residents? As another county resident, I too want the freeholders to do what’s financially and economically in the best interest of all county residents. Unfortunately, many of our current county department heads have received their jobs based upon their party loyalty and long time democratic support and not becuase they were the most qualified candidate for the vacant position. It’s high time this county stops the cronyism, nepotism and favoritism and starts hiring employees based on their qualifications, skills and abilities. If Mr. Mazur supports the county government saving money, he would surely want the most qualified individuals serving as county employees, especially those serving in the capacity of leadership roles such as department heads. County employment shouldn’t be based on whether an applicant has a D or an R following their name, but as long as people as ignorant as Mr. Mazur claim to “speak for the people”, these types of employment practices will continue. Then again, Mr. Mazur may not be ignorant, but just another Democrat desiring that the quid pro quo continue.

  2. WuLi says:

    There are several errors or misconceptions to Mr. Mazur’s letter. First, I will address the Manor. The Manor was not closed. The employees were not fired. The fact that Mr. Mazur misses these extremely important public facts that are public knowledge causes me to not take the rest of his letter seriously.

    The Manor was sold to the highest of three qualified bidders. The agreement for the sale was that all employees would be kept on staff, and their union contracts would be honored. There have been no single mothers thrown out of work so that their children could starve to death.

    Now, I have participated in debates over the wisdom of selling the Manor. This is a short term fix – and it is Haystacks Calhoun, I believe, who correctly pointed out that not one of the Freeholders that was in favor of this sale has any intention of being in County Government a decade from now, when the results of this sale will begin to bear fruit (whether rotten fruit or ripe, time will tell).

    Mr. Mazur then goes on to attack the Freeholders for reviewing certain politically appointed/hired positions. These positions, every single one, were created as rewards for political sycophants. Period.

    Whether we should callously discard positions without considering the financial impacts on the employees is certainly of concern. Destroying lives simply for a pittance of a questionable tax savings is a moral and ethical decision, as well as fiscal. It amazes me how many vocally religious people are so consumed with greed and avarice that they would sacrifice others for a savings of a penny.

    But that is not the real debate. The fact that every one of the persons in question were appointed/hired as favors for political activism is the worrisome thing. The fact that the ruling party is free to fire them and replace them with sycophants of their own is troublesome. THAT is what is wrong with the current system.

    If the people hired (and I am not saying that some of them are not doing a superb job, even though some are a definite hindrance to the county) were hired strictly on their qualifications, and party affiliation was strictly forbidden to be used as a criterion in hiring, the Freeholders might not even be reviewing the current situation today.

  3. SalarySam says:

    $1,100 per day for 6 months (say 183 days) = $201,300 NOT
    $2.5 million.

    It doesn’t take a math genius.

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