I am sick and tired of Bill Whelan whining and crying about how unfair the Republican Freeholders are to him. Boo Hoo! Bill, life is not fair – it certainly was not fair when your party held the reins, but in typical manner you never once opened your mouth. See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.
In a move the took everybody by surprise, the republicans yanked control of the Juvenile Detention center for Bob Balicki and handed it over to Mike Barruzza. Now I have to state that Balicki has no business being both Warden of the Cumberland County Jail and Chair of the Cumberland County Democratic Party. If he wants to play politics, he needs to quit his job. if he wants to be jail Warden, he needs to keep the hell out of politics. That position is too critical, and one might be accused of partisan politics, such as placing a political enemy in solitary confinement, nude, for four days. One could be accused of denying a person the right to call their attorney after being illegally arrested, part of a political conspiracy where a Democrat appointed judge signs a warrant, a Democrat Sheriff hand-picks officers to make an arrest 20 minutes after the warrant is issued, and the Democrat Jail Warden is told to make life as unpleasant as possible for the new guest.
But personal animosity aside, Balicki is doing a superb job as Warden. He has made unpopular decisions. He is bright, and has publicly stated that the jail should be reserved only for criminals and not used as punishment for civil infringements. Through his management he has reduced the jail population. About the only complaint I can find is the abuse of overtime. If he can get a handle on the OT, then he gets my vote of 100% confidence on administration.
However, the Juvenile Detention center has been riddled with problems and scandals. MWatch, last year, reported on the abuse and falsification of time cards. The Jail is a big job, and apparently handling the jail and the detention center at the same time is too much for one person. You simply cannot give two jobs 100% of your focus. One will suffer, and in this case it is the detention center.
So a couple words to Balicki, “man up”.
A flustered Balicki told the freeholders he was not alerted of the major change — he found out about it by reading the freeholder meeting agenda Tuesday afternoon.
“I just don’t understand it at all,” he said, addressing the freeholders. “I’ve put a lot of time and effort into Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI), putting effort into cutting down on crime, and to only find out about this in the agenda, I don’t understand how that can happen.
“I’m even scheduled to make a trip to Houston next week for the JDAI. So, I hope whoever you have coming in is well versed in that.”
Bob, you are friggin’ chair of the CCDO, and your party was nefarious, especially under Lou Magazzu, of blind-siding the Republican minority on a regular basis. Paybacks are a bitch, ain’t they?
Democratic Freeholder William Whelan, who is the board’s liaison for the jail and center, said Wednesday that “none of it was discussed with me.” He was not at the board meeting due to an out-of-state business meeting, he said.“But my position is, whether it is discussed or not, if the majority votes to do something then we need to work with the (person),” Whelan said. “My disappointment was there was no conversation.
Bill – ditto my advice to Balicki. And if your “business” is more important than serving the county taxpayers, it is time for you to decide exactly where your priorities lie. It is inexcusable to miss a meeting of this magnitude. When you miss a meeting, stop crying about being out of the loop. the street goes both ways, and YOU have to make the effort to be included.
Tony Surace needs to do his homework before speaking out and attempting to attack his Republican opponents. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was uninf0rmed and not lying when he raised the specter of an added $70,000 salary. However, I do expect all of our Freeholders to have a clue about what goes on in the county. It WAS public knowledge that this position at the JDC was not a new one. The only change is giving autonomy to the new head. And Mike Barruzza is more than qualified for this job – my only regret is that he is not our Sheriff. We need a person that doesn’t lie to be the top dog in county law enforcement – Bob Austino lacks credibility and integrity.
Finally, yes the Democrats need to stop whining like little girls about these alleged slights. They all are guilty of the same. But, the Republicans need to take the high road. Blind-siding the opponents was wrong when perfected by Lou Magazzu, it is just as wrong when practiced by them.