I already waxed too poetic, singing the praises of Bob Balicki’s job as Jail Warden. He has cut costs and expenditures in almost every area, and for that he should be applauded. However, and there always is a “however”… $3 MILLION in overtime costs annually is a serious issue. The Freeholders are absolutely correct in focusing on this, and looking for ways to save the taxpayers money.
Cumberland County is preparing to use a consultant to evaluate operations at its jail, in particular the facility’s overtime pay budget.The Board of Freeholders recently voted to advertise for proposals, and the resulting solicitation was sent out Monday. The board could be in position to review and decide on a consultant this month.
The Freeholders unanimously voted, and still Bill Whelan finds time to whine. He says that he has, in his omniscience, figured out that there is no problem and he knows the solution, so nobody should waste money on getting an independent, outside opinion.
Balicki is upset that anyone would dare question his leadership on this. Again, he needs to decide whether he wants to be a political kingpin or a jail warden – his opinion cannot be trusted with divided loyalties. The question that begs to be asked is why the county Democrats are so afraid of an independent audit of the jail? What mysteries or embarrassing secrets might be uncovered?
Sam Fiocchi is dead on the money:
As for a political angle, Fiocchi responded: “This is the problem when you have a county employee who is also a county (political) chair. I feel that to be a conflict of interest.”
The county sold the Manor due to an alleged $2 MILLION in losses every year. The perennially county is ready to close the library over a fraction of that. So why should the jail be exempt from public scrutiny? And a county political kingpin should have zero input into a decision that could possibly embarrass his party if he doesn’t like the opinion. This is yet one more reason why ALL public employees must be required to be unaffiliated with any political party. They are hired to serve the 157,000 county residents, NOT cover up for their party’s malfeasance or ineptness!
And Bill Whelan apparently knows exactly what the independent auditor will find. I guess he can see into the future, because he predicted that the audit will come to the exact same solution that he has in hi omnipotence:
Whelan indicated a new study that comes to the same conclusion about overtime costs would be a waste of money. “I’ve suggested we cap that (study) cost,” he said.
Yes, cap the cost, but allow the consultants to do their job. If you are merely hiring somebody to mimic your own words, then save us the money and keep on spending $3 MILLION every year. Better yet, let Balicki and Whelan pay the OT costs out of their own pockets… I bet you would see them change course immediately!