December 11, 2005

Christmas Bonus for the Child-Abusing Trough Swillers

This Thursday, Dec. 15, there will be two important meetings held regarding Union County government. Please choose one to attend.

At this Thursday’s freeholder meeting the one party ruled board will be giving themselves a $1,588 pay increase which will bring their salaries to $29,500 for their part-time positions. The freeholder chairman will get an additional $2,000 and the vice chair $500. This increase will be retroactive as were the last three. Despite the county spin from thier million-dollar public misinformation department, which was reported in the Westfield Leader this week, Union County salaries are not sixth in line in the state. The Star-Ledger reported that they are fifth in line in the state. Open Public Records requests which were placed to all 21 counties this year show our nine Union County freeholders are the THIRD HIGHEST PAID IN THE STATE. Behind: Hudson (nine freeholders @$36,569); Essex (nine freeholders @ $30,884); Monmouth and Ocean County freeholders are paid $30,000 but there are only five on their boards.

Their arrogance is breathtaking. They have no sense of decency to give themselves yet another raise when a law suit has just begun which resulted from the death of a juvenile while being held in their care. Not only is the detention center going to cost $20 million more then it would have five years ago, when they refused to build a new one, but the taxpayers are facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit because of their negligence.

If that’s not enough to take your breath away let me remind you of the recent Star-Ledger article that showed freeholder Daniel Sullivan driving an SUV 30,000 miles in one year with the taxpayers also picking up the bill for his insurance and gas. Sullivan and Freeholder Debra Scanlon will now be turning in their SUVs at the end of the year as well as former Freeholder Luis Mingo.

Mingo was quietly given a $60,000 county job last Janaury after "he decided" not to run again. There were no press releases on the county website or laudatory resolutions announcing his new position "that was created for him". Just an entry that showed up on the employee payroll list.

State Senator Raymond Lesniak’s nephew, the appointed Union County manager, George Devanney, has been driving a nine-seater Chevy Suburban which is designed for heavy hauling. Devanney told the Star-Ledger that he will be turning in his vehicle for “something smaller” in the New Year. We are one of 11 counties that offer our manager a vehicle. We also give our deputy county manager a vehicle.

Haven't lost your breath yet? We have the second highest-paid upper management. Most counties do without deputy county managers. Only seven out of 21 counties have this position. It was created for Sen. Lesniak's nephew. Sen. Lesniak's nephew in one of the top three paid managers in the state at 151,471. Our deputy county manager is the highest paid at $132,500. Their combined salaries put them behind only Camden, which employs a county manager and three deputies.

At the Dec. 15 freeholder meeting there will be a public hearing in which the public can speak, for no more than five minutes, and let the freeholders know how they feel about their retroactive pay raises. I’ve been there and done that and can testify to the fact that the freeholders and county manager don’t care what the public think of them. But, don’t let me stop you from telling them off. There is some satisfaction in that.

I will be attending the Change County Government forum to be held in the Summit municipal building on the same evening, Dec.15, at 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Essex county citizens have been studying what can be done to rein in their out of control county government. It has been long overdue for Union County to join this conversation.

Please either join me in Summit or go yell at the freeloaders and Sen. Raymond Lesniak’s nephew in Elizabeth. Enough is enough.

Contact me for directions:

Salary information of all 21 counties: