August 23, 2006

Freeholders are working for taxpayers pro-bono

Freeholder Nancy Ward, ran as an incumbent last year after just recently being appointed by the Union County Democratic Committee to replace Freeholder John Wohlrab who kind of/sort of resigned after being charged with alleged domestic violence.

During the freeholder debates the question was asked as to what the county was doing to curtail gang violence. Freeholder Ward, who had been on the board for approximately one-month at the time, responded that she had been participating in a gang task force and that Union County had nothing to worry about because “gangs are really not a big problem in Union County”.

A collective gasp could be heard in the audience which caused Ward to pout and repeate “they’re not”.

I was glad to read in the Westfield Leader this week that Freeholder Ward has now learned some truth about the gang problem in Union County. I have friends with children in just about every town in Union County. The truth is gangs are everywhere and they are a huge problem. My hometown of Cranford has at least one parent meeting a year which focuses on the influence of gangs and what to watch out for. I know a security guard who works in the Linden School District where Freeholder Ward lives. He told me they are constantly having emergency meetings to address gang related problems.

At the last meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Freeholder Ward, who was reelected despite her name not being printed on the ballot, discussed that
she recently participated in a three-day program called “the truth about gangs”. Ward called the program a great success.

The Westfield Leader quoted Freeholder Chester Holmes, who also attended the conference and agreed it was a success. Holmes said “To keep me from 12:30 to 6 on a Saturday pro-bono; it had to be good.”
The truth about Union County Freeholders is they get paid $29,500 for their part-time positions (the freeholder chair is paid $31,500 and the assistant chair $30,500). Besides being expected to say-awake during the 3-dozen freeholder meetings a year, being available for a few hours on a Saturday to address the violent gang problem that is plaguing most towns in Union County shouldn’t be considered volunteer work. Holmes gets paid well, in fact Union County freeholders are the third highest paid in the state.

If Freeholder Holmes is concerned about having to do county work pro-bono, I’d suggest he get himself another job, preferably someplace where he can comfortably nap, without having to wear his shades, during convenient work hours.