Bruce Paterson of Garwood presented his 2nd annual address to the freeholders this evening: “Union County Countdown to Disaster-2006, the Year in Review.”
The previous year 2005 was a disastrous year for this county government all at the expense of the residents. So in the beginning of 2006, I challenged Chairman Mirabella and the freeholder board to use accountability in the administering of this government. Lets countdown the year together to see how we did.
February-a second lawsuit in 5 weeks is lodged against the county, this one alleging the death of an inmate who died in custody due to the withholding and lack of medical treatment. Suit ongoing.
March-Oh, oh the runaway budget is up another 5%, taxes up another 5% totaling over 50% increase in 6 years for the hapless county residents. And the freeholder board comes up with press releases that say they want to help contain your taxes.
March- When the initial county budget numbers were released, there was a $13 million dollar mistake. Finance director Carolsselli, it turns out is moonlighting working as the finance officer for Linden. Finances are not to be taken lightly especially in 2 burdensome jobs. But it appears that this blatant pension padding for Director Carolsselli since he is planning to retire in a few more years, a second job will boost his pension close to another $30 grand a year. And the residents have to live with the financial mistakes.
April- While Chairman Mirabella wrote a feel-good letter to the local media about childhood drinking, he turned a closed eye last summer to the county allowing a 3 time convicted drunk driver to go free in lieu of being incarcerated. It turns out the felon was a county worker and good friend of the county manager George Devanney. The judge in the case actaully had to have that guy hauled back to jail.
May- The county wide newsletter “Union County Directions” which is sanctioned by the freeholder board, has an article by Senator Lesniak, the county manager’s uncle. In it Lesniak calls a school district and I quote: “the poster child for waste and corruption”. However, if a resident calls the freeholders corrupt, he gets gaveled and threatened. One wonders just who the freeholders boss is- the residents or Lesniak?
May-we all know about the abuse of power in the attorney general Zulima Farber case. What a fiasco, and then it turns out that a sitting freeholder Estrada is being investigated for taking part in this episode by allowing the boyfriends license to be restored without going thru proper legal procedure.
June-it came to light thru a lawsuit that a developmentally disabled person back in 2004, fell from the back of a county bus and died. This was hushed up by the county…until this year.
June- Sheriff Froehlichs son, who is an officer working in the county appears to have manipulated a county auction and ended up with $150,000 worth of cars for $300. The car dealer sued and won to stop this travesty.
June-A large amount of Tainted dirt was found dumped in the county owned quarry. No one knows how it all got there especially since the quarry is a closely monitored operation.
July-Union County is rated in the top ten counties in the nation for taxation
July- A lawsuit was filed against Freeholder Proctor for sexual harassment. This is the second one. The taxpayers are of course footing the bill. The county attempted to keep the news from the public.
August-Undersheriff Cryan is simply reprimanded for taking gratuity in the form of PGA golf tournament tickets and not reporting it. And he is in the law enforcement department.
August- The government records ruled against the county that the county wide newsletter, “Union County Directions” is proven an instrument of the county government. And as such all the political photos plastered within of those incumbents up for election and paid for by the county is misuse of taxpayer’s dollars. Hundreds of thousands of dollars is spent on this type of political misuse.
August- it came to light about an officer Fanellis lawsuit. She was heavily intimidated, demoted and embarrassed for not agreeing to support untrue statements said by a county officer. The cost of the lawsuit is approximately $1.5 million. All at the expense of the hapless county taxpayers.
September-County music fest at nomahegan park had the county government VIP tent suppied with alcohol, but no permit was taken out for it. A government spokesperson said the government doesn’t have to abide by its own laws. Isnt that nice.
September-Heres a quote from guy who should be the next freeholder chairman: Union County assistant prosecutor William Kolano- “People who work for the government will pay an extra price for their misdeeds.’ May I add-unless you have friends in government.
September-Trip to Chicago-15 county employees-taxpayers foot the bill for over $20,000 and counting. Next largest county contingent was only 6 members.
October-a $2 million dollar no-bid communications contract was found to be given out to freeholder scanlons sister. Although Scanlon was at the meeting when the vote took place, the records show that she excused herself. This contract was lumped into a larger amount and no discussion was done on this. Good to have friends in government.