December 04, 2007

Freeholder’s annual holiday gifts to taxpayers...

More patronage, nepotism and arrogance. Gee they shouldn’t have!

Word on the street is that the county is on the verge of creating 6 new Captain spots which will enable a politically connected Sergeant in the sheriff’s department, who scored the sixth highest on the Lieutenant's exam, be promoted.

It’s Christmas time, the county always has some kind of scam involving raises during the holiday season. It’s right after the Election and people won’t be paying attention, we’re all busy making cookies…..The UCWA is paying attention, and we’ll have more on the Sheriff’s Department shuffle soon.

Union County taxpayers will now be paying two superintendent salaries for one superintendent of weights and measures, the son of former Union Township Mayor Florio. Three law suits stemming from the promotion of the mayor’s son over 2 long-standing county employees who scored higher on a civil service exam cost in excess of $790,000. The prize? A lousy $8,000 pay raise all around.

The county recently settled a second lawsuit brought by employee Maria Todaro who was hired by the county Division of Weights and Measurers in 1993. Michael Florio joined the county 5 years later in 1998. The division is responsible for ensuring that gasoline pumps, supermarket scales, store scanners and other measurement devices are accurate.

Todaro who scored higher than Florio on a civil service exam, has a math degree, is bilingual, formerly worked for a law school dean and was a former packing manager for Proctor and Gamble. She has been secretary to the New Jersey Weights and Measures Association since 1997 and was employee of the month. Todero was able to prove that she was passed over for the county promotion because she is a registered Republican.

The only background information I was able to find on Michael Florio is that he is the son of former Union Township Mayor Florio.

In Maria Todero's first lawsuit a Union County Grand Jury, which found she was discriminated against, initially awarded Ms. Todaro $300,000. Ms. Todaro appealed the second part of the lawsuit, in which she argued she should be awarded the job because she was the most qualified candidate.

At the November 8th Freeholder meeting the county agreed to settle Todero’s second lawsuit for $200,000 and give her the Superintendents pay raise but they would not give Todaro the job.

Employee Joseph Freitas, who joined the county in 1987, 11 years prior to Mayor Florio’s son, also won $150,000 in a suit filed in Federal Court for being passed over for the same job. Freitas also scored higher than Florio on a civil service exam. The counties legal fees were $25,000.

Quote of the year:
"We were able to establish that Mike Florio had repeatedly bragged to several people that he was going to get the job because he was a Democrat, his father was a Democrat and that they had made connections to Sen. (Raymond) Lesniak," stated Todaro's attorney David Corrigan in a Star-Ledger article.

You can view the lattest settlement document HERE.

Next freeholder meetings are Thurs. Dec. 6th and Thurs. Dec. 20th. The Dec. 13th meeting has been cancelled.