If you’re a Monmouth County Democrat thinking about a career in government, working on Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo’s freeholder campaign could be hazardous to your ambitions.
Luttrell and Grillo told the Asbury Park Press that the fact that Freeholder Director Lillian Burry’s 2011 campaign treasurer, Bill Bucco, was given a raise and a promotion after three years in a county administrative job where he streamlined operations and found $200,000 in revenue due the county that was never collected is “politics at its worst.”
I wonder how Luttrell and Grillo feel about the job Congressman Frank Pallone got for his wife at the EPA. Where were they when the Democrats had control of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders in 2009 and put their losing freeholder candidate, Glenn Mason, into the job has Director of the Office of Emergency Management?
I must have missed their press release condemning Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto’s new job as a “consultant” with ties to South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross, which Preito somehow manages to do while collecting six figures from his three government jobs.
The Essex County Democrats who are holding a fundraiser for Luttrell and Grillo next month don’t hire their campaign workers either. Right? Wrong. Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill left his job on Senator Cory Booker’s staff to work on his reelection campaign. I wonder where Gill will work when Booker is reelected?
“Politics at its worst” is creating a scandal where there isn’t one and besmirching someone’s good name for nothing more than your own political gain. That’s what Luttrell and Grillo are doing here, just like Luttrell and his 2013 running mate Brian Froelich did last year in their losing campaigns against Freeholders Tom Arnone and Serena DiMaso. Unfortunately, they apparently have no ideas on how to improve Monmouth County government, so we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of this nonsense between now and November.
Bucco was appointed Monmouth County Adjuster after Burry was reelected in 2011. The job was vacant due to a retirement and it had to be filled statute. By all accounts, Bucco performed very well in the job. He netted Monmouth County taxpayers $200,000 that was due from the state going back six years and he improved the record keeping and efficiency of his office. The Adjuster oversees the paperwork for residents with disabilities who are placed in State facilities and assists police departments in doing mental health background checks for people applying for gun permits.
In February, Bucco was assigned with making similar improvements in the Mental Health and Addictions Services Division. He was given a raise from $42,600 to $50,000 and the title, Acting Assistant Director. Bucco is an administrator. He does not deal with clients with mental health or addiction issues as part of his job.
But Luttrell and Grillo want to make Bucco’s job about the heroin epidemic.
“This affects people’s lives. This heroin epidemic in Monmouth County is nothing like we’ve ever seen before,” Luttrell said, who is running with Grillo this year against Burry and Freeholder Gary Rich. “They should care more about the people facing that epidemic than rewarding their friends and campaign staffs with political patronage jobs.”
Shameful politicization of a serious health crisis.
It is ridiculous to tie Bucco to the heroin epidemic. But since Luttrell and Grill did it, it should be noted that heroin deaths are down 19% on an annualized basis since Bucco got the new responsibilities. Not that he had anything to do with that result.
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