Winners and Losers of 2013, Part One

Winners

January 2013 seems like a long time ago.

The years are supposed to go by faster as we get older.  2013 missed the memo, at least for me. President Obama’s second Inauguration and Freeholder John Curley’s second swearing in seem like a long time ago.

Selikia Joshia Gore started us off in 2013 with a timeless call to renew our humanity; the ongoing struggle of saints and sinners to love one another regardless of standing, status or creed.   It is a winning message that works only by embracing our failures without resigning to them.

The Governor. Governor Chris Christie started the year lambasting House Speaker John Boehner and the Congressional Republicans for playing politics with Superstorm Sandy aid and ended the year as the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. In between he built a bi-partisan and multi-cultural coalition that reelected him with over 60% of the vote in Blue Jersey.   Christie had the best year of any politician in America.  Only Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin had better years globally.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  Menendez started the year on the losers list. Embroiled in a sandal of allegations of his cavorting with teenaged girls in the Dominican Republic and using the powers of his office to benefit the businesses of the donor who arranged the party, speculation was that he would resign as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if not his Senate seat.  Menendez seems to have survived an FBI investigation into his relationship with Dr. Saloman Melgan unscathed.

At the end of the year, Menendez’s position seems secure. He is the leading, and most powerful, critic of President Obama’s foreign policy.   His approval ratings are net positive 22 points in the last Monmouth University Poll. He got engaged to be married earlier this month.

Given where he started, Menendez may have had the best 2013 of any New Jersey public figure, other than Christie.

The Gramiccionis.  The Wall Township power couple had a very good year.  In March, Christopher, the Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor and U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, received orders to report for a 9 month tour of active duty in Afghanistan effective in August.  Those orders were canceled in July, keeping Chris on the job fighting crime in Monmouth County and home for the holidays.  Deborah was appointed by Governor Christie to be the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The job pays $289,657.

Monmouth County Republicans.  Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso were always expected to be reelected on the strength of their records and due to the fact that Monmouth County Independent voters usually vote Republican.  They make the winners list by virtue of fact that they ran as if they were behind, not taking any votes for granted.  More importantly, they ran a positive campaign based on reducing spending, holding the line on taxes, and improving services, in the face of yet another negative campaign on the part of the Monmouth County Democrats.

Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation.  Each member of Monmouth County’s Legislative Delegation deserves more recognition than space will allow.

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Posted: December 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Highlands Council Votes To Give DeBlasio His 6th Government Job

The Highlands Borough Council passed a resolution last night, in a 3-2 vote, to appoint Patrick DeBlasio to be the borough’s Chief Financial Officer effective May 1, 2014. DeBlasio is the CFO of Carteret, North Plainfield, and Keansburg. He is the treasurer of the Carteret Board of Education and the tax collector in Highlands.

In Carteret, DeBlasio also serves as a member of the Parking Commission.

The 40,000 salary that comes with the appointment will bring his total compensation from his six jobs to $284,606. All of DeBlasio’s jobs provide a pension. The borough plans to hire him an assistant for an undetermined salary.

Governor Chris Christie earns $175,000, as do U.S. Senators and Members of Congress. State Cabinet Officers earn $141,000. Superior Court Judges earn $165,000

The borough did not advertise the position or explore a shared services agreement with another town, as Mayor Frank Nolan and Councilman Chris Francy advocated. Rather, they voted to hire DeBlasio on the recommendation of retiring CFO Stephen Pfeffer, according to Council President Rebecca Kane and Councilwoman Tara Ryan’s remarks explaining the hire when they moved and seconded the resolution.  Pfeffer earns $69,580 as CFO in Highlands and $157,738 as the CFO of Tinton Falls.

During the public portion of the council meeting, Kane said she would reevaluate the decision after one year. However Borough Attorney Bruce Padula said that the appointment is for a four year term.  DeBlasio would be tenured after the initial four years.  Kane’s term on the council expires in June, due to a referendum passed by Highlands voters in November making the borough’s election non-partisan.  She is expected to run for another term.

In his remarks opposing DeBlasio’s appointment, Nolan said, “We are often the laughing stock of Monmouth County. This is one of the reasons why.”

Posted: December 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Francy, Frank Nolan, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Highlands Mayor Nolan Calls For Sharing Municipal Accounting Services, Criticizes Proposal To Give CFO Candidate A 6th Government Job

If one person can do six government jobs for $300,000, why can’t those governmental entities get together and hire one person to do that work for half the amount or less?

photo by Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, photo by Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office

In his column on facebook and Atlantic Highlands Herald, Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan said there is currently a contract being negotiated for a new Chief Financial Officer in the borough.  The candidate, who Nolan did not name, currently has five government jobs, including another job in Highlands, and earns $244,606. If hired as Highlands’ new CFO, the candidate would have to work 160 hours per week, theoretically, to justify the combined full time and part time salaries which would exceed $300,000.

As of this writing, there is a contract being written for someone to fill that position that already has 5 municipal jobs across the state. If this individual was to be given this 6th municipal job at our council meeting on December 18th they would be one of the top paid public employees in the state and would hold 2 jobs in the Borough of Highlands. His current salary listed on the state website is $244,606 for his 5 current positions. If we add another $65,000 to the total and highlands would be putting him over the $300,000 per year mark.

By definition most part time jobs are about 20 hours per week. The average fulltime job is 40 hours. If you have 4 part time jobs, that means you are working, in theory, 80 hours per week on those jobs. Plus you have 2 full time jobs. That’s another 80 hours. The person who is potentially being given a 6th municipal job at the Wed, December 18th council meeting that will be held at Highlands Elementary School at 8:00pm for the public. This person will be working 160 hours per week. There are 168 total hours in a 7 day week. How can someone work 6 jobs and be effective? The answer is: they can’t.

MMM believes the accountant is Highlands Tax Collector Patrick DeBlasio, who, according to APP’s Data Universe, has two jobs in Carteret, and one job each in Keansburg, North Plainfield, in addition to his tenured position in Highlands, all of which will pay a pension.

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Posted: December 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Government Waste, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »