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If you think that Governor Christie is going to deviate from his agenda and start giving the democratic stronghold of Hudson County money for the next few years you are crazy. He may even demand contributions TO the state FROM the local municipalities. What are you gonna do then? Make up another deceptive financial package to present to the citzens when the libray, community center, senior center, and any other viable entity is sold and shut down to make the massive payroll of Harrison. Harrison cannot even come close to making installments on their bond obligations. I hear from one of the candidates himself that the Mayor has told the 6 new fireman temporarily on hold that they will be hired in 2011 once all the dust settles and he can quietly slip them onto the payroll. Do you doubt it? No hiring ceremony, just a phone call and hide in the tall grass so nobody notices. Do you really honestly put it past him? I don't, not one bit. He loves the HFD so much that he would adopt them as his his own children if he could while hates the cops with a burning passion. When is Harrison going to get a real police station instead of a few rooms in town hall that is a complete humiliation to the whole town. Having a person who has been traumatized from a crime sit at an old high school desk that reads "I love Red Zepplin" and "Billy and Suzy 4 ever" carved into it is real professional. What a disgrace. The health dept. and violations bureau look like palaces with oak furniture, all brand new of course, and took precedent over the citizens right to to have a real dedicated Police Station with new technology.. The crime victims see no humor in this. The Police cars don't even work half the time to accomadate the 3 or 4 cops on the street. Can you imagine if they had 2 cops per car like many municipalities. That would make only 2 cops available to respond to emergencies. The criminals know this and salivate at their chance to make a qick buck. When you file a police report nobody follows-up on the incident. All its worth is the paper it is typed on and filed away. Better get your own gun and let the chips fall where they may.

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If you think that Governor Christie is going to deviate from his agenda and start giving the democratic stronghold of Hudson County money for the next few years you are crazy. He may even demand contributions TO the state FROM the local municipalities. What are you gonna do then? Make up another deceptive financial package to present to the citzens when the libray, community center, senior center, and any other viable entity is sold and shut down to make the massive payroll of Harrison. Harrison cannot even come close to making installments on their bond obligations. I hear from one of the candidates himself that the Mayor has told the 6 new fireman temporarily on hold that they will be hired in 2011 once all the dust settles and he can quietly slip them onto the payroll. Do you doubt it? No hiring ceremony, just a phone call and hide in the tall grass so nobody notices. Do you really honestly put it past him? I don't, not one bit. He loves the HFD so much that he would adopt them as his his own children if he could while hates the cops with a burning passion. When is Harrison going to get a real police station instead of a few rooms in town hall that is a complete humiliation to the whole town. Having a person who has been traumatized from a crime sit at an old high school desk that reads "I love Red Zepplin" and "Billy and Suzy 4 ever" carved into it is real professional. What a disgrace. The health dept. and violations bureau look like palaces with oak furniture, all brand new of course, and took precedent over the citizens right to to have a real dedicated Police Station with new technology.. The crime victims see no humor in this. The Police cars don't even work half the time to accomadate the 3 or 4 cops on the street. Can you imagine if they had 2 cops per car like many municipalities. That would make only 2 cops available to respond to emergencies. The criminals know this and salivate at their chance to make a qick buck. When you file a police report nobody follows-up on the incident. All its worth is the paper it is typed on and filed away. Better get your own gun and let the chips fall where they may.

THEY ARE BEGINING TO FALL

MAYBE THE FIRST BUT NOT THE LAST ,

DID THE PEOPLE REALLY SIGN UP FOR THIS ON HIS ELECTION ?

CAMDEN, N.J. Jan 16(AP) - Yet another crisis is upon this burdened city, among the most impoverished and crime-ridden in the country.

Deep layoffs of city workers go into effect on Tuesday - cutting up to 383 jobs, or one-fourth of the city's employees.

The exact number depends on whether public workers' unions make last-minute concessions. In any case, the cuts are likely to be deep - and could be a blow to the quality of life in a city where more than half the 80,000 residents, mostly black and Hispanic, live in poverty.

Worst case, the layoffs could slash half the police force and one-third of the fire department for this city just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Practically every other job in the city is likely to be affected.

"The fear quotient has been raised," said the Rev. Heyward Wiggins, pastor of Camden Bible Tabernacle in a rough neighborhood on the city's north side, who constantly hears from his congregants about the layoffs.

His Fellowship Choir of adults from their 20s to their 50s, used to practice on Thursday or Friday evenings. Now, Wiggins said, he's moving rehearsals to Sunday after worship services because members are afraid of being out after dark when the police force is cut.

Camden, rampant with open drug-dealing, prostitution and related crimes, was the nation's second-most-dangerous city based on 2009 data, according to CQ Press, which compiles such rankings. Camden ranked first the previous two years. The FBI said that in 2009, the city had 2,380 violent crimes per 100,000 residents - more than five times the national average.

Police Chief Scott Thomson has not made details of the cuts public, but has said the department will be reconfigured so that patrols won't be reduced. Other police agencies, such as the county sheriff's office, have agreed to help in the city.

A police union, meanwhile, took out a full page advertisement last week in the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill, warning that Camden would become a "living hell" if layoffs were not averted. Unions have been meeting with city officials, but no job-saving deals have been announced so far.

The anti-crime volunteer group Guardian Angels also says it will patrol Camden, as it has Newark, where there were major police layoffs in November.

The fire department, meanwhile, has already been relying on help from volunteer departments in neighboring towns. Interim fire chief David Yates, who retired Jan. 1, has warned that that layoffs will increase response times.

It's not just the public safety jobs that are being hit.

Garnet Grant, a city worker for 22 years, ensures that no one is inside vacant houses before he puts plywood on windows and doors to keep the homeless out.

Sitting in a big yellow box truck labeled "Board Up Crew," Grant says he knows he's not being laid off - but will likely have to do the jobs of several people in what's already a losing battle to board up homes. "We need more help," Grant said.

It's the struggling cities like Camden that could bear the worst of the fallout from the Great Recession as governments at all levels slash costs. Congress has signaled that it will allocate less money to states. And New Jersey, facing its own fiscal crisis, has begun cutting how much money it gives to cities. Camden, where 80 percent of the budget in recent years has come from the state, has the most to lose.

Howard Gillette, a Rutgers-Camden historian who wrote a book about the city's woes, said the layoffs are another setback for the long-suffering city.

"It adds to the burden of trying to get out of one of the deepest holes any city has fallen into in the postwar period," he said.

Three of Camden's past seven mayors have been sent to prison for corruption, including one who was convicted while he was still running the city.

Camden's troubles don't just revolve around bad governance.

During the generation between 1967 and 1990, all the city's major factories, including a shipyard and plants for RCA and the Campbell Soup Co., closed. Much of what's gone on the prime land they once occupied is at least partially tax-exempt.

Camden was afflicted by race rioting in the 1970s, decades of losing middle-class residents to the suburbs, and an epidemic of drug-related violence. The schools have been partially under state control.

So dire is the budget crisis that officials threatened to shut down the entire city library system. That was averted, but only partially. One of three branches has been closed, a second is set to close next month and the county library system is taking over the third.

In recent years, the state has given unprecedented aid - $175 million to upgrade old sewer lines and expand the city's aquarium, a hospital and university campuses - hoping to lure developers and generate tax money. Little private development has resulted so far.

The layoffs themselves may be putting some smaller-scale investments at risk. The coffee shop Ron Ford opened across from City Hall eight years ago might close soon. City employees worried about their jobs aren't coming in as much - and next week, there won't be as many of them. "I'll ride it out until tax season," he said. "But it's been a nightmare."

The state government, facing its own financial difficulties, is reducing aid even though the city depends on it more than ever.

Camden received $121 million in state aid for fiscal 2010; it currently gets $115.6 million, of which $17 million is being withheld by the state until the city demonstrates that it's complying with reform promises.

Its budget for fiscal 2010 was $185 million. The spending plan for the current year - which has not been adopted - is $138 million, a cut of 25 percent.

More than half of what Camden gets from the state is in so-called "transitional aid" subsidies to force more self-sufficiency. Republican Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to phase that out.

Rutgers' Gillette says the city may be able to shift resources to weather the layoffs in the short-term, but that isn't the city's only problem.

"The larger issue, which is the most frightening and disturbing, is a governor of the state who tells the city of Camden, 'You have to get your house in order and in four years, you have to be self-sufficient,'" he said. "The idea that Camden could pull itself up by the bootstraps, that can't happen."

Kelly Francis, a local government watchdog and president of the city's NAACP branch, says the city should have been shedding its staff for decades.

He says, for instance, that it was a mistake to use federal grants in the 1990s to bulk up the police department as the city's population shrunk. The federal funds eventually dried up, leaving the city to pay costs it couldn't afford.

"It seems to me there's an entitlement mentality in the city of Camden," Francis said. "It's been at least 40 years that the state's been bailing out the city."

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You can just replace the word "Camden" in that article with the word "Harrison" and it would be the same situation, only on a smaller scale. The reason the library, senior center, and recreation center are closed most of the time is to keep them in good repair for a good sales price. I give it until the end of the year until these buildings are sold or forfeited to meet bond obligations. Even though crime is gonna go wild in Harrison because failure with this Mayor is imminent, you'll still have all the patronage and nepotism jobs, as well as a not needed $5 million dollar a year ONLY FOR SALARIES FIRE DEPT. going strong with possibly added personnel. All of this money goes right our of town. I would bet that not more than $100.00 dollars a year is spent in local businesses by the mighty fire dept. It's gonna be a long, violent summer on the streets baby.

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Christie orders Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission to explain friends, family in payroll records

Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 8:55 AM

Gov. Chris Christie has given the commissioners of the state’s largest sewerage authority seven days to explain why they appear to be using their agency as a "piggy bank" for friends and family, or he will likely demand all seven resign.

Christie said his chief counsel, Jeff Chiesa, will be sending out letters later today on the governor’s behalf to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners, requesting they list all hires they had been involved with; account for all family members they have on the payroll; provide records of all raises that were authorized, and a justification for each.

"My initial inclination would have been to demand resignations, but fairness would dictate allowing them seven days to explain themselves," said the governor bluntly.

The action came a day after a report in The Sunday Star-Ledger, which found widespread financial abuse and favoritism within the PVSC, including well-paying jobs for brothers, wives, children and in-laws; sweetheart deals for insiders; lucrative, no-bid consulting contracts, and lavish travel expenditures.

In an unusual public rebuke for a state agency, Christie called the PSVC "a remnant of New Jersey that should be part of our embarrassing past." At the same time, he urged the Legislature to give him veto power over the troubled authority, which operates one of the largest sewage treatment plants in the country.

"They appear to be using this place as a familial piggy bank to take care of their friends, relatives and political associates," declared the governor. "If this doesn’t convince the Legislature that, at a minimum, I need veto authority over the commission, I don’t know what will."

Unlike most other public authorities in New Jersey, the PVSC — which has a $161 million budget — faces no state review of its spending. The governor also cannot act to reverse any of its actions.

The Star-Ledger examination found the agency had handed out costly contracts to benefit the communities of individual commissioners. Other documents obtained under the Open Public Records Act found the commissioners kept a scorecard to keep track of the jobs they each had to give out, which were known as the "commissioners’ rounds."

Numbered like NFL draft round choices, the internal records showed one commissioner picked his daughter-in-law when his turn came. Another picked his wife. Others routinely hired those with ties to elected officials.

Commissioner Carl Czaplicki, who also serves as director of the Jersey City Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce, sponsored his wife’s hiring. He selected Vanessa Czaplicki as a 21st round pick in 2003 as a $47,664-a-year account clerk. She now makes $70,676. His brother, John, makes nearly $90,000.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

• Records reveal Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission a gold mine for insiders

• N.J. Attorney General investigates Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

• N.J. Gov. Chris Christie pushes former Somerset County prosecutor to lead Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

• Embattled Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission chief quits $313K-a-year job

• Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission faces more scrutiny of salaries, hiring

Kenneth Pengitore, the Republican mayor of Haledon, landed jobs for his son, daughter and daughter-in-law after he became a PVSC commissioner. Then, two years ago, his fellow commissioners hired him as their chief financial officer. Pengitore now earns $163,869 a year.

Commissioner Frank Calandriello, who also serves as the mayor of Garfield, reported on his financial disclosure forms that two cousins and his cousin’s wife all work for the commission, as does as his brother-in-law.

None returned calls for comment.

At least 85 of Passaic Valley’s 567 employees were found to be making more than $100,000, while three are paid more than $200,000, according to the newspaper’s findings. At the top of the list was Anthony Ardis, another former commissioner and one-time congressional aide, who is getting paid $220,443 and was given a car, a high-end Ford Expedition SUV that sells for more than $34,000.

Christie made it clear that he thinks the commissioners will have a hard time convincing him they have run the agency properly.

"I think it would be very hard to justify hiring your wife and brother, or hiring commissioners to high-paid positions — whether it’s Mr. Ardis or Mr. Pengitore," he said. "I can hardly see the justification for the salaries and cars for folks that are helping us handle sewage."

Monday was a state holiday and PVSC Chairman Anthony Luna, who also serves as the municipal manager of Lodi, could not be reached for comment.

The commission, created by the Legislature in 1902, is responsible for about a quarter of all the wastewater generated in New Jersey — about 330 million gallons per day — handling the sewage from 48 member municipalities in Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties, including Newark and Jersey City.

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-LedgerAnthony J. Luna, the chairman for file. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission is an obscure agency whose payroll is swollen with the friends and family of those with political clout, while records show the funneling of thousands of dollars in no-bid contracts to political insiders.

The commission is run by a nine-member board, with two representatives from each county it serves and one at-large member, all appointed by the governor. However, senatorial courtesy, the unwritten yet closely followed rule that giving state senators veto power over nominees from their legislative districts, gives the Legislature a measure of control. Four of the current commissioners are holdover appointees whose terms have expired — one back in 2008 — but have not been replaced because of senatorial courtesy, which is also holding up two of Christie’s nominees.

Two other seats are currently unfilled. One has been vacant for five years.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who has tried for years to pass reform measures to put the PVSC under some state oversight, has complained that people from both parties get jobs there, giving the agency "some semblance of bipartisan protection."

Christie said she was right. "No one wants to change it because its a great gig for everyone who’s there," he remarked.

Administration officials say they have taken a series of steps over the past year to curb the excesses of Passaic Valley. The Governor’s Authorities Unit insisted on cuts in contracts to lobbyists, restriction of out-of-state travel and cutting holidays back to the same number other state employees receive.

They also pressured the agency’s executive director, Bryan Christiansen, to leave last year. He was replaced at the governor’s request by former Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest.

However, Christie said Forrest simply doesn’t have the power to do the things that need to be

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You can just replace the word "Camden" in that article with the word "Harrison" and it would be the same situation, only on a smaller scale. The reason the library, senior center, and recreation center are closed most of the time is to keep them in good repair for a good sales price. I give it until the end of the year until these buildings are sold or forfeited to meet bond obligations. Even though crime is gonna go wild in Harrison because failure with this Mayor is imminent, you'll still have all the patronage and nepotism jobs, as well as a not needed $5 million dollar a year ONLY FOR SALARIES FIRE DEPT. going strong with possibly added personnel. All of this money goes right our of town. I would bet that not more than $100.00 dollars a year is spent in local businesses by the mighty fire dept. It's gonna be a long, violent summer on the streets baby.

Barney !! You never know where Barney will pop up. He must have called out sick again today.

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