NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

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TIPS AND SNIPPETS:Some Good News, Some Bad News and Some Stuff- In- Between

By Bill Cleary

TIP-The contract talks between the City of Gloucester City and the PBA Local 40 union have broken down. As a result the negotiations are now in front6a00d8341bf7d953ef011571114c5a970c-800wi of an arbitrator. Cost for both sides for arbitration, $20,000 each. According to my sources the City wanted the 27 member union to accept a package that gave them a zero percent raises plus pickup some of the cost of their health benefits.

Mayor Bill James said, “The country is in the middle of a recession. We have asked all bargaining units to work with us this year so no one will lose their job. Businesses in the private sector are laying people off. Some are going out of business altogether. Homeowners are facing foreclosures. Unemployment is at an all time high. The City has no money available for raises.”

The police union, according to my sources, says if that is the case why did mayor and council recently hired a new employee for the 32 man fire department.

“Why did mayor and council promote six provisional firemen to regular employees? “

Continuing he says, “The public doesn’t realize how undermanned the police department is today. Each shift in the police department only has four men working. Nothing against the firefighters but in comparison they have seven men working each shift. ”

“How can mayor and council ask the police department to pay more for their health benefits yet some of them accepts free health services for themselves and their families paid for by the taxpayers. And if they opt out of the health plan they are reimbursed for doing so. They are part-time government officials being paid full-time benefits, costing taxpayers approximately $80,000 annually a year”.

I am told the morale among the members of the police department is at an all time low.

Stay tuned more to come.

TIP-Rumor heard on the street that Police Chief Bill Crothers (28 years of service) and Deputy Chief Mike Kaye (27 years of service) will be retiring the end of August. Mayor and Council just gave the two men a nice pay raise increasing the salary for chief to $120,292 and the salary of Deputy Chief to $115,528.

Mayor Bill James would not comment on the rumor.

SNIPPET-Some good news to share the Brooklawn Police Department received $350,000 from the federal government through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to hire a police officer for three years. Besides Brook lawn 17 other towns in the state of New Jersey qualified for the program.

Sad though to report the Gloucester City Police Department, who also applied for the federal funding, didn’t qualify. Lt. George Berglund, police spokesperson explained, “One criteria for the grant is that a community must have a high rate of violent crime to qualify for the monies. The good news is our crime stats show that violent crime is down in Gloucester City. On the other hand because it is down, we don’t qualify for this program.”

Berglund said the awards are based on the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

The other towns include: Asbury Park, $1.3 million for 5 officers; East Orange, $3.2 million for 14 officers; Fairfield, $343,322 for 2 officers; Frenchtown, $204,618 for 1 officer; Hamilton (Mercer), $1 million for 4 officers; Orange, $964,875 for 5 officers; Paulsboro, $206,900 for 1 officer; Pennsauken, $1 million for 4 officers; Pleasantville, $834,531 for 3 officers; Salem, $240,419 for 1 officer; Union City, $2.2 million for 8 officers, and Wildwood, $819,120 for 3 officers.

The municipalities receiving money under the program must guarantee a fourth year of employment and pick up the salary and benefits within their budget.

TIP-Reporter Bill Bates wrote a nice story about the Mount Ephraim Police Department. Mount Ephraim was one of eight Camden County communities that were awarded a $6,000 grant for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) Enforcement from the State of New Jersey.

The Mount Ephraim Police Department (MEPD) has made an average of 29 DWI arrests a year over the past four years. Last year was among the highest with a total of 38 arrests. From 2000 to 2004 the MEPD made an average of 19 DWI arrests. DWI arrests have increased almost 25 percent from five years ago. read article

If you have a TIP or SNIPPET you would like to share send it to [email protected]

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