BY BILL CLEARY
CNBNEWS NOTE--Steve Volk, Philadelphia Magazine columnist wrote a scathing article about South Jersey Political Boss George Norcross that hit the streets today, April 3. In this latest controversial story about 'King George' he is arguing with Bill Ross, the executive director of the Newspaper Guild, representing editorial, advertising, circulation and finance employees. As we have seen in the past when Georgie throws a temper tantrum he doesn’t mince his words, and the F-bomb comes rolling easily off his tongue. The Philadelphia Magazine story also describes Boss Norcross throwing a water bottle against the wall as he storms out of the room, frustrated with Ross for not following his directions to write a press release condemning the Teamsters union.
Below the Norcross snippet there is some information about seven Camden County towns advertising for proposals to provide a feasibility study for the shared services of police administration. The towns are: Audubon, Collingswood, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Mount Ephraim, and Oaklyn. We have obtained a copy of the request that was released on March 14, 2013. Deadline for submitting the proposal is May 9, 2013.
PREVIEW: George Norcross: The Man Who Destroyed Democracy | phillymag.com
By Steve Volk
Underlings fear his wrath. Governors kowtow to his enormous political power. He might even have been prosecuted a decade ago if not for a bungled criminal investigation. But does all that make the new Inquirer owner, you know, a bad guy?
In a story this profane, a story about power and legacy, fathers and sons, a story in which F-bombs rain down in a kind of grid pattern designed to make sure offense is taken, it’s probably best to warm up, first, with an inappropriate reference to the female anatomy.
In this bit, George Norcross III, one of the new owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com, calls Bill Ross on his cell phone and asks him to put out a press release.
“I want you,” he says, “to condemn the Teamsters.”
There was an inflatable rat going up outside the Inquirer building on North Broad Street—the why doesn’t really matter—and Norcross wanted Ross’s help. This struck Ross as odd. As executive director of the Newspaper Guild, representing editorial, advertising, circulation and finance employees, Ross generally tries not to hurl invective at the unions representing other disciplines.
“No,” he said.
But the thing about Norcross is, he asks. Then he cajoles. Sometimes, if circumstances dictate, he makes an offer. According to Ross, Norcross called back and said, “Look, if you put out the release, I’ll let you pick the brand of coffee we provide free to employees.”
Now, in terms of incentives to compromise on his union principles, picking a type of coffee doesn’t reach Ross’s bar. He remained a no. The next day, another newspaper union issued a release critical of the Teamsters. So Norcross called again. He made an assessment of Ross, this man with whom he would later be negotiating, and went right after his manhood.
“You’re a pussy,” he said.
The relationship between Ross and Norcross, such as it is, has never really improved, especially considering the thing with the water bottle.
That event took place in person, in the conference room down the hall from Ross’s office, where one day last spring Norcross showed up, unannounced. He told Ross that the new ownership group needed to renegotiate all the preexisting contracts it had inherited when it bought the company weeks before. Moreover, he wanted Ross and the Newspaper Guild to let go of any seniority protections: If there were layoffs, tenure should offer no sanctuary.
He sat there, confident, in French cuffs, swigging from a water bottle, his pile of white hair looming, and he said to Ross, “My father used to say that seniority will be the death of the labor movement as we know it.”
Norcross’s late father, George Norcross Jr., served as president of the AFL-CIO unions in South Jersey. But Ross didn’t believe any labor leader would attack seniority, retorting: “I’m sure your dad never said that.”
“We need to get rid of the deadwood,” Norcross responded. “We’re paying your members just to breathe.”
“You’re talking to me like I’m a jerk-off,” said Ross at one point.
“No, not at all,” Norcross shot back. “I think you’re the smartest labor guy I ever worked with.”
“Now you’re just patronizing me,” Ross retorted. He ended the meeting, “Why don’t you just get the fuck out—and take your water bottle with you.”
Norcross responded by securing his water bottle tightly in his right hand and flinging it off the far wall—nowhere near Ross, but in a sense, right at his crotch. Then he walked out the door.
An insurance executive and the unquestioned leader of the South Jersey Democratic party, Norcross holds unshakable influence over offices from the mayor of Collingswood to the Camden County freeholders to the state senate. Within New Jersey, he boasts true omnipotence—his alliances with North Jersey Democrats are so strong that no governor can ignore his wants, and he is second only to Governor Chris Christie in terms of influence. But despite his great power over public offices, he has seemed to prefer that we not know him. For decades, through the ’80s, ’90s and early ’00s, Norcross kept to the shadows. He built a fortune in the relative anonymity of the insurance business. He led meetings in the political back rooms. And the little that leaked out to the rest of us cast him in villainous terms. On clandestine law-enforcement recordings, made public in 2005, Norcross boasted of his power and promised to make a profane end of his opponents—rapid-firing F-bombs and saying he’d see to it that those who crossed him were “punished,” “fired” and “crushed.”
He used the kind of language we associate with the Mob, and practiced an old-school bossism in which he engineered and exacted political victories and revenge. And this image of him, as a man reveling in power and gluttonous for more, seemed indelible. But in the past few years, something shifted.
To read the full version of this article, pick up a copy of the April 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine, on newsstands now.
THE COLONIAL ALLIANCE: NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that proposals and qualifications are being solicited by the Borough of Audubon, Borough of Collingswood, Borough of Haddonfield, Borough of Haddon Heights, Borough of Haddon Township, Borough of Mount Ephraim, and Borough of Oaklyn (collectively referred to as The Colonial Alliance), to obtain professional services to conduct a feasibility study for the shared services of police administration as described herein for The Colonial Alliance. Individuals/Firms responding to this Request for Proposal should have extensive experience, a knowledgeable background and qualifications in the provision of the services described herein.
The RFP package for this service is available on the web sites of each of the municipalities listed above and in Room 101 of Municipal Hall, Borough of Haddonfield, 242 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ, 08033 during regular business hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm.). Copies are also available from the Borough Clerks of each of the municipalities listed above.
The Borough requires that the RFP response be submitted by May 9, 2013 prior to 3:00 pm. There will be a public reading of the names and prices of the respective proposals at 3:00 pm on May 9, 2013 in Room 102 of the Municipal Hall.
The Colonial Alliance desires to appoint an individual/firm to conduct a feasibility study for sharing police administration among the seven towns.
While said shared service study will be awarded to an outside, third party Consultant with no nexus or relationship with any of the stakeholders as defined herein, the Consultant shall act as facilitator, coordinator and confidential counselor to the governing bodies and their designated staff and shall be responsible in all aspects for the interpretation, analysis and recommendations ultimately provided to the governing bodies and their designated staff.
The governing bodies of each participating municipality shall be permitted to view the report in caucus or closed worksession prior to the release to the public so that they may review same and become aware of its terms and conclusions. It is anticipated that such a preliminary review not occur for a period in excess of thirty (30) days. At or prior to that time, the final report shall be released to the public for public viewing, inspection and comment.
FROM THE COLLINGSWOOD PATCH--Collingswood has no plans to join the Camden County Metro Police force.
(APRIL 1, 2013)When a former borough resident asked Maley about the possibility of Collingswood “being pushed by the state” to join the county Metro Division, the mayor shot down the idea wholesale.
“I served on the task force that helped put together the county force,” Maley said. “The borough is not joining, has not joined; it’s not going to happen. What we’re concerned with and what we have focused on is making sure that we’re concerned with what happens here.”
Hmmm, it appears Mayor Maley forgot to mention the Colonial Alliance police force.
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