BY BILL CLEARY
The South Jersey Times wrote a scathing editorial, today, June 28, about political cronyism using former Deptford Township School Board President, Walter Berglund, as
According to the newspaper, Berglund resigned from his school board position in May 2012. Six months later he was hired as supervisor of building and grounds for the Deptford Township Schools at a starting salary of $89,000, plus pension, benefits and tenure. Come to find out, Berglund didn’t have the necessary credentials for the position.
Berglund is a former Deptford Democrat councilman and a fixture in Deptford politics for decades. He is a former resident of Gloucester City, who is/was involved with the development of the GAF property on Charles Street. His brother is the police chief in Gloucester City.
Every thinking person in Deptford Township knew something was up when Berglund, who had relished his school board post, suddenly quit. Some of them, fortunately, complained to the state Department of Education, which is investigating the hire. So far, state tenure has been denied, though the obviously complacent Superintendent Gary Loudenslager — whom Berglund himself had been instrumental in hiring — did say that Berglund is keeping the job.
On Thursday night, citizens at a school board meeting produced a letter from the DOE stating that Berglund's certificate, which he'd apparently obtained in April, was revoked.
Every now and then, there’s a case of good-ol’-boy hiring that shores up New Jersey’s well-deserved reputation for cronyism.
They’re not exactly illegal, most of these hires — or at least they can’t be proven so — but it sure looks fishy when, with so many well-qualified unemployed people, a school board should choose to hire its own former president for a high-salary non-teaching post, particularly when he didn’t have the qualifications for the job.
And especially when, big surprise, said board president had resigned from the board a conveniently legal six months earlier, long before his term was set to expire.
Meanwhile, the attorney who did the investigation for the state, had advised the district to amend Berglund’s job title to “Interim Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds.” Based on the new finding, he could have up to two years to keep the job under that title before obtaining the credential.
Typical New Jersey: Just change the name of the job to fit the desired crony’s resume. All those folks who already held the correct certification and wanted the job? Doesn’t matter.
DELAWARE RIVER SOJOUM TO VISIT AREA--– The Delaware River Sojourn culminates its 8-day journey down the Delaware River with a paddle centered around Philadelphia on Saturday, June 29, 2013. The launch will be from the docks of the Independence Seaport Museum, Penn’s Landing. Prior to launch, sojourners will listen to a program given by the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program’s David Lange on the newly named Urban Waters Federal Partnership for the Delaware River and will tour the Independence Seaport Museum. Sojourners will stop for lunch at Proprietors Park, Gloucester City, N.J. before heading back up to Penn’s Landing with the tide. Approximately 50 paddlers are expected to participate on this day. View daily itinerary with directions to the Independence Seaport Museum.