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CNBNews Cheers and Jeers July/August 2019

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William E. Cleary Sr | CNBNews Editor

CHEER- Fifty-eight years ago the Gloucester City Democrat mayor and council announced on November 4, 1961 the fourth tax cut for residents in five  years.  We admit we are a little late in handing out praise to these council members. But,  we still feel they deserve kudos for being one of the only councils in Gloucester City's 151 year history to accomplish such a fete. Gloucester City was founded in 1627 and incorporated in 1868. We long for the "Good Ole Days" when those in charge of our local government actually practiced sound financial management. 

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JEER--July 31 CNBNews filed an OPRA request with Paul Whitman, the interim school administrator for the Gloucester City School District for cost of installing solar panels on the three districts schools. We also wanted to know how much the solar panels would save the district in electricity costs. Specifically we asked for a copy of the contract/work agreement between the contractor, NEPsolar and the school district, cost for installation, and the estimate in electrical savings the district will realize as a result of the solar panels. Whitman, on August 8 replied relative to Question 1, no responsive document exists.  Relative to question 2, the cost of the solar panel installation is not borne by the district, hence, no responsive document exists.  Again, for question 3, there are no responsive documents. Digging deeper we found a copy of the advertised legal notice the school district placed for bids to erect the solar panels signed by Dr. Dennis Vespe, school supt.

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The work on the panels at the Cold Springs School complex are just about completed. Similar structures have also been erected at the High School and the Middle School. How much it is costing taxpayers and how much money will be saved by the solar energy is not known because the school board is keeping it a secret. CNBNews photo

 

August 14 we filed a similar OPRA with Whitman requesting more detailed information about the costs. After eight days Whitman requested another extension which we granted because he was absent from work for a week. When that extension came and went Whitman asked for second postponement until September 18.

As the interim business administrator Whitman only works three days a week.

Despite the Government Records Council (GRC) rule that there be a back-up custodian of records, the Gloucester City School District, as far as we know has no one in that position.

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The GRC stipulates a response in seven working days. The seven (7) business day response time begins when the custodian receives the OPRA request. The GRC also states there should be another employee designated to receive/fulfill requests in custodian’s absence. 

Since the Gloucester City Board of Education is violating the GRC requirement by not having an employee designated in the custodian's absence we are considering asking the GRC to cite the district. Incidentally, a copy of each of our OPRA requests for the information was also sent to School Supt. Vespe.

CHEER- NJ Advance Media for NJ.com named Gloucester Catholic High School as one of the 50 Best New Jersey Private High Schools for Sports in 2019. The Rams came in at Number Two. The schools that
made the rankings represent nearly every county in the state and
include some of the most storied sports programs in New Jersey
history.The yearly study is compiled mainly through data from the U.S. Department of Education and millions of questionnaire reviews by students and parents from New Jersey and states across the nation, according to Niche.com's website

 CHEER- Gloucester City Council recently passed a resolution urging the Philadelphia police to do something about the loud music coming from their community which is disturbing residents of Gloucester City. The July 25, 2019 resolution calls on Philadelphia police  to take "swift and immediate action to" stop the noise and "restore the quiet and peaceful tranquility to Gloucester City."

 

JEER- For whatever reason when you call the Gloucester City Public Works Department at 456-0781 you receive an answering machine recording that states after three rings, "Your call is being answered by IT Office. Extension 300 is not available. To leave a message wait for the tone."  Why don't they identify themselves as the Public Works Department? Also, why does the Public Works Superintendent ride around the city in an unmarked vehicle with no identification on the panels of the vehicle?  Doesn't the state of NJ require commercial licensed vehicles to display the name of the owner and the weight of the vehicle somewhere on the truck?

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CHEER--Brooklawn American Legion Post 72 won its 30th State Championship on Wednesday, July 31 defeating Broad Street Park Post 313 by a score of 3-1 at Kean University's Jim Hynes Stadium Wednesday night. Broad Street Park was the defending 2018 state champs.

 

CHEER- Gloucester City Mayor and Council honored local pool champs Jack Marcellus, a Master Pool Player and Gino Gambone, 14, who won the national champions title at the Junior American Pool Players 9-ball tournament in St. Louis, Missouri recently. Gambone is the son of Greg and Sarah Gambone. 

 

CHEER--Longtime Gloucester City resident Sam Costanza celebrated his 90th birthday in August by skydiving with friends. 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!- On August 1, 2019 ClearysNoteBook aka CNBNews (www.gloucestercitynews.net) celebrated its 13th anniversary. What started out as a lark in the summer of 2013 has grown into a 24- hour/7 days a week daily news blog. Since that time we have published 65,631 total posts and 38,816 comments. Those numbers continue to grow daily. We like to thank the reporters, columnists, and photographers who have helped us over the years. They include: Bill Bates,  Frank Batavick, Gus Danks, Austin Darrow, Bruce Darrow, Jill Darrow, Gary Devine, Earl Foster, Anne Forline,  Will Levins, Rich Luongo (deceased), Mark Matthews, Hank Miller (deceased), Nicole Pensiero, Slim Randles, John Reynolds, Steve Skipton (deceased), Dan Watson (deceased), Dawn Watson, and artist Dave Wolfe. Also thank you to my lifelong companion, friend and wife Connie, who proofreads my weekly columns and keeps me straight when I go astray, and our typist Connie Lynn Woods.  Finally, thank you to all those who take the time to post their comments. We appreciate your support and your criticism. ~Bill Cleary

 

 

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