Dorothy Philbin l CNBNewsnet
Car 54 Where Are You? was an old-time (1950s) television comedy about the zany adventures in a New York City police station. Police Car 54 was assigned to officers Twitty and Muldoon and much of their conversation took place through the front windshield of the car. We always knew where Car 54 was.
How about Gloucester City? Do we have a Car 54? The citizens who pay for the 34 vehicles in the police fleet, plus gas, maintenance and possibly insurance deserve to know not only where Car 54 is, but where all the cars are. Usually there are five or six cars in front of the old firehouse or in the church parking lot. One court night there were 12 cars in the area. That's a start, but where are the 22 - 28 missing vehicles?
They are not in the area of the police station. Neither are they in the mega-lots owned by the city (one under the Walt Whitman Bridge and the other by Holt's.) By the way, who owns all the cars which are parked in those lots? That's something else to look into.
Occasionally there will be a car parked in front of a house around dinner time - but only one. Of course, some of the cars are being used for patrols but when a car is seen on patrol there are usually only five cars at the station's parking lot. Six cars accounted for seems to be the magic number.
An OPRA request will be submitted soon requiring the city to tell its citizens and taxpayers where all the vehicles are. In addition, the request will also require the city to reveal how and with which company the city vehicles are insured. When asked, the verbal answer was that the county takes care of insurance. When calling the county for an answer, the county financial person said "Who told you that? No, the county has nothing to do with municipal insurance. You need to ask your city manager/administrator."
In the city's budget is a $75,000 "retainer" for George Norcross's insurance company. Could this be for the city's insurance? If so, why not just put this into the budget so people don't have to guess. Stay tuned - the answer will be learned.