Dorothy Philbin | CNBNews columnist
courtesy of https://www.meghellyer.com
(August 27, 2023)--If you have been following CNBNews you know that the city managers have done everything possible to keep the taxpayers of Gloucester City from knowing what is going on in our town. This is nothing new; it has been going on for years.
Here is just some of what we don't know:
- The activity of the police and fire departments
or any other city department.
- The justification for at least three employees
holding two jobs.
- The justification for the Building Inspector
refusing to meet with us about the prospect of
billboards in town.
- The justification for various OPRA requests,
letters, and requests being ignored by city and
school district management.
- An explanation why $500,000 was paid to pave
city streets only to have the job half-finished and
poorly done with no explanation from our city
- Why 2023-24 taxes were increased up to $1,000
- The taxpayers not being allowed to know how
many city-owned vehicles there are and where these vehicles are located
Several new SUVs are being ordered but we don't know how many, how much they cost, or for what departments.
- Why nepotism in city jobs is completely out of
control. The three families are now holding 36
jobs, up from the original count of 32.
- The justification/explanation for a fireman setting
another's pants on fire. Also, a police officer
letting a chicken(s) lose in the fire house.
- The city is ordering a half-million-dollar ladder
fire truck but with no explanation or justification.
- The Chief Housing Officer is receiving a 45%
increase which brings his salary up to $75,000.
- CNBNews spent over a year investigating a 2022 allegation about a Public Works Supervisor stealing from the taxpayers of Gloucester City. During that time those in charge of the answers kept stonewalling our research, by refusing to answer questions that the public had a right to know the answers too. Was someone or some people in the administration and on city council involved in the cover-up of this thievery?
Do these incidents call for the State Department of Community Affairs and or the New Jersey State Controller’s Office, who is not affiliated with state government to evaluate our situation and recommend the state to take over our pitiful example of government?
The answer is YES!
The most recent example (May 27, 2023) of a state takeover is the Patterson, NJ police department, which followed the city's school district's take over.* The first act the State did was to put their own man in as Chief of Police. Wouldn't that be wonderful? We might even get department activity reports.
The most important (and entertaining) part of the Patterson story is that the Mayor, Andre Sayegh, thought he was safe because he was good friends with Governor Phil Murphy's inner circle. That didn't help.
Patterson isn't the only city to have the state take over. Way back in 1986 (think Abbott) the state said the Camden City School District was "Educationally Bankrupt."** The Abbott story followed and today 31 school districts enjoy 60% of the state's education budget. Since Gloucester City is an Abbott school district, we can say "Thank you" for the state's intervention.
In 1990 Voorhees Township*** asked the Department of Community Affairs to take over their Housing Department because conflict between Housing Inspector and Construction Official prevented work from being done.
These are only three examples of state takeovers. There are many others. In each case, though, the problem was far less severe than Gloucester's City situation. Here's hoping things will change before the State comes knocking at Gloucester City's door.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you know of something that is being hidden by those in charge of our city government or involved in the school district send your tip to [email protected] or [email protected]