Tag Archive: Camden

News Round-up and Open Thread for Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What’s on your minds today, Blue Jersey? Open Thread…

Former Camden Principal & Facilitator indicted for stealing Field Trip Money

How can these people think that they wouldn’t get caught…

Two former Camden school administrators were indicted Monday on charges they stole more than $14,000 paid by school children and their families for field trips already funded by the district.

The duo, and two other Camden educators, were also charged with trying to get about $25,000 in extra wages from the district for work they did not do, Attorney General Stuart Rabner said.

Charged with the field trip thefts were retired H.B. Wilson Elementary School principal Michael Hailey and the school’s former facilitator, Patricia Johnson.

Hailey and Johnson were also charged, along with former U.S. Wiggins Elementary School principal Juanita Worthy, 59, of Evesham, and her daughter, Keah Worthy, 31, of Evesham, a former teacher at Wilson Elementary, with submitting phony pay vouchers totaling $25,000 for work they did not do for the School Leadership Council, Rabner said.

Stealing money for “field trips”? Just amazing.

News Roundup and Open Thread for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

  • The New Jersey League of Municipalities says towns need more than just a 2% increase in state aid.  Extraordinary aid, which many towns rely upon, has been cut.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer has a very interesting profile of Theodore Z. Davis, the new state-appointed chief administrator for Camden. 
  • In Deptford, a petition is circulating for a referendum to end play-for-play at the local level.
  • A new report, timed to influence hearings on President Bush’s proposed cuts to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, says that 255,000 New Jersey children lack health insurance.  Most of them have working parents.
  • The Courier-Post interviews residents who are unhappy that Middletown’s new website requires visitors to register, and give their e-mail and phone.  Town officials note that theis way they can contact more residents, and new services are available including tax payments.
  • Morristown is applying for a federal program in which their local police officers have the power to check immigration status.  It would be the first New Jersey town to take part.
  • Did you know that Route 130 is now Einstein’s Alley.  It may be the center of a new pharmaceutical industry, and features a new Biotechnology Center. 
  • Former Atlantic City Council president (and Democrat) Craig Callaway was sentenced to 40 months in jail for corruption.  If you don’t remember the details, click on the link, because there’s no way to summarize this case. 
  • Democrat Peter Barnes appears to be on track to become state Parole Board chairman.  The Middlesex County Democratic Organization is expected to endorse his son for his Assembly seat, and to chose him to fill it for the rest of the year. 
  • News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, November 29, 2006

  • State Senator Stephen Sweeney says he is going to push a paid family leave plan.  I think it sounds great. Here’s the idea:

    Under Sweeney’s plan, workers who take leave from work would be paid through the state’s temporary disability insurance fund, which allows people who miss time from work because of illness or injury to receive two-thirds of their weekly wages, up to $488 per week. People taking paid family leave would receive the same benefits.

    The leave would be funded by a 0.1 percent charge against a worker’s weekly wages. Legislative officials estimate that would cost most workers less than $1 a week. Most New Jersey workers pay $129 a year in temporary disability insurance through their paychecks.

  • Casinos continue to complain about the smoking ban.  Delaware included its casinos in their smoking ban. 
  • A whistleblower at UMDNJ is now filing a lawsuit alleging he faced retaliation.  Since there are so many UMDNJ scandals, I should let you know that this is the one about telecommications services:

    The monitor, former federal Judge Herbert J. Stern, issued a report in July on the billing irregularities reported by Nappe. Stern found the university had paid $35.2 million for telecommunications services under a contract that only authorized $5.9 million in spending. Stern’s auditing team also cited a $301,660 bill under that contract for the simple removal of two computer viruses from a desktop computer.

    There may be billions more in fraud, but the computer viruses sure are memorable. 

  • New Jersey is finishing a huge database to track public school students.  However, they’re not just collecting grades, but all kinds of information like birthplace, and there seems to be no way for parents to check the accuracy.  Furthermore, can anyone explain to me why I get memos saying that it is illegal for me to e-mail a test grade to a college student, even if she says it is okay in writing, but it’s okay for the state to collect children’s grades and personal information and hold on to them forever?
  • A new report on cancer in New Jersey has good news and bad news.  The survival rate has gone up, but we lag the nation overall.  African Americans both here and nationwide have a lower survival rate. 
  • Salem county will give you a $25 gift card for every gun you turn in this Saturday. 
  • The outgoing chief operating officer — also known as the state overseer — of Camden has issued his final report.  He discusses a great variety of problems he encountered.  Let us know in the comments want you think of the job he did.

    This is an open thread.

  • Corzine’s Flawed Plan for Camden

    Governor Corzine just issued a statement on his plan to revitalize Camden, which begins with asking the legislature to extend the Recovery Act for another five years. He adds:

    “As we move forward, the focus of the state’s efforts in Camden will be to improve basic governance, including the delivery of essential municipal services, and to foster constructive community engagement. The state also will continue its close involvement with all stakeholders in the vital areas of public safety, public education, and economic and community development.”

    Sounds like the plan of someone that hasn’t been paying much attention. These are all nice ideas, but what will happen to Camden once gay people start to marry? Chaos, death and destruction on a scale we can’t imagine. This poorly thought out plan will fail. I’ll go so far as to predict that within 5 years, Camden will be one of the least family-friendly places in the country. Mark my words.

    The Camden Housing Authority is Broke

    So i’m reading the Courier Post and i see a story that starts off with…

    About 40 percent of the work force will be let go at the city’s housing authority while the rest of its employees could lose 10 days’ pay and some health benefits…

    So while members have to work 10 days without pay and benefits, what does the Housing Authority decide to do?

    Six members of the housing authority planned to fly to Colorado Thursday to attend a four-day conference. The travelers include the authority’s executive director, Maria Marquez, who is paid $124,000 per year.  The authority will pay $10,800 to send the six to Denver on Thursday.

    And why is it so essential that six people fly to Colorado while over 1/3 of your workforce is laid off and the rest are asked to work for nothing?

    As for the Denver trip, staffers who go will receive “direct training” — and three “national awards of merit” for well-run programs, the authority said.

    What the hell have you run well if you are laying off 40% of your workforce because you cant pay the bills? In my opinion, they need alot more than training.  Read More below the fold…

    News Round-up, Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Happy fathers day to everyone…

  • Geico claims its rating practice of using a driver’s job and education are legitimate criteria but some contend it raises claims of bias.
  • A bill in the NJ Assembly, A2064 would allow cameras only at accident- or fatality-prone intersections and limit photos to rear license plates.
  • The Bergen record has a story about the amount of overtime worked by state employees over the last 3 years saying that last year, nearly half the state’s workforce of more than 80,000 put in extra hours.
  • The Star Ledger discusess net neutrailty about the trust me method being employed by telecoms saying

    It looks like a home run for the telecom companies, which have spent billions of dollars deploying high-speed fiber optic lines across the country. They demand freedom to offer premium services — heart monitoring, perhaps? — and promise they won’t rile consumers by blocking content.

  • The Star Ledger yesterday had a story about a private meeting which got heated with “voices raised” where Assembly leaders told Gov. Corzine the sales tax hike is dead and he should move to plan B.
  • Junior has finally decided to respond to the comments made by Senator Menendez on Friday morning in Atlantic City, at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Counties.
  • More tough times for camden schools as crime probes and a test-score scandal are bringing calls for the superintendent’s resignation.
  • A 2nd person has died and 39 have been sent to hospitals as a result of tainted heroin. The NJ Senate is currently discussing in their Health Committee a needle exchange bill, which SJ Brian has covered here on Blue Jersey, however that will not help you if its tainted.
  • Watch Out Prince Charlie

    The Star-Ledger is reporting that Gov. Jon Corzine is living up to his pledge to end “business as usual”.  First target: Camden Board of Education.

    Gov. Jon S. Corzine has used his broad power over the Camden Board of Education to strike down an incentive-laden contract for the school district superintendent, after previous reports raised questions about the amount of bonuses she’s already received.

    Why is Gov. Corzine picking on this district?

    Panel: NJ Clean Election Program Shows Promise

    The panel assessing the state’s experiment to remove big money from elections said last year’s effort showed promise to clean up New Jersey’s “culture of corruption” and should be ready for prime time ahead of the 2007 legislative elections. The good people of South Jersey are keeping their fingers crossed. Personally I’m sick of people looking at me funny when I tell them I am from Camden County.  Sometimes I need T shirt that says, “I have nothing to do with anyone in the Norcro$$ clan.”  But I digress…

    Anyway, given the shady and salacious nature of South Jersey politics it seems fitting that last year’s pilot program was conducted in the 6th District, made up of 16 towns in Camden County, including (my hometown)Cherry Hill, as well as the 13th District.

    In the end, only one team of Assembly candidates, 6th District Democrats Louis D. Greenwald and Pamela Rosen Lampitt, managed to gather enough $5 and $30 donations to qualify for state funding. They ended up giving a portion of the $260,000 to their Republican opponents (who were unable to raise the requisite amound of small donations) but nonetheless prevailed in Democratic-leaning Cherry Hill.

    Let me repeat that:
    They ended up giving a portion of the $260,000 to their Republican opponents , which at first blush sounds pretty darn civilized.

    Eminent Domain in Camden County? Not yet!

    The battle over use of Eminent Domain to redevelop a section of Camden took another twist yesterday. A Superior Court judge invalidated the city’s redevelopment plan for the Cramer Hill neighborhood of Camden on a technicality.  According to today’s Courier Post: 

    The ruling by Superior Court Judge Michael J. Kassel invalidated both the planning board resolution establishing Cramer Hill as an area in need of redevelopment and City Council’s ordinance creating a redevelopment plan for the neighborhood.

    It marked the third time a judge found fault with the way city officials proceeded with the plan, which would require the relocation of about 700 families to make way for 5,000 new housing units, 500,000 square feet of commercial space and a golf course.  Kassel’s ruling leaves Cherokee Investment Partners of Raleigh, N.C., as the entity with a contract to carry off the $1.2 billion redevelopment plan but without a designated community in which to work.  (Additionally, the ruling) kept intact a court order that bars the purchase of properties through condemnation proceedings in the neighborhood.