Tag Archive: John Bennett

Freddy, the severed hand, a Jersey kind of guy

To solve the budget deficit the lawmakers have decided to convene four committees, thus giving themselves at least 4X the chance that nothing will change before next year’s budget crisis. To ensure the status quo, the committees were given only reporting power. That means they’ll tell the lawmakers what the citizens of NJ have been telling them for the last months: reduce corruption, cronyism, and cynicism among the elected; make pension plans response to real economic indicators, and—. But why repeat all the things that have been already repeated in dozens of newspaper, chat rooms, blogs, and barbershops. The refrain: Throw the bums out.

The fight over the pork barrel during budget negotiations cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue. Somewhere I remember Panter, who I always thought was one of the good guys, reported as basically stating so what. The Republicans whined because they didn’t get enough.

The ex-mayor of Newark will receive money for all the vacation and sick days he didn’t use. That’s not so bad—only $36,547. [See how we’ve been trained to think in Jersey? “Only” $36,547.] By the way, he also has a city pension of over $124K to go along with the $150K salary at Essex County College’s Urban Issues Institute. Two of the first issues the Institute should study are paying for vacation days and a community college paying a politico $150K, but then again, I guess learning how to politic is more important than learning how to write—community college lecturers in writing classes most often make under $30K.

In keeping with the tradition that old politicians never die, the Keansburg City Council re-hired John Bennett III—even though he did not submit the lowest bid. In keeping with another time-honored tradition, Bennett is also the attorney for the Keansburg School District.

Then there’s Jeanne Fox [Democrat], the president of the BPU. When asked if she received the job because of political connections, she said no–probably with an attitude. Funny answer. Her husband was Jim McGreevey’s campaign manager. He’s also directing Menendez’s campaign. Would anyone in NJ think that’s there’s at least the perception of cronyism? Another by the way, an audit reports that the BPU under her leadership has mismanaged over $80 million. When asked to explain, she denies there’s been a problem and blamed it on the auditor. When asked whether she knew any of the people who received grants from the BPU, she said no [see above]. Would anyone in NJ think that’s there’s at least the perception of cronyism?

The Red Bank tax on businesses to support the Visitors’ Center didn’t collect enough revenue to hire people to collect the tax—so the Red Bank City Council proposed raising the tax to $150, evidently enough to justify the hires. Fortunately, at least for the time being, reasonable minds prevailed, and the tax revenue was removed from the budget.

Howell, with a population of around 50,000 has a township manager and a deputy township manager. Together they make $173,000, not counting benefits.

And on the light side, severed hands, one at least, in Jersey have names—Freddy belonged to an exotic dancer until one of her roommates blew the whistle. The Dig boss has sued to keep his job—I know the Dig isn’t in Jersey but it should have been. Perhaps we can offer our own version—the Asbury Park Press (July 27) reports that the Oyster Creek plant operators don’t follow their own procedures. Reassuring, isn’t it?

And this isn’t even a week’s worth of news down in Jersey.