Getting Over Rubber Stampers

By John Bury | February 4, 2016

Anyone who attends Union County freeholder meetings as an objective observer first notices that there is very little discussion of resolutions which all get rubber-stamped, the vast majority unanimously.  Nothing said can derail the inevitable.  Even when a contract is awarded to what appears to be an unqualified bidder it gets approved.

For example, on July 16, 2015 there was this resolution:

 2015-594: Authorizing the County Manager to award the proposed contract for On Call Digital Imaging Services obtained through advertised public bidding in accordance with the Local Public Contracts Law, NJSA 40A:11-1 et seq: Available to all County users to: Foveonics, 310 Main St., Toms River, for the purpose of providing digital imaging services, for a contract of 36 consecutive months and the award of the initial three projects using the unit pricing of the bid for the Office of the Surrogate: not to exceed $23,000, the Clerk of the Board: not to exceed $8,000 and Human Services – Cornerstone: not to exceed $100,000.

to which the losing bidder objected with some valid points (that were later disputed by a Foveonics representative later in the video):
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Of course the resolution passed unanimously as the freeholders paid no heed. But, as it turned out, that was not the end of the story.

Continue reading “Getting Over Rubber Stampers”

PTP: T & M Associates

By John Bury | February 2, 2016

2016-44: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to T&M Associates of Middletown, New Jersey, to provide On-Call Bridge Engineering Services for the County of Union, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $50,000.00 commencing February 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-029)
2016-45: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to T&M Associates of Middletown, New Jersey, to provide underground storage tank design services for the replacement of underground storage tanks at the Department of Public Works Facility in Scotch Plains, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $122,050.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-038)
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The NJ Election Law Enforcement website shows T & M Associates making hundreds of donations to all sorts of politicians under that name alone.  T & M started off giving the maximum to legislators and the Union County Democratic Committee (plus one donation to the Union County Republican Committee) before switching to funding Democratic freeholder campaigns and the occasional local race (Fanwood, Union Twp and Scotch Plains) where their money might work for them. Selected donations are in this spreadsheet.

From 2004, through May, 2014, according to check registry data, T & M Associates has been paid over $4.4 million by Union County.

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UCWA Announcement: a meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 3 at 7pm at the offices of the Union County Watchdog Association (1155 W. Chestnut Street, Suite 2B, Union) and all are invited.

We are looking to expand our volunteer (and paid) base to cover better the workings of Union County government, specifically as it pertains to each municipality.  Ideally we would want one representative from each town to report on issues that come up as it may relate to the county. You could be anonymous or get a blog byline but of most importance is not to miss anything as it germinates or you too could wake up one day with bulldozers in your park.

No need to confirm.  There is a large meeting area and drop-ins will be welcome.  You can get directions here (it’s right next to Costco). There is plenty of parking behind the building. You have to enter from the W. Chestnut Street side and go up two floors to Suite 2B. This invitation will be on the bottom of the next few blogs as a reminder but if you have any questions or comments you can always email me at john@burypensions.com or call (973)-783-4477 or even comment here.

PTP: Brown & Brown

By John Bury | February 1, 2016

2016-81: Authorizing a payment to Brown & Brown, County General Insurance Agent of Record, to renew the Horse Accidental Death Policy with Great American Assurance Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, to cover accidental death of horses by fire, electrocution or transportation vehicle overturn from January 16, 2016 through January 15, 2017 in an amount not to exceed $1,559.00.

2016-82: Authorizing a payment to Brown & Brown our General Insurance Agent of record to renew the Marine Insurance Policy covering UC Marine 1 and UC Marine 2, Union County Police Fire Boats, with the Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company from January 22, 2016 through January 21, 2017 in an amount not to exceed $17,150.00.
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From the NJELEC website you find scores of campaign contributions from individual employees plus one recent interesting one from the company:

Continue reading “PTP: Brown & Brown”

PTP: Bauch Zucker; Weber Dowd

By John Bury | January 31, 2016

2016-96: Amending Resolution 2015-393 dated April 30, 2015 to increase the appropriation to Bauch, Zucker, Hatfield of Springfield, NJ in the matter entitled Kevin Buckley & Ryan Wilson v. UC, et als. in an amount not to exceed $10,000.00 for a sum not to exceed $20,000.00.

2016-97: Amending Resolution 2015-694 dated August 20, 2015 to increase the appropriation to Weber Dowd Law of Woodland Park, NJ in the matter entitled Laquan Kearney v. UC, et als. in an amount not to exceed $10,000.00 for a sum not to exceed $46,956.48.

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No need for spreadsheets here since almost everything both Bauch (going back to the days of DeMaria Ellis & Bauch and including a stop at Schenck Price Smith & King) and Weber Dowd donate goes to Union County Democrat politicians.  Occasionally they work together as witnessed by their handling of the Sullivan stipend scandal at the Union County Utilities Authority which elicited this response from a board member:

Continue reading “PTP: Bauch Zucker; Weber Dowd”

PTP: Auditors Suplee, Clooney & Co.

By John Bury | January 29, 2016

2016-60: Awarding a contract to Suplee,Clooney & Company, Westfield, New Jersey, to provide statutory audits of accounts of the County of Union and its agencies from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.
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Notice – no answer as to what they are charging or how far back they go (they have done every audit this century though the county website only goes back to 2007).

From the NJELEC website you find scores of campaign contributions from the company and individual employees. Through 2006 they were openly giving to the Union County Democrat Committee but lately it has been to Surrogate James LaCorte and political committees in different towns (even one Republican Committee) as you can see from this spreadsheet. Among the highlights:

Continue reading “PTP: Auditors Suplee, Clooney & Co.”

PTP: Neglia Engineering

By John Bury | January 28, 2016
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2016-37: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to Neglia Engineering Associates, of Clark, New Jersey to provide Design, Construction Management and Inspection Services for the Replacement of W.R. Tracy Road Bridge (Mo-37) over the Green Brook in the Township of Mountainside, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $131,158.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-020)
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2016-42: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to Neglia Engineering Associates, of Clark, New Jersey to provide On-Call General Engineering Services for the County of Union, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $25,000.00 commencing February 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-031)

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From the NJELEC website you find hundreds of campaign contributions from the company.  They started in Bergen County and then moved south. You get the picture from this spreadsheet where they start small and then move on to big time money to Union County freeholder candidates.  Among the highlights:
Continue reading “PTP: Neglia Engineering”

PTP: CME Associates

By John Bury | January 26, 2016

2016-41: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to CME Associates, of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, to provide On-Call Environmental Services for the County of Union, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $25,000.00, commencing February 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-030)

2016-44: Amending Resolution Number 2015-893 adopted November 12, 2015, a Professional Engineering Service Contract with CME Associates of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey to provide additional engineering services related to the former Lenape Park Trap and Skeet facility located in Cranford, New Jersey, in an amount not to exceed $15,150.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $365,061.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2011-029)
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Pushback in Franklin Township

Union County connection

Continue reading “PTP: CME Associates”

PTP: Remington & Vernick

By John Bury | January 25, 2016

2016-35: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to Remington & Vernick Engineers (RV) of Secaucus, New Jersey to provide Design, Construction Administration and Inspection Services for the Replacement of Irving Street Bridge, City of Rahway, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $353,154.76. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-018)

2016-36: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service Contract to Remington & Vernick Engineers (RV) of Secaucus, New Jersey to provide Design, Construction Administration and Inspection Services for the Replacement of Hussa Street Bridge over Peach Orchard Brook, (Li-113), in the City of Linden, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $138,238.85. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-019)

2016-38: Authorizing the County Manager to award a Professional Engineering Service contract to Remington & Vernick Engineers (RV) of Secaucus, New Jersey to provide Design, Construction Administration and Inspection Services for the Replacement of Elm Street Bridge, We7, Township of Westfield, New Jersey for an amount not to exceed $193,492.83. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2015-021)
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From the NJELEC website you find thousands of campaign contributions from the company and individual employees.  They started in southern Jersey and then moved north. You get the picture from this spreadsheet where they start with Cohen/Cryan/Stender/Lesniak and legislative campaigns, moving to big money going to Union County freeholder candidates for 2012 through 2014 and then switching to Gerald Green in 2015.  Among the highlights:

Continue reading “PTP: Remington & Vernick”

UCCF 1/21/16: Frustrating Questions

By John Bury | January 23, 2016

The next few blogs will examine the pay-to-play world of Union County government as we look at each vendor individually, all of  whom donated to political campaigns (mostly Democrat freeholders) and got their payback at the last freeholder meeting. But first, for those of you who have questions on all the bizarre spending (or those who used to question but stopped coming to meetings out of frustration) here are a few examples of  the hit-and-miss nature of the process kicking off with the denouement:

Continue reading “UCCF 1/21/16: Frustrating Questions”

UCCF 1/21/16: New Comment Policy

By John Bury | January 21, 2016

The pay-to-play world of Union County government keeps turning (as you will again see in the next few blogs from tonight’s freeholder meeting) but commenting on this waste, fraud, and abuse will be limited according to a new policy:
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From the bylaws:

12. PUBLIC COMMNENT PORTION ON RESOLUTIONS ON THE AGENDA. At this time the public may address the Board on any resolution on the agenda. A member of the public shall be limited to one (1) appearance and shall speak for no more than five (5) minutes. The Chairman may also limit individuals to less than five (5) minutes if the Chairman deems these statements made by the public to be repetitive; the number of persons wishing to address the Board appears to be lengthy; or if the weather or lateness of the hour so requires. No person may speak more than once at either the first or second public session. No speaker may speak more than the allotted time by requesting to use any other person’s time or portion thereof. All questions from the public shall be directed through the Chairman. Members will direct their questions or comments through the Chairman and shall limit their responses to the individual member of the public who is speaking to the Board at that time. Non-residents may speak only after County residents have been heard.

Can you really be too repetitive when criticizing pay-to-play corruption in Union County?  Apparently the Board now voted themselves the right to shut you up and they get to decide what is repetitive, how many is too many speakers, and how late it is to suit their convenience and listening pleasure.

On another matter, a meeting where you will not be shut up will be held on Wednesday, February 3 at 7pm at the offices of the Union County Watchdog Association (1155 W. Chestnut Street, Suite 2B, Union) and all are invited.

We are looking to expand our volunteer (and paid) base to cover better the workings of Union County government, specifically as it pertains to each municipality.  Ideally we would want one representative from each town to report on issues that come up as it may relate to the county. You could be anonymous or get a blog byline but of most importance is not to miss anything as it germinates or you too could wake up one day with bulldozers in your park.

No need to confirm.  There is a large meeting area and drop-ins will be welcome.  You can get directions here (it’s right next to Costco). There is plenty of parking behind the building. You have to enter from the W. Chestnut Street side and go up two floors to Suite 2B. This invitation will be on the bottom of the next few blogs as a reminder but if you have any questions or comments you can always email me at john@burypensions.com or call (973)-783-4477 or even comment here.