Check Registry Database

By John Bury | July 24, 2014

The UCWA website keeps track of check registry data provided by the county but it is in pdf format which makes searches difficult while totals and comparisons are practically impossible.  Fortunately these days we have pdf converters and Excel filtering tools that allow us to group all payments listed in the check registries (except for December, 2005 which was missing) from 2004 though mid-July, 2014 by vendor code.  Information in this format reveals quite a bit.  For example, over the last ten years:

Continue reading “Check Registry Database”

UCCF 7/17/14: Runnells Update

By John Bury | July 22, 2014

RESOLUTIONS ON 7/17/14 agenda pertaining to Runnells:

2014-578 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Bayada Home Health Care, Inc. Westfield, NJ to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-579 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Horizon Healthcare Staffing, Marlboro, NJ, to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-580 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Delta T-Group New Jersey, Inc., Woodbridge, NJ, to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-581 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Maxi Healthcare Services, Parsippany, NJ, to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-582 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Ortho Care, Inc., Westfield, NJ, to provide prosthetic and orthotic services for the residents/patients at  Runnells Specialized Hospital for a twelve month contract period of August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015 in an amount not to exceed $10,000.
2014-631 Amending Resolution Number 2013-583, a resolution entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the County of Union and the Union County Improvement Authority relative to the RFP/RFQ Process for Runnells Specialized Hospital, to increase the appropriation to the Union County Improvement Authority in an amount not to exceed $282,934.14 for a sum not to exceed $350,000.
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Questions at 7/17/14 Freeholder meeting:
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Questions at 7/10/14 agenda setting meeting:
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UCIA payouts through July 2, 2014 for Runnells:
DeCotiis Fitzpatrick………………….$205,103.97
Crain Communications………………$    3,372.80
Appraisal Associations………………$  14,500.00
NW Financial…………………………$   47,475.00
TOTAL…………………………………$270.451.77

UCCF 7/17/14: Department Head Raises

By John Bury | July 22, 2014

757-2014 AN ORDINANCE FIXING THE SALARIES OF DEPARTMENT HEADS AS AMENDED

The ordinance was questioned though not without some back and forth:
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Details as previously reported and discussed:
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Sheriff Ralph Froehlich Dies

By Tina Renna | July 21, 2014

Sometime during the night Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich passed away. He was suffering from cancer, and was very ill for the past 6 months. Two weeks ago the Sheriff’s PBA held an event honoring him for 55 years in law enforcement. He did not attend.

Sheriff is a constitutional office in the state of New Jersey. A member of the same party will be appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate Judiciary Committee. There will be no special election. The appointed sheriff’s term will end 1/20/17. There are three undersheriff’s: Joseph Cryan, Gerald Green and Vincent Detrolio. If Assemblyman Cryan should become Sheriff he would have to give up his assembly seat.

Biography from the Union County website:

Ralph Froehlich, a Union resident, was first elected Sheriff of Union County in 1977 and is beginning his 13th term. He is the longest-serving County Sheriff in New Jersey history.

A career law enforcement officer, he was a member of the Elizabeth Police Department for almost 20 years, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He received numerous commendations, including the New Jersey PBA Valor Award, Policeman of the Year and the Elizabeth Police Merit Awards. He is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

A 1975 graduate of Kean College, he attended the Northwestern University Traffic Institute in 1968 and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Honor Society.

During his tenure as Sheriff he instituted a nationally recognized fingerprinting program for children and launched a K-9 Search and Rescue Unit and a Domestic Violence Unit. He has received six national awards for administrative leadership.

In December 2010, the Union County Sheriff’s Office received national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Accreditation Alliance Program.

In an effort to share services with other law enforcement agencies, Sheriff Froehlich implemented a Municipal Transportation Program to assist local police departments in transporting their prisoners to and from jail allowing local officers to remain in their communities.

Sheriff Froehlich also launched the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (S.L.A.P.), an alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders to work details supervised by the Sheriff’s Office in all 21 Union County municipalities. The program, started in 1993, has save Union County taxpayers millions of dollars through labor hours and the costs of incarceration.

The Sheriff has been responsible for distributing the “Play It Safe” booklet designed to educate adults and children of the dangers which exit in society today. He has also implemented several gun safety programs for children and teens including three educational videos available in schools throughout the county. The Sheriff also assisted with a state-sponsored gun buyback program for the residents Union County.

Each summer, Sheriff Froehlich hosts the Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy for students to learn about law enforcement.

The Sheriff has served four terms as President of the New Jersey Sheriff’s Association, is a member of the board of the Salvation Army, and Urban League. He has been President of the New Jersey County Officers Association and member of the Sheriff/Judicial Liaison Court Security Committee.

UCCF 7/17/14: T&M Payoffs

By John Bury | July 21, 2014

2014 – 588 Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract to T&M, Middletown, New Jersey, to provide Workplace Health and Safety Compliance and Consulting Services for the period of August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015 in an amount not to exceed $136,000.

Union County could be paying to secure their Juvenile Detention Center so there would be less chance of alleged sexual assaults but priorities necessitate:
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The NJ Election Law Enforcement website shows T&M Associates making over 1,200 political donations (hit ‘Display 100 at a time’) around the state while employees of T&M have made hundreds more.

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

UCCF 7/17/14: Plainfield Amubulance

By John Bury | July 19, 2014

2014-607 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into an agreement with Plainfield Rescue Squad Inc. for the provision of an ambulance facility for the period of August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2019.
2014-608 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a Shared Services Agreement with the City of Plainfield to provide Emergency Medical Services effective August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2019.
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and in open comment time:
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Union County utility agency director, deputy must repay thousands in stipends

By John Bury | July 18, 2014

That’s the headline of a story that nj.com finally got to today regarding the Union County Utilities Authority meeting last Wednesday which included an executive session of over two hours on the unauthorized stipend payments that cost taxpayers over $82,000 (that’s in legal fees so far and does not include the actual stipends which amounted to $36,000 to seven people, two of whom have to repay $21,000 of those stipends though apparently they have no obligation to cover the legal fees their malfeasance resulted in).  Here are the pertinent excerpts from that UCUA meeting last Wednesday:
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and here is Tina Renna at the freeholder meeting last night:
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UCCF 7/17/14: Paying for Bad Management

By John Bury | July 18, 2014

The Star Ledger reported that Union County is being sued over alleged sex assaults at the juvenile center but what they did not report is that, because of the county’s participation in New Jersey’s flourishing pay-to-play system, county taxpayers are already on the hook for up to $100,000 in legal fees to mostly connected law firms as county counsel determined that the fourteen defendants in Fowler v. UC, et als need different outside law firms to represent them with each of the firms starting the meter at $10,000, an amount that, based on past experience, will escalate regularly over the course of the case to what should eventually hit six figures for each in legal fees alone.  Those firms:

LAW FIRM……………………………………….DEFENDANT

Palumbo & Renaud…………………………….Union County and County Detention Center

Antonelli Minchello, PC………………………..Carl Cunningham and Alberto Rodriguez

Kologi Simitz…………………………………….Edward Koon

Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Faber……………Rebecca Mentor

Weber Dowd Law……………………………….Owen Williams

Cottrell Solensky & Semple……………………Tekki Allen and Antonio Hinojosa

Florio & Kenney, LLP…………………………….Thelma Abney

Jardim, Meisner & Susser, PC…………………Douglas Polk

Shain, Schaffer & Rafanello……………………Sherita Lawson and Shavona Holiday

LaCorte, Bundy, Varady & Kinsella…………….Greg Lyons

Also on this night there was a separate lawsuit, Barbara Egger, et als v. Runnells Specialized Hospital that put one of Union County’s most connected law firms on the meter starting at $10,000

Bauch Zucker Hatfield, LLC……………………..Runnells

The official rationale for hiring outside counsel, as partially explained in the video below, is that there are conflicts among the defendants that the county’s many in-house lawyers can’t handle and require the services of outside counsel, preferably democratic campaign donors (though that last part was not in the official explanation but everyone took that for granted).
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Need further explanation?

It’s legal. It’s New Jersey.  It’s Union County.  This is how we allow ourselves to be governed.

UCCF 7/17/14 – Guzzo Attacks

By John Bury | July 17, 2014

In response to what seemed like an innocuous question Union County Human Services Director (and new raise-getter) Frank Guzzo attacked, not so subtly, Tina Renna’s integrity
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More on Sullivan and the UCUA in later blogs but, for now, Tina Renna responds further to Frank Guzzo:
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UCUA Stipend Investigation Conclusion

By Tina Renna | July 17, 2014
The UCUA singed a shared services agreement almost a year ago, on 8/21/13, with the UCIA which had Daniel Sullivan become Executive Director of both agencies, boxes of UCIA documents are still being stored in the reception area of the 3rd floor of the UCUA.

The UCUA singed a shared services agreement almost a year ago, on 8/21/13, with the UCIA which had Daniel Sullivan become Executive Director of both agencies, boxes of UCIA documents are still being stored in the reception area of the 3rd floor of the UCUA.

Although the resolutions adopting at their meeting last night were not made available to the public, the UCUA did release the resolutions this morning after receiving an Open Public Records Act Request.

The Report was also requested, no reply has been received as of this writing.

Resolution No.: 62-14
Resolution of the Union County Utilities Authority Accepting PPi Committee’s recommendations regarding discipline of certain employees following fact-finding inquiry concerning stipend payments made to certain authority employees in 2013 and 2014.

The Authority directed that Daniel P Sullivan be formally reprimanded for his actions in this matter and that the reprimand concerning his actions be placed in his personnel file; and he will have to pay back all monies received in accordance with a schedule to be determined between Mr. Sullivan and the PPI Committee. The payments include 6, two-thousand five-hundred dollar ($2,500) payments during the time period covering 9/6/123 through 1/30/14 in the total amount of fifteen-thousand dollars ($15,000)…..

The Authority directed that Thomas Brennan, Deputy Director and Comptroller, be formally reprimanded and suspended, without pay, for five (5) days, such suspension to be coordinated with the Executive Director and the PPI Committee, and that the reprimand and notice of suspension concerning his actions in this matter, reviewed by the Board in Executive Session be provided to Mr. Brennan and placed in his personnel file; the Authority further directed that Brennan pay back all monies received by way of the subject payments in accordance with a schedule to be determined between Brennan and the PPI Committee. The payments included six (6), one-thousand dollar payments during the time period covering 9/6/13 through 1/30/14 total amount six-thousand dollars ($6,000).

The other 5 employees (da Silva, Hummel, Kinloch, Neafsey, Rosa) were found to have no role in the determination and unauthorized payments and were found to have provide valuable services on behalf of the Authority in this matter, the Board ratified the payments made to the employees and determined that these employees are not required to pay back the monies received. The payments include six (6), five-hundred dollar ($500.00) payments, issued to each employee during the time period covering 9/6/13 through 1/30/14 total amount fifteen-thousand dollars ($15,000).

The Resolution mentions the PPI Committee and Commissioners of the UCUA approved and accept the Report with the exception of one specific recommendation made by Mr. Pawar, as it was beyond the scope of his assigned inquiry. The Resolution does not list the recommendation.

Legal fees approved during last night’s meeting pertaining to this matter:

Saiber LLC $32,308.25
Pawar Gilgallon & Ruddy LLC, $17,500
Bauch Zucker Hatfield LLC, 25,532.76, $2,187.86, and 5,154.37

Total: $82,683.24

Not provided to date are the legal bills For Executive Director Daniel Sullivan, Deputy Director and Comptroller, Brennan & Clerk daSilva who were allowed to retain counsel to cooperate with this inquiry at tax-payer expense.

Also not mentioned in the resolution, or during last night’s meeting is Daniel Sullivan’s work load and if this had any thing to do with the stipends. On 7/2/2014 Under Resolution 66-2014, the UCIA Commissioners voted to create a new UCIA officer position, a Deputy Director/Project Manager, “to work with the Authority and the Executive Director to assist, manage, supervise, and oversee the projects and future projects of the Authority.

Also not provided to date is a thank you to the Union County Watchdog Association for bringing this matter to the attention of the Union County Utilities Authority.