Courthouse Takeover

By John Bury | January 13, 2017

It was supposed to be ready for occupancy on January 4, 2017 and have cost $36,997,581.36 after the sixth change order. Here is what it looks like today:

On January 4, 2017 what we got from the Union County Improvement Authority was Resolution 112-2016 where we found out that it would be the Surety Bond company that would be taking over completion of the Family Courthouse on Cherry Street and it will take another four months:


But it will still be Union County taxpayers footing the bill:


That bill should be made public this coming Thursday when Bond Ordinance 2017-782 makes the agenda:



UCUA Raises and UCIA Subsidy

By John Bury | January 12, 2017

The Union County Utilities Authority (UCUA) held their last meeting of the year last month and the primary order of business:

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UCIA Raises and Cost Debacles

By John Bury | January 11, 2017

The Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) held their first meeting of the year last week and the first order of business:

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UCCF 1/8/17: Pay-to-Play Resolutions

By John Bury | January 10, 2017

These public comments at the first freeholder meeting of the year were taken from the official county video so don’t expect the usual level of quality.

2017-11: Awarding a contract to Rogut McCarthy, LLC, Cranford, New Jersey to provide specialized counsel services in connection with the issuance of bonds, or notes by the County of Union from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

2017-24: Awarding a contract to Bauch, Zucker, Hatfield, LLC, Springfield, New Jersey, to serve as Labor and Personnel Counsel for twelve (12) consecutive months, in an amount not to exceed $175,000.

2017-25: Awarding a contract to Roth D’Aquanni, LLC, Springfield, New Jersey, to serve as Personnel Counsel for twelve (12) consecutive months, in an amount not to exceed $75,000.

2017-14: Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract to Acrisure, Woodbridge, New Jersey for the provision of Risk Management Services for the period of thirty six consecutive months for a total contract amount not to exceed $735,000.

UCCF 1/8/17: Newspaper Subsidies

By John Bury | January 9, 2017

From the Reorganization Meeting Agenda:

2017-3 Designating the following newspapers as recipients of legal notices of the County of Union for the Year 2017: Gannett NJ Newspaper (Home News Tribune, Courier News), Worrall Community Newspapers (Union County Local Source), La Voz, Westfield Leader/Fanwood Times, NJ Advanced Media (Star Ledger), NJN Publishing (Suburban News), El Especialito, Vistazo Hispano, LLC, Luso Americano Co., Inc., and, and further making available a sum not to exceed $150,000 for the provision of said legal notices.

 Based on check registry data here is how much each of these vendors got in 2016:

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Cryan Running

By John Bury | January 8, 2017

From the Union County Democratic Committee:

“Ray Lesniak has been a strong, effective legislator since the day he first assumed office in 1978. His work as the New Jersey Chair for the Clinton/Gore and Gore/Lieberman campaigns and his tireless efforts to pass the Marriage Equality Act and for the abolition of the death penalty in New Jersey are just a sample of what he has accomplished in his almost forty years in the legislature. He will be missed in the Senate.

It is critically important that the 20th Legislative District have a representative in the State Senate with a similar dedication to public service and strong public policy. I believe Sheriff Cryan would be the ideal candidate. He has a long history fighting for people in the 20th District and, as a former colleague of mine in the General Assembly, I have seen first-hand the dedication, expertise and tenacity Joe brings down to Trenton each day on behalf of those he represents. I am supporting Sheriff Cryan’s candidacy as the Democratic nominee, because I believe he is the right choice to join Senator Nick Scutari in representing Union County in the State Senate.”

From Joseph Cryan’s wife:

Union County Democratic Chairman Jerry Green, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, the 20 th Legislative District Assembly members Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley, and the Democratic Municipal Chairmen from the 20th Legislative district today issued their joint support of Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan for State Senator in the 20th District.  Their support follows press reports that long-time State Senator Raymond Lesniak has filed the paperwork required to run for governor.

From Politco:

Lesniak said he wasn’t listed about the Cryan endorsers because “that’s not my call.”

“I’m focusing on running for governor of the State of New Jersey, and what the Union County Democratic Committee and the 20th Legislative District leadership decide is their call,” he said.

Asked if Cryan was going to challenge him in a primary, Lesniak said “I could care less if he did or not.”

“My choice was not to return to the Senate or run for governor. My choice was to run for governor or retire from office,” said Lesniak, who had in the fall decided to run for re-election to the Senate after initially declining to run for governor.

“Joe Cryan would have absolutely zero chance of beating me in my district. But it never came to that because I wasn’t running for re-election in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“He’s not my favorite person,” Lesniak added of Cryan.

Cryan running for Lesniak’s seat means he won’t be able to run for re-eelction as Union County sheriff this year, which means giving up a six-figure position for one that pays $49,000 a year. However, Cryan had been an undersheriff before taking the role of sheriff after the death of Sheriff Ralph Froehlich in 2014 — a job that paid $110,000. Asked if he would return to being an undersheriff, Cryan said “I have a plan” and that he’s “not sharing.”

From countywathcers:

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Check Registry Items – 2016

By John Bury | January 6, 2017

Both the regular check registry and hand check registry for 2016 are out and here are some people who got your money:

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UC Part Timers Still With Pensions

By John Bury | January 5, 2017

According to the PERS handbook eligibility has been redefined over the years:


The idea was to get government employees who were in part-time jobs that required little work and paid nominal salaries from getting full pensions. However in looking over the YourMoney website ( and creating a spreadsheet) there are a number of employees in Union County who are still gaming the pension system, possibly illegally (if such a concept even exists in New Jersey these days).

As taken from a listing of active employees in the New Jersey retirement system as of September 30, 2016:

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Kean Pension Scheme

By John Bury | January 4, 2017

What are the benefits of a Union County freeholder working as an adjunct professor at Kean University?

Among them:

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Your Money Is Going To……

By John Bury | January 2, 2017

One of Governor Christie’s first initiatives was to call for transparency, especially in regard to pensions, which led to the creation of the YourMoney website.

Nothing much got done on the pension front but we do now have a listing of participants in the state pension, both retired and still working, updated through September, 2016 which yields this data:

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