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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Part-Time Attorney's Pension & Benefits: Mismanagement, Corruption, Wasteful Spending?....Pick One

     When New Jersey passed a law in 2008 regarding part-time employees and their eligibility to collect pensions and health benefits, Robert Cockren was employed as Westfield's town attorney.  
Jim Gildea
     When this law was passed, the town council inquired of their administrator Jim Gildea if the town attorney (Cockren) was affected.  Westfield's Town Administrator supposedly claimed that he had spoken to the Department of Community Affairs and it was his understanding that Cockren was not affected.
     The Fact of The Matter finds it hard to believe that a man who covers his actions/tracks as well as Jim Gildea does, does not have a piece of paper indicating a legal opinion that he was correct in his "understanding."
     As the comptroller of the State of New Jersey mentioned in a Star Ledger news article, the towns were obtaining legal opinions from their own lawyers that the lawyers could stay in the pension system.
     It is unfortunate that the inherent conflict of interests is such that Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea certainly should have obtained some opinion other than from Westfield's town attorney.  
     
Go to the following link to view Star Ledger news article:
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/07/nj_comptroller_says_hundreds_s.html
     
     Town Administrator Jim Gildea is no stranger to controversy during his tenure causing taxpayer $$$ to be used to defend his alleged mismanagement.  It won't be long before town attorney's receive a call from Gildea seeking advice on this latest uncovering of municipal abuse.           


     In today's Westfield Leader, the following appeared on page 4:  Note that at the bottom of the editorial piece,  Westfield is listed as a town tested for abuse.......and failed. 

Some Might Call This Theft
The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) released a report Tuesday, which uncovered widespread improper participation in the state pension system. There are 565 municipalities and 597 school districts in the state - of these over 1,000 entities, 58 were surveyed for pension abuse – 57 failed. The OSC’s abuse investigation identified 176 attorneys, 21 engineers, four health care professionals
and one auditor. The 202 abusers could cost the state $1.9 million annually in pension benefits.
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon said municipalities must do their part in identifying and stopping the abuse of taxpayer dollars so government at all levels can reduce costs while maintaining services.  “The findings in OSC’s investigation are very troubling,” stated Asm. O’Scanlon “The Legislature worked very hard last year to reform the state’s pension system in an effort to lift a suffocating burden from the shoulders of property taxpayers and save the system so our workers can count on receiving the pensions they are due. The results of this investigation show local officials need to step up to the plate. Reducing costs at all levels of government is the responsibility of all parties involved. It requires a unified, concerted effort.”
Two towns in our area were tested for abuse – and failed – Westfield and Fanwood – Name the individuals


     The fact of the matter is, Westfield needs a new town administrator to steer us in the right direction and TFoTM is calling on the Westfield Town Council to do the right thing when Gildea's contract is up at the end of the year.   Hasn't Gildea cost taxpayers enough already?    


More importantly, what did Mayor Skibitsky know about the abuse?

2 comments:

  1. Note:
    Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea worked under previous administrator Tom Shannon. The Fact of The Matter has learned that Shannon had once tried to give a year end "bonus," using taxpayer money, to municipal employees he deemed worthy. Unlike the private sector, in the public sector this is considered illegal. Municipal employees are often members of unions that negotiate employment contracts. As one can see......Gildea may have been tutored by an administrator with questionable ethics.

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  2. It is long overdue for the state to act on these people who work parttime or have multiple jobs and collecting a pension.....its not the rank and file who work full time and put their time its the leeches that put a burdon on the pension system.

    ReplyDelete