Entries in Sussex County Community College (10)


On Facebook, two Freeholders contradict their vote for more debt.

Politicians sometimes forget that Facebook is public.  In all that fake bonhomie and throwing around of "likes" they forget.

And so it was a couple days ago, when a Newton councilman reflected on how the sale of a large commercial property in Newton would negatively impact residents in terms of property taxes.  Just days before, the Sussex County Freeholder Board had voted to fund the purchase of that property by the Sussex County Community College, through incurring more debt.

Curiously, two of the Freeholders who voted for that purchase and for more debt put up "likes" next to the Councilman's comments in opposition to what they had done.  Strange.

Now here is a question for voters:  Do you know who your elected freeholders are well enough to identify the names of the two?

Comments are open.


Sussex Freeholders message is Spend, Spend, Spend

Sussex County Freeholders are feeling pressure, but won't acknowledge the public's needs.  At the Board's latest meeting, Freeholder Graham preached a message of spend, spend, spend (1:19:30).  This was met by comments from members of the public -- in particular Byram activist Harvey Roseff (who speaks at 2:38:00).  The public's mood is clear:  Cut spending and lower taxes.

Some of the Freeholders behave as if no savings can be found.  But as members of the public -- average property tax payers -- have pointed out again and again, there are huge savings that are easily found.  Potential savings from the operations of the 911 center is something that the Freeholders have refused to address and that the Herald should discuss.  The issue has surfaced many times.  The Sussex County Community College (SCCC) is another area for potential savings, but the Freeholders appear shy about addressing it and the Herald hasn't covered it.

Freeholder Graham is still defending a rudderless, redundant 911 center packed with what Roseff and others (like NJ Watchdog's Mark Lagerkvist) have identified as "double-dippers".  The 911 center gives towns like Lazzaro's  Fredon pretty much a free ride.  No police department has joined the County 911, which was supposed to be implemented to save the taxpayer money through a county-wide consolidation. Instead we have more centers now!  While it may have started out as a good idea, the implementation appears to have gone off the rails. All this center has now are some small town fire departments that provide cover for what has become a costly, poorly implemented boondoggle.

As Roseff recently noted:  "Double dippers rob jobs from our youth and lead to more foreclosures.  And orphaned facilities like this one end up costing huge amounts in on-going technology upgrades that deliver little benefit as their cost is not distributed properly.  If this center was closed, all the calls would be answered, just as they were before.  Huge savings would result from its closure and an inefficient, uneconomical kingdom would be dismantled."

According to Roseff's research, towns in this 911 center used to pay $30,000 to $40,000 yearly to the other 911 centers.  The County stole them away for around $10,000.  It's costing about $1,500,000 to run the center,  yet the participating towns in the County 911 only contribute approximately $100,000.  And as the contracts come up for renewal, they are not increased to even the proper economic competitive cost they were paying before!  The rest of the county taxpayers have to foot the bill for this, just as they do for solar.

It's a simple answer the call, dispatch a service system.  No real high technology service here, it's been successfully done for decades. Roseff and others suggest that by closing the county 911 service or merging it, there will be huge savings.

Watchdog invites other opinions on this and will be glad to publish them.


At debate, Orr and Atwood flunk their history lesson

Last evening, the Republican candidates for Assembly held a debate hosted by the New Jersey Herald.  About 40 or so people showed up to the Sussex County Community College to hear Nathan Orr and David Atwood explain why they should be there in the first place. 


Orr, aged 25, has run for office before but has never held office.  He has tried to argue that his experience in student government has prepared him for the rigors of battling and negotiating with the majority Democrats in Trenton. 


Atwood, who used a different name (Wygonski) to vote with as late as November of last year, has never voted in a Republican primary before.  He is an Illinois native whose only other participation in the political process was showing up to vote in the 2012 presidential election.  He couldn't be bothered to vote for his buddy Orr when he was on the ballot in 2015.


Orr flunked his history lesson by comparing himself to Donald Trump.  Orr, like a growing number of egoists with more arrogance than gray matter, said that because Trump won, he can win.  Orr apparently forgets that Donald Trump is worth $3.5 billion -- that's billion, with a "B".  Orr also forgets that at age 25 (the age Orr is now), Donald Trump formally took control of his father's real estate development company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which he would rename the Trump Organization.


Nope Nathan... you're no Donald.


Atwood flunked his history lesson too.  In trying to compare himself to Ronald Reagan, his mistake was in not understanding how Ronald Reagan got to be President Reagan.  Atwood is apparently under the impression that Reagan did not hold political office before entering the White House.  In fact, Ronald Reagan was a twice-elected Governor of the California, the most populous state in America.  Reagan was elected Governor in 1966 and again in 1970.  Reagan was the top politician in the nation's most populated state from 1967 to 1975.  Reagan was heavily involved as a speaker in the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, before running for President himself in 1968 and 1976.  Reagan was successful in the 1980 presidential contest and won re-election in 1984.


Sorry Atwood... you're no Reagan.


Former Trustee makes a re-appearance

Glen Vetrano, the former Sussex County Freeholder who was forced to resign from the Sussex County Community College's Board of Trustees over ethical failures made a rare public appearance Wednesday evening.  Vetrano accompanied Freeholder Rich Vohden and former Freeholder Dennis Mudrick to the Skylands Tea Party meeting held that evening.

Vetrano was a public employee union leader when he first ran for Freeholder a decade and a half ago.  He won a party convention but was defeated in the Republican primary by Hal Wirths.  When the next open seat became available, Vetrano ran again and was elected.  He served a couple terms on the Freeholder Board before leaving office and becoming a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sussex County Community College (SCCC). 

Vetrano was forced to resign when it came to light that he had accepted money from a firm he voted to give a contract to while a college trustee.  The story was covered extensively by the Herald, Star-Ledger, Sparta Independent, and other media outlets.  Here is what the Star-Ledger reported on August 15, 2014:

"When Glen Vetrano resigned as a trustee of Sussex County Community College last month, a statement from the college lauded him as an asset to the community who had given freely of his time to volunteer in the position.

Amid the college's accolades, however, was an unusual admission. It said Vetrano voted on a contract for a company that paid him $13,000.

...Since the resignation. the college's finances have come under scrutiny from a law firm hired by the school.

In internal emails, board of trustees members spent weeks this summer going back and forth discussing Vetrano's apparent conflict and what would be best for the college....

CP Engineers, a Sparta company, developed the master plan to renovate the college's main classroom building on the Newton campus. In his farewell statement, Vetrano admitted he was getting paid by the company when he voted on June 25, 2013 to approve the $143,200 contract." 

Notice how Sussex County "insiders" cover-up for each other?  In the middle of a letter of praise for one of their own is the admission that he was breaking the most basic ethical rule in the book -- and doing so while accepting money.  These people have no shame. 

Only days ago, the SCCC Board of Trustees got a new member courtesy of a process rigged by these same insiders.  County Administrator John Eskilson hand-picked the "search committee" to find a new SCCC trustee.  Their heads were so far up Eskilson's butt that, of course, his name was put forward.  And, of course, the person who made the final decision had also been hand-picked by Eskilson, with all this being finally ratified by Freeholders Vohden, Crabb, and Mudrick. And all these machinations are paid for by our property taxes.

But that's how it works with these insiders.  No wonder our property taxes never go down. 

Here is a video from a "third world country" that helps to teach ethics there.  It should be required viewing for some in Sussex County.  Maybe the SCCC will host a forum on ethics in public life?  Don't bet on it, but enjoy the video anyway...


Will "Dick" Eskilson get away with it?

Sussex County might have more trees than people, but that doesn't mean fresh air in the political sense.  When it comes to politics it resembles the filth and corruption you find in any old urban hell hole made that way by an entrenched machine.

Case in point:  The taxpayer-funded Sussex County Community College and its Board of Trustees.  The Board already has plenty of people with political connections on it.  There is a vacancy.   Maybe time for someone with a background in education (it being the Board of a C-O-L-L-E-G-E)?  

No way.  Because this isn't about the students or the taxpayers.  It is about who gets what contract, and the way to ensure that the "right" people get to trouser the taxpayer's money is to appoint the "right" people to the Board.  

So a "search committee" was hand-picked by county boss John Eskilson.  This was before he got into trouble over the solar bailout and then watched as voters threw out a sitting Freeholder who backed him on the bailout. 

So who'd the "search committee" pick?  Eskilson, of course, and a former mayor who was also defeated at the polls.  So the choice is between two political players who have been firmly rejected by the voters.

You'll remember that Boss Eskilson resigned, somewhat prematurely, from his position as County Administrator in the middle of last year.  Now the man Eskilson took from corrupt Essex County and groomed to be his successor will choose between the two.

You couldn't come up with a more corrupt, self-dealing process if you tried.  It is along the lines of what Dick Cheney did when he put together the "search committee" to find a Vice Presidential running mate for George W. Bush.  Cheney was in charge of the "vetting process" and the process picked him.  So now we have "Dick" Eskilson. 

Really?  Now they don't even try to hide their scumbag behavior?   At the next meeting of the Freeholder Board, Freeholder Director Phil Crabb might just as well stand up and give the audience a middle-finger salute.  "This is for all you taxpayers... Here in Sussex County we do what we please and you don't get to know squat."  To which Freeholder Vohden could add, "Just remember to pay your property taxes on time."

The press has been doing its job.  The New Jersey Herald's Rob Jennings caught them red handed in a column titled "Artful dodge by college's trustee search committee."http://www.njherald.com/article/20151220/ARTICLE/312209963

We blame the Sussex County Democrats who have failed and failed again -- for over a decade -- to provide any scrutiny or opposition to anything at the county level.  It's like they think county government is too unimportant for them and that kitchen table issues like property taxes and job creation are not worth their time.  Instead they want to ban meat and spend their time on international issues like the war in Syria.  They could be a valuable check and balance to the people of Sussex County and instead all they want to do is support the extermination of unborn children and adopt bears.  Come on, pull your heads out of your butts.

As a comedian once asked of the hapless Tory Party in Great Britain:  "Is it match-fixing?  Is someone bribing them to be terrible at politics?"