Transparency is basic good government

Here is what President John F. Kennedy had to say about transparency in government:

Morris said YES to transparency, Sussex said NO

Freeholders Phil Crabb, Rich Vohden, and Dennis Mudrick rejected the argument that the taxpayers have a right to know how the Freeholders were sold a solar scheme that "could not fail," how it went on to fail, and the details of the settlement that will leave the taxpayers on the hook, while "holding harmless" those responsible.

County Administrator John Eskilson, who led the team that sold the solar scheme, as well as others whose corporations made up part of that team, along with a Democrat politician from south Jersey they brought in as a "special counsel" all said that releasing the details of the settlement to the public whose taxes are going to pay for it would destroy the settlement.  We now know that this was a lie.

We know it was a lie because at about the same time Sussex County Freeholders were voting, the Freeholders of neighboring Morris County voted to delay voting on the settlement and to release the details of the settlement so that the public could review and comment on it in advance of the vote.  Morris Freeholders defended their taxpayers right to know what they're paying for.  Sussex County Freeholders protected the people who screwed their taxpayers.

This is what happens when your rapist is also your gynecologist.

What's with the anger?

Everyone who walked away from last night's meeting of the Sussex County Freeholder Board mentioned the bubbling anger that emerged deep from the bowels of Freeholders Vohden and Mudrick.  These are two profoundly authoritarian men who genuinely believe that the appointed County Administrator should have the power of an elected County Executive and that it is he -- not they, the elected Freeholder Board -- who runs the county. 

As Vohden once said to a startled room, the Freeholders' job is to "ratify" whatever it is that the County Administrator decides.  This is an invitation to corruption because an appointed County Administrator who isn't controlled by his elected Freeholder Board has no check -- no safeguard against abusing his office.  And the people suffer for it.

If Freeholder Vohden is really that intent on abrogating his responsibilities, he should propose changing Sussex County's form of government and have an elected County Executive like they do in Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Mercer counties.  Then at least the voters would have a part in it.

Freeholder Vohden is not doing his job. And it's worse than that, Freeholder Vohden doesn't appear to know what his job is.  Freeholder Mudrick goes along with Vohden because, sadly, he is a weak man who seeks the approval of stronger men.  Even when that "strength" is a kind of willful blindness bordering on stupidity.

Both clearly hated the fact that a woman had a better argument that they did.

Freeholder Director Phil Crabb started the week being for transparency and calling for a delay in the vote until the details of the settlement could be disclosed to the public.  But then he got slapped into line by Eskilson and the Democrat hired to be the "special counsel".  By the time of the vote he was calling for an investigation -- not of the perpetrators who ripped off the taxpayers of Sussex County -- but on those who have complained about it.

And the vote in Morris County made Crabb's chicken little routine look foolish.