There is general agreement around Sussex County and the region, that the current Freeholder Board -- led by the cabal of Phil Crabb, Rich Vohden, and Dennis Mudrick -- has been the worst for many years. That's why voters wisely rejected the candidacy for re-election of Freeholder Mudrick, which should put Crabb and Vohden in the minority after next year's reorganization.
County government is marked by its arrogance and authoritarianism. It is incompetent and lacks transparency, conducts business using nepotism and vendor cronyism, and is dominated by a corrupt few who have spent and borrowed the county into its current predicament.
At the November 24, 2015, meeting of the Freeholder Board, Freeholder Richard Vohden was reporting on his attendance at the League of Municipalities festivities in Atlantic City. He made these remarks:
"This year the most discussed issue was the urgency of funding the state Transportation Trust Fund. I attended two seminars where the issue was discussed at length and another where the only topic was the fund. The decision on how this issue is resolved is so important that I believe that we, the freeholders should have a conversation, I think we should discuss this and let our legislators know because the legislators are looking at this from different positions and I think maybe we could come to a decision on how we think this should be handled. I think we should have that discussion. . . I think we should give our legislators some guidance."
Guidance? From Richard "Solar Bailout" Vohden? Vohden, who has done so much to screw up Sussex County, now wants to lend his expertise to screwing up the entire state. Doesn't this leave that displeasing taste of arrogance?
Sure, everybody is entitled to an opinion -- even a screw-up politician -- but the voters of Sussex, Warren, and Morris counties elected Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus to tackle state issues. Vohden and the other Freeholders in Sussex County have a job to do in Sussex County. If Freeholder Vohden needs something to do, he should figure out how Sussex taxpayers can get some of their money back from that solar scam he supported.
It didn't stop there. Later in the meeting, Vohden attacked Senator Oroho's legislative team again. Then -- after bemoaning Sussex County's decline in population (due to job loss), property taxes, and resulting foreclosures -- Freeholder Vohden made this stunning remark: "As Freeholders we have no direct statutory authority to act on these issues."
He must be crazy. Not only do Freeholders set the county portion of every property tax bill, they have an important role in creating a pro-job, pro-growth environment in the county. Vohden looks like he is trying to shift blame for his own failures to the legislators, even as he seeks to lecture them about state issues.
Looks like he is beginning his 2016 re-election campaign early.