Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Parting Shot from Council's (outgoing) Political Majority

Faced with a loss of their majority in 2012, it appears that the departing regime wanted to leave their mark in a big way. Other than trying to teach us new economics, they leave with what appears to be a political attack document, disguised as an objective report, paid to the politically connected borough attorney and paid for by the Dumont taxpayers.

2004: Less than $5M debt = "financial crisis"
2011: Nearly $30M debt = "sound finances"

DPW Investigative Committee Final Report

I wonder whether the subcommittee members actually read the report before signing it. If any of them need it read aloud to them because they have trouble "seeing the words" just send me a message. Anyway, the attempted lessons imparted appears to be:

- DPW remediation failure stems entirely from the neglect of two individuals;
- Cooperation by individual to testify without counsel was used against them;
- Current mayor and council completely unaware of alleged noncompliance;
- Form a vague oversight committee to completely prevent the problem from ever happening again.

The cost of these lessons? Well in excess of $5000 in professional fees.

Sure, but new questions emerge:

- Why could the remediation work not be performed concurrently with the "investigation"?
- Why was a resolution needed in April 2011 to appoint a subcommittee to investigate if a resolution granting the governing body subpoena power was passed in October 2010?
- Why did it take some five months after appointing the investigative subcommittee to replace a member due to "conflict of interest"?

- Why did the attorney bill for testimony from members identified in the report as uncooperative?

Dumont DPW Legal Bills

- Why are "non-relevant" documents made available only via OPRA?


Was this research necessary? This is what the NJDEP says about compliance efforts:

01-06-2011 Correspondence from NJDEP Regarding Remediation at DPW

Since NJDEP opted against penalizing the borough, what does that say about the tone and conclusions drawn by the investigative subcommittee report? Is it any wonder why the incoming mayor has told the press he is focused on the work, rather than the blame?

Sorry if I think the report is not very credible and at times misleading, considering the delays, stonewalling, smoke and mirrors I generally encounter when I approach the governing body with anything other than showering praise. This bell rang true, right up to the last meeting of the outgoing mayor and council.

Is this the way for the current council members to welcome their incoming colleagues and set the tone for 2012? Is this the line being drawn in the sand? I hope that for the sake of all, the tone and delivery of the mayor and newly split council will change for the better.