Daily Archives: October 25, 2010

>PENSION SCANDAL IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE: Acting Sheriff Golden Promotes Pension Fraud By Head Of Law Enforcement Division

October 24, 2010
Press Contact: Jon Evans (732) 739 8888

Hazlet, NJ – This week, New Jersey Watchdog.org broke news casting another ominous cloud over the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. The information, which has been verified, shows that in 2008, the previous Republican Sheriff allowed and participated in a scheme allowing a high-ranking Monmouth County Sheriff’s employee to blatantly violate pension laws giving him a full pension and a full County paycheck at the same time. Despite his knowledge of this fraudulent act, acting-Sheriff Golden continues to employ this person under the same arrangement.

Specifically, Monmouth County acting-Sheriff Shaun Golden has authorized Sheriff’s Chief Mickey Donovan to sidestep pension rules allowing him to collect more than $85,000 a year in retirement pay while at the same time still making an annual County salary of $87,500 for a total in excess of $172,000.00 per year. This “double-dipping” scheme is in violation of the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System rules and regulations.

In May 2005, Donovan retired as a detective lieutenant from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and began collecting his annual $85,000 pension. In an August 21, 2008, memo it was announced, by then-Sheriff Kim Guadagno, that Donovan would be hired as the “new Chief of the Law Enforcement Division”. However, in order to avoid having to give back a pension, his title was changed and Donovan was hired and sworn in as “Chief Warrant Officer” on September 22, 2008. Although Donovan was hired as “Chief Warrant Officer,” permitting circumvention of the pension rules, in actuality, the position of “Chief Warrant Officer” was eliminated on September 16, 2008- a week before Donovan was hired to the fictitious position- under Sheriff’s General Order 98-20 setting forth the organizational structure of the Sheriff’s Office. As a result, Donovan was hired and continues to occupy a position that does not exist in the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. Clearly, this scheme was concocted so that Donovan could continue to double dip at taxpayers’ expense. Donovan continues to be listed on the County’s web page as “Monmouth County Sheriff’s Chief” and is described as “the Chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office” and not as “Chief Warrants Officer.” On July 6, 2010, acting-Sheriff Golden signed an amendment to the organizational structure of the Law Enforcement Division, yet did not include the position of “Chief Warrant Officer” and there is currently no such position within the organizational structure of the Sheriff’s Office.

Democratic Sheriff Candidate Eric Brophy responded to the ongoing situation, “This continuing fraud cast upon the taxpayers of Monmouth County by sworn officers of the law is the most egregious example yet of Golden’s complete and utter mismanagement of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. His complete disregard for the taxpayers of Monmouth County or for the laws and rules of this State is appalling. Someone who is charged as the Chief Executive Officer of a 600 person police agency must know the status and job titles of his division heads. If he doesn’t, then he has no business running such an operation. If he does know but disregards these acts, he is complicit in perpetuating this fraud and can no longer be trusted to hold the position. Monmouth County needs a Sheriff who will be responsible with taxpayer dollars and who not only talks about pension reform, but who actually ends abuses of the system. ”

For more details as well as evidence of all facts cited herein, visit New Jersey Watchdog Online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/10/19/1286/

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Filed under Eric Brophy, Monmouth County Sheriff, pension fraud, press release, Shaun Golden

>NJPP Monday Minute 10/25/10: This is the time to go a little "batty"

It’s almost Halloween, a time to celebrate the ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night. One of the most enduring symbols of fright night is the silhouette of a bat, wings spread in a wide scallop, backlit by an orange glowing moon. But, please kiddies, don’t be frightened of these often misunderstood mammals (some of which actually do feed on blood). Bats play a critical role in the world’s ecosystem. In some African countries, bats are sacred animals thought to be the physical manifestation of souls. In much of Asia, bats are symbols of good luck.

Bats are not so revered here, despite their tremendous contribution to the public weal, and New Jersey’s bat population is dying off at an alarming rate.

This is the time of year many bats begin to hibernate. In New Jersey’s most populated hibernation spot – Hibernia Mine in Morris County – fewer than 1,700 of almost 30,000 bats survived last winter’s sleep, according to Mick Valent, Principal Zoologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. Worse, Valent said, many survivors showed signs of infection with a fungus that is rapidly spreading across the country.

The fungus is called “white-nose syndrome” and is named for the whitish powder that appears on the nose, ears and wings of infected bats. This disease has killed an estimated 90 percent of bats in the state–and that’s very bad news, not just on Halloween.

Bats serve a vital role in the ecosystem as pollinators and seed-dispersers for countless plants. Without their pollination and seed-dispersing services, local ecosystems could gradually collapse as plants fail to provide food and cover for wildlife species. But perhaps their greatest contribution is in pest control. Bats consume about 3,000 insects per hour while feeding, and mosquitoes are a favorite food. Mosquitoes of course are carriers of some of the world’s worst diseases such as malaria, encephalitis and the West Nile virus. In New Jersey West Nile virus is a recognized problem which threatens to grow if the mosquito population is not controlled. Fewer bats mean more mosquitoes, more mosquitoes mean more illnesses, more illness means lost work and school.

Bats also like to eat many species of moths that damage agricultural products, vegetation and of course the clothing we all wear. One moth can potentially lay 1,000 eggs at a time, making them the scourge of New Jersey farmers and wool sweater-wearing New Jerseyans alike.

The obvious public policy alternative to the natural pest control bats provide is increased pesticide spraying. Spraying is expensive and carries with it health and environmental risks. Much of the cost of spraying is borne by New Jersey counties with some help from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection through grants, but that amount last year was only about $1 million for the state’s 21 counties to divide. The rest of the cost was borne by the counties.

Valent and other zoologists believe humans are to blame for the bats’ demise here; that fungal pathogens were introduced into American bat caves by visitors who previously entered European caves and carried the disease back on boots or equipment that wasn’t properly cleaned. While bats in Europe are not dying at the same alarming rate, scientists in the U.S. are working to figure out how to save their North American relatives. Valent is hopeful that common anti-fungal compounds might soon offer a cure.

So as you trick or treat, look to those black wings in the sky and beware the glint off of their sharp teeth. But be at least a little grateful and appreciate that those speedy little flashes zooming across the sky are important to us on more than just one night a year.

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Filed under bats, Halloween, Monday Minute, New Jersey Policy Perspective