Daily Archives: April 7, 2011

>APP Editorial: County counsel: He’s baaack!

>Today’s editorial in the Asbury Park Press hits the nail on the head. Why on earth would Lillian Burry, Rob Clifton, John Curley or the other guy, ever consent to bringing back Malcom Carton for any type of legal services after he was dismissed from his duties last year?

It seems as though the “good ol’ boys” are back in charge of Monmouth County and they must think residents/voters have forgotten all the nonsense of the past, after regaining control of the Freeholders Board.

Democrat Amy Mallet was the only member of the five-member Monmouth Couny freeholder board who had the good sense to vote against appointing Malcolm Carton — longtime county counsel — to handle the legal work for bail forfeitures for the county.

Mallet said she voted “no” because the resolution appointing Carton “lacked transparency.” Specifically, it said the law firm for which Carton works would provide the special counsel services. No mention was made of Carton. To find that out, the freeholders would have had to read the proposal from the law firm stating Carton would be assigned the work.

But there were much better reasons than that for steering clear of Carton, who was replaced as county counsel in 2009, then appointed as a special counsel in 2010, purportedly to allow him to complete unfinished cases and ease the transition for the new county counsel. All ties with Carton should have been severed then — permanently.

In case the current freeholders forgot, Carton was the last vestige of the good ol’ boy, all-Republican freeholder board that governed the county when corruption ran rampant. In early 2005, a federal corruption sting centered in Monmouth County netted the late Harry Larrison, then-director of the freeholders, and seven other county officials.

As county counsel, the legal fees Carton billed the county were nearly four times higher than what many other counties paid their chief counsel. In 2005, a Press comparison of county counsel fees showed Carton had billed about $400,000 a year since 1997. In 2005, the state’s most populous county — Essex — paid its chief counsel $105,000. Mercer and Bergen counties paid their top counsels about $108,000.

Carton raised tens of thousands of campaign dollars for county Republicans, and his strong party ties posed unhealthy conflicts of interest.

Given Carton’s history, it’s hard to believe that even the four Republican freeholders currently on the board wouldn’t want to turn the page on someone so strongly associated with one of the darkest chapters in the county’s political history.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, county counsel, Freeholder Amy Mallet, Legal bills, legal fees, Malcom Carton, Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders

>Freehold Borough Democrats DiBenedetto and Schnurr To Seek Re-Election While Wilson Makes Way For Higgins Mayoral Run

>Freehold NJ – The Freehold Borough Democrats announced the nomination of J. Nolan Higgins as their candidate to run for mayor as Mike Wilson steps down after 26 years in office. Higgins is a lifelong resident of the borough, and the owner of Higgins Memorial Home in Freehold, a business established by his father, James, in 1955. He served as Chief of the Freehold Fire Department and was a member of the Fire Department Board of Representatives. He is the former chairman of the Freehold Zoning Board of Adjustment and currently serves on the Freehold Citizens Budget Advisory Committee. He is a past winner of the McGackin Award, which is given to those who have made exceptional contributions to downtown Freehold.

Incumbents Michael DiBenedetto and George Schnurr will seek re‐election to the Borough Council. DiBenedetto is also a local businessman and lifelong resident. He has served as Council President and Assistant Fire Commissioner. His service on Council includes acting as Council liaison to the Public Works Department, the Shade Tree Commission, the Personnel Committee and the Recreation Committee. He is a member of the Freehold Fire Department, Monmouth Hose Company, a member of the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus and the Freehold BPOE. He previously served on the Planning Board, the Finance Committee and the Memorial Day Parade Committee and was a Little League Coach.

George Schnurr is the current Council President. Schnurr serves on the Finance Committee and is part of the team that makes Freehold Borough a municipal leader in shared services with other towns. Prior to his election to the Freehold Borough Council, Schnurr was a member of the Planning Board ‐ a position he still serves in as a Class III member. He is the Council liaison to the Memorial Day Parade Committee. He holds numerous computer system certifications and is a member of the “International Who’s Who of Information Technology”. He served as President of the Freehold Borough Little League where he spearheaded the redevelopment of the Little League complex. He previously served on the Shade Tree Commission. George is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Councilman DiBenedetto expressed his enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket. “Mayor Wilson will leave big shoes to fill. But we could not have found a better person to carry on Mike Wilson’s vision and passion for Freehold than Nolan Higgins. Nolan shares our philosophy of putting the needs and interests of Freehold Borough above politics or personal agendas. He is committed to our goal of sound economic practices. We are all excited to work together to preserve and protect the town and the people that we all love.”

George Schnurr echoed these sentiments when he added “Nolan is a perfect fit for us. He has a strong business background and a long history of community service. He will complement the talents of our council members and provide a unifying leadership to the governing body. He is well respected by all facets of our community.”

Higgins noted that a prime concern for Freehold is continued fiscal responsibility and accountability. “In order for Freehold to continue to thrive, we need to be fiscal watchdogs for our residents. We have to find ways to balance our obligation to provide for public safety and to maintain our infrastructure with the need to keep our budget as trim as possible. I am impressed with the Council’s efforts to find new and innovative methods to cut costs in a difficult economy”

Mayor Wilson offered his endorsement to the candidates. “I am thrilled to pass the torch on to Nolan Higgins. Nolan is universally respected in town and has vast experience as Fire Chief, Zoning Board Chairman and by serving on the Citizens Budget Committee. Nolan, Mike and George are quality individuals that share my enthusiasm for Freehold. With a strong council behind him, I am confident that Freehold will be in good hands

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>Ray Stever: America Still Needs Unions

>Ray Stever is the President for the New Jersey chapter of the Industrial Union Council (IUC). In this interview, recorded on April 4th at the huge UMWA We Are One rally in Newark, Ray Stever talks to GRITtv‘s Laura Flanders about the history and plight of labor unions in this country. Ray Stever argues that even though manufacturing in the US is nearly gone, we need unions now more than ever.

Stever makes a compelling argument while connecting the dots between the old Congress of Industrial Organizations, the 29 mine workers at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine, killed one year ago, and the current attacks on public workers in New Jersey and beyond.

The interview runs 17 minutes but it’s worth every minute, especially when he talks about his hard working republican neighbor who is struggling to make ends meet but continues to support policies that are detrimental to himself and family.

“People don’t realize that by not belonging to the union, the only right they have on the job is the right to die. People don’t understand that the collective bargaining agreements and the right to organize protects them”

Hat tip goes to Monmouth County Green Party

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Filed under coal miners, Gov. Chris Christie, GRITtv, Industrial Union Council, labor unions, Laura Flanders, Manufacturing, Newark NJ, Ray Stever