Daily Archives: January 18, 2012

NJ Homeland Security’s 18 Double-Dippers Nab $9M in Pensions

For immediate release:

Inside the Gov’s ‘Office of Retirement $ecurity?’

The seal reads New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. But for agents drawing state salaries plus pension pay, it’s a symbol of their own fiscal security.

OHSP provides a bureaucratic safe haven for 18 “retired” officials who have collected nearly $9 million in state pension checks, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation revealed.

Those double-dippers currently receive more than $3 million a year – $1.3 million in state pension checks plus $1.7 million in salaries. On average, each gets $171,000 a year – $95,000 a year in salary plus $76,000 in retirement pay.

One-third of OHSP stafffers with salaries over $75,000 are double-dippers, led by Deputy Director Drew Lieb. He gets $226,000 a year – a $130,000 salary plus a $96,000 State Police pension as a retired lieutenant colonel.

New Jersey Watchdog’s analysis of state payroll and pension records for the 18 officials also found:

  • One-third “retired” from public employment for one day to start drawing state pensions.
  • Half are State Police retirees; the rest retired from other state or local law enforcement units.
  • The average age of retirement was 49.
OHSP reports directly to Gov. Chris Christie. It is a cabinet-level agency that functions primarily as a bureaucracy administering government grants and planning strategies to react to potential catastrophes

The story, along with New Jersey Watchdog’s list of “retired” officilas employed by OHSP is online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2012/01/16/homeland-security/.

New Jersey Watchdog – http://newjersey.watchdog.org – is a news site devoted to investigative reporting and public service journalism. Editor Mark Lagerkvist can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.

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Filed under double dipping, Gov. Chris Christie, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog

Top Internet Sites Join Largest Online Protest Ever in Opposition to Pending Internet Censorship Legislation


Tiffiniy Cheng, Holmes Wilson
Phone: (508) 474-5248

The internet is currently engaged in the largest ever online protest in opposition to internet censorship legislation moving in Congress, PIPA and SOPA.

Three top-ten sites in the U.S. — Google.com, Craigslist.org, and en.wikipedia.org — have blacked out all or part of their sites in protest of the bill.

As of 10 a.m. ET, eleven top 100 U.S. sites are participating in the strike (site rankings are from Alexa.com). WordPress alone powers 16 percent of the top 1 million sites globally, and all of those sites are being blacked out.

More than 62,000 sites have signed up to join at sopastrike.com. The exact number of sites that are participating is unknown at this point, but we believe 10,000 to be a conservative estimate.

The protest is in response to legislation (S.968) scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Jan. 24th that would give the government and corporations new powers to block access to entire websites because of a single link in violation of copyright law. The website takedowns would effectively censor hosts of legal, constitutionally-protected speech, and the bill is considered to be in violation of the First Amendment by several prominent constitutional scholars.

Ultimately, the fight against these bills is about more than web censorship. It is a fundamental struggle about who has power in modern society — the people with the means to communicate freely or the governments and corporations that want to lock down control. Today’s action, and the corresponding drop-off in congressional support for these bills, is a raw display of power for the people at large.

About Fight for the Future

Fight for the Future is a new non-profit organization that works to defend online rights and personal freedoms. Fight for the Future organized American Censorship Day on November 16, 2011, the largest online protest in the past 5 years, with more than 4 million people contacting Congress and companies like Tumblr and Mozilla taking unprecedented steps to drive users to contact Congress.


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Filed under Google, online censorship, online protest, PIPA, press release, SOPA

Middletown Arts Center Presents EGAN/DEVICO: PHOTOGRAPHS


Middletown Arts Center Contact: Maggie O’Brien, 732-706-4100, mobrien@middletownnj.org



On View from February 1st to 25th, 2012

Opening Reception: 

Friday, February 3rd from 7-9 p.m. 

Middletown, NJ (January 17, 2012) – The Middletown Arts Center (MAC) presents Egan/DeVico: Photographs, an exhibition featuring 50 works ranging in subject from architecture to landscape by well-known photographers Laury Egan and Vicki Devico. The show is on view from February 1st through February 25th with an opening reception to be held on Friday, February 3rd,  from 7-9 p.m.  The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The Middletown Arts Center gallery hours are:  Monday & Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.,  Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Sunday by appointment.  The award-winning Arts Center’s beautiful, spacious gallery which is open free of charge to residents, school and community groups and visitors from across the region. The Middletown Arts Center is located at 36 Church Street in Middletown, NJ (next to the Middletown train station). Free parking is available on site with additional free parking available in station metered lot weekday evenings after 6 p.m. and weekends. For more information, please call 732-706-4100

Laury Egan has taught fine arts photography to adult students for over 25 years and has been an instructor at Brookdale College and the Guild of Creative Art, where she served as President of the Board of Directors and is an Exhibiting Member. Laury’s work is in the permanent collections of the Montclair Art Museum, the Metropolitan Opera archives and Princeton University. Her photographs have been exhibited extensively throughout the tri-state area and have been published in books, art journals and on jackets. For many years, she worked as a freelance photographer for Lincoln Center venues, the Opera Company of Philadelphia and McCarter Theatre. Laury received a BFA in graphic design/photography from Carnegie Mellon University and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art. For more information on Laury A. Egan, visit www.lauryaegan.com.

Vicki DeVico is a renowned fine arts photographer, master archival printer and Photoshop instructor who holds a Digital Arts Certificate from Brookdale Community College. Her images have appeared in juried shows at the Belmar Arts Council and the Guild of Creative Art (where she is an Exhibiting Member), as well as in exhibits at McKay Gallery in Red Bank, the Lighthouse Keeper’s residence on Sandy Hook and area libraries. Currently, Vicki is President of the Monmouth Camera Club and has received many inter- and intra-club awards. She holds memberships in the Photographic Society of America, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, NJ Federation of Camera Clubs and the Guild of Creative Art. For more information on Vicki DeVico, visit www.VisionsByVicki.com.  

About the Middletown Arts Center

The Middletown Arts Center (MAC) is an award winning, state-of-the-art facility run by the nonprofit Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council which is dedicated to bringing quality arts programming and events to Middletown and surrounding communities. The MAC offers enrichment programs and entertainment for all ages and abilities. Visit www.middletownarts.org for more information and to join our mailing list for updates on exhibition opportunities, classes, workshops and events at the MAC.


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TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) released the following statement regarding the Governor’s pocket veto of S-668 and S-3072. S-668 would have provided New Jersey residents who save for their children’s college education through a state-administered college savings plan with a state income tax deduction for their investments. S-3072 would have promoted the establishment of partnerships between institutions of higher education and the business community to increase collaborative research and innovation:

“In these tough economic times , when middle-class families are constantly worried about how they will put food on the table let alone how they will pay for their children’s education, it is indefensible that the Governor has vetoed legislation that would have provided incentives to parents to save for their children’s college education as well as legislation that would have strengthened educational opportunities for the state’s college students, so that they may gain invaluable skills to find good, well-paying jobs.

“By providing families with a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for putting money into their children’s NJ BEST account, S-668 would have encouraged parents to save for their children’s futures. The Governor’s short-sightedness could cost New Jersey’s children and their parents the ability to pay the increasing costs of college, making our future workforce much less prepared for a global economy.

“During Governor Christie’s State of the State address, he touted the need to provide a competitive environment where businesses would choose New Jersey over other states to grow and expand their businesses and to create jobs. His actions speak louder than his words. By pocket vetoing S-3072, he has ignored an opportunity for businesses to partner with academic institutions, such as New Jersey’s colleges and universities, to drive innovation in the state. Not only would this program have helped New Jersey’s students develop skills to prepare them for careers in high-demand sectors, it would also have strengthened our workforce, making the Garden State a more attractive place to start and grow a business.

“As we move into this new legislative session, I hope that Governor Christie puts aside partisan politics, and supports legislation that would truly benefit New Jersey’s children, middle- and working-class families and businesses looking to create jobs that are actually in demand and increase economic security.”

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Filed under college education, Gov. Chris Christie, middle-class families, NJ Best, pocket veto, press release, Senator Barbara Buono, State of the State Address, Trenton NJ

Pinewood Derby Winner

Tonight was Middletown Boy Scout Pack 242’s annual Pinewood Derby, guess who’s car came in 1st place! That’s right, it was my son’s car.

My son Ryan’s car came in 1st place for the Weeblo #2 den. His car will now represent thePack 242 and the Weeblos at the Monmouth County regional finals later this year.

This is the first car that either of my sons have made, in the 12 years or so that they had been involved in scouting that has come out of the Derby as the winner of their group. The average heat time of this car was 2.46851 seconds, which was very impressive.

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Filed under Boy Scouts of America, Middletown NJ, Monmouth County NJ, Pack 242, Pinewood Derby