Here’s a little good news that should brighten your weekend from the New York Times.
The U.S. Economy Added 243,000 Jobs in January; Unemployment Dips to 8.3%
The United States economy gained momentum in January, adding 243,000 jobs, the second straight month of better-than-expected gains, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. The promising jobs numbers came as various economic indicators have painted an ambivalent picture of the recovery’s strength.
You can read all about today in the NY Times
Fortunately, former Monmouth County Freeholder Amy Mallet is still on the job as a outspoken member of the public. The Middletown Patch reported on 1/31/12 that this year’s all-GOP Freeholder Board voted unanimously last week to loosen the County’s pay-to-play rules, and Amy was there to call them on it!
In a vote on Jan. 26th, the Board chose to abandon the tougher County pay-to-play rules for the lax State ones. The reason given by the Board is that contractors were confused by the County rules. However, many other municipalities and counties have the stronger pay-to-play rules in place, so contractors doing business in other towns would already be familiar with them.
The Board’s decision opens the door to rewarding politically connected persons and businesses with County contracts. The move weakens competition and may have the direct effect of increasing property taxes in line with higher contract costs. It’s hard to imagine why any ethical publicly-minded governmental body would do such a thing, unless for personal benefit. It appears the Board members have chosen to grant themselves the latitude to direct contracts at will to ensure their pockets will be lined at election time.
State Comptroller Matthew Boxer said himself that the State pay-to-play law does nothing to prevent the practice by local governments. In September 2011, he released a 20-page report “blasting the law for being toothless” as NJ.com put it.
The effectiveness of Christie’s Tool Kit at holding down property taxes would be vastly improved if it closed the loopholes in the State’s pay-to-play law. But until that happens, it is incumbent upon local governments to do what’s right by having strong pay-to-play rules of their own.
Public advocacy group The Citizens Campaign is calling for the public to attend the Monmouth County Freeholder meeting on Feb. 9th, when the Board will be asked to reinstate the stronger pay-to-play policy. For details, check out their facebook page and if you can, make plans to attend.
Once upon a time, a Prince asked a beautiful Princess, “Will you marry me?”
The Princess said, No!!!
And the Prince lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and dated skinny long-legged big-boobed broads and hunted and fished and raced cars and went to strip bars and dated women half his age and drank whiskey, beer and Captain Morgan and never heard bitching and never paid child support or alimony and banged cheerleaders and kept his house and guns and ate spam and potato chips and beans and blew enormous farts and never got cheated on while he was at work and all his friends and family thought he was frikin cool as hell and he had tons of money in the bank and left the toilet seat up.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 2, 2012
First Responders to Receive Funds for Improved Equipment and Training Opportunities
WASHINGTON D.C.—Today, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) announced the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad will be awarded a $13,381 grant under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
“Thanks to this grant, the Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad will have more resources for training and equipment so they may continue to provide valuable, free medical services in the community,” said Pallone.
The AFG program is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security and is part of a coordinated effort to improve the nation’s ability to respond to emergencies.
The Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad is an all-volunteer emergency medical services and rescue operation which provides the Atlantic Highlands with free, around-the-clock emergency medical services. The Squad will be able to use the funds for training and equipment.
In 2011, under the U.S Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, the AFG Program delivered more than $380 million in competitive grants to the nation’s fire departments and first responders. The Atlantic Highlands First Aid and Safety Squad competed with fire departments and first responders throughout the country and were awarded funding based on the strength and success of the organization and their applications.