Category Archives: Kim Guadagono

NJ Watchdog: THE “GOLDEN” AGE OF DOUBLE-DIPPING IN MONMOUTH COUNTY

NJ Watchdog yesterday posted a follow-up to it’s story “43 TOP NJ COUNTY COPS DO THE BIG DOUBLE-DIP: HOW 16 SHERIFFS & 27 UNDERSHERIFFS POCKET MILLIONS IN PENSIONS PLUS SALARIES” by investigative reporter Mark Lagerkvist, which I posted about back in September.

The update titled “THE “GOLDEN” AGE OF DOUBLE-DIPPING IN MONMOUTH COUNTY” details the abuses of the Monmouth County Sheriffs Department and specifically names both former Monmouth County Sheriffs Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and current Sheriff Shaun Golden, as being complacent in the hiring of and promotions of 3 current Monmouth County Undersheriff who all are politically connected, retired from well paying state jobs and started collecting their pensions, then were hired to work for the Sheriffs Department.

This practice of complacently allowing Double-Dipping by in Monmouth County by our current and former Sherriffs is even more disturbing when you consider that they have been rewarded for their actions, Guadagno going on to become Lt. Governor and Golden recently being named as Secretary of the statewide organization the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey (COANJ), which is a nearly century-old professional organization of the elected constitutional officers of all 21 counties who’s membership includes Sheriffs, County Surrogates, County Clerks, and Registers of Deeds and Mortgages.

Why do the Monmouth County Freeholders allow this abuse of tax payer dollars to go on?

Below is an excerpt from NJ Watchdogs update:

Three of Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden’s undersheriffs are guilty of double-dipping – not a felony or misdemeanor, just a costly reality in the world of New Jersey politics.

The most controversial of the three is Undersheriff Michael W. Donovan Jr. Donovan’s double-dipping – revealed by a New Jersey Watchdog investigative report last year

As Monmouth County sheriff in 2008, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno hired Donovan as chief in charge of law enforcement. There was an obstacle: Donovan had retired as a county investigator three years earlier. Since a sheriff’s chief officer is a position subject to the rules of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), Donovan faced the prospect of giving up pension checks by going back to work.

To help Donovan double-dip, Guadagno informed payroll officials Donovan was her chief warrant officer – a similar sounding but completely different position not subject to PFRS rules. In contrast, Guadagno’s own memo and organizational chart identified Donovan as her chief in charge of law enforcement.

With Guadagno’s help, Donovan pocketed $85,000 a year in retirement pay along with his new salary of $87,000. He scammed $245,000 from PFRS – $227,000 in pension pay, plus $18,000 he should have contributed to the pension fund after being re-hired.

Faced with controversy, Sheriff Shaun Golden – Guadagno’s successor – found a way to protect his office and Donovan. In February, Golden gave Donovan a raise and promoted him to undersheriff, a position not subject to PFRS rules. So Donovan continues his double-dipping ways, more lucrative than ever…..

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Filed under double dipping, Kim Guadagono, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, New Jersey Watchdog, Shaun Golden

NJ Watchdog: 41 TOP NJ COUNTY COPS DO THE BIG DOUBLE-DIP: HOW 16 SHERIFFS & 25 UNDERSHERIFFS POCKET MILLIONS IN PENSIONS PLUS SALARIES

Very good investigative report by Mark Lagerkvist posted over at NJ WatchDog that chronicles the double dipping(those that receive a state salary while also collecting a state pension) of many county cops around the state.

Of particular interest to those who live in Monmouth County is the excerpt below that pertains the Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who went out of her way to provide a double-dipping job opportunity to Michael W. Donovan in 2008 while Monmouth County Sheriff.

Current Monmouth County Sheriff, Shaun Golden has been complacent on the issue and has given Donovan a pay raise while promoting to the position of Undersheriff.

The double-dipping of Michael W. Donovan Jr. – revealed by a New Jersey Watchdog investigative report last year – provides an inside look at how powerful politicians can conspire to cheat pension funds.

As Monmouth County sheriff in 2008, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno hired Donovan as chief in charge of law enforcement. There was an obstacle: Donovan had retired as a county investigator three years earlier. Since a sheriff’s chief officer is a position subject to the rules of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), Donovan faced the prospect of giving up pension checks by going back to work.

To help Donovan double-dip, Guadagno informed payroll officials Donovan was her chief warrant officer – a similar sounding but completely different position not subject to PFRS rules. In contrast, Guadagno’s own memo and organizational chart identified Donovan as her chief in charge of law enforcement.

With Guadagno’s help, Donovan pocketed $85,000 a year in retirement pay along with his new salary of $87,000. He scammed $245,000 from PFRS – $227,000 in pension pay, plus $18,000 he should have contributed to the pension fund after being re-hired.

Faced with controversy, Sheriff Shaun Golden – Guadagno’s successor – found a way to protect his office and Donovan. In February, Golden gave Donovan a raise and promoted him to undersheriff, a position not subject to PFRS rules. So Donovan continues his double-dipping ways, more lucrative than ever…

Some schemes are enabled by superiors who have already gamed the system for themselves…

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Filed under Kim Guadagono, Michael Donovan, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, nj watchdog, Shaun Golden, undersheriff

>NJ TREASURY BOTCHES MONMOUTH PROBE; STATE IGNORES $245K PENSION SCAM IMPLICATING LT. GOV. GUADAGNO

>Back on October 19th of last year the website New Jersey Watchdog broke the story about how Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, while acting as Monmouh County Sheriff in 2008, 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.

Now New Jersey Watchdog is reporting that after an investigation into the allegations, the NJ Treasury botched it’s investigation into this troubling story, by ignoring evidence that clearly shows that Michael W. Donovan Jr. was employed as Chief Warrant Officer, which has allowed him to collect $85,000 a year in pension benefits while collecting a county salary of $87,500. To date New Jersey Watchdog says that Donovan owes the County in excess of $245,000 for pension payments that he was not entitled to:

Here is what NJ Watchdog is reporting:

A botched investigation by the New Jersey Treasury is allowing a Monmouth County sheriff’s executive – and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, his former boss – to get away with a double-dipping scam that has cheated a state pension fund out of nearly a quarter-million dollars.

Ignoring evidence to the contrary, state officials concluded Michael W. Donovan Jr. was employed as “chief warrant officer,” according to a letter from Florence J. Shepherd, acting director of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits.

Records obtained by New Jersey Watchdog clearly show that Donovan was actually the Sheriff’s Chief Officer in charge of law enforcement. That evidence includes:

  • An Aug. 21, 2008 memo written and initialed by then-Sheriff Guadagno, introducing Donovan as the “new Chief of the Law Enforcement Division.”
  • Organization charts for the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, covering the period of Sept. 22, 2008 through Feb. 13, 2011. Each identifies Donovan as the “Chief” in charge of law enforcement.
  • A Sheriff’s Office web page describing Donovan’s duties as “Sheriff’s Chief,” including the department’s day-to-day activities.

While the job titles of sheriff’s chief officer and chief warrant officer sound similar, the difference is defined in state statute. Another difference is the money this charade has cost the state pension system, as first exposed by a New Jersey Watchdog investigation in October 2010.

Listed as chief warrant officer in payroll records, Donovan has been able to collect $85,000 a year in benefits as a retired county investigator, plus an $87,500 annual salary for his job with the sheriff.

Chief warrant officer is considered a temporary position exempt from the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS). In contrast, a sheriff’s chief officer is covered by the PFRS. Under state pension rules, Donovan should have been required to re-enroll in the plan, which would have stopped his retirement checks.

To date, Donovan has improperly received $227,000 in pension payments. In addition, he should have paid $18,000 in contributions to the plan since returning to work in 2008.

On behalf of the PFRS, the Treasury could sue to recover $245,000 from Donovan. But first, the agency would have to face facts that implicate Guadagno – and would likely embarrass the Christie Administration.

The Feb. 11 letter from Acting Director Shepherd was sent in response to an inquiry from Anthony Wieners, president of the New Jersey State Policeman’s Benevolent Association. Wieners could not be reached for comment.

Three days later, Donovan was given a new job title – plus a raise. As Monmouth County’s new undersheriff in charge of law enforcement with essentially the same responsibilites, he now receives a $90,125 annual salary – plus nearly $86,000 a year in state pension checks.

With all that is going on today about how public employees are bankrupting states with their generous health and pension benefits, it’s nice to know that Governor Christie can look the other way when it involves one of his own from the Monmouth County “Good ol’ Boy” network.
Based on what NJ Watchdog has uncovered, I think it is time for Christie to intervene by firing Michael Donovan as Chief Warrant Officer for Monmouth County and asking his Lt. Governorr for some straight answers before asking for Guadagno’s resignation.

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Filed under Chief Warrent Officer, Gov. Chris Christie, Kim Guadagono, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Sheriff, New Jersey Watchdog, pension fraud

Scharfenberger Videos Are Just Another Example Of His Ignorance Of Facts.

Have you seen the two videos of Middletown’s acting mayor Gerry Scharfenberger being interviewed by another local blogger? The videos were made a number of weeks ago, just before the 4th of July holiday, so if you have not you can seem them, you can do so >>> here and here .
These videos are a classic examples of how Gerry Scharfenberger ignores the truth to promote his own agenda.
Scharfenbeger stated in the first video that the 13% increase in the municipal tax rate stated by Committeeman Sean Byrnes at the budget introduction meeting was not accurate, which is untrue.
In 2009 there was $40,001,112.58 raised by property taxes and this year (2010) there will be $45,549,733.91, the difference being $5,548,621.33. If you divide this difference by the 2009 amount and multiply it by 100 you will get the percentage increase for 2010, which is 13.87%. Byrnes was rounding down to 13%.

Scharfenbeger mentioned about how the lack of state aid was a factor behind the increase in the municipal tax rate. In 2009 Middletown lost, I believe $800K in state aid and Scharfenberger stated that then Gov. Jon Corzine was strangling the municipalities. In 2010 Gov. Christie has shorted Middletown twice that much,$1.6M. Now, Scharfenberger has stated that Gov. Christie is doing what is necessary to set the State on the right course, but he had no plan to deal with the loss of aid. The mayor had to have seen this coming just by the shear climate of the economy and planned appropriately for it.

This brings up a point that I am surprised others haven’t talked about much; why should Middletown rely on State aid to begin with? Middletown is larger enough and should be supporting itself, not looking for handouts from the State or Federal Governments. If aid comes down from the State it should be applied to the town’s surplus and the following years’ budget.

When asked about the adoption of the township budget and why after 6 months into the year a budget had not been adopted yet, our acting mayor stated that each month thus far Middletown has been operating with a temporary budget that has been kept to within 75% of what was expected to spent each month.

If that’s the case, why not make a yearly budget to do the same? A budget could have been made in January to include 90% of what was expected to be spent. That would leave 10% to go toward surplus. Why put off the enevitable? Given this statement Gerry expected a 13% increase, therefore he saw it coming.

In the second video, the mayor talks about unfunded mandates like COAH and opting out of the civil service system. Scharfenberger stated that millions have been spent over the years on lawyers fees to to fight lawsuits on COAH, but the reality is, if the Middletown was COAH compliant for all of those years then most of the lawsuits would not have taken place. As a matter of fact, if Middletown was compliant in many other areas of the law, then lawsuits would not have had to be fought. Many times Middletown has enabled the lawsuits to continue only to have the lawyers profit.

In wishing to opt-out of the Civil Service system, Scharfenberger stated that shared service agreements can’t be reached with other towns that do not have civil service employees. He says that because of civil service requirements agreements between Middletown and other towns are nearly impossible. Now I might be wrong in presuming this but, if an agreement can be made between two municipalities whether they are civil service or not, that complies with the civil service contracts, it should be acceptable to the non-civil service employees from another towns.
Finally, the mayor claims that he had no idea of what the Governor was going to do, which has to be the furthest thing from the truth. After all, Scharfenberger was on the Governors’ Transition Team writing policy for what the new Governor was going to do and he loves to tell everyone that he is in constant contact with him or Lieutenant Gov. Guadagno.
So to be taken by surprise or caught off guard by anything coming from Trenton has to be taken with a grain of salt and chalked up as nothing more than the continued issuance of half-truths an blubbery from him, in order to promote his own self interests.

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Filed under civil service, COAH, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Kim Guadagono, Middletown, municipal tax rates, video, YouTube

Are "Christie’s" U.S. Attorneys Stonewalling the Corzine Campaign?

by Steve Singiser – Daily Kos
Sat Aug 22, 2009

Since early in the Spring (over 150 days ago, according to a clock helpfully placed in an online ad on PolitickerNJ), the campaign of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has been waiting on a Freedom of Information Act request. Back in March, Team Corzine began asking for documents pertaining to Chris Christie and his tenure in the U.S. Attorneys Office. A fishing expedition, perhaps, but one that is pretty common in campaigns.

The response, shall we say, has been lacking. Therefore, on Thursday, Team Corzine looked to kick it up a notch, filing several administrative challenges to the D.O.J. complaining about the stonewalling:

“The United States Attorney’s office has many fine, dedicated, professional lawyers,” said Corzine strategist Tom Shea. “But, in light of recent reports that Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra is under investigation to determine if he has used the office to help further the Christie campaign, Second Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown has an ongoing financial relationship with Christie and Christie was communicating with Karl Rove about his run for governor from that office, we feel it is even more important we receive the information requested.”

Friday morning, in a press release, they took it a step further, as Corzine’s nominee for Lt. Governor, state Senator Loretta Weinberg, made what would seem to be a pretty reasonable request:

Senator Loretta Weinberg today called on Assistant United States Attorney Michele Brown to be removed from having any participation in fulfilling the Corzine ’09 campaign’s FOIA requests after it was revealed in the Star-Ledger that Brown is “playing a role in the process of retrieving” the documents requested by the Corzine ’09 campaign.

In recent days, it was revealed that Christie has an ongoing financial relationship with Brown, the number two lawyer in the U.S. Attorney’s office, which he failed to disclose in either his personal financial disclosure forms or tax returns. Citing Brown’s potential conflict of interest, Weinberg called today for Brown to be removed off the task of retrieving any of the FOIA requests.

So, if the Corzine campaign is correct on this one, the person who was working on fulfilling those requests for information on Chris Christie was someone who owes Chris Christie almost fifty grand. Armed with that nugget of information, it is not hard to see why the delivery on said requests has been a tad tardy.

For their part, the U.S. Attorney’s office is denying that Brown is in charge of such requests, saying that she has played a role, but only because some of the documents pertained to her.

This whole episode, nonetheless, is why the financial arrangement between Christie and Brown was a horrific idea on Christie’s part, if he was contemplating a political career (and, from all reports, he was contemplating one for quite some time).

Even taking Christie at his word (that he was simply giving a hand to a friend in need), the optics of a political candidate shelling out what we presume was an unsecured loan for that amount, to someone in a capacity to assist him politically (perhaps by…say…sitting on an FOIA request for said candidate’s opponent), looks just awful. The appearance of impropriety is glaring, even if everything is on the up-and-up.

This also, it would seem, is going to put the U.S. Attorney’s office in Jersey into an incredible bind, even to the point of potentially jeopardizing some of their prosecutorial ability, if some of their targets can paint the office as driven by partisan political motivation. Given how many bad guys come before that office over the course of time, offering them that kind of potential “out” is terribly troublesome.

Christie could, of course, dampen the effects of that by coming completely clean on the present state of his relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s office. At this point, however, he seems to have clammed up:

On Thursday, Christie refused to answer questions for a second day. His campaign had said he’d be available.

Appearing at a senior center in Garfield, Christie said he and running mate Kim Guadagno would “take the heat when it comes.” However, he went in through a side door, held off press queries during the event, then pointedly refused to answer who he’s still in contact with at the U.S. attorney’s office and how informed he is about day-to-day activities there.

The conventional wisdom a while ago was that the only way Jon Corzine could be re-elected was if (a) the economy recovered faster than expected or (b) Christie’s reputation as the “corruption fighter” could be tarnished. The first condition might prove a difficult get by November (although New Jersey did add jobs in the month of July), but the second condition seems to be becoming more and more plausible.

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Filed under Chris Christie, Daily Kos, Jon Corzine, Kim Guadagono, Lorretta Weinberg, Michele Brown, NJ-Gov. Race, PolitickerNJ, US Attorneys Office

Best Quote of the Day, From Yesterday

“The facts surrounding the freeze versus layoff issue belie Sheriff Guadagno’s claim that she is the rare elected official who hasn’t backed down from the public-employee unions,”… Guadagno “essentially sabotaged the county’s plan as it related to the unions within the Sheriff’s Office,”.

Monmouth County Freeholder Jonh D’Amico quoted in the Asbury Park Press about Monmouth County Sheriff / Republican Lt. Governor candidate, Kim Guadagno and her efforts to undermine negotiations with county union members.

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Rocky start for Guadagno on GOP gubernatorial ticket

BOB JORDAN – Asbury Park Press

Monmouth Beach resident Kim Guadagno made history last week by becoming the first person in New Jersey politics chosen as a lieutenant governor candidate. Guadagno was already in the record books as Monmouth County’s first female sheriff.

But Guadagno got off to a bumpy start on the first day of the campaign last Monday and continues to be challenged on her claim to have successfully handled tough negotiations with public-employee unions. Monmouth Democrats contend Guadagno instead obstructed efforts to freeze county government salaries by pandering to unions within the Sheriff’s Office.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie said at a Freehold Township campaign stop that the flap has no reflection on his newly minted running mate.

Read More >>>Here

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