Monthly Archives: June 2014

Independent Candidates File Petitions to Run in 2014 Council Election

Utilizing the Open Public Records Act, which guarantees citizens access to governmental records, Heightsonline obtained copies of the nominating petitions for the two independent candidates for the 2014 Council election. Two candidates – Patricia N. Cindea and Katherine E. Kelsey – filed petitions to run as Independent Conservatives.

Petition signators are the same for both candidates, and as follows:

William Diederich and Deborah A. McKean, Monmouth Avenue
Frank E. and Margaret M. Walsh, Lake Avenue
John Lewis, Prospect Avenue
Claire Fallon, Diedre Slattery Fallon, and Madeleine Fallon, 11th Avenue
Joan M. Haynes, 11th Avenue
Mary Foulks and Melissa Foulks, 11th Avenue
Bryan Ehret and Deborah Ehret, 11th Avenue
Chris Tienken and Allison Hawkins Tienken, Ocean Road
Janis Shultz, Prospect Avenue
Robert and Jeannie Ambrosini, Prospect Avenue
Helga Walling, Prospect Avenue
Richard Weeks, Prospect Avenue
Evelyn Middleton and Courtney Middleton, Prospect Avenue
Jill Madonna, Prospect Avenue
Mary T. Frickenhaus, Ocean Road
Elsa Button, Ocean Road
James and Margaret Healy, Crosby Road
Glenn W. Stauder, Jersey Avenue
Kathy and Arthur Kelsey, Jersey Avenue
Anthony Gryziel, Jersey Avenue
Stacy Kennedy, Jersey Avenue
Robert and Janice Sweeney, Shore Road
George J. Woolley Jr. and Anita Woolley, Prospect Avenue
Karen Cindea, Robert J. Cindea, and Patricia Cindea, 11th Avenue
Kathleen, Jim, and Paige Alden, Ocean Road
Kathryn S. Meehan, 6th Avenue
Dominic Vacarro, Prospect Avenue
Lois J. Coy, Prospect Avenue
Jim and Lillian Black, Prospect Avenue

The signed and notarized affidavit of the person who circulates the petition swears that all signatures on both petitions were collected by Patricia N. Cindea. The affidavit is notarized by Sandra Correia, Essex County.

SLH Councils Interviews for New DPW Superintendent

The Spring Lake Heights Borough Council met on June 9. Although there was a light agenda posted, and the actual meeting ran a little more than 11 minutes, residents waited 20 minutes for the meeting to start. Councilman Vorbach returned to the dais for the first time since January 13.

According to the Open Public Meetings Act, meetings must begin at their advertised times. The SLH Council meetings are advertised to begin at 8:00 PM. The Council had gone into closed session at 7:00 PM in order to interview 3 candidates for the position of Public Works Superintendent.

This past spring, long-time superintendent of public works, Art Herner, retired with an approximately salary of $115,000. The Borough then advertised the position via the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Web site. Eleven applications were received, including one from resident and local gadfly John Lewis.

The job required candidates to have, among other things, a Certified Public Works Manager (CPWM) certification, a recycling certification, water and sewer licenses, and a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The job description required a minimum of three years experience performing or supervising utilities, sanitation and recycling, vehicles, roads and facilities maintenance.

Not required was experience as a NJ professional engineer.

Three candidates were interviewed on Monday evening. In the event that two of the candidate’s current employers don’t know they are interviewing, heightsonline will call them “Candidate A” and “Candidate B.” The third candidate, Joe May, is already employed by the Borough.

Candidate A holds all the required certifications and meets the experience requirements.

Candidate B holds some of the required certifications and meets the experience requirements.

Mr. May has only the CPWM certification. He is currently employed by the Borough in two jobs: Zoning Officer and Code Enforcement Official. He also holds appointments as the Borough Engineer and as the Planning Board Engineer. Additionally, he is a partner in the engineering firm he works for and serves as Borough Engineer in another town.

Several years ago, there was a great outcry against anyone who was a multiple job holder, a practice known as “double-dipping” into the pension system. Some of the individuals who complained the loudest against this practice are now elected to Council.

There needs to be great transparency in the hiring for this position. Many towns invite job candidates to attend a public forum where members of the public can ask questions of them. Remember, it is the taxpayers that are hiring for the position. And the taxpayers should demand that the most qualified individual be the one hired. Why would you “require” certain achievements for a job and then not hire within that criteria?

Other points to be made on multiple-job holding – how do you keep track of hours, how do you pay different rates, and how do you avoid self-supervising?

If you allow an employee to combine jobs, you can’t avoid crossing over. The superintendent, out in the field, might see a house with an overgrown lawn and stop to issue a zoning summons. The superintendent position is not allowed overtime pay, yet if the code enforcement official hat is being worn, the position can work as many hours as needed. How would the Borough track the hours of one employee performing 5 different jobs?

Additionally, the superintendent of public works may perceive a need and, as Borough Engineer, write specs for that perceived need. A municipal employee cannot supervise himself to do work in a different job title. There is no oversight. It is an ethics violation. But who is to prevent this from happening if the supervisor and supervisee are one in the same?

It appears that the majority of the Borough Council members are willing to embark on this slippery slope which could open the legal floodgates. Residents need to be aware of this situation and its implications and demand that qualified candidates with the required certifications be considered for the position. The superintendent of public works is a difficult, demanding job that requires not just a high degree of technical skill, but also a high level of finesse in dealing with the public and the ability to represent the Borough effectively at meetings away from town.

The council needs to do what is right for the majority of people in town. Stay away from the pension-padding practice of double-dipping – one job for one employee. Avoid the ethics issues that arise from possible self-supervision. And pick someone who actually has qualifications; don’t let your hiring criteria be that someone seems like “a nice guy.”

Spring Lake Heights Republican Committee Reorganizes

The Spring Lake Heights Republican County Committee met on June 9 as required by State law. All political party committees must meet by the first Monday following a primary in order to reorganize. Results of the June 3 election for committee seats are:

Voting District #1 – Nancy Smith, Joseph Smith

Voting District #2 – Kathleen Donohue, Thomas DeFazio

Voting District #3 – Kathy Kelsey, Leonard Capristo Voting

District #4 – Sara King, Richard Diver

Voting District #5 – Patricia Van Ness, Robert Moore Jr.

The results of the Committee’s reorganization meeting are: Sara King, Chairman Patricia Van Ness, Vice-Chairman Tom DeFazio, Secretary.

The County Committee is responsible for the selection, mentoring, and support of local candidates. Members also vote at the County level when choosing candidates for Freeholder, Congress, and Senate.

Elected municipal Committee members from all Monmouth County municipalities will meet on Tuesday, June 10, to reorganize at the County level.

If you have questions or concerns on any topic within your voting district, contact your district Committee representatives for assistance.