To the Editor:
I have been following with interest the breaking story of nepotism in county government. As a retired county employee, I observed nepotism and the devastating effects on employee morale, productivity, and retention.
The stain of nepotism that rewards those not deserving a higher position with much higher pay, while bypassing civil service tests and lists based on results and aptitudes, is an insult to every employee and citizen.
I know many current and retired employees who have experienced the pain of nepotism that has ruined many careers. Unfairness and the inability to advance not only leads to bitterness and resignations, but it's also a perfect recipe for multiple million-dollar legal settlements.
A labor lawyer opined this county created a way to circumvent civil service rules and regulations through nepotism.
New Jersey's legislators created laws, rules, and regulations to prevent undue influence of elected officials, and to prevent political meddling and micro-management of county departments. There is blatant disregard with the intent of these laws. A sense of lawlessness and despair runs rampant in many departments.
Our public employees must be treated with dignity, respect, and equal advancement based on merit, not party affiliation, or last names.
Stagnant water will become unclean, filled with algae, green mold and unhealthy organisms. It is unsafe to consume or use for any purpose. As long as the public does not consume tainted water and avoids unclean water, there is no threat to public safety or welfare.
Sometimes, stagnant water will dissipate on its own, returning to where it began, no longer a concern. Often stagnant water must be strained, filtered, and purified with chemicals to prevent disease and protect the public.
Treated stagnant water can be consumed, but it will never be equal to pure, fresh spring water. If stagnant water is not treated correctly, with even one purification process overlooked, it will eventually become a concern to the public.
This is the condition of our current freeholder board. In the beginning, there was a commitment to serve and better our county.
Now, many view the board as stagnant, controlled by a master puppeteer with invisible strings, members marching in lockstep to predetermined solutions, no real discussion or spirited debate, and no new, bold initiatives to solve our current problems.
If our freeholder board is incapable of instituting a nepotism policy that assures every employee the right to fair and equal discipline, the right to advance through aptitude and ability, free of political meddling and the dreaded “payback,” and to treat all employees with respect and dignity, how can we expect them to solve the much larger problems in our county?
Taxpayers will always pay dearly for poor management and incompetence with ever-higher property taxes and user fees. Lawsuits can be avoided by extensive investigations of all complaints. Sound legal determinations with fair and impartial decisions by leaders who represent citizens and have an obligation to protect taxpayer monies.
I ask all citizens to carefully review all freeholder candidates. Consider the board as a whole, with past and current problems.
It is time for new freeholders with fresh ideas and a commitment to citizens to do what is in the best interests of our community. It is time to draw from the well and replace stagnant water with fresh water.