Essex county

FilmCarp

Does anyone here follow the county closely?  I spend more and more time involved in town issues, and I follow the school district, but I don't pay much attention to the County, and that's a nice chunk of my tax bill.  Today I read that Joe D's right hand man is now making over $150k per year, and is responsible for oversight of the correction and detention systems, which are under investigation.  

  I've never been a fan of that layer of government, but I'm willing to be educated.  I know in SO one voice can make a difference.  Is that possible at the county level?


yahooyahoo

Joe D collects a pension and a salary for the same position.  He's corrupt and wields enormous power in the county.  The current leaders of our two towns are friendly with Joe D (maybe because they have to be) but I'm not certain how closely aligned they are with his agenda.


yahooyahoo

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2017/12/joe_ds_sins_and_why_top_democrats_look_away_moran.html

"DiVincenzo is a talented and tireless county executive, give him that. But he taints that by grabbing money for himself at the same time.

He earns a generous salary of $168,000, about what the governor makes. But on top, he collects a public pension of $69,000 a year, for his job as county executive.

You may wonder: How can he collect a fat pension for a job he still holds? Aren't pensions supposed to be for retirement?

Yes, but the rules in Jersey are creative that way.

And Joe D, as he's known, is not strict about following the rules anyway. He just paid a $20,000 fine for using campaign funds to fatten up his personal lifestyle a bit more."


drummerboy

I don't follow it closely either, and I've always thought the county layer of government was kind of a waste. I remember one of my few Republican votes was for James Treffinger back in the 90's, who I recall ran as an anti-county government candidate. Too bad he turned out to be a crook.

OTOH - I think DiVincenzo has done an excellent job on the whole Turtle Back Zoo/Arena Complex.  It's really been turned into a popular, attractive family destination, so he deserves props for that.

OTOOH - I read in a recent Ledger article that there is a bit of a scandal regarding Essex County jails and the detention of undocumented aliens, paid for by the Feds.



bub

I'm sure there are counties out there in America that are bigger than the whole state of NJ.  This is a small state that is already beset with too many small political units.   Who needs counties.  

On the subjective side, I once sat at the "Joe D" table with him and his cronies at a fundraising dinner.  The feeling of old school ward politics (to put it nicely) was palpable.  Blech.


FilmCarp
yahooyahoo said:
Joe D collects a pension and a salary for the same position.  He's corrupt and wields enormous power in the county.  The current leaders of our two towns are friendly with Joe D but I'm not certain how closely aligned they are with his agenda.

 I'm pretty sure the Essex County Democratic party, which I assume is personified in Joey D, is not backing our VP in this election, although it is non partisan.  Do you have any proof of corruption other than the fine you mention?  I'm really trying to see this in a balanced view if I can.  I'm not sure I am going to be able to keep that viewpoint.


yahooyahoo

Essex County spent over $4 million to build the restaurant at the reservoir and then gave the the 15-year lease to DiVincenzo ally Tim McLoone.  The county will break even at best on the original lease.


spontaneous
yahooyahoo said:
https://www.nj.com/opinion/2017/12/joe_ds_sins_and_why_top_democrats_look_away_moran.html

He earns a generous salary of $168,000, about what the governor makes. But on top, he collects a public pension of $69,000 a year, for his job as county executive.
You may wonder: How can he collect a fat pension for a job he still holds? Aren't pensions supposed to be for retirement?
Yes, but the rules in Jersey are creative that way.

I worked with a municipal public employee who was collecting a police pension.  He had retired from the PD, started collecting his pension, and then applied for a job as a town employee.  It isn't unheard of.  However, in this particular person's case he was not allowed to be enrolled in PERS as a municipal worker since he was receiving a pension.  


yahooyahoo

DiVincenzo is collecting a pension and a salary for THE SAME JOB.  He never actually retired.


yahooyahoo
FilmCarp said:


yahooyahoo said:
Joe D collects a pension and a salary for the same position.  He's corrupt and wields enormous power in the county.  The current leaders of our two towns are friendly with Joe D but I'm not certain how closely aligned they are with his agenda.
 I'm pretty sure the Essex County Democratic party, which I assume is personified in Joey D, is not backing our VP in this election, although it is non partisan.  Do you have any proof of corruption other than the fine you mention?  I'm really trying to see this in a balanced view if I can.  I'm not sure I am going to be able to keep that viewpoint.

Do I have any proof of corruption other than corruption?  Let's see.....

You should read these two articles.

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2016/05/christie_defangs_watchdog_to_help_joe_d_on_corrupt.html

https://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2017/12/06/elecs-big-win-divincenzo-settles-pays-20k-fine-135274




cramer
FilmCarp said:


yahooyahoo said:
Joe D collects a pension and a salary for the same position.  He's corrupt and wields enormous power in the county.  The current leaders of our two towns are friendly with Joe D but I'm not certain how closely aligned they are with his agenda.
 I'm pretty sure the Essex County Democratic party, which I assume is personified in Joey D, is not backing our VP in this election, although it is non partisan.  Do you have any proof of corruption other than the fine you mention?  I'm really trying to see this in a balanced view if I can.  I'm not sure I am going to be able to keep that viewpoint.

Considering that Deborah Davis Ford is the  County Freeholder Clerk, I doubt that Joe D. is supporting Sheena in the election. She got the job because of Joe D.


cramer

I'm not a fan of Joe D., but he rescued Essex Co. Under Treffinger, Essex Co. bonds were near junk status - you couldn't give them away. Now Essex Co. bonds have the highest bond rating - Moody's  rates them Aaa. Essex Co. bonds are rated among the highest in the country. 


mrincredible

I want to start collecting my pension now before I retire. Where do I sign up?

Essex County with a population of 808,000 would be the 47th largest state if it was one. It's the 76th largest county (by population) in the US. I'm not sure where it falls on the government expense per capita spectrum.

I don't claim to deeply understand the justification for county level government. (It's funny when you think of the origin of the name. Imagine if we got to elect a Count every few years?)

It would be nice if we started having more open discussion about layers of government and the number of municipalities in the state but I think that would be political suicide. There are jobs at all the different levels of government that would potentially disappear if things got consolidated. Some high paying and influential jobs.


yahooyahoo

How do you feel about Essex County detaining immigrants for ICE?

https://www.wnyc.org/story/under-trump-liberal-new-jersey-counties-cash-in-detaining-immigrants/

Local officials view the immigrants as a source of revenue that helps to control property taxes. Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who was once described as the "Jack Welsh of correctional facilities" for monetizing inmates, has long promised that the ICE contract would "reduce the financial burden on our taxpayers." He did not reply to a request for comment, and officials in other counties declined to talk on the record about their contracts.

Essex and Hudson, according to the most recent ICE data analyzed by Citylab, have the second and third highest number of detainees in the country among the more than 100 county jails with ICE contracts.



yahooyahoo
cramer said:


FilmCarp said:


yahooyahoo said:
Joe D collects a pension and a salary for the same position.  He's corrupt and wields enormous power in the county.  The current leaders of our two towns are friendly with Joe D but I'm not certain how closely aligned they are with his agenda.
 I'm pretty sure the Essex County Democratic party, which I assume is personified in Joey D, is not backing our VP in this election, although it is non partisan.  Do you have any proof of corruption other than the fine you mention?  I'm really trying to see this in a balanced view if I can.  I'm not sure I am going to be able to keep that viewpoint.
Considering that Deborah Davis Ford is the  County Freeholder Clerk, I doubt that Joe D. is supporting Sheena in the election. She got the job because of Joe D.

That makes me wonder if Joe D asked her to run.


cramer

I'm pretty sure he didn't. This was entirely her own decision. My understanding is that DDF just thought that "it was her time."

SO has another resident on the Essex Co. Board of Chosen Freeholders - Janine Bauer. I don't know who Janine is supporting. Janie had been on the BOT and ran against Torpey for Village President and lost because she didn't run any campaign. 


Marie

the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeloaders is aptly named.


nohero

Board of Frozen Cheeseholders.

A politician I worked with years ago used that term, and that always comes to mind when the Board is mentioned.


fillyboy64
drummerboy said:
I don't follow it closely either, and I've always thought the county layer of government was kind of a waste. I remember one of my few Republican votes was for James Treffinger back in the 90's, who I recall ran as an anti-county government candidate. Too bad he turned out to be a crook.

OTOH - I think DiVincenzo has done an excellent job on the whole Turtle Back Zoo/Arena Complex.  It's really been turned into a popular, attractive family destination, so he deserves props for that.
OTOOH - I read in a recent Ledger article that there is a bit of a scandal regarding Essex County jails and the detention of undocumented aliens, paid for by the Feds.



 I enjoy the reservoir area immensely and am a regular visitor!   It's well done, clean and maintained...all good! But, I also feel like if you squint hard enough you can almost see the unmarked bags of cash that were probably exchanged as a part of the build grin


bub
fillyboy64 said:


drummerboy said:
I don't follow it closely either, and I've always thought the county layer of government was kind of a waste. I remember one of my few Republican votes was for James Treffinger back in the 90's, who I recall ran as an anti-county government candidate. Too bad he turned out to be a crook.

OTOH - I think DiVincenzo has done an excellent job on the whole Turtle Back Zoo/Arena Complex.  It's really been turned into a popular, attractive family destination, so he deserves props for that.
OTOOH - I read in a recent Ledger article that there is a bit of a scandal regarding Essex County jails and the detention of undocumented aliens, paid for by the Feds.
 I enjoy the reservoir area immensely and am a regular visitor!   It's well done, clean and maintained...all good! But, I also feel like if you squint hard enough you can almost see the unmarked bags of cash that were probably exchanged as a part of the build grin

 Can't agree that the resevoir is clean.  It's like a sewer around the inlet at the north end, and there's always stuff floating around the rest of it if you look closely.  The kiddie park and all of the rest of the development can't be good for that.


cramer

"New Jersey's system of naming county legislators "freeholders" is unique in the United States. The origin of the term was in the provisions of the New Jersey State Constitution of 1776, which stated:

That all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate in the same, and have resided within the county in which they claim a vote for twelve months immediately preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in Council and Assembly; and also for all other public officers, that shall be elected by the people of the county at large.

The name "freeholder" in the "Board of Chosen Freeholders" is because "clear estate" is also known as a freehold. "Chosen" means elected."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_chosen_freeholders



tjohn

Perhaps we could start by listing the services the county provides and figure out what the cost would be to have municipalities assume responsibility for those services.

Also,  if the reservoir is a full of trash, I would look at what washes into it during rainstorms from outside of the park.


Michael

County handles the courts and prisons for the most part.  I can't see how the towns could handle without a major capital investment. County also manages the reservation/parks.  

The real problem is not all the towns  - it is how we fund our school systems.  Average town in NJ puts in almost 60% of their property tax dollars in to the schools.  If we switched to a system where the sales tax, lottery tax and income tax paid for the schools it would  have a huge impact on property taxes.  Local property taxes could be used to help but should be no more than 25%  of the bill.  This would also ease the burden on seniors and allow them to stay local rather than moving out of state. 


yahooyahoo
tjohn said:
Perhaps we could start by listing the services the county provides and figure out what the cost would be to have municipalities assume responsibility for those services.
Also,  if the reservoir is a full of trash, I would look at what washes into it during rainstorms from outside of the park.

Essex County leases the reservoir from the City of Orange.  I'm not sure who is responsible for cleaning it but my guess is that falls on the County.

The reservoir itself is part of the west branch of the Rahway River, which starts in West Orange.


tjohn
yahooyahoo said:
Essex County leases the reservoir from the City of Orange.  I'm not sure who is responsible for cleaning it but my guess is that falls on the County.
The reservoir itself is part of the west branch of the Rahway River, which starts in West Orange.

 Clearly then we should return the Rahway drainage in West Orange to its natural state.  Rough for the people who live and work there, but I want a clean reservoir.


FilmCarp

The county manages county roads, including traffic signals.  In fact, every signal in South Orange that isn't just a flasher is operated and maintained by the county.  I wonder, though, if we could have 5 counties instead of 21.  Keep what works, and unload what doesn't while we are consolidating them.


bub
mikescott said:
County handles the courts and prisons for the most part.  I can't see how the towns could handle without a major capital investment. County also manages the reservation/parks.  
The real problem is not all the towns  - it is how we fund our school systems.  Average town in NJ puts in almost 60% of their property tax dollars in to the schools.  If we switched to a system where the sales tax, lottery tax and income tax paid for the schools it would  have a huge impact on property taxes.  Local property taxes could be used to help but should be no more than 25%  of the bill.  This would also ease the burden on seniors and allow them to stay local rather than moving out of state. 

 We have a state operated court system.  It's managed out of Trenton.  It's just that the "vicinages" follow county borders, which is typical of state court systems.    


Rob_Sandow
mikescott said:
County handles the courts and prisons for the most part.  I can't see how the towns could handle without a major capital investment. County also manages the reservation/parks.  
The real problem is not all the towns  - it is how we fund our school systems.  Average town in NJ puts in almost 60% of their property tax dollars in to the schools.  If we switched to a system where the sales tax, lottery tax and income tax paid for the schools it would  have a huge impact on property taxes.  Local property taxes could be used to help but should be no more than 25%  of the bill.  This would also ease the burden on seniors and allow them to stay local rather than moving out of state. 

 

Actually the NJ Income Tax is dedicated 100% to local property tax relief in a NJ Constitutional Amendment that established the income tax in the 1970s.  It had a very noble purpose, which was to shift the cost of education, which is mostly covered in property tax to a system more in line with the ability to pay.  Unfortunately what followed was a series of lawsuits and NJ Supreme Court decisions known collectively as "The Abbott Decisions", which directed almost all of the income tax to offset local property taxes in just 31 school districts, where the Court found that the State had been deficient in providing for the "Thorough and Efficient" clause in the State Constitution.  That clause was incorrectly interpreted by the NJ Supreme Court, but the only way to get significant relief is to change the judges on the NJ Supreme Court.  Christie said he would do that but then he didn't.  Otherwise it requires another NJ Constitutional Amendment to make the last one more clear.  That's unlikely.  


Michael

Rob,  The Abbott decision was poorly thought out and absolutely needs to be revisited.  It is insane that Jersey City is still getting so much of that money.  




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