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Jackson Council Meeting

Last night the Jackson Town Council had a “Special Meeting” for the purpose of introducing CY 2011 budget amendments. It quickly became evident that the township administrator had little clue as to the workings of our town. When asked by council if he had reached out to all the unions, he responded that he had spoken with ALL unions for concessions and there was no more that can be done. Carol Jordan and Camille Elluzzi union reps came to the microphone and refuted the administrator’s assertions stating that neither she, nor her counterpart had spoken with Mr. Torres. When Mr. Bressi pressed Mr. Torres and Mayor Reina insisted that Mr. Torres get the attendee list it was noted that he did not speak with all unions as stated.

The evening went on with employees and union members getting up to speak to the council, mostly stating the matter of distrust they had for the administration. Detective Campbell Brown President PBA and Jack Siedler , president of SOA, brought out the agreement made last year which was signed by Mayor Reina and passed by the Council that there would be no layoffs for one year and the township would hire new officers within an allotted time frame to replace retirees. Dan Burke, municipal engineer, noted the cuts from his department went to other departments rather than saving his staff which was already cut drastically. In light of these actions, how can you blame the unions or employees for their skepticism?

Our town deserves better than this! Police department, town workers and citizens deserve better than this! At times, I may not agree with the unions or the administration however, agreements should be honored or not made at all if you don’t intend to follow through. Ken Bressi suggested that the council go line by line through the budget to find the necessary cuts to save jobs, time is not on our side and administrators can’t be taking a vacation in the middle of this process. Politics aside, we need more common sense and business savvy in the administration and the council.

One though proposed to me, that we freeze all salaries and not give raises, we would have enough to save our employees and police. Keep all the OE and S&W expenses the same levels as 2010. This budget is already 6 months into the year so we are only asking to stay the same level for the rest of the year.

Now is the time to start work on next year’s budget so we don’t get caught in the same situation. Let’s make agreements and live up to them.

Have something to Speak Out About?

Want to speak out? Looking for an outlet? Drop me a line and an article, I will review it and possibly post it. If that works out, We can make you an “authorized” blogger. Sent to peterg@u1.net

Jackson Schools and New Fees

Ok It’s September and our kids are on their way back to school. Now comes the fun part, we have been informed that new “Participation Fees” schedule is up for “Athletics and Activities”. The program, as described in the BOE brochure ParticipationFees.pdf is “implemented to create revenue to sustain district athletics and extra-curricular programming”. I attended the meeting in Memorial High School on August 31st 2010 with coaches and the Director of Athletics. I thought our Tax dollars are paying for this? Is this a way for the BOE to get around a “tax” increase by calling these “fees”?

They were quick to approve almost $2 Million dollars of technology upgrades for Memorial. And only the first years payment is accounted for, will they be coming back to the taxpayers to fund the rest next year? How about the raise (mid contract) for the Superintendent of schools. I thought we voted down these referendums, including technology. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter attends Memorial and my son graduated several years ago from there, I just don’t like to see the will of the people circumvented.

A parent asked a question at the coaches meeting regarding the “fees” it was a question as to where these fees are going and how they are separated for the athletics/activities. The answer by the Director of Athletics was that to his knowledge, they just went into the general budget. This should outrage every parent. So, by going into the general fund, the money is not designated for any athletic or activity purpose it’s just adding money into the school general fund. I think we should demand an accounting of these funds. We were also informed that they are discontinuing awards dinners because of the $6,000 price tag. So what exactly are these fees going for if we have to put up more money to have an awards dinner at the end of the year?

We need more parents to get involved and attend the BOE meetings as often as possible. I know we are all busy, but the consequence is they can spend our money without any checks and balances. We Vote in the BOE to watch out for our children and our Tax dollars, something is failing somewhere along the line and not many people are watching.

More to follow…

WELCOME

Time to Speak Out! I will let my voice be heard on Politics, Board of Ed and other local issues. As this site and blog grows, I hope to add other towns and categories. Feel free to come back often, sign up and comment on my rants and opinions even register and contact me if you would like to author an article. Check back often, and welcome.