Friday, August 10, 2012

The Patch Interview

My thanks and appreciation to Chelsea Naso of the Matawan-Aberdeen Patch for her yeoman’s work and, on this occasion, for interviewing Mayor Fred Tagliarini and Town Manager Holly Reycraft. I happen to like Mayor Tagliarini and Ms. Reycraft. They’re both good people trying to do right by their community. However, I’m also opposed to many of the town council’s actions and feel compelled to respond to some of their answers.

Below are parts of the interview with my comments:

Q: In January 2009, the town council introduced a Pay-to-Play ordinance. Then the council never discussed or approved it. What happened and why won't the town council end the practice of awarding contracts to their largest campaign contributors? The most egregious example is the township engineer, CME, who contributes tens of thousands of dollars to the political campaigns and receives over a million dollars a year from the township. When was the last time the township had competitive bidding for a professional services contract? 
Fred: To the best of my knowledge, all candidates of all parties follow the guidelines set forth. 
Holly: We have a pay to play ordinance that is the same as the state requires. They [CME] get appointed each year. I appoint the engineer, based on recommendations from the council. They [CME] are mostly paid through escrow funds. Everything goes out to bid as per law. We don’t pick them based on their contributions. If you keep changing firms, there’s no continuity. 
Fred: A lot of engineering firms will contribute to both campaigns. Engineering firms donate, businesses donate. I don’t know an engineering firm that doesn’t make donations. I know engineering firms that will contribute to both campaigns.
The township does not request nor receive competing bids for “professional services” such as engineering, town planning, legal, or accounting. Engineering alone (CME) receives over a million dollars a year from the township. 

Furthermore, these professional service providers donated tens of thousands of dollars to the democratic town council’s campaigns and it’s been well documented on this blog using public records.
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