Incumbent, challenger elected to Highlands Borough Council

Incumbent, challenger elected to Highlands Borough Council (via NJ.com)

HIGHLANDS – The borough’s voters elected two council members from a field of six at-large candidates vying for seats on the Borough Council on Tuesday night. According to Monmouth County’s unofficial election results, voters reelected Council President…

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Posted: May 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Incumbent, challenger elected to Highlands Borough Council

Highlands Council Votes To Give DeBlasio His 6th Government Job

The Highlands Borough Council passed a resolution last night, in a 3-2 vote, to appoint Patrick DeBlasio to be the borough’s Chief Financial Officer effective May 1, 2014. DeBlasio is the CFO of Carteret, North Plainfield, and Keansburg. He is the treasurer of the Carteret Board of Education and the tax collector in Highlands.

In Carteret, DeBlasio also serves as a member of the Parking Commission.

The 40,000 salary that comes with the appointment will bring his total compensation from his six jobs to $284,606. All of DeBlasio’s jobs provide a pension. The borough plans to hire him an assistant for an undetermined salary.

Governor Chris Christie earns $175,000, as do U.S. Senators and Members of Congress. State Cabinet Officers earn $141,000. Superior Court Judges earn $165,000

The borough did not advertise the position or explore a shared services agreement with another town, as Mayor Frank Nolan and Councilman Chris Francy advocated. Rather, they voted to hire DeBlasio on the recommendation of retiring CFO Stephen Pfeffer, according to Council President Rebecca Kane and Councilwoman Tara Ryan’s remarks explaining the hire when they moved and seconded the resolution.  Pfeffer earns $69,580 as CFO in Highlands and $157,738 as the CFO of Tinton Falls.

During the public portion of the council meeting, Kane said she would reevaluate the decision after one year. However Borough Attorney Bruce Padula said that the appointment is for a four year term.  DeBlasio would be tenured after the initial four years.  Kane’s term on the council expires in June, due to a referendum passed by Highlands voters in November making the borough’s election non-partisan.  She is expected to run for another term.

In his remarks opposing DeBlasio’s appointment, Nolan said, “We are often the laughing stock of Monmouth County. This is one of the reasons why.”

Posted: December 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Francy, Frank Nolan, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Highlands Mayor Nolan Calls For Sharing Municipal Accounting Services, Criticizes Proposal To Give CFO Candidate A 6th Government Job

If one person can do six government jobs for $300,000, why can’t those governmental entities get together and hire one person to do that work for half the amount or less?

photo by Tim Larsen, Governor's Office

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, photo by Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office

In his column on facebook and Atlantic Highlands Herald, Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan said there is currently a contract being negotiated for a new Chief Financial Officer in the borough.  The candidate, who Nolan did not name, currently has five government jobs, including another job in Highlands, and earns $244,606. If hired as Highlands’ new CFO, the candidate would have to work 160 hours per week, theoretically, to justify the combined full time and part time salaries which would exceed $300,000.

As of this writing, there is a contract being written for someone to fill that position that already has 5 municipal jobs across the state. If this individual was to be given this 6th municipal job at our council meeting on December 18th they would be one of the top paid public employees in the state and would hold 2 jobs in the Borough of Highlands. His current salary listed on the state website is $244,606 for his 5 current positions. If we add another $65,000 to the total and highlands would be putting him over the $300,000 per year mark.

By definition most part time jobs are about 20 hours per week. The average fulltime job is 40 hours. If you have 4 part time jobs, that means you are working, in theory, 80 hours per week on those jobs. Plus you have 2 full time jobs. That’s another 80 hours. The person who is potentially being given a 6th municipal job at the Wed, December 18th council meeting that will be held at Highlands Elementary School at 8:00pm for the public. This person will be working 160 hours per week. There are 168 total hours in a 7 day week. How can someone work 6 jobs and be effective? The answer is: they can’t.

MMM believes the accountant is Highlands Tax Collector Patrick DeBlasio, who, according to APP’s Data Universe, has two jobs in Carteret, and one job each in Keansburg, North Plainfield, in addition to his tenured position in Highlands, all of which will pay a pension.

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Posted: December 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Government Waste, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Highlands Mayor Nolan Calls For Sharing Municipal Accounting Services, Criticizes Proposal To Give CFO Candidate A 6th Government Job

Poltical Animals and other musings

I didn’t make the Highlands council meeting last night as I was dining in Princeton with Poltical Animals star Sigourney Weaver.

Not really.  Weaver was leaving the Blue Point Grill as my party was entering.  And we had the same waitress.  Still it was cool.  Other than politicians and pundits this was my closest celebrity encounter since Bette Midler walked in on me in a Fort Lauderdale Airport mens room.


Political Animals is a fun watch.

Weaver plays a former first lady, Elaine Barrish, who ran for president, lost the Democratic primary, divorced her philandering husband and became Secretary of State for the president who beat her in the primary.  In the most recent episode, Barrish tells the president that she is going to run against him again, but not before she councils him to do something more heroic than killing Bin Laden and her ex-husband ex-president punches out the vice president in the oval office.

While all of that high drama is going on, Barrish’s “bad son,” a gay piano player who was outed while growing up in the White House, is in the hospital recovering from a drug overdose and her “good son” is joining the mile high club with a reporter who buried the overdose story while the good son’s fiancee is smoking pot with Barrish’s mother.

Must see TV.

I heard the Highlands council did not vote to put the flood mitigation plan on the November ballot as a non-binding referendum and that Councilman Chris Francy did not deny that he kept the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers off his property when they wanted to study an alternate plan of flood mitigation.  When asked about that during the public portion of the meeting, I’m told that Francy said, “that article on the Internet was not really an article, but a blogger’s opinion.”

Whatever.  They’ve done the right thing so far.  I hope the governing body doesn’t drop the issue now.

The political animals in the NJ GOP were crazier today than the TV show.

The Bergen Record ran a piece by their Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson, GOP Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos open to tax hikes.

By early afternoon, Kyrillos issued a press release stating that he doesn’t favor raising taxes.  He wants to lower tax rates and close loopholes.

12th District GOP congressional candidate Eric Beck, the guy running against Rush Holt, issued two press releases.  The first one was announcing that he disagrees with Kyrillos on taxes.  The second one was announcing that Huffington Post  and Politickernj picked up the first one.  Beck’s campaign manager, Chris Pordon, who got his start in politics working for Kryillos, has been breaking his back trying to get free media for Beck.  He got some today, including this mention on MMM for which he’s been dogging me.

Anna Little has not issued a press release throwing Kyrillos under the bus.   Michele Bachman endorsed Little and the Bayshore Tea Party is having a bake sale fundraiser for her. Really.  What’s next, a car wash? No bikinis. Please.

In Bergen County, Republican County Executive Kathleen Donovan is suing the Republican controlled Freeholder Board to prevent them from dissolving the Bergen County Police.

Kyrillos announced that he will release three years of tax returns at a press conference tomorrow.  Senator Bob Menendez responded that he will release five years of tax returns at a press conference next week.

Not a bad day for the Democrats given all the Republican self inflicted wounds.

Posted: August 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, 2012 U.S. Senate Race, Anna Little, Bayshore Tea Party Group, Bob Menendez | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Flooding in Highlands

Flooding is a serious problem in Highlands.

Highlands resident Derek Gordon street kayaking after this afternoon's storm. Photo credit: Brian Cobb

The center of town, which is both residential and business, is at a lower elevation than the shore line. During a storm, water comes from the Sandy Hook Bay/Shrewsbury River and storm water comes rushing down to the below sea level downtown from “the hill,” the highest elevation on the east coast of the United States which includes parts of Highlands and the Monmouth Hills section of Middletown. During a big storm at high tide and a full moon, downtown Highlands looks like Venice without the charm and romance.

Councilman Chris Francy convinced the rest of the governing body to have T&M Associates, the borough’s engineers, design a flood mitigation system that includes new pumps and pipes to get the water out of town and back into the bay/river.   The project is said to be “shovel ready” and will cost roughly $4 million dollars.  The governing body is applying to FEMA to cover $2.2 million of the cost.  Congressman Frank Pallone is on board to advocate for the project with FEMA.  At a town hall meeting on Monday night, Francy, Pallone and Mayor Frank Nolan said that Highlands is currently number three on FEMA’s list of such projects in New Jersey but that only two will be approved.  Pallone is working to get Highlands bumped up on the list and secure the funding.  That might be good for Highlands and bad for a community along the Passaic River.

The governing body is set to vote on a resolution tonight that will put the project on the ballot in November as a non-binding referendum.  The referendum would ask the voters consent to fund the entire project without FEMA money.

There’s two problems with this scenario.

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Posted: August 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Army Corp of Engineers, Chris Francy, FEMA, Flooding, Frank Pallone, Highlands | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »