Hand Check Registry

By John Bury | July 30, 2014

The county keeps both a Check Registry as well as a Hand Check Registry for some reason.  It looks like the Hand Check Registry has to do with payroll and benefit related payments plus some items that they would like not to highlight.  For example when you combine the Hand Check Registry data from 2004 through mid-2014 into a spreadsheet you notice:

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Lawuit represents 43 Runnells Hospital employees

By Tina Renna | July 28, 2014

The County of Union has a staff of 2,689 employees, yet it does not maintain a human resources department. Instead it relies on the Department of Administrative Services. In the recent past the following politically connected people have oversaw this department: Elizabeth Geneviech; upon her retirement Matthew DiRado, was given the position. He began his county career as a graphic designer. Most recently Norman Albert was transferred to the position from the County Counsel’s office where he oversaw such things as being the protector of the Seal of Union County.

In addition to their full-time county jobs, DiRado and Albert maintained a private law practice together Albert, DiRado & Kojak.

None of these department heads had a formal education or professional background in Human Resources. Further the Department of Administrative Services has had two employees assigned to Runnels, although their salaries did not appear in the Runnells budget.

According to the county, under the Department of Administrative Services the Division of Personnel Management and Labor Relations assists in the review and evaluation of all personnel actions, maintains personnel records, administers leaves of absence, training and negotiates and implements agreements.

On June 23, 2014 a Class Action and Collective Action lawsuit was filed representing 43 Runnells Hospital employees on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. Egger et al, vs Runnells Specialized Hospital of Union County.

The lawsuit alleges that as a matter of practice and policy the county did not maintain accurate records recording the employees time worked, and did not pay them time and a half when the group to worked more than 40 hours per week.

They would be issued paychecks every two weeks. The county did not include in the in the regular rate of pay as:

1. A shift differentials
2. Payment of working as the charge nurse
3. Retroactive pay and/or longevity

The suit alleges the County knew or should have known that shift differential, payment for working as the charge nurse, retroactive pay, and longevity were to be included in the regular rate of pay when computing the rate at which premium pay when computing the rate at which premium pay was to be calculated, and willfully failed to include same in the premium pay of the Individual plaintiffs and other hourly employees working for the county in violation of the FLSA.

The FLSA collective action is brought on behalf of themselves and all current and former employees of the county who were paid on an hourly basis during the previous three years including but not limited to all registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and institutional aides (“the FALSA Group”).

The suit is seeking the county cease and desist from conduct in violation of the WHL;
Awarding plaintiffs their damages together with interest;
Allowing a service award to one or more of the individual plaintiffs;
Granting plaintiffs their attorney’s fees and costs; and
Making such additional relief as is fair and just.

Check Registry Answers

By John Bury | July 25, 2014

Over the last ten years:

  • which freeholder got the most in expense reimbursements?
  • which higher-up got the most in expense reimbursements?
  • which municipality got the most money directly from Union County?

The polls taken in the last blog revealed that most people got those answers wrong – by a lot.

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Check Registry Database

By John Bury | July 24, 2014

The UCWA website keeps track of check registry data provided by the county but it is in pdf format which makes searches difficult while totals and comparisons are practically impossible.  Fortunately these days we have pdf converters and Excel filtering tools that allow us to group all payments listed in the check registries (except for December, 2005 which was missing) from 2004 though mid-July, 2014 by vendor code.  Information in this format reveals quite a bit.  For example, over the last ten years:

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UCCF 7/17/14: Runnells Update

By John Bury | July 22, 2014

RESOLUTIONS ON 7/17/14 agenda pertaining to Runnells:

2014-578 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Bayada Home Health Care, Inc. Westfield, NJ to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-579 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Horizon Healthcare Staffing, Marlboro, NJ, to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-580 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Delta T-Group New Jersey, Inc., Woodbridge, NJ, to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-581 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Maxi Healthcare Services, Parsippany, NJ, to provide intermittent supplemental staffing services to Runnells Specialized Hospital for a six month contract period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014 in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
2014-582 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a contract with Ortho Care, Inc., Westfield, NJ, to provide prosthetic and orthotic services for the residents/patients at  Runnells Specialized Hospital for a twelve month contract period of August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015 in an amount not to exceed $10,000.
2014-631 Amending Resolution Number 2013-583, a resolution entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the County of Union and the Union County Improvement Authority relative to the RFP/RFQ Process for Runnells Specialized Hospital, to increase the appropriation to the Union County Improvement Authority in an amount not to exceed $282,934.14 for a sum not to exceed $350,000.
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Questions at 7/17/14 Freeholder meeting:
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Questions at 7/10/14 agenda setting meeting:
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UCIA payouts through July 2, 2014 for Runnells:
DeCotiis Fitzpatrick………………….$205,103.97
Crain Communications………………$    3,372.80
Appraisal Associations………………$  14,500.00
NW Financial…………………………$   47,475.00
TOTAL…………………………………$270.451.77

UCCF 7/17/14: Department Head Raises

By John Bury | July 22, 2014

757-2014 AN ORDINANCE FIXING THE SALARIES OF DEPARTMENT HEADS AS AMENDED

The ordinance was questioned though not without some back and forth:
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Details as previously reported and discussed:
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Sheriff Ralph Froehlich Dies

By Tina Renna | July 21, 2014

Sometime during the night Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich passed away. He was suffering from cancer, and was very ill for the past 6 months. Two weeks ago the Sheriff’s PBA held an event honoring him for 55 years in law enforcement. He did not attend.

Sheriff is a constitutional office in the state of New Jersey. A member of the same party will be appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate Judiciary Committee. There will be no special election. The appointed sheriff’s term will end 1/20/17. There are three undersheriff’s: Joseph Cryan, Gerald Green and Vincent Detrolio. If Assemblyman Cryan should become Sheriff he would have to give up his assembly seat.

Biography from the Union County website:

Ralph Froehlich, a Union resident, was first elected Sheriff of Union County in 1977 and is beginning his 13th term. He is the longest-serving County Sheriff in New Jersey history.

A career law enforcement officer, he was a member of the Elizabeth Police Department for almost 20 years, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He received numerous commendations, including the New Jersey PBA Valor Award, Policeman of the Year and the Elizabeth Police Merit Awards. He is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

A 1975 graduate of Kean College, he attended the Northwestern University Traffic Institute in 1968 and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Honor Society.

During his tenure as Sheriff he instituted a nationally recognized fingerprinting program for children and launched a K-9 Search and Rescue Unit and a Domestic Violence Unit. He has received six national awards for administrative leadership.

In December 2010, the Union County Sheriff’s Office received national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Accreditation Alliance Program.

In an effort to share services with other law enforcement agencies, Sheriff Froehlich implemented a Municipal Transportation Program to assist local police departments in transporting their prisoners to and from jail allowing local officers to remain in their communities.

Sheriff Froehlich also launched the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (S.L.A.P.), an alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders to work details supervised by the Sheriff’s Office in all 21 Union County municipalities. The program, started in 1993, has save Union County taxpayers millions of dollars through labor hours and the costs of incarceration.

The Sheriff has been responsible for distributing the “Play It Safe” booklet designed to educate adults and children of the dangers which exit in society today. He has also implemented several gun safety programs for children and teens including three educational videos available in schools throughout the county. The Sheriff also assisted with a state-sponsored gun buyback program for the residents Union County.

Each summer, Sheriff Froehlich hosts the Union County Sheriff’s Youth Academy for students to learn about law enforcement.

The Sheriff has served four terms as President of the New Jersey Sheriff’s Association, is a member of the board of the Salvation Army, and Urban League. He has been President of the New Jersey County Officers Association and member of the Sheriff/Judicial Liaison Court Security Committee.

UCCF 7/17/14: T&M Payoffs

By John Bury | July 21, 2014

2014 – 588 Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract to T&M, Middletown, New Jersey, to provide Workplace Health and Safety Compliance and Consulting Services for the period of August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015 in an amount not to exceed $136,000.

Union County could be paying to secure their Juvenile Detention Center so there would be less chance of alleged sexual assaults but priorities necessitate:
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The NJ Election Law Enforcement website shows T&M Associates making over 1,200 political donations (hit ‘Display 100 at a time’) around the state while employees of T&M have made hundreds more.

Since 2004, according to check registry data, T & M Associates has been paid over $4.4 million by Union County.

UCCF 7/17/14: Plainfield Amubulance

By John Bury | July 19, 2014

2014-607 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into an agreement with Plainfield Rescue Squad Inc. for the provision of an ambulance facility for the period of August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2019.
2014-608 Authorizing the County Manager to enter into a Shared Services Agreement with the City of Plainfield to provide Emergency Medical Services effective August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2019.
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and in open comment time:
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Union County utility agency director, deputy must repay thousands in stipends

By John Bury | July 18, 2014

That’s the headline of a story that nj.com finally got to today regarding the Union County Utilities Authority meeting last Wednesday which included an executive session of over two hours on the unauthorized stipend payments that cost taxpayers over $82,000 (that’s in legal fees so far and does not include the actual stipends which amounted to $36,000 to seven people, two of whom have to repay $21,000 of those stipends though apparently they have no obligation to cover the legal fees their malfeasance resulted in).  Here are the pertinent excerpts from that UCUA meeting last Wednesday:
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and here is Tina Renna at the freeholder meeting last night:
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