Entries for April, 2017

UCCF 4/27/17: Buying Moody’s Rating

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

According to the check registry:
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MOODYS UC PAYMENTS

FITCH-UC

UCCF 4/27/17: UCPAC Stiffs Sculptor

Friday, April 28th, 2017

According to check registry data Union County has paid $2,058,235 to the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC) from 2004 through 2016 plus about a quarter of a million dollars to fix its organ. Yet ….
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And when it was pointed out how much the county had already subsidized UCPAC:
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Presumably the $5,000 donated sculpture:
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UCCF 4/27/17: Déjà vu and Mountain Biking Again

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Tonight’s meeting had the budget adopted with several points of contention, a sculptor stiffed by UCPAC, $50,000 for war and, for you nostalgia buffs….this:
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As for mountain biking in Watchung Reservations here are eight more commenters:

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Better Know a Vendor: (2) Harbor Consultants

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Harbor Consultants are engineers who have gotten $1,415,143  out of Union County for various professional services from 2004 through 2016 according to check registry data. According to campaign contribution data they have donated $203,225 to politicians with the majority ($196,275) going to Union County Democrats.

This process will continue as Union County will remain Democrat-controlled but Harbor Consultants has recently been using campaign donations to buy themselves into other towns.

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Reassessment Road Trip – Scotch Plains

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Bruce Paterson on the road to get Union County to use some of their surplus to pay for municipal reassessments. April 4, 2017 in Scotch Plains:
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UCCF 4/20/17: Resolutions Q & A

Monday, April 24th, 2017

2017-302: Resolution authorizing the County Manager to enter into an agreement with Vermeer North Atlantic Sales & Service, Lumberton, New Jersey, for the purchasing of various Vermeer Parts for the Vermeer Compost Turner in an amount not to exceed $40,000.
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2017-307: Approving Change Order Number One to Bid Agreement 15-2015, a contract with Motivated Security Services for Cornerstone Behavioral Health Hospital, for an additional $8,980 for additional security coverage not to exceed a total of $91,264.36 through May 10, 2017.
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2017-309: Authorizing the use of Competitive Contracting, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-4.1 et seq., to administer services for the Family Justice Center.
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2017-325: Authorizing the County Manager to execute agreements with municipalities for the 2017 Senior Focus Initiative in an amount not to exceed $430,655 in accordance with the 2017 Senior Focus Spending Plan.
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UCCF 4/20/17: Pay-to-Play Soft Corruption

Friday, April 21st, 2017

2017-296: Amending Resolution Number 2016-798, a Professional Engineering Service Contract with T&M Associates, of Middletown, New Jersey, to provide additional professional engineering services associated with the Groundwater Remediation and Monitoring at the Venneri Complex, Westfield, New Jersey, in an amount not to exceed $2,100.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $182,660.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2011-031)

2017-297: Amending Resolution Number 2015-131, a Professional Engineering Service Contract with Maser Consulting, PA, of Red Bank, New Jersey, to provide additional professional engineering services associated with the Replacement of Mountain Avenue Minor Bridge, Be26, Township of Berkeley Heights, in an amount not to exceed $19,700.00 for a new contract amount not to exceed $226,700.00. (Union County Engineering Project Number 2013-024)
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From Soft Corruption by William E. Schluter (pages 33-34):

Pay-to-play restrictions do not apply to some broad areas of government. The law covers only contracts made with the State of New Jersey while allowing local units of government to remain out of the pay-to-play system by using a “fair and open” process for awarding contracts. “Fair and open” requires only that the contract be advertised, that the criteria for an award be clearly stated, and that approval be made at a public meeting. These are not rigorous standards for competitive bidding and offer little impediment to insider deals for a favored contractor. In the words of former New Jersey state comptroller Matthew Boxer, “Qualifying for the fair and open exception returns the local government entity to the essentially unregulated system of contracting that existed before the pay-to-play law.”

In an effort to correct this serious gap in the application of pay to pay, a statewide reform organization, the Center for Civic Responsibility, has embarked on a broad initiative aimed at convincing towns and counties to adopt ordinances outlawing pay to play. While this effort, called the Citizens Campaign, has enlisted almost 100 of the state’s 565 municipalities and three of the twenty-one counties in a few short years, the most expedient way to make all local governments subject to strict pay-to-play regulations and close the “fair and open” loophole is through state law, a position advocated by the Citizens Campaign.

 

UCIA Projects Timeline

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Which is more likely to meet its target date:
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or:
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UCCF 4/20/17: Mountain Biking in Watchung Reservation Again

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

With this cryptic topic up for discussion in an executive session after the regular freeholder meeting:

Attorney-Client privileged communications and discussions relative to potential litigation, possible violations of law and potential contract negotiations with CME relative to issues relating to the Trail Master Plan.

The fate of mountain biking is very much up in the air. Below are tonight’s speakers looking to influence the freeholders – one way or the other – in chronological order:

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Mountain Biking and CME

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

It is still an open question as to whether there will (or should) be mountain biking in Watchung Reservation as the issue will be explored again at tonight’s freeholder meeting, possibly in open session, but definitely in closed session:

To the extent known, the following items will be discussed in Executive Session:
1) Attorney-Client privileged communications and discussions relative to potential litigation, possible violations of law and potential contract negotiations with CME relative to issues relating to the Trail Master Plan.
No clue as to what this might be about but we do know a few things about CME, based on some observations from a friend:

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