Union County Prosecutor’s Office – I’m not an idiot

By Tina Renna | March 18, 2012

Today the Star-Ledger published a story on the county’s new crime lab director. Reporter Ryan Hutchins was fair and balanced and I believe he did a great job as a journalist.

However, I am a government watchdog and we need to report things differently. I am posting this information because I believe the public has a right to know, a need to know, how their government is operating. I have major concerns about our county prosecutor’s office. I believe politicians are controlling him and that jepordizes our public safety and our liberty. That is my strong opinion.

Unlike last year, the freeholders didn’t pass a resolution this year to continue the 70 year-old plus Prosecutor’s service under NJSA 43:15A-158(a) (“on an annual basis”), perhaps the state attorney general’s office sent the required notice. The fact that they denied the freeholders involvement with reappointing him last year is suspect. The fact that they went about it differently this year is also telling. There has been no public announcement of it, what’s the secret?

I’ve heard many stories of alleged abuse of power with Theodore Romankow’s office. The Musicfest investigation comes to mind as well. I know from personal experience that something is very wrong when someone in authority can send two state agents to a private citizen’s home on a simple administrative matter involving paperwork for non-profit status. The state admitted that these agents are usually used for more serious things, like investigating terrorists groups.  Gee, is the county terrified of me?

If a crime lab can be the arm of the prosecutor who is the arm of a political machine, that is worrisome on many levels. In order for our justice system to work properly, a crime lab needs to be conducted with unbiased science.

The Ledger article today mentioned Matthew Gabriel’s past in a San Francisco crime lab, I strongly recommend that you read up on this yourself. One San Francisco Weekly article excerpt quoting a whistle blower:

Under Gabriel’s leadership, Barlow believed, the SFPD’s DNA analysts had come to see themselves as an arm of the district attorney’s office in criminal prosecutions, rather than as unbiased scientists. “They’re so interested in doing a test and getting a result that they’d rather have poor data than no data,” she says.

Now consider how we came to learn about the county’s crime lab and its new leadership.

On Sunday, January 22, 2012, I posted the new position control changes and noted:

This needs more looking into: New Confidential Assistant’s salary is higher than the department director he reports to.  A new position has been created for a Matthew Gabriel who joins the county payroll as a confidential assistant to the public safety office of director with a salary of $123,000. The public safety Director is Andrew Moran, his salary is $113,793. A quick glance at the county payroll shows new hire Gabriel is making more than most department heads. At this writing I don’t know who Gabriel is or where he came from.

After I posted the above on Sunday and asked for this guys resume in an OPRA the county puts out a press release on that Monday about how great he is. Turns out Matthew Gabriel was really running the forensics lab for the prosecutor.

Furthering my interest is that this guy’s been on the payroll for months and now coinciding with my inquiry the county decided to put out a press release about him. They must think I’m an idiot. Besides, even idiots can use Google.

Quote from their press release:  “Matt brings a great wealth of experience, common sense, and a keen scientific mind to the forensic laboratory,” said Prosecutor Romankow. “The laboratory is in capable hands and has a new reason for residents to be proud of this great resource.”

This led me to Google Matthew Gabriel.

12 Responses to “Union County Prosecutor’s Office – I’m not an idiot”

  1. Robert Reilly says:

    Union county agian using it’s keen political mind. A million dollars to solve a five dollar crime, Romankow is watching too much NCIS. Keep up the great work Tina.

  2. Anthony Nardiello says:

    Why is 70 year old Thadeus Romankowski still working? Doesn’t he want to enjoy his Berkeley Heights palace? Give it up, Ted!!!

  3. steve says:

    The so called Union County government is getting more questionable day to day—-maybe it is time to go past the idea of shared services ( with the county) and return control over to the Towns and state- The town councils in union county should and contine to apply pressure,not only for their fare share of return on their tax dollars but to eliminate this useless level of redundant government, if they have the political guts and respect their oath of office-and T R you are far from being and idiot,the biggest mistake any-one can make is to ” assume” that the average person is stupid.

  4. G. Albritton says:

    Nothing noted in article about the high costs involved, and maybe that is why no other northern county has such an expensive facility? Nevertheless, the County’s residents should all be very proud, just as Union County is finally going to reveal next month a budget that will confirm its insolvency, resulting from embarking on extravagances just like this.

    Are there alternatives? The State lab is mentioned. Also, look at the ABC KGO-TV report of June 23, after our Mr. Gabriel was unceremoniously forced out (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=7515045):

    “San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield has recommended permanently closing down the crime lab and outsourcing the testing conducted there. Rosenfield says the city would save $15 million by outsourcing crime lab analysis.”

    Of course, saving money like this is not a strategy for this County, not for this Prosecutor.

  5. Tacitus says:

    Wow, from a “…. a DNA technician” in 2009 to a Confidential Assistant to the Union County Forensics Lab?

    Question #1: Why all of the convoluted secrecy behind this right off the bat?

  6. tom says:

    retire already….must be a reason why he is still around?? Hang in there Tina…the scum are running scared.

  7. Mary Ellen Taylor says:

    We have a DNA lab to not test items for DNA when they chose not to test for DNA. Still waiting for them to test sneakers for DNA.

  8. bpaterson says:

    As most criminal enterprises go, you have to have something on the person in charge so as to be able to manipulate him. They picked gabriel with his baggage of the san francisco debacle and him having heat to leave. They gave this young turk a high paying directorship here in union county even though he does not have any deep experience So now they have something on him and own him.

    As the quote in Godfather 1 goes: For this i grant you the favor you ask, but someday and that day may never come, i may call upon you to do a favor for me.

    …………and so the union county criminal enterprise continues…….

  9. Karen Golding says:

    Ultimately, the truth shall prevail. Keep up the great work.

  10. EyesThatSee says:

    RE: bpaterson says:
    March 18th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Exactly! and worse…..crime money is not paying the bills, we are!!! And what may be even worser (lol), the State of NJ has yet to file a single charge of corruption, under this or any Governor for decades that I now of, against any individual(s) retained by the County of Union government, with what looks like innumerable opportunities! What’s really up with that?

  11. Brian P Keane says:

    or that othr crook guy who votes twice early.. he climbd mt everst with sharks Hes a Wascully wabbit and eats all that leftover corn at the mewsicfest,, u can see him at fweeholdr meetngs in the bak wit the poleroid camera stiking his tung out and drooling. =He is loud I don’t like him,that Blatherskite. Is he the Bayonne Terribel TweetMeister i am think so

  12. Brian P Keane says:

    I wonder what kind of substance abuse program they have down south and if the doppleganger ever attended a session. Chuck Jones is rolling in his grave over this one..