Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Appointed Attorneys Not Life Time Positions

Linden Mayor Gerbounka used his veto power, ala Governor style, to reject the reappointment of John Hudak, who is one of three part-time attorneys employed by the City.  See story here.  The other attorneys making up the law department are Ed Kologi and Dan McCarthy.  These three part-time positions cost the taxpayers in excess of a quarter of a million dollars annually.  This cost is in addition to the City hiring "outside" counsel for matters that may fall outside the scope of these attorneys' duties. 

Council President Bunk offers that Hudak has served for 18 years.  Appointments are for 3 years.   Had it been the intention of the City Code for attorneys to serve indefinitely, that could have been accomplished by ordinance.  However, it wasn't.

Both Kologi and Hudak are heavily involved with the democratic party.  McCarthy's law firm is a big  political campaign donor as well.  McCarthy was also involved with the now laughing stock First Amendment case known as "Manalapan vs. DaTruthSquad".

Bunk offers that without Hudak, the law department would be cut by a third.  Big deal.  It's no secret that Linden has a long history of padding the payroll with questionable positions at bloated salaries.  In fact, two positions were created for both ex-Mayor Gregorio's secretaries, whose jobs technically ended when Gregorio's tenure as Mayor ended, one in the legal department.  Or recall back in 1990, Council voted to increase Gregorio's salary by nearly 50%.  If that weren't bad enough, that increase was made retroactive to 1998.  I could go on, but you catch the drift.

In February of '09, Council voted, along party lines, with the exception of Councilman Puschel, to reappoint attorney Dan McCarthy, despite some Council members requesting a serious inquiry as to exactly what McCarthy does to earn his salary. 

Those irresponsible days have to come to an end.  The City no longer enjoys the ratables it once did.  The only way to save money is to start cutting the sweetheart jobs and that should start now. 

The City also faces mounting debt due to failed projects in its partnership with the Union County Improvement Authority.  Someone ought to start advising the City as to it recourse and whether the City would be better off cutting its ties with the UCIA.  This cannot be accomplished when many of the council members rely on support of the Union County Democrats, which is headed by Charlotte DeFilippo, Executive Director of the UCIA.  Hudak is bond counsel to the UCIA and Kologi picks up litigation matters from the County.  Just saying ...


NFS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NFS said...

Now that I've had some moments to think about this ... what's realy amazing is the people that come out publically to support keeping politically active people on the taxpayers' burden. Neither a municipal judge nor a municipal attorney were meant to be a long-life burden on the taxpayer.

All three part-time municipal attorneys have their own law firms. From what I gather, they are supposed to be very successful. One of the attorneys is referred to as a bulldog if you can believe it. If these attorneys are so successful, why don't they decline medical benefits and simply enroll in thier own firm's medical, health and pension plan benefits? Surely such successful attorneys can afford the same benefits that taxpayers are FORCED to cover on their behalf? I look forward to an answer.

That will never happen because their OWN law firms do not offer such extravagant benefits because it is not simply not affordable. Therefore, these lawyers leech off the taxpayers and when they finally retire, it is not inconceivable that they will collect more in pension payments and benefits than they ever put in, more so more than most taxpayer earn in a year. It is truly disgusting.

Anonymous said...

A conflict of interest occurs when an individual, organization or professional is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.
How many of them can we count on the council and in city hall?

Kologi-Linden City attorney, frequently hired for defense work by Union County earning up to $100 K in a year from the county.

Hudak-Asst City attorney-Bond council for UCIA

Bodek-City Clerk-Holds a position with UCUA and is treasurer of UC democrats

Armstead-City councilman-UC Employee

Davis-City councilman-Employed full time by UCUA

C Hudak(son of city atty)-Linden democratic chairman-runs the Rahway DMV

Scutari-Linden Prosecutor-State Senator for Union County area.

The conflicts go on for ever, but we need look no further than the law department. How could Kologi or Hudak ever advise for the city in a case such as the failed UCIA projects when The Queen of Hillside is fattening their wallets. Answer they can't. So we have to hire outside firms to represent the City. I'll bet we spend over 1 million a year paying outside law firms because our law department is conflicted.
We need to set a new standard for the people who are on council or employees of the city.

NFS said...

Agreed 2:10. Another problem is the City's refusal to call out the County. Former Mayor Werkmeister suggested that Council appoint someone to attend freeholder meetiings and this has not been done. Not one effing word was said last year when Linden got jammed up by the County with a 13% tax increase. Obviously people like those you mention would never ever criticize the County ... how can they when the County provides their bread & butter?

At the very least, a resolution should have been passed expressing disappointment in that tax increase. Tina Renna cannot and should not be the only watchdog looking out for the taxpayers. It's a disgrace the way our elected officials roll over so easily.

Anonymous said...