Monday, August 26, 2013

Yet another 'Un-enforcable Ordinance here in Downtown Edison?!?

Well, it looks like the Edison Township Council is finally putting up their version of what they'd like to see in police hiring and promotion criteria and procedures on tonight's agenda.

Hence O.1841-2013 - 'An Ordinance Revising Police Hiring And Promotions Criteria And Procedures.'

Now, maybe it's me, but I don't see this thing any anything more than political 'gamesmanship' by the Council in an election year. I just can't get past how they think they can legislate mayoral duties & responsibilities. Last I looked, the Faulkner act gives hiring and firing responsibilities to the Administration not the Council.

And if that's true, then how can they pass a local law that trumps state law??

So, what is this supposed to be? Yet another law passed by the Council that gets vetoed by the Mayor and then overridden by the Council - that's apparently not enforceable anyway??

Is this what our Democratic Republic here in Downtown Edison has come to - because they can't figure out a way to play nice with each other? I thought these people were supposed to represent our interests, not their own. It's certainly not in my interest for them to try and usurp each others duties and responsibilities. This stuff is just out-of-control and quite simply embarrassing.

Rather than going through each section of this ordinance, I'll just highlight a couple of thingies that concern me the most.

First and foremost, is Section 2-29.9(B) - 'The Mayor shall select the Chief of Police. In the event that a promotion to Chief of Police must take place in the final year of the Mayor's term, the Committee as described in 2-29.5(f)3 shall select the Chief of Police.'

And here's what 2-29.5(f)3 reads:

'In the selection of candidates to the rank of Sergeant the Mayor shall utilize the 'rule of three'. The three ranking candidates from the list established above shall be interviewed by the Mayor, the Chief of Police, or their designees, and a Retired Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey (hereinafter 'The Committee'). The Retired Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey shall be chosen by the Township Council. A reasonable fee may be paid to the Retired Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. In the event a Retired Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey cannot be retained, the Township Council shall select a qualified replacement. At the time of the interview the candidate's personnel file shall be reviewed. The Committee shall select from the 3 candidates interviewed.

Really?!? So, the Mayor can no longer pick the Chief of Police - it has to be done by the 'Committee' - majority rules too. Doesn't it strike anyone how embarrassing this thing is? The Council thinks the Mayor shouldn't decide who should be Chief of Police so they want to form a Committee. A Committee that's made up of an outsider who's going to read three files and decide which of the three files is the best?!?  Aren't there more thingies that need to be considered than just what's in a person's file?

Further, I like Chief Bryan, always did - but is it really his or any other Chief's place to have a vote on who the next Chief is going to be, if that circumstance ever arose? No doubt, their opinion should be heard and considered but certainly not weighed equally on a majority-vote based decision.

This majority 'rule of three' is silly and just an attempt to usurp the responsibility and duty of the Mayor.

Finally, just one other section for now;
Section 2-29.2(7) on Entry level Criteria Established - 'Shall possess a minimum of sixty (60) credits from and accredited college or university. In lieu of the minimum of sixty (60) college credit requirement, an applicant (i) shall have completed two (2) years of active military service with an honorable discharge; or, (ii) shall be PTC (New Jersey Police Training Commission) certified and have been a police officer in good standing for a period of one (1) year.

Now, when you compare this with Section 2-29.3 Entry Level Officers, you'll find there appears to be an inconsistency in Option 1 and 2 in 2-29.3 (B) on the hiring procedures.

Anyhoo, there's more but I'm boring myself with this silliness. So, looks like the Edison Council will pass this ordinance and we'll most likely go through the veto and veto-override process and we'll have another local law on the books that won't be enforced. And how does that address the problems much less fix them?

Just kind of think you can't legislate yourself somebody else's job! The Mayor should do her job and the Council should do their job - and the voters will decide who is or isn't doing their job.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just in passing - saw the Sentinel piece on Funding for Edison Schools

Just saw the above-mentioned piece, which you can read here. Not for nothing but what caught my eye was the rhetoric all around these grants. Normally, I wouldn't have said anything about this but we're talking about grants of $64,000 on a budget of some $213 million! Hold the press!!


A $10,000 grant, which will be allocated for staff salaries, for the Italian language program?

Now seriously, I'd be the last one to criticize teaching the Italian language but I always thought the focus and priority should be on helping those kids that really need our help - if the last NJ ASK scores are any indication (you can see what I mean in the December 9 post).

Now, I do see a grant for $52,490 for improving achievement levels in English, language arts and mathematics for students with disabilities. That's good but I hope there's more being done to help all our students who need the help.

"Superintendent of Schools Richard O'Malley said the grant money will be focused on two groups - African-Americans and students with disabilities at John Adams Middle school. The funds will provide professional development for the staff; technology to help student achievement; and a 'period zero' before and after school for areas in which students need assistance."

Really?!? That's good but what about Thomas Jefferson??

Anyhoo, let's hope that this year's scores are better than last year's and all this rhetoric results in some meaningful improvement in this school district for $213 million.