Letters to the Editor

Keep Our Local Governments as Clean as Possible

Dear Editor:
I read with interest in a local newspaper regarding the Union county democrat party political infighting for their “county chair” selection. There were 2 letters juxtaposed, each one listing supporters of either Senator Scutari or Fanwood Mayor Mahr, who are the two main people vying for the “boss” position.
Although I am a Democrat I am not a committee person who would be voting at the convention. But for those who know me, I have a grasp of what our county govt and local political system is about.
Looking at the who’s who supporting each candidate one would see that Scutari holds a rogue’s gallery of self-serving, tax abusing, patronage, nepotistic supporters. Not to say some slipped into the Mahr camp, and both lists do have good honest democrat supporters also. I am not naming names, but I recognize these people from paying attention to the county politic the last 20 years. The stories I could tell.
And sadly at the same time if you read the news regularly, Senator Scutari is forcing on us Union County residents, with the nodding approval of the freeholders, his chief of staff, Ed Oatman to be Union County manager, a very complex management position overseeing 2,500 employees and a half billion dollar budget. The position is also supposed to not be political. Note the chief of staff type position is pretty much just a concierge position, pushing paper and directing callers to the proper department.  In other words, Oatman has no experience for the county manager position. 
In addition, Oatman is not even from Union county and my guess he probably can’t even name the 21 towns in the county.  What is most grievous is that it was found that the freeholders bypassed their own county policies that dictate they have to have a manager living inside the county and also they have to have an interview committee to review candidates first. This the freeholders ignored is a malfeasant act which they will probably correct surreptitiously  Note most of the freeholders are backing Scutari.
We are watching political infighting and this normally does not impact us great unwashed, but with Scutari forcing his inexperienced political subordinate onto us in a $160,000 patronage position, this will corrupt the county system into some self-serving system for Scutari and his political donor benefactors at the expense of the taxpayers.   
Can we do something about it?  As Democrats we can push our local committee people to side with the Mahr camp for the February 21 convention nomination. Maybe she would push for someone with adequate experience for the county manager position. And help keep our local governments clean as possible.
Very Truly yours,
Bruce Paterson
Garwood, NJ

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