Solar Panel Fallout – Part 2


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This was in Sussex County but Union County was similarly gulled into their own version of this Solar Panel fiasco.

Below, pertinent excerpts from the Boxer $500,000 report:

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UCCF 8/10/17: Not the Meeting Most Expected

There was supposed to be a special meeting tonight where:

Official action will be taken relative to the following resolution:

CONSENTING TO THE ISSUANCE OF COUNTY GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE BONDS, SERIES 2017 (BOROUGH OF ROSELLE COMMUNITY CENTER AND LIBRARY PROJECT) AND COUNTY GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE BONDS, SERIES 2017 (ROSELLE BOARD OF EDUCATION EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER PROJECT) BY THE UNION COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES AND EXECUTION OF LEASES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH IN ACCORDANCE WITH N.J.S.A. 40:37A-56

But when the public gathered for the meeting they found this:

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Solar Panel Fallout

What is the scandal here? Losing $26 million on a scam project approved by a bunch of dopes or losing $500,000 on an investigation telling you that you are a bunch of dopes?

“Ultimately this project, which was not supposed to cost the county anything … is costing the county millions, and will impact the county budget for years to come,” [former State Comptroller Matthew] Boxer said from the podium….The law firm’s report asserted that all county employees had acted in “good faith,” despite not appearing to comprehend the risks posed by the project.

This was Sussex County as something like this would never happen in Union County. The investigation part I mean. The scam we got and Union County taxpayers, through another bailout of the Union County Improvement Authority, are now paying.

And according to the nj.com story Sussex County operates quite differently from Union County:

Turnover:

Of the five freeholders who joined in the unanimous approval of the project in 2011, only Freeholder Phil Crabb, whose term expires Dec. 31, remains on the board. Crabb, a freeholder since 2008, is not seeking re-election.

Public oversight:

Several county residents expressed frustration during the meeting, citing the anticipated $500,000 final cost of the review and withholding the report from the public until minutes before Boxer took the podium. Boxer appeared on the same night that the county’s biggest event, the 10-day New Jersey State Fair, was going on at the nearby Sussex County Fairgrounds. Only 35 were in attendance when he began speaking.

Due diligence:

Boxer’s report concluded with nine recommendations aimed at preventing similar mistakes in the future, such as establishing a risk committee, avoiding projects too complex to understand and studying up on market dynamics before making a major investment.

Here is the $500,000 Sussex report. Tonight at 7pm the Union County freeholders will hold a special meeting embarking on another fiasco. Will 35 members of the general public be there? Will two?

Roselle’s Folly Becomes Union County’s Folly

From the Schedule of Meetings page on the Union County website:

Freeholders Hosting Special Meeting on Thursday, August 10, 2017

Under the terms of the “Open Public Meetings Act P.L. 1975, C. 231, please be advised that the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders will be hosting a Special Meeting on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Union County Administration Building, 10 Elizabethtown Plaza, Elizabeth, New Jersey. The Agenda Setting Session, previously scheduled for Thursday, August 10, 2017, at 7:00 pm, will be held at 7:30 pm or immediately following the Special Meeting.

Official action will be taken relative to the following resolution:

  1. CONSENTING TO THE ISSUANCE OF COUNTY GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE BONDS, SERIES 2017 (BOROUGH OF ROSELLE COMMUNITY CENTER AND LIBRARY PROJECT) AND COUNTY GUARANTEED LEASE REVENUE BONDS, SERIES 2017 (ROSELLE BOARD OF EDUCATION EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER PROJECT) BY THE UNION COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES AND EXECUTION OF LEASES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH IN ACCORDANCE WITH N.J.S.A. 40:37A-56

with the Westfield Leader’s news page also reporting this commentary:

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Union County Employees / Retirees

New Jersey has updated their pension data which includes listings of all retirees with the amount of their annual pensions as well as those currently employed with their salaries.

You can view  spreadsheets listing all 16,330 retirees and 20,878 current employees related to Union County by clicking the link union county employees/retirees above.

Here are those who top the lists:

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Keeping Up With Union County Retirees

New Jersey has updated their listing of retirees in  the state pension system. As of June, 2017 there were 2,667 retirees whose last employer was associated with Union County getting annualized benefits of $73,152,188. Among the recognizable (to me)  names:

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UCCF 7/20/17 Miscellany

Wrap-up of 7/20/17 freeholder including congratulations to UNICOs 2017 Citizen of the Year:

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