Friday, September 19, 2008

Food for Thought

We are not the only ones who question no bid contracts to Engineering firms. Councilwoman Gallo of Aberdeen in a recent article in the Independent questioned Aberdeen's Council passing a Budget which contained a no bid engineering contract for CME.

After receiving comments asking why we keep "picking" on Maser Consulting, their fees and no bid contracts, we want to share our thoughts. It is not Maser's fault that our Borough Council are awarding them work. Our Borough had begun 2008 in the red for $125,000 in medical alone and now we are dealing with a deficit of $400,000 in medical. No firm would turn down business. It is not Masers problem where the Borough gets the money, it is ours. For the record, we don't necessarily disagree that previous administrations have made mistakes. HOWEVER, this is 2008, and the economy people, the economy, is going through an undeclared recession. If firms such as Sherson Lehmann, AIG, and Merrill Lynch are paying the financial consequences for their actions, how the hell can the Matawan Borough Council justify their excessive spending. How can they justify salary increases, negotiations which meet all demands and no compromises, additional benefits outside collective bargaining agreements, creating further debt with attorney fees, engineering fees, making charitable contributions, equipment purchases, bonding, waiving fees for certain organization, etc? They can't say, WHO KNEW, as the Mayor has repeatedly asked for budget cuts from day one. We have all heard the Mayor reminding the Council prior to a vote to spend money, do they really want to make these commitments? We already know you can't pay this year's debts with next year's pay check. That does not apply to the Borough, they borrow from next year's Budget and pay this year's debts. Try telling the tax collector, I'll pay this year's tax bill from my next year pay check! History can help us prevent past errors , not serve as an excuse to continue to make them. As the kids say, "It is what it is." A prudent Borough majority Council would have acted accordingly. Not increase our debt.

Now for a solution. How does it sound if we establish a dollar amount, i.e., $50,000.+/- to be the amount which we allow no bid contracts to be awarded? Any amount over will be mandated to go out for bid. This will also allow the Borough Engineering firm, Borough Attorney, etc., an opportunity to bid for work outside of their agreement. The point being in these economic times how do we know $300,000. plus extras is the lowest price for the engineering work we required? It would also take the "pay to play" out of the equation. Had we kept to the original 2008 Road Program we would have utilized the money leftover and not incurred further debt.

If the anonymous commenter think it is a good thing to continue reminding us of the past, then how can we as a community move forward. If we all become complacent who will be the watchdogs for our Community Council. What we have noticed and were initially guilty of ourselves, is that people only attend Council meetings when they want something. Be it tocomplain about noise, dirty streets, tax increases, parking issues, etc. As soon as their issue is resolved they no longer attend. They never know what the Council is doing, either positive or negative, until they get their tax bill or election time when all candidates espouse to be the best thing that has ever happened to Matawan since sliced bread.
This November let's get to know our candidates a little better. Let's not believe everything we read in the local publications, but check it out for ourselves. Having attended Council meetings and then reading about it in the papers, we have often wondered if the press attended the same meeting. Let's not vote political party, but by the person running for office. Let's pick the best person for the job, not because he/she went to school with my cousin Sammy, or because he/she is my neighbor, or because you always vote one particular party, but because that person has a vision for Matawan, they don't owe any political party favors. but owe the people of Matawan good, clean government! Let's not believe all the campaign literature, as some of it is out and out lies and some is stretching the truth. Ask the tough questions, why haven't we cut back more on the Budget? Why did the Council increase the 2008 Road Program? If you are told it will only cost the taxpayers $30+/- each, ask why should it cost us at all? Why didn't they just use the leftover money as originally planned? Ask them if they received a $30 increase in pay, maybe you didn't. Why are they giving salary increases and not negotiating all agreements?

As it is a Presidential election year there will be more voters. Keep in mind the political party you chose to led the country, may or may not be the best for Matawan.

Let's be informed voters!

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