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Haddon Twp. Cuts Dept. Head, Changes Solicitors

From The Retrospect

In a move intended to trim costs, Haddon Township Mayor Randy Teague announced on Tuesday that he eliminated the department head of streets and roads. Water and sewer department head Jimmy Stevenson, he added, has been appointed to run all of public works.

The elimination of the position, held by Tom Cella, will save over $100,000 between the position’s $95,000 salary, plus benefits. Teague sympathized that “it’s not easy for someone to lose their job,” but said the move was necessary in light of anticipated cuts in state aid. “We’re starting to pare things where we can,” he added.
Teague said the move should make public works more efficient in the end. With two departments, he said, job duties were more rigidly divided. “The men will be more interchangeable,” he said.
Teague said the difference was noticeable already. Cleanup of the two snowstorms last week went more smoothly with one department than in December with separate departments. He expects the integration of the departments under one public works umbrella to help the water and sewer side, too, during incidents such as water main breaks. In fact, Teague said, at one time, before his administration, public works only had one department head.
Unfortunately reducing payroll remains “one of the few ways” to control costs, Teague said. In recent years the township commissioners have reduced overall head count for municipal operations, including another public works department head, a deputy clerk position, merging of municipal clerical positions and elimination of a position in the tax office.
In another change, the role of township’s lead legal counsel changed hands. Last month Haddonfield attorney Rich Klineburger was not re-appointed to the solicitor position. Instead, the commissioners appointed Stratford-based attorney Stuart Platt.
According to Teague, Platt brings a wealth of experience with COAH, redevelopment and planning board issues. Those skills should come in handy as the township continues to move the DyDee project along, as well as the Westmont Theater and Russell Stone sites.
Teague declined to comment on why Klineburger was not retained. Platt will receive the same hourly rate as Klineburger.
Klineburger and regular township observer Tom Cassel tangled two years ago over a post Cassel made noting that Klineburger and a partner lawyer had contributed to Teague’s campaign. Cassel charged that actions taken against him by the partner were a means to try to silence him

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7 Responses

  1. Severino Haddon Township factory – it was interesting to see that there was no required hairnet covering for this factory tour and the pasta is handled by anyone who comes in off the street without requiring gloves.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/video/090429_pc_dish_severino_2.html
    ————-
    Must have been a busy day in Haddon Township when former Governor Corzine visited Severino Pasta factory.

    http://www.politickernj.com/governors-press-office/32501/governor-corzine-touts-small-business-growth-and-expansion

  2. Last month, I stood up at a public meeting and asked if they were accepting resumes for a new head of public works. They said yes. It was posted for a very short time and taken down. Also, they said that they were not looking to the outside for applicants despite the fact that with so many people out of work, there might be an opportunity to hire someone at even less than they are paying Jimmy Stevenson who was more qualified. So the argument of saving money only goes so far. I had also heard that despite the “process”, Jimmy was going to be promoted and Tom Cella fired. So the process was a sham in my opinion.

    Relating to the mayor’s acknowledgment that the December snowfall was poorly executed, the question is “Why?” I have heard from more than one person that it was the water employees who undermined the effort, because they only had secondary responsibility for the snow plowing. Streets had the main responsibility. This is the “rigidly divided” responsibilities referred to by the Mayor. So who was in charge of the Water Department. Jimmy Stevenson. So I ask everyone, “Why would you promote the department head of the group who undermined the December effort?”

    First. Jimmy Stevenson gave money to their 2011 campaign according to Elec even though there is no record of him ever giving in the past. Maybe his job depended on it and our guys can be bought for $300. Also they have appointed Stevenson to the planning board and the Haddon Township Housing Authority. So the commissioners have an employee who they can control on both boards. This clearly impedes the independence of those boards to have someone the commissioners can threaten to fire if he doesn’t do what they say.

    Well, now the dots are getting connected for what my opinion is behind the real background relating to the changes.

    I would also like to point out that Tom Cella also donated to their campaign the same amount even though he was fired. What concerns me is that we have created political atmosphere where employees feel as if they must donate politically in order to preserve their jobs. In our form of government where commissioners run departments and have the single authority to hire and fire people without any permission, this is especially troubling. Quite frankly, we should have a ZERO dollar donations policy for employees or prospective employees. ZERO dollars means that you cannot buy a job.

  3. Spin Spin Spin

    Tom Please blame Jimmy. That can only help us!

  4. Seems to me Cassel has once again hit the nail on the head.

    Teague and Dougherty had their campaign-donor-appointed-solicitor-and-now-not-rehired buddy Klineburger help them draft some “pay-to-play” ordinances. With much fanfare they announced they were passing the “pay-to-play” ordinance and they were going to stand up and do the right thing.

    Fast forward 2 years. It is quite clear that the employees have gotten the message that they have to “pay to play”.

    And then by stacking the boards with their own employees, teague and dougherty are moving to control any of the “independent” factors in the town.

    Housing authority. BID. Planning board. TOHIP. It’s the same group of folks with their grubby hands in the taxpayer cookie jar.

    How dare they.

    Randy Teague will be remembered as the worst mayor in the history of Haddon Township. Bill Park must be thankful that someone came after him to leave an even bigger stain in the toilet bowel.
    Time to flush teague, clean the bowl, and move on.

    2011 – year of the flush.

  5. by the way
    did we ever get a straight answer about this private 501c fund that randy and paul set up to collect money from their little ‘fundraisers?”

    Have randy or paul yet explained how they account for the police/fire/rescue expense for the events? do they pay out of their own pockets, or do the taxpayers pay to host the events that funnel money into their private 501c?

  6. My favorite employee is Barbara Prince, just what quallifies a cleaning lady/limo driver to be appointed the position in Public Works? Oh, I know her husband is a cop and they must have donated $300 to the campaign. I wish I knew $300 was all it took to get a Twp job because I would have donated that much just so I wouldn’t have to commute 25 miles to work in another township! Or maybe one of Dougherty’s brothers went to school with her or her husband.

  7. Wow..just reading these posts. I can’t say I blame some of you for signing yourselves anonymous. If your interest was decent, rather than hurtful or self serving, you wouldn’t be ashamed to sign your name. If campaign contributions and pay to play possiblities are your concern, craft a solution rather than complain about what you don’t like! As for the direct attack…I don’t know all of Barbara Prince’s credentials, and I don’t know her very well, but I understand that she has a Bachelor’s degree. I also know that she has, almost single handedly, set us on a path of saving the township a great deal of money because of her dedication to proper waste handling and reduction. Most impressive to me, is that, unlike many employees, her mission for greening our town doesn’t stop at the end of the workday! If anyone can be hired and save the township money, they shouldn’t be a target for complaints about credentials in such a cowardly way. I, for one, wouldn’t want anyone who would discredit someone because they had to work in low paying jobs for a time, working for me. Stop complaining and become part of the solution. Maybe then you will be respected and perhaps even hired. However, I’m hoping that Haddon Township hires employees who are more forthright. It seems to me that this administration is making difficult…but good decisions for Haddon Township. Clearly many others agree, or couldn’t do better, since their hats are not in the ring for the upcoming elections.

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