Mayor Nicholas Sacco’s political opposition was out in force, dominating the public portion of the North Bergen Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Aug. 22.
Liquor store owner Larry Weinstein, Attorney Mario Blanch, and residents Kenneth Morrison and Janice Zorovich raised various issues they said illustrated problems with the township’s administration.
Weinstein said the morale in the police department under Police Chief William Galvin was low.
“He is the first [Police] Chief that is disconnected with the Township of North Bergen,” charged Weinstein. “The morale of the Police Department is terrible.”
He claimed that Galvin got overtime pay for coming to the township’s celebration of National Night Out while Galvin was on vacation. Mayor Sacco disputed this and said that Galvin was not paid to come to the event, a demonstration of police and community unity against crime.
Also, Sacco said, “It’s an insult to say that our police have bad morale.”
Sacco said that Weinstein is not a North Bergen resident, and therefore has no business addressing the Board of Commissioners. “You don’t live here; your family doesn’t live here,” said Sacco.
“Like a very good captain, you’re going down with the ship.” – Attorney Mario Blanch
“People of North Bergen have a right to ask questions and the people have the right to receive answers,” said Weinstein.
Blanch and a client of his recently sued the administration – unsuccessfully – because they requested more than 150 public documents and were told they would have to pay thousands of dollars to receive them.
Also at the meeting, Morrison claimed to have a family member that has respiratory issues which he linked to Eagle Recycling, a local recycling business that residents have said is polluting.
“I’m asking you that this company be public enemy number one,” said Morrison.
“You can make your statement, but there’s no issue with asbestos,” said Sacco.
But Zorovich mentioned asbestos again, and tempers flared. When she put an old article in front of the board, her closeness to the dais appeared to make the police officers and Sacco uneasy.
“Arrest me,” said Zorovich.
She alleged that many people on her block have cancer.
“The first thing we did was to call the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection] to find out if there was asbestos and their answer was no,” said Sacco. “We’ve done everything that we can possibly think of including fining them. The DEP is the ultimate authority.”
Royal Printing was awarded a printing contract in the amount of $86,005 for the year.
A contract for improvements to various streets performed by English Paving Co., Inc. was reduced by $211 to $371,975.
“The job was lower than what we thought it was actually going to cost,” said Business Administrator Chris Pianese.
A lease was ratified with the North Bergen Parking Authority for its new headquarters in the new combined authority and Municipal Court building at 4225 Bergen Turnpike.
A contract was awarded to the Hudson County Animal Enforcement, Inc. to perform animal control and animal cruelty investigations for five months from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012 in the amount of $60,417.
Four bids for cleaning and maintenance services of eight township buildings were rejected. The board will advertise again and be more detailed about the specifications.
Three retired township employees – David Velez, Scott Sullivan, and Joseph Sitty – were approved to receive sick time payouts from the Salary and Wage Adjustment Program. Sullivan and Velez also accrued vacation time. Sullivan’s payout will total close to $47,000 and Velez will be paid approximately roughly $10,000. Sitty will receive $48,200 in sick time pay, to be paid in two installments of $24,095.
An ordinance was adopted prohibiting left turns from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday from Secaucus Road onto Bove Terrace and Liberty Avenue. The penalty will be $61 along with a $24 for court fees.
An agreement was approved whereby the Jersey City Health Department will handle lead complaint cases at no cost to North Bergen.
The township officially accepted a $4,400 grant for “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2012” from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety. The Police Department will conduct sobriety checkpoints over Labor Day weekend (see last week’s cover story).
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org