...C'mon now. The Mercury reports that council's going to vote, Tuesday night, to drop a cooool $33,500 plus or minus, (not budgeted), on a well-known New Jersey engineering firm, hired by the borough to service the planning commission - March 2012.
Council would very much like to contract with Remington, Vernick and Beach, according to Police Chief Flanders/acting Borough Manager - for a 10 week "review of current (codes department) services and conduct an analysis for improvement." BUT BUT.... WHAT THE RUSH BOYS? Codes has been in perpetual dysfunction for at least a decade....besides isn't that dysfunction, more or less, what the Grand Jury investigation is all about? If they find wrongdoing what's there to analyze? Won't the Codes department, as we know it now, BE HISTORY ANYWAY .... RIGHT?
SO, if Borough Council isn't convinced that there's a BIG PROBLEM in the Codes Department, face it, EVERY department, then all they really have to do is JUST ASK!! Ask almost anyone who does an honest days work up there, they would like to tell them everything - FOR FREE - AT NO COST TO THE TAXPAYER. Besides, District Attorney's usually don't instigate Grand Jury Investigations on a whim and I have to believe that Risa Ferman's office took action to check into the codes department with the intention of getting to the HEART OF THE MATTER (S).
REALLY THEN, THE TAXPAYERS ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR A STUDY OF THE CODES DEPARTMENT *VIS A VIS* A GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION.
Furthermore, if it is Council's desire to replace the Codes Department with contracted codes services why aren't they calling for a competitive bid process? Sound managerial practices indicate that the ultimate objective should be to provide this community with improved COSTS AND QUALITY control.
Click here: BUT NO...
There are members of our council that admit to their constituents that they avoid using the internet, regardless of the mountains of good information about running municipalities and other worthy things. Jeff Chomunk for one, Vice President of Council, Coucilman in the 3rd Ward. What about all the rest of you? How does ignorance benefit you or Pottstown?
THEN there's Councilman Dan Weand, in the 5th Ward: "Councilman Dan Weand, who heads up borough council’s finance committee, reported that his committee “reviewed the possible evaluation and we support it to help make our codes one of the best in the state. We want to improve how we do things and my committee highly recommends this go forward,” he said.
BUT OF COURSE YOU DO DAN !!!!!!!!!!!
I like Dan. I like that he stood up as the lone voice for fiscal conservation when it was time to vote for a salary increase, last month, for a new borough manager. I like that he was the ONLY councilman that came to see the
HOWEVER Dan, as the Area 1 Municipal Chair Person for the Montgomery County Democratic Committee
YOUR RECOMMENDATION ***SMACKS*** OF IMPROPRIETY AND THAT STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN. I might have had a different story to tell at this juncture if Dan had bothered to answer the email I sent him yesterday or the phone call I made to him this morning. But, Dan's mechanical message said:
"Hello, we are not available now, thank you for your call."
NO way to leave a message? Just thanks for calling, BYE BYE NOW? SORRY DAN, BUT YOU LEFT ME NO CHOICE. What if a constituent has need of HIS services AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS BOROUGH WHAT HAPPENS THEN?
Remington, Vernick and Beach...
have acquired quite a reputation in Pittsburgh and New Jersey, to name but a few, CLICK ON ENGINEERS:
"It's curious to me how a New Jersey-based firm comes into Pennsylvania, starts contributing bucketloads of cash to statewide campaigns and now is getting work here," Mr. Vennum said.
"In addition to the hidden costs of this practice, pay-to-play also promotes the selection of contractors based on their political contributions instead of their professional merits. It's been a prime source of political corruption in New Jersey and Philadelphia," said a May 2007 Philadelphia Inquirer editorial supporting laws curbing the practice.
The editorial went on to say the proposed limits "would impact firms such as Remington & Vernick of Haddonfield, which has received as much as $1 million in no-bid engineering work from Cherry Hill Township over a three-year period and has been a generous campaign donor to both the Camden County Democratic committee and to township candidates."
"Such activity is legal unless there is a direct quid pro quo -- an agreement ahead of time that a contract will be given in exchange for a contribution -- but has become enough of a concern in New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania that dozens of municipalities have passed local ordinances forbidding it, and New Jersey in 2005 passed a statewide law to limit it.
Press coverage of the problem in that area has repeatedly focused on Remington & Vernick and its subsidiaries."
This contributor, (RV & B), is also registered as a lobbyist client in one or more states, see details:
A Libertarian by political leaning I am, nonetheless, flabberGasted by the outright disregard for doing what is best for this community because a few political favors in some "bodies" Christmas Stockings are more important than we are. HELL NO THEY ARE NOT. AND maybe Remington, Vernick and Beach does provide quality services, I've heard that they do, but isn't it just a little bit like a conflict of interest that this engineering firm is already providing some level of codes enforcment here but the borough now wants to pay them to "study" it too?
STOP PLAYING POLITICAL GAMES WITH THIS STRUGGLING LITTLE BOROUGH. Just STOP IT.
WHY DO WE HAVE THIS REPORT? ITS PAID FOR. Taxpayers already bought the benefit of the wisdom of the Urban Land Institute in 2009 - and there it sits, sad, lonely, neglected - adorning a dusty shelf in borough hall, YET, it is a straight forward roadmap for Pottstown - NO POLITICAL STRINGS ATTACHED.
OCTOBER 2009, three years ago to the day:
"An AGGRESSIVE neighborhood partnership among MONTGOMERY COUNTY, THE CODES DEPARTMENT, THE HOUSING AUTHORITY AND THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED IMMEDIATLEY..."
GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT AND DO IT NOW.
Please get out and attend Council tomorrow night: 7pm 100 High St. 3rd floor council chambers. Show your community that you care.