Today I would like to talk about New Jersey’s Police and Fire departments. Throughout the last few years our very own have been subjected to many layoffs due to budget cuts. Mayors and councilpersons of all municipalities and townships, especially in Newark, have to understand that it takes millions of dollars to train these officers and provide them with new uniforms, weapons, gear, and physical training. The tax payers should not have to waste millions of dollars because their elected officials have to close their budget gap.
THIS MAKES NO SENSE!
I was trained by the Middlesex County Auxiliary Academy in 2002 and went to become an Edison Auxiliary Police Officer in Edison NJ. It was a big step in my life, and although it was a volunteer position, we went through some very intense training. Let me share with you a short story that will give you a glimpse into the reality of what our men and women in uniform have to endure.
I was patrolling with a regular, which means a real Edison Police officer, in a police issued vehicle when a call came in about a man that could not open the door to his son’s room. He had not seen his son for days. We put the siren on and the officer threw a small book of cross streets at me and said, “Look it up and tell me what the cross street is,
“I can save the taxpayers of New Jersey over $28,000,000 per year.”
As the years went on I learned what it meant to “WALK THE BEAT”. I have noticed a trend lately that not only in New Jersey, but throughout the country, almost every municipality, township, corrections facility, and university is hiring directors (civilians) to serve the departments. They get paid well over $100,000 and can only direct orders to the Chief of Police who then directs it to the lieutenants and so on. Based on a simple calculation, we have 566 municipalities in the state of New Jersey. If we were to take at least half of that and remove those positions, we would save the tax payers at least $28,300,000 per year. This is huge! I am not even taking into consideration the fact that they are all given a vehicle to take home, including tolls, and free gas.
As I talk to more officers around New Jersey, I’ve also become aware of the fact that grants are requested by the municipalities from the federal government, and when the funds are received, the mayors or council persons use some of the grant money they receive for purposes other than what they were requested for. As governor, I will work closely with assembly persons and state senators and we will pass a law that requires any grants to be used only as they are intended. This means significant support will be put towards the Police and Fire departments.
I would also work with both the Assembly and Senate to make sure that we pass a bill that would require any Police or Fire personnel that are laid off to be hired first in any part of New Jersey before hiring new ones. They are already trained and ready to work, and it saves millions more.
THIS MAKES SENSE!
Let’s be very clear. We need to leave our Police and Fire personnel alone to do the job they were trained to do.
2. The Jobless rate in New Jersey is somewhere around 8.5 while in Newark its a little over 15 percent in some reports, what would you do to lower and bring jobs back to the state?
Under the sponsorship of the Essex County Carpenters of New Jersey, the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship, trained me for four years to be a Building Trade Carpenter. Because of this unique opportunity, I have worked for over 25 years in the field of construction and have benefited greatly. I am forever grateful.
This leads me to my next topic, Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Occupational Training. As Governor, The first step is to sit down with the Commissioner Harold Wirths and figure out what he has done and what will he do to revamp our workforce to compete in today’s global market. I am eager to have many meetings with the big corporations and have a healthy dialogue as to help in the process of training our New Jersey Residents become highly skillful which leads to better profits for corporations and higher paying jobs and of course higher revenues for the state economy.
Human Resources is one of the most critical departments in any organization. Higher education, municipalities, schools, police and fire dept., correction departments, Board of Ed and so on. In fairness to the taxpayer, as Governor I will work hard with our elected officials, Senators, Assembly person, Mayors, Councilpersons to make sure that every entity is hiring the best candidate for these positions. Hiring a friend of a friend or a sister, brother or cousin should not be considered when hiring an individual for employment in the same department. As Governor, I would like to create a division within the state that oversees all applicants for any position within these branches. This division will review all applicants for a position and submit the best candidates to hire from, based on experience and education, to the respective human resources department. IT JUST MAKES SENSE.
As these things take place it’s like a Domino effect… Unemployment will decrease, temporary disability also decrease, this is due to the workforce working smarter not harder. Wage and hourly employees will have a goal to set, the more you learn the better pay will be.
Minimum wage should be set as an entry level position. If the employee has satisfied their employers as a good worker and has a great track record for going to work on time, they should be compensated as such.
Let’s talk about the Social Security Disability Programs. My goal is to make sure that all current individuals that are on this Disability Program meet the medical requisites; A yearly checkup with the Medical Doctors should be mandatory for all individuals that are permanently disabled.
New Jersey has well over 9.2% of people unemployed right now, it may go higher if we do not take action. Just this month, over 26,000 New Jersey residents lost their Extended Unemployment Benefits.
We must continue to educate the American People to compete in this global job market. Let’s start with these 26,000 New Jersey
3.Recently New Jersey own commercial station that services New Jersey decided to drop its nightly newscast and left its station without any daily newscast, Former Senator Frank Lautenberg was a big advocate for keeping a newscast and making sure it was Jersey Centric, what is your opinion on My9's decision.
This is very sad.... I will bring it back. The more NJ residents know whats going on the better we can communicate with them.
4. Who will you be supporting for New Jersey's next Senator?
I believe Mayor Booker will be a much better Senator than Steve Lonegan.
Cory and I have similar views and values of todays World.
5. Name 3 of your top priorities if you become the next Governor of New Jersey?
Immediately negotiate with big companies to come back to NJ. Remove Red Light Cameras'. Meeting with all Commissioners of the 15 agencies ASAP to evaluate budgets.
6. Who is your role model and why?
My wife's Father Pedro Morales, We were at the VA Hospital in East Orange when doctors told him that he had 6 months to live.
He was diagnosed with Bone Cancer. 10 years later with hundreds of chemo therapy and is still going strong.
7. Do you support or would you try to end county government
I support it. I would look to consolidate it to work more efficient.
8. Hurricane Sandy has devasted New Jersey, would you have done anything different than Governor Christie to help the victims
This was a bad storm... I would have taken the time to build the boardwalks out of concrete and used more NJ
companies to rebuild since we have the best construction workers in the country.
Name your favorite New Jersey Diner ?
It was easy for me to say that it was Edison Diner on route 1 in Edison NJ.
But as I travel this great state I find that Diners all over are Fantastic!
Coffee shops and home made food are best
What is your favorite New Jersey Reality Show ?
I'm not a big fan of reality shows but when I do skim through the Television I'll take the time to watch The Amazing Race. Love to see other parts of the country.
What do you do that defines you as uniquely New Jersey?
NJ is a melting Pot. And so am I. Rich with diversity and awesome cultures