CWA Local 1081
60 Park Place, Suite 501
Newark, NJ, 07102
Office (973) 623-1081
Fax: (732) 988-1081

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Newark Teachers Union

New Jersey Citizen Action Oil Group

November 28, 2008

Blonnie Watson, President

Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Hall of Records

Newark, NJ, 07102

Re: Resolution #5

Dear Ms. Watson:

CWA Local 1081 respectfully submits this inquiry regarding Resolution #5, of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders’ Conference/Board meeting of November 13, 2008, which apparently awarded a $100.00 per hour contract to Mr. Daniel Bernier “to provide Consultant Services for Essex County’s Deer Management Program to the upset limit of 150 hours or $15,000 plus project initiation fee of $2,500”.

Attached, please find a copy of a lawsuit of January 24, 2008, filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division Union County, by Catherine Alexander who was once employed by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Park Planning and Maintenance as an environmental engineer from March 17, 2001 until her termination on April 20, 2007.

Please note that Ms. Alexander’s suit cites as a defendant Mr. Bernier, in his capacity as the Director of Division of Park Planning and Maintenance. Ms. Alexander purports Mr. Bernier, her former titular superior, retaliated against her for her having “reported the failure of upper management of Union County to enforce applicable laws designed to protect the parklands and open spaces belonging to the public from illegal encroachments.” She also alleges that Mr. Mike Heenahan of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Green Acres, Bureau of Land Stewardship, he having met with her regarding her concerns she reported to his agency, “expressed his opinion that Union County had the worst encroachment situation in the state”. Ms. Alexander’s suit also claims “that not a single summons had been issued for violations of the two ordinances passed in 2003, which were designed to deal with the huge encroachment problem”.

Of particular parochial concern to our Union is Ms. Alexander’s contention that Mr. Bernier, and his co-defendants, “breached the terms and conditions of its contract” regarding her employment and in doing so “deliberately broke applicable civil service laws”.

CWA Local 1081 has oft expressed, within memorialized form, our distinct disquiet with both the amount of money the County of Essex has been expending on its parks, zoo and capital projects as well as the manner in which the money has been allocated, a considerable percentage of which we have maintained has been of immediate, and ultimate, detriment to its taxpayers and employees. Our Union, therefore, obsequiously offers the following questions to which we reverentially request you respond:

1. Did the Administration of the County of Essex inform the Freeholders of the existence of Ms. Alexander’s lawsuit before submitting Resolution #5 for their consideration and approval? If not, was the Board of Chosen Freeholders otherwise aware of the existence of Ms. Alexander’s lawsuit?
2. Is the Board of Chosen Freeholders now cognizant of the current status of Ms. Alexander’s lawsuit?
3. While CWA Local 1081 possesses no direct knowledge of the veracity of Ms. Alexander’s claims, we ask nonetheless if the allegations contained within Ms. Alexander’s lawsuit provide the Freeholders any cause for pause regarding their approval of Resolution #5 which deals with the deer management program within both the South Mountain Reservation and the Eagle Rock Reservation.

The members of CWA Local thank you, in advance, for your anticipated expeditious rejoinder to this sincere supplication.

Yours truly,

David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081

C: Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Hon. Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.

CWA Local 1081 Members

Hetty Rosenstein

Lynn Buckley

Stephen Weissman, Esq.