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 27, 2009


Hon. Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.

Essex County Executive

Hall of Records, Room 405

465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Newark, NJ, 07102


Re: OPRA Request

       Boathouse/Miniature Golf Course


Dear Mr. DiVincenzo:


Attached, please find a copy of the Open Public Records Request (OPRA) request CWA Local 1081 has submitted this day to the County of Essex for all documents related to your administration’s averred scheme to construct a boathouse and miniature golf course at the Codey Arena-Turtle Back Zoo in the township of West Orange. The requested documents should include, but be not limited to, the proposed total costs of the construction of your boathouse and miniature golf course and the funding source(s) to pay for those costs.


Our Union notes that the attached Resolution #17, taken up at the November 12, 2009 Conference/Board Meeting of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, approved your proposed expenditure of $450,001.88 (of capital funds, not Green Acre funds) for a contract with French and Parrello Associates to provide architectural design services for the construction of your boathouse and miniature golf course. Our Union was infinitely impressed that the French and Parrello Associates’ RFP response was reportedly the highest rated and its cost proposal was purportedly below the county’s engineer’s estimate for the project. We were less impressed, however, that when French and Parrello Associates dutifully reported having donated a total of $8,100.00 to your political campaign coffers over the past five years the firm twice failed to afford you the requisite respect of correctly spelling your last name upon the attached “Statement of Certain Political Contribution” page of the resolution.


In the perpetual prose of possibly one of your prime political protagonists, President Ronald Reagan, “There you go again”. Within a climate of international, national, statewide, countywide and municipalities’-wide fiscal fear and uncertainty you are apparently spending millions more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money on yet another of your frivolous follies. Add together the total costs of your boathouse and miniature golf course to the hundreds of thousands of dollars you have already spent on the creation of three off-leash dog facilities, the $3,161,979 you spent to construct your Carousel Park and Picnic Area at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo and the $1.8 million you spent on the zoo’s ape exhibit and one may only conclude that you did not mean what you said when you introduced your 2009 budget.


Your attached January 15, 2009 press release announcing your then proposed budget quoted you as stating “There is no doubt that 2009 will be the most challenging budget year we are facing. The poor economy has created a unique set of circumstances that we have not seen in our lifetime. Unfortunately, the dire situation of our economy has forced us to make deeper cuts in all areas of County government. All of our departments and Constitutional officers are making sacrifices so we can get through this very difficult time.”


As the employees of the County of Essex have been asked by you to “sacrifice”, as witnessed by your insulting contract offer of a meager total 3% salary increase over three years with your demand they contribute 1.5% of that amount total annually to the county’s costs of their health benefits, we may only cringe as we contemplate your proposed 2010 budget. When will you finally begin to “sacrifice” by halting your “niceties, not necessities” as most recently represented by your bounteous boathouse and myopic miniature golf course?





David H. Weiner, President

CWA Local 1081