I attended a special Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council meeting in December 2008, the week before former Mayor Michael Luther’s last year in office. In attendance were the five council members, the business administrator, the township attorney and former municipal clerk Judy Silver.
I identify Judy Silver because to me, Town Hall’s Council Chambers was her “house,” yet all documents that evening were prepared by Morris County Joint Insurance Fund administrators and distributed by District 26 Asw. BettyLou DeCroce, who then served as Roxbury’s town clerk and as MJIF chair.
On that evening, we witnessed a deal done before it even started.
MJIF is a self-insurance fund comprising of townships mostly from Morris County. When one thinks of self-insurance one immediately concludes there’s a cost savings—why else would one join the group? Well, taxpayers, if you recall, the MJIF cost Parsippany $250,000 more per year for three years, totaling $750,000. The lowest quote, which was rejected, came from Travelers Insurance Company.
Two of the five council people who voted in favor of the MJIF contract that evening were James Barberio and Ann Grossi, respectively the current mayor of Parsippany, who is running for re-election, and the Morris County freeholder who is a candidate for county clerk.
Did they have the best financial interests for their constituents in mind? That evening I pointed out that a member of a self-insurance group in New Jersey can not receive a insurance premium rebate until after three years’ participation in the group. This was confirmed by the funds C.E.O. at the meeting.
This past March 2013, I inquired as to what the town’s premium rebate was and the answer I received was zero.
Voting unanimously to approve the MJIF contract that evening was self-serving:
1) Political donations from assigned attorneys
2) What’s best for the party not for the residents.
The taxpayers’ $750,000 could have gone a long way:
a) Pay raises for our blue collar workers—these men and women are underpaid compared to the surrounding townships
b) Hiring more police officers—we are well below the township ordinance staffing requirement
c) Reduction in your real estate taxes.
I am bringing this to your attention in order for you to draw your own conclusions.
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