I read the two articles in today’s Register about the new commissioners picked for the Housing Authority and the Allingtown Fire Department with interest and some concern. In the Housing Authority piece, I see that Mayor Picard has picked all his cronies for the commission. I also noted that Jasmine Nugent did not resign as asked by the mayor and will remain on the commission. Very interesting. But my eyes really popped out of my head when I saw how much the recently retired Executive Director Michael Siwek hauled in for pay! Somewhere between $188,973 and $230,000. Holy cow. And apparently that just was not enough money since he allegedly needed another $22,000 to gamble with at the casinos. I hope the new commissioners realize that their role as commissioners is to oversee all aspects of the Housing Authority. They need to take their jobs seriously and implement some much needed checks and balances.
As for the Allingtown Fire Department, I will give the mayor a pat on the back for not re-upping the existing commission members, with the exception of current Chairman Ronald Walters. He was kept for the sake of continuity. Fingers crossed he has the mental capacity to keep things on the straight and narrow so we won’t end up with yet another debacle on our hands. I am concerned, however, that the mayor has picked Stella Cretella and Martha Bell to be on this commission, too. Both were appointed to the Housing Authority Commission. Are there no other people in our city of more than 55,000 that can serve on a commission without overlap? Is the mayor so concerned about losing control that the needs to have this level of overlap on commissions? I have been told that Cretella has known Picard since he was a little tiny baby. In the past, Picard has tried to push her on the Police Commission no less than three times to no avail. Let’s hope she has the credentials to do the job and not just kowtow to what the mayor tells her to do. But I fear I may be expecting too much.
I think the biggest shocker for me, after learning about Siwek’s exorbitant pay, is that a nineTEEN year old is being appointed to the commission. I certainly do not want to be accused of ageism, but come on. How much experience and wisdom is a 19 year old going to be bringing to the table? Again, are there no other people better qualified for this role? I agree with At-large council member David Forsyth’s quote in the Register – “I don’t think working on a mayor campaign qualifies you for a commission.” Or is that exactly what it does take?
A drum roll please! The winner of the primary contest is Paul Studdard. Congratulations Paul! Paul guessed 1,800 residents would come out to vote. He was the closest to the 3,739 (plus about 350 absentee ballots) that voted in total.