Most people consider their tax dollars to be sacred and expect them to be used carefully and sparingly. Nothing is more of a slap in the face to every taxpayer then when their hard-earned money is taken from them by elected officials, and then used to line the pockets of their cronies. Here in Hackensack, the Labrosse Political Machine has instituted cronyism as a style of governing, apparently not realizing that it’s illegal and immoral.
THE “HIT LIST”
The Labrosse/Canestrino Team didn’t even wait to take office before deciding on which jobs they wanted to dole out to their cronies. They created a “hit list” of employees who they planned to fire. The only problem was that those jobs were career Civil Service positions, purposely protected from unscrupulous politicians like Labrosse and Canestrino.
Undeterred by state law or the United States Constitution, they began a campaign of harassment and retaliation against employees on the “hit list.” As usual, Hackensack taxpayers had to foot the bill for the Labrosse Team conduct after the employees sued and won tens of thousands of dollars in settlements for the unlawful and unconstitutional actions which were done to them.
In a Civil Service government agency, every job has a detailed list of qualifications necessary for one to be considered for that position. Most elected officials abide by those requirements simply because most elected officials want to ensure that every employee has the ability to perform their job. Not so in Hackensack.
The Labrosse/Canestrino Team hired a crony to serve as Sanitation Supervisor. Naturally, the Civil Service job description focused on two main qualifications, supervisory abilities and knowledge of the methods and processes associated with the collection and disposal of refuse. In fact, the job description specifically requires three years of experience in the field. The crony hired by Labrosse was a former first-level police officer with no supervisory experience whatsoever and zero years of experience in the sanitation field.
That total disregard for Civil Service rules in hiring personnel has been repeated many times by the Labrosse Political Machine to ensure that their cronies receive hefty paychecks at the expense of every Hackensack taxpayer, regardless of whether or not they can do their job.
THE HUMAN COST OF CRONYISM
The Labrosse/Canestrino Team’s total disregard for its own workforce and their families was on ugly display last year during the Sanitation Department privatization fiasco. Thirty-one dedicated employees agonized for months over whether or not they would have a job by the end of the year. Why? So the Labrosse Political Machine could dole out a private contract to a crony in the sanitation business. The impact on 31 families would have been devastating while resulting in higher costs to our taxpayers. Yet, it was only a major community backlash which persuaded Mayor Labrosse to temporarily abandon that folly.
DEMORALIZATION OF THE WORKFORCE
The City workforce has never been more demoralized than it is at this moment, a condition which always results in a diminished level of service. Employees need to be treated fairly and enjoy equal opportunities for advancement regardless of whether or not the Mayor’s friend is interested in a particular job, and those employees should know that their efforts and hard work are appreciated. Another four years of the Labrosse Political Machine means more costly lawsuits, less work and higher taxes.