Crashing the Cocoon

It was supposed to be a ring-kissing ceremony as Union County political boss Charlotte DeFilippo was going to resign her public sinecure this afternoon at 3 pm in an ’emergency meeting’ of the Union County Improvement Authority.  Though she had been recently called an overpaid political hack after her terms of employment became public knowledge, this gathering was going to be a celebration as the people she handpicked for either public office or public employment (resulting in million-dollar pensions and lifetime health benefits for some of them) would gather to pay fealty.

However, at 2:20 pm I was tipped off and  was able to crash the party with my camera.

The ring-kissing went on (pay particular notice to what James L-a-c-o-r-t-e had to say):


Though real members of the public did get to speak:

Today’s events can’t be done justice without a full unedited video of the entire proceeding interrupted only by county counsel saying I couldn’t film while the meeting was not in open session (if there are any First Amendment media attorneys who think otherwise, please weigh in).  For context here is my rough timeline:

2:20: Found out the UCIA was going to have this emergency meeting
3:00 Arrived in the Freeholder meeting room
3:05 Emergency meeting called to order
3:10 UCIA board goes into executive session to discuss personnel matters
3:15 First cop arrives
3:30 Second cop arrives
3:35 Meeting resumes
3:55 Meeting ends

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on May 4, 2013 at 2:13 am

    John, Looks like you weren’t a “favorite son” at that meeting .. In fact, sometimes I wonder if you you’re putting yourself at risk. Certainly YOU were the commentator being referenced.

    Interestingly, from Charlotte DeFilippo’s self praise in the 2 nd video, she sees nothing wrong with the employment paragraph you provided in an earlier post. They’re such an insulated group, i doubt if they realize how unfair & outrageous many of their actions are.


    • They don’t realize it. At this level (too small for any meaningful press attention, too big for public attention, and in safe electoral districts) they’re the only ones at their meetings, they pack debates if they even have them, they pay outrageous fees to ‘professionals’ who flatter them silly and they ignore the majority who never see them and marginalize the tiny, tiny minority who watch them ‘work’.

      It was Tina Renna that Charlotte was referring too but I don’t buy that reason. She signed that outrageous 5-year contract in December, 2012 and left because The Local Finance Board was going to be a problem and the DeCotiis contingent convinced her she didn’t need the aggravation (or possibly that she’d make more money from taking her pension now and not having to ‘work’).


    • Posted by muni-man on May 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Just one of many 4-P Clubs (Pampered Pusillanimous Public Porkers) doing what they do so well, practicing the indispensable art of gratuitous mutual admiration. Where would we be without these stalwarts? – one can only dream.


    • Posted by George on May 6, 2013 at 12:13 am

      “sometimes I wonder if you you’re putting yourself at risk.”

      David Snyder released from jail after being bloodied at council meeting


  2. Posted by on May 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Thanks John, Summit is once again going to be hit with a double digit increase in year over year taxes paid to Union County. We now pay (waste) $33.4 million dollars in taxes to Union County, more than we tax ourselves to run our entire City of Summit including our police, fire, public works and City Hall and downtown.

    Since no one on the Union County board of Freeholders represents the interests of taxpayers, especially in Summit, I am very appreciative of your public advocacy for fiscal restraint and your creative use of social media to raise public awareness.

    It’s worth noting that in addition to “jobbing” us as Union County improvement authority executive director, Ms. DeFilippo was also the chairwoman of the Union County Democratic Committee. If you want to add a little humor to your blog, you should include a few quotes from this mornings Star Ledger concerning her work there.

    My personal favorites include Freeholder Sullivan saying “you thought me to do government right”. Also missing the irony of his own remarks was State Sen. Raymond Lesniak who lapsed into a moment of rare candor saying “one of the benefits of having Charlotte there is I didn’t have to get involved in Union County democratic politics. She kept winning elections year after year”.

    These quotes, more than any other I have read over the years sum up why Union County will spend and borrow over $1 billion dollars this year …. and there ain’t nothing any taxpayer or local government in Union County can do to stop them.

    Freeholder Vice-Chairman Hudak described “a grueling budget process that came down to going line-by-line in order to find every cut that could be made”. Fortunately for the skaters and golfers in the County, they missed the budget lines with the ice skating rink planned for Oak Ridge Park that will cost between $15 and $25 million dollars or the escalating costs of the Galloping Hills golf facility in Union County.

    Freeholders blame mandated costs like the lifetime health care benefits, which they voted for themselves last year or the equalization (wealth redistribution) formula as the reason for higher taxes. It is sad to watch politicians who demand a fair and more progressive tax code turn around and vote every year to increase the most regressive tax in the state code … property taxes.

    As State Sen. Lesniak said, one of the benefits of the Union County machine is that they “keep winning elections year after year”. Meanwhile, Union County residents who recognize that County spending will continue until they run out of other people’s money are voting with their feet and leaving for more affordable places to live.

    Again, thanks for your good work!

    Tom Garvey President , Summit Taxpayers Association ( STA)

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Posted by Javagold on May 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    WOW !!! Look at the takers on their knees , they have no self respect


    • Posted by Tough Love on May 6, 2013 at 1:33 am

      It reminds me of the Godfather movies where one-by-one the underlings paid homage ……


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