PSE&G executive appointed to local utilities authority
PSE&G Vice President of Asset Management and Centralized Services Jorge L. Cardenas has been appointed to serve as a commissioner on the Secaucus Municipal Utilities Authority. Mayor Michael Gonnelli announced last week that he will replace Dean Moreira, whose term expired. Cardenas will serve a five-year term beginning in February. In his role at PSE&G he is responsible for electric and gas asset strategy, asset reliability, electric delivery planning, gas system operations and technical services among other duties. Cardenas received a BA in engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University’s Executive MBA program. He also completed the Penn State Executive Development Program and studied international business at Cambridge University in England.
Casino night fundraiser for Tomorrow’s Children Fund
The ninth annual Casino Night fundraiser organized by the Secaucus-based Guma Foundation will be held on Feb. 9 at La Reggia from 7 to 11 p.m. Proceeds from the event will go toward Tomorrows Children’s Fund, a privately-funded non-profit organization dedicated to speeding the healing of children with cancer and serious blood disorders. Guma Foundation donates specifically to support their work with children who have brain tumors. The Guma Foundation was started in memory of Ralph M. Guma Sr. and Ralph M. Guma Jr. in 1991. Ralphy was a cancer survivor of 23 years. In his memory the organization has donated $5,000 to $10,000 per year since 2000 and intends to continue donating at least $10,000 per year.
The event includes food, drinks, and dancing. Ticket prices are $100. For more information, or to purchase a ticket, visit: http://gffoundation.net/
Be aware of kidnapping scheme
The Secaucus police chief is alerting residents to be aware about a scheme in which someone calls and says that a family member has been kidnapped and that they will be hurt unless they receive money.
One resident fell prey to this scheme recently, and other similar calls have been reported. Residents are advised to call the police should they receive such a call, so the police can try to capture the culprits.
Clarendon dead end traffic headache
Since new security measures have changed the morning routine for school dropoff and reduced entry points into the school, traffic backup has occurred at dead ends that surround Clarendon Elementary School, according to Councilman Robert Costantino. He said at last week’s council meeting that residents who live on Seventh, Walter, and Hudson have complained about the number of people pulling in to driveways during a peak work commute hour.
Costantino said that no school dropoffs are allowed in the dead end streets and he hopes people can be patient as individuals get used to the new morning routine.
Secaucus tax-sharing contribution to go up
Despite objections from Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli and Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission adopted municipal tax-sharing amounts for 2013, which implies the tax pool will increase to $7.5 million or $92,986 over last year, according to news reports. For Secaucus that means the contribution goes up from $2.68 million to $2.89 million for 2013. For the average Secaucus resident, that means the percentage of their local taxes that goes toward other towns has increased.
Through the tax sharing program, Meadowlands-area towns either give or get money based on how much development they are allowed to have within their borders.
Secaucus is the highest contributor to the tax pool. The town has paid more than $75 million since 1970, when the state initiated the program to compensate towns that lost tax revenue when they were prohibited from developing lands considered environmentally sensitive.
There are 14 towns in the Meadowlands district. In 2004, the master plan for the Meadowlands changed and areas that were once slated for development became parks while other areas that were restricted from development became available.
Members of the Hackensack Meadowlands Municipal Committee (HMMC) late last year voted to change the tax-sharing formula’s base year from 1970 to 2004. But towns like Kearny who get large payments from tax sharing are fighting back and have hired lawyers to try to prevent the state legislature and governor from approving the amendment.
Secaucus is prepared to wage a legal battle and earlier this month – along with other paying towns – retained the services of Connecticut law firm Robinson and Cole.
Nurses' union files new charges against local hospital
A nurses' union has filed new charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (MHMC) in Secaucus over a number of alleged violations, according to a recent press statement. The charges are the latest in an ongoing and drawn-out battle between MHMC and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), which represents 350 Registered Nurses and health care professionals at the hospital.
The most recent list of alleged violations includes more than $150,000 in employee medical bills that have allegedly gone unpaid because, according to HPAE, the hospital has allegedly failed to provide funds for their self-insured health plan. Charges were also filed over the hospital’s alleged refusal to allow union staff into the hospital to meet with employees over grievances and labor violations, and over an increase in health insurance deductibles. HPAE has asked the state to appoint a temporary manager to bring the hospital into compliance with state patient safety and financial reporting laws.
In reaction to the last round of charges, Hospital Spokesperson William Maer said, “MHMC will not comment on rehashed, untrue, and fabricated accusations, created solely because of an ongoing labor issue, and with the main purpose of detracting from the excellence of the recent national quality and care rankings given to the hospital.”
He added that, “virtually all of the unions previous complaints have been dismissed and not substantiated. MHMC will continue to work toward providing quality healthcare for the patients it serves.”