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Point Beach Open to Keeping Court in Boro

But Beach wants more money and a new security plan

Point Beach may be amenable to keeping its municipal court in Point Borough, but the Borough needs to sweeten the pot and solve a security staffing problem.

That was generally the sentiment of Point Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella who said on Wednesday that the current financial situation regarding the two towns paying administrative staff has to change.

"I don't think the current percentage works," he said, declining to specify dollar amounts and percentages because the towns are still negotiating and any agreement that's struck still needs to be approved by Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso sitting in Toms River.

For many months, Point Beach officials had said they wanted their town's municipal court operations back in their own Borough Hall on New Jersey Avenue.

And to allow that, adding, at the time, that details still had to be worked out.

However, as residents waited and wondered what was happening with those "details," there was apparently a shift in the minds of municipal officials about leaving court where it is as municipal court staff indicated they would rather keep the Point Beach operation in Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue.

The Borough has a newer, larger facility that the court staff apparently prefers, Barrella said.

"It's a newer facility, it's probably a more efficient facility, and we'd like to accomodate their request," he said. "But we have to make sure it works for the taxpayers. And, speaking only for myself, the deal, as presently constituted, does not work financially or in terms of providing court security. So the ball is in the Borough's court right now."

That "ball" was tossed about in a closed session at the Tuesday night Borough Council meeting in Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue and information coming out of that discussion will be discussed with Beach officials, said Borough Administrator David Maffei.

Point Borough Municipal Attorney Jerry Dasti said after Tuesday night's meeting, that the Beach court operation will remain in the Borough, but that the Beach wants the Borough paying a higher percentage into court staff salaries.

Dasti said the towns are still negotiating and that he thinks the issue will be resolved by the next Borough Council meeting on Sept. 18. Beach Council meets on the same night.

Mayors in both towns only vote when there is a tie. The matter has been the subject of executive sessions in both towns and ongoing discussions between both borough administrators.

"This has been going on for a year and a half," said Borough Mayor William Schroeder after Tuesday night's Borough Council meeting.

The core issue with providing security is that Point Beach special police officers have no jurisdiction in Point Borough or any other municipality, as per state law, Barrella said.

So Point Beach has been sending either full-time uniformed officers or detectives to the Beach court sessions at Borough Hall on Bridge Avenue to provide security.

That is in addition to the Point Beach officers who must be at Borough Hall to testify in specific cases.

Having full-time police provide security, sometimes for many hours, cost Point Beach $20,000 last year alone, Point Beach Police Chief Kevin O'Hara has said.

When asked if Point Beach would be amenable to helping to pay for special police officers hired by Point Borough, Barrella said that's possible.

"But I'm not paying more than $13 an hour," he said, referring to the salary specials typically earn.

A Palanchi September 09, 2012 at 12:06 PM
The last entry should be directed to "One who was there".
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM
The security issue could have and should have been solved long ago because the Boro saved enough to afford to cover the cost of security---that was always what was expected. But when the Boro politicians who fought the deal for political reasons (after all if this is such a sweet deal for the Boro how could they honestly be against it?) won the election shortly after the agreement was signed they sided with Barrella, who also fought the deal for political reasons. That is why as soon as the new Beach and Borough politicians took office they started talking about the Court returning to the Beach. Politicians looking out for their own power, not the taxpayers.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 11:36 AM
It has taken three years because the Boro politicians who were in power until now were against the agreement because it was their political opponents’ idea. It was a three year agreement so that a more accurate track record could be developed than one or two years would have created.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 11:39 AM
There is absolutely no doubt that the Administrative Office of the Courts was upset with Ms. Sargent and would have fired her, except that the majority of the Beach council, despite their unhappiness with her actions, felt it was unfair to penalize her for what Barrella persuaded her to do. If you doubt this just ask Ms. Sargent.
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Nonsense! I can't speak for those in the Boro, but what I can say is the problem with the deal was that when the Club insiders and our then borough attorney negotiated the deal they did not speak with the Beach police department about the problems it presented. Had they done so, perhaps those problems could have been addressed before the deal was done. I have been trying to keep the good parts of the agreement in place, but we need to fix the problems in order to do so. Don't you love those nameless posters who claim to know what happened.
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM
More revisionist history.
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Assuming the motive was to allow for a track record, the fact remains that the Beach was locked in unless the Boro agreed to change the deal. Thus, when a huge problem like the inability to use specials came to light, the Beach was stuck unless the Boro was willing to make a change. I recall that the Boro was having major budget issues, and revising the deal then would have added to those budget woes. OWWT, why can't you simply acknowledge that the deal contained a fatal flaw. The idea was not a bad one, the deal was.
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Anyone interested can go to the following link to a Ocean Star story from October 2010. This story confirms that it was the Boro Council President who sought to have Ms. Sargent fired. http://starnewsgroup.com/weekly/2010/10.01.10/barrella_wan_10.01.10_63639.html
A Palanchi September 10, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Both of you don't seem to agree on just about anything other than it is not working because of political interference. I don't have all of the facts because I am sure that there is more to it but two things seem pretty clear. For purely political reasons, the Beach side cut a poor deal 3 years ago and now they can't escape even if they wanted to. For purely political reasons the Boro side knows it and is continuing to exploit it both politically and financially. Sounds like it is workable but politics is interfering with good business sense. Sounds like regular folks need to remind them all why they were elected to office and make this work so that it benefits everyone. I'm curious why other decision-makers have not chimed in. Mr. Barrella, are you the only elected official in the Beach that has an opinion. Is there anyone in the Boro that has one? Pretty sad actually.
A Resident September 10, 2012 at 02:47 PM
A Palanchi, no Barrella is not the only one with an opinion. He, however, is one of the few that will put their opinions out here in a public forum for people to read. Others will keep their opinion to themselves until Council meetings and then will speak...mostly in the closed sessions. Agree with him or not...at least sometimes, Mr. Barrella will put his thoughts out for the public to read.
A Resident September 10, 2012 at 02:48 PM
One who was there.....so you would expect Pt. Boro to use the savings they were getting to cover the security issues....thereby lessening their savings? What incentive would Pt Boro have to do that? I don't see that as political....I see that as common sense.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I am in the Boro, and have an opinion. The deal was good for the Beach and the Boro. The Beach saved 15% of the salaries they were going to pay anyway and the Boro saved even more because they did not have to pay more than 15% of the salary of a Court Administrator. But the Beach police did not want the Court to move (which is why I think they were not part of the negotiations) and so because of politics and police resistance the Beach savings were eaten up. Of course the Beach still did OK because all agree they at least broke even and did not have their administrative staff disrupted by all the offenders flooding their too small building every time there was a Court session. And except for Barrella this deal could be made to work now that those ion the Boro who opposed the deal are no longer in office, thank God.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 03:02 PM
A resident. Not all there savings, just a small part, less than 20%. And their motivation is what is driving their attempt to renew the deal with the security issue solved, they will have no savings without paying for the security.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Nobody said the Boro Council President was not annoyed with Ms. Sargent, she was. But the Administrative Office of the Courts, quite independently, chastised Ms. Sargent for violating the ethics rules governing Court employees, and the only reason she was not fired is because the Beach Council majority refused to penalize her for Barrella using her for his own selfish political ambitions.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Because there was no fatal flaw in the agreement, just politicians getting the way of what was best for the taxpayers (both Boro and Beach)
A Palanchi September 10, 2012 at 04:22 PM
You sound a little biased. That's okay though. If I was on your side and was saving $240,000 I guess I would be a little biased too. But, you originally stated the Beach was enjoying a significant savings. Now you concede that they are just breaking even. I don't know how much you know about business but I don't know of anyone who gets into a working partnership with the hopes that they will break even while their partner reaps the financial dividends of the venture. You lessen that possibility by working together to make things right even when things are going wrong. You seem to be more grateful to the Almighty that certain decision makers in your town aren't in office rather than hoping to be grateful that a resolution can be worked out to bring a little prosperity to both towns. If the article Mr. Barrella provided is also accurate, it seems you are also wrong as to who wanted to walk the Court representative to the gallows. You don't seem to have many facts, only strong opinions, and you don't seem to like too many people. Hopefully, you are not negotiating the continuing existence of this relationship. As to Mr. Barrella, he seems to provide a lot of information, however, he seems to skirt a lot of questions. I would still like an answer to my questions that I posed to him on Saturday. Thank you.
A Palanchi September 10, 2012 at 04:22 PM
You sound a little biased. That's okay though. If I was on your side and was saving $240,000 I guess I would be a little biased too. But, you originally stated the Beach was enjoying a significant savings. Now you concede that they are just breaking even. I don't know how much you know about business but I don't know of anyone who gets into a working partnership with the hopes that they will break even while their partner reaps the financial dividends of the venture. You lessen that possibility by working together to make things right even when things are going wrong. You seem to be more grateful to the Almighty that certain decision makers in your town aren't in office rather than hoping to be grateful that a resolution can be worked out to bring a little prosperity to both towns. If the article Mr. Barrella provided is also accurate, it seems you are also wrong as to who wanted to walk the Court representative to the gallows. You don't seem to have many facts, only strong opinions, and you don't seem to like too many people. Hopefully, you are not negotiating the continuing existence of this relationship. As to Mr. Barrella, he seems to provide a lot of information, however, he seems to skirt a lot of questions. I would still like an answer to my questions that I posed to him on Saturday.
A Palanchi September 10, 2012 at 04:49 PM
So sorry. The above should have been directed to "One who was there's" comment.
Spooner September 10, 2012 at 04:53 PM
One who- speaking of Beach police politics back then. . .you had a high ranking officier there who at the same time was right in the thick of it...as a political activist in the Boro(Ocean Star, 10/15/2010, page 19)... http://media.starnewsgroup.com/pdf/virtual_issues/2010/10.15.10.pdf I don't expect the Mayor to have a response. . .but there was definitely Beach police employees interfering in Borough government politics.
A Resident September 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Spooner, are you saying that residents of Pt Boro can't be involved in Pt. Boro politics? That residents of Pt Boro can't place an ad in a newspaper?
A Resident September 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Actually One who was there....the police were never asked to be in the negotiations. Nor were they asked their opinion on the matter. But if you never went to any of the Beach Council meetings at that time...you would not have heard the police state that.
One who was there September 10, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I'll ignore your comments about how I "sound" and "seem." But the 15% of salary was determined by the Administrators of the Beach and Boro based on the relative number of tickets. As I understand it both Administrators believed that of the total tickets to be handled by the Court staff 85% would be Beach tickets and 15% would be Boro tickets. Boro was to hire and pay for Court security so Beach would save 15% of salaries. Both Administrators thought this was fair. Then the politics started. As to who wanted to discipline Ms. Sargent see my response to Mr. Barrella above. Now that those in the Boro who were playing politics with this agreement are gone, the bottom line is both Boro and Beach taxpayers are going to lose because of Barrella continuing to play politics with this agreement. But you don’t want to see that, do you?
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 08:43 PM
more nonsense and revisionist history
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Not knowing that Beach specials could not be used in the Boro before agreeing to the deal was not a fatal flaw? C'mon
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Could you tell me again what you would like for me to answer. I will try to do so
Vince Barrella September 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The only thing you have gotten right is that the 85/15 split was based on an estimate of the number of cases. Other than that you are engaging in creative fiction. I have been trying to save this deal for over a year, but I will not support a deal that does not provide a meaningful benefit to the Beach and which does not solve the security issues.
Spooner September 10, 2012 at 09:38 PM
A Resident- was addressing 'One who was there' ...but in responding to your comment: no there's nothing wrong with Beach employees involving themselves in Boro affairs. PBA and other unions are opposed to shared services...and heaven for bid you should use the word "consolation" ...and remember...it's a double edge sword. . .they(the unions) now become subject to being attacked and looked upon as not cooperating. . .fostering higher property taxes? ...as for your comment on police not being consulted...I lay blame it on the Mayor & Council there.
A Resident September 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Spooner, a Beach employee that is a Pt Boro resident. As a Pt Boro resident, they have every right to get involved in Pt Boro politics....regardless of where they are employed. Consolidation can be a good thing....sometimes.....so far there have been very few consolidations that have benefitted both sides.
A Palanchi September 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM
To Mr. Barrella: How much money has the Boro paid and what would they have to pay to make the arrangement mutually beneficial to both towns? Would the overtime that has been referred to in the article been incurred if your people were back in their own courthouse? Do you still have your courthouse available in the event this doesn't work out? Thank you and good luck to you. Unfortunately, you will need it.
Vince Barrella September 11, 2012 at 04:10 PM
In the 2012 budget we anticipated $38,000. The payments due in earlier years were netted against salary so I was not able to find the specific number. It is my understanding that the overtime would not have been incurred, but more importantly we would have our regular officers available to perform those tasks that are more appropriate given their expertise. The facility can be made available if need be. Finally, I cannot comment on what would be an appropriate financial solution going forward as we are still involved in negotiations. Hope this helps

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