Sussex County Online User Forums: Fenwick Island Discussion Forum: I THOUGHT I HAD SEEN EVERYTHING, BUT HERE COMES THE GRAVY TRAIN !!
By TaxpayerBusinessman on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 02:28 pm:

Fenwick Island Town Council voted to give Town Administrator Helen Torres a $2,000 bonus following an executive session on Monday, Jan. 6, 2003.

Council voted 6-1 to give Torres the bonus, according to council member Vicki Carmean, who cast the only dissenting vote.

Carmean said council also instructed council member Peter Frederick to determine how much Torres is owed for overtime she has worked. She added that Torres, hired in July 2002 to replace retiring administrator Barbara Hanrahan, is an hourly employee.

Hanrahan said on Tuesday, Jan. 8, that she did not receive a bonus in her 17 1/2 years of employment with the town. She said she received time-and-a-half pay for overtime like all other town employees.

Carmean said her fellow council members justified the bonus on the grounds that Torres had put in a substantial amount of overtime in her first six months on the job.

Neither council president Peg Baunchalk, council vice-president Harry Haon, or Frederick were available for comment.

Carmean said her negative vote did not reflect her opinion of Torres' performance. She said she simply couldn't vote for a bonus given the town's current financial condition.

"I have a real problem with it," said Carmean.

Carmean added that Torres was the only town employee to be given a bonus.

Council has imposed a 10 percent property tax increase and a controversial 3 percent commercial rental tax this year to cover increased expenses.

It also eliminated the position of administrative assistant to the police chief -- held by Sherry Jordan -- due to budget concerns in November. Jordan, an employee with the town for 5 1/2 years, said she earned approximately $10 per hour.

The town is also awaiting financial audits that were not performed for the past four years. Council rescheduled its Jan. 24 meeting to Jan. 31 because it didn't think the management report for the audits would be available by Jan. 24.

Carmean said that until the town's finances are in order, she could not vote for employee bonuses.
Taxes for the people, bonuses for the in crowd. I wonder just how much damage this council can do before they are ousted from office one way or the other. For those of you that think waiting until August Elections is the solution, or that people can work together with this group of tax and spend politicos,this is the first step. Will this town be bankrupt before August? A 2000 bonus to a new employee, 40,000 for a park, uncollected taxes, rubber stamp votes, if you thought time was on your side, you might want to rethink that.
They fired the last code enforcement officer for being in the office too much, now we have a receptionist, with a compensation package that is 5.6% of the entire budget(46,000 and change)according to their pie chart,, but numbers seem very flexable in this town. Not mentioning a $1600 +/- new computer station. Whats wrong with a station from WalMart for $299? It looks like Peg and her stooges, (YES STOOGES, MR. FREDERICK) have decided to reek their vengence by spending every penny possible before they get the bum's rush. I will be calling the Attorney General and the Dept. of Justice starting today and EVERYDAY, until these alleged felons are removed from Tammany Hall.

By FIR on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:56 pm:

Don't forget the $45,000 plus salary of the FIPD chief who is on suspension, and the $35,000 salary of the new officer in charge. Also, the lawsuit against the council and its possible settlement, and attorney fees. Who will pay for all of this? Duh? The honest citizens and business owners of FI.
At least the Chief had the courage to confront these people and not back down. He was the first one to attempt to bring the truth out into the open. If any of the allegations about grant violations and other misconduct by Council re: money spent- turn out to be true, the people of FI need to oust these council persons. The Attorney General and Dept. of Justice need to step in. You are right TaxpayerBusinessman.
Refresh yourself by reading the SCO articles on file. Can't wait for the Chief's hearing.
For the sake of us all,I hope these allegations are not true, but time will tell.
In the meantime, just sit back and watch our money being spent. I wonder how much of Ms. Torres time was spent on normal town business, and how much was spent on 'legal and personnel issues' involving potential lawsuits or federal investigation? Overtime pay for any work she has done is certainly deserved. But a bonus?

Congratulations to our other Town employees for doing an excellent job. I can praise you all for the good work that you have done for our Town throughout the many years. You certainly deserve recognition also.

By TaxpayerBusinessman on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 05:22 pm:

Your point is well taken FIR,but the arrogance shown by these people is astounding. The Chief has already turned down their settlement offer of $150,000, with a chuckle I understand. But once again in a time of fiscal crisis, this council has slapped the taxpayers of this town right in the face. Call me old fashioned if you will, but I like a little dance and a Kiss before I get screwed. Since dancing is against the law, I guess I would settle for a little respect. Perhaps thier next expenditure should be for whopee cushions, to keep these old farts awake during the meetings.

By Jim Simpson on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 11:05 am:

Can I ask where the $150,000 alleged settlement monies would come from?

By TaxpayerBusinessman on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 02:30 pm:

My guess would be that the town's liability carrier sees the writing on the wall, and will try to settle this, however, even though the money does not come directly from the town, you can bet future premiums will reflect any settlement and more. Punitive Damages may be a different story however, I am not sure what the towns coverage entails.

By Chris Clark on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 03:42 pm:


Will you please email me at rchrisclark@hotmail.com. We would like to have your assistance with the Fenwick Island Concerned Citizens. Your input would be appreciated with correspondence and future meetings.

By POd Resident on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 07:09 pm:

Baunchalk, Haon and Henefin = Larry Moe and Curlette.

By FIR on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 02:41 pm:

How much longer can the GRAVY TRAIN roll?
Keep stoking those fires for engineer Peg boys.
Theo and Vicki are banished to the caboose and eatin' that smoke!
Can 4 yrs. of nonpayment of state witholding taxes stop it? 3-5 current FOIA complaints to the state attorney general? Phone calls to numerous to count to the state attorney general? Federal department of justice investigation into budget supplanting?
Requests to the state auditor to step in? A possible department of labor investigation into police department complaints?
Time to jump off that runaway GRAVY Train Vicki and Theo. We think Vicki may already have. If not, grab Theo by the hand and take him with you. If you don't, he'll continue to eat that smoke and wonder where it's coming from.

By FI-Landshark on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 07:48 pm:

It looks like Councilman Frederick is trying to "take credit" for finally getting the audits completed. It seems like he is a guy who wants to be seen as "fiscally responsible." One other Councilmember wanted to suggest that Councilman Frederick was "precise". Perhaps Mr. Frederick smells the blood in the water and thinks he can be the next King or rather Mayor or rather Fenwick Island Town Council President. I wonder why Mr. Frederick didn't insist on the audits a little harder before this. I guess he wants us to be happy that he worked soooo hard to get the audits done. The only confusion that I have regarding Mr. Frederick's newfound fiscal responsibilty mindset is that he is the same guy who wanted to keep the results of the audit "secret" and he is the same guy who is throwing $2,000.00 bonuses around to brand new employees (even though they are going to get paid for their duly earned overtime). After all, that is what Washington does! Perhaps Mr. Senior Government Official Frederick would set aside the mantel of King if we gave him the title of modern day Robin Hood. Of course, "modern day" does require some modifications in the story line. Instead of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, Mr. Frederick can rob from the taxpayers and give to his friends. Isn't that really how they do it in Washington anyway. Now that sounds like fiscal responsibility to me!

By TaxpayerBusinessman on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 12:04 pm:

Great Stuff FI-Landshark, the only problem being that I dont think the Queen of FI will ever abdicate her Throne. Power is life's greatest addiction,and this council needs a 12 step program for power freaks.

By Devilboy on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 06:05 pm:

Has anyone checked the town charter or state authority to see if there is any mechanism for impeachment or a vote of no-confidence.

By Edie Falco on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:15 pm:

Don't be fooled by the council OR former Chief Dickerson. His hands are just as dirty as the council. Did anyone here ever stop and look at the big picture? Both sides are pointing fingers at each other. Both sides are alleged to have committed wrong doing or criminal acts.

Don't lose your focus on these matters ... there are things that the public does not know.

Devilboy makes an excellent suggestion .. I suggest you follow it.

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