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Poll: Is Sewerage Authority's Award for Exposing Scandal Deserved?

Last month, sewer authority commissioners were honored for exposing corrupt employees.

The news coming out of the Cinnaminson Sewerage Authority (CSA) here lately has focused mainly on of employees associated with the corruption scandal.

However last week, word came down that the CSA commissioners received an award for exposing and combating employee wrongdoing.

The honor tickled the Philadelphia Inquirer's Kevin Riordan, who penned this tongue-in-cheek column about it.

The honor is called the Wave Achievement Award and was bestowed on the commissioners by the Association of Environmental Authorities of New Jersey (AEANJ). The AEANJ is a statewide organization of water, wastewater and solid waste authorities.

Commissioner Thomas Kollar, who accepted the award on behalf of the five commissioners at an April 25 luncheon in Atlantic City, did not return calls for comment. However Peg Gallos, AEANJ executive director, said the board was honored “for doing the right thing in a difficult situation.”

“They reported it and they cooperated with the authorities,” Gallos said of CSA commissioners. “They also took some action to strengthen their rules in reference to some of those types of activities.”

According to a news release, AEANJ’s executive board said the commissioners’ actions “allowed law enforcement to get to the bottom of misconduct, hold those involved accountable through the criminal process, and afford ratepayers a good chance of recovering losses by way of a restitution order from the trail judge.”

Kollar said in the release there is “zero tolerance” for employee misconduct.

What do you think, Patch readers? Is this award deserved? Take our poll below.

For full coverage, visit Cinnaminson Patch's special Cinnaminson Sewerage Authority Scandal page

Roger May 17, 2012 at 08:04 PM
What a joke. The board should have had a handle on the rampant nepotism within the authority. I can't believe they accepted an award!
kiki May 17, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Your nodding....right??!!! They did nothing wrong? Not one of them had any clue this was going on for years! They didn't receive any supposed "gifts"?
kiki May 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Meant your kidding
J Keenan May 18, 2012 at 02:05 AM
The OBJECTIVE and NONPARTISAN players involved in this – County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi and Public Safety Director Michael P. King – have both showered praise on our Board of Commissioners for their quick and decisive actions. Now another unbiased source – the Association of Environmental Authorities of New Jersey – has stepped forward to applaud the way our Commissioners acted. Our Commissioners uncovered the wrongdoing, brought law enforcement in right away, cooperated with the top-to-bottom investigation, fired everyone who participated in the misconduct, and began the pursuit of restitution. By recognizing Cinnaminson’s board members, the statewide association is signaling to all other entities throughout New Jersey that when confronted with wrongdoing you should follow Cinnaminson’s lead. That’s something we can be proud of. Have also heard very good things about new Plant Superintendent Carl Goodfellow.
Mark C May 18, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Wow, sounds like Carl Goodfellow is a real “Good Fellow!” :-) Anyway, it’s great to see by the poll results that my fellow Cinnaminson residents are able to differentiate between the bad apples who used to work at the plant and our Board of Commissioners who have done the right thing from day one. We’ve seen both the worst and best of public service in this matter. Thank God the bad apples are gone, and will soon experience prison life.
Annie Wright May 18, 2012 at 02:54 AM
While there are a few negative, politically-motivated types (gee, what a surprise!) on Patch, the fact is both our Police Department and our Board of Commissioners have proven that they are highly skilled and professional. Thank you for ridding us of those who think nothing of stealing from the public. Thank you very much for not “sweeping it under the rug.”
Kenny May 18, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Have to admit being a wee bit skeptical at first, but the more I learned the better I felt about how the Board acted to rid us of the thieves who used to work there. There’s a comment I read after the Inquirer article that hit the nail on the head. Thanks to Mark Collins of Cherry Hill: “(I) don’t have any difficulty differentiating between the rotten apples on the workforce and the board members who did the right thing. My take on it is this... We all know there’s vast amounts of corruption at all levels of government... And we have all repeatedly witnessed that it is the natural tendency of government to sweep misconduct under the rug. The problem is those in government are fixated on their public images. So they rarely do the right thing. Anyway, we have this... board that finally shows the rest of the folks in government how it’s supposed to be done. The “pat on the back” from the association was a good thing as it lays down a straight stick next to all the crooked sticks we see throughout all levels of government. Apparently the authority’s professional auditors didn’t catch the wrongdoing going on but the board members did. And then they immediately ran to the prosecutor and police and told them what they found and cooperated to the max. This is textbook for how public officials should operate. It’s refreshing. And it’s a damn shame that it’s so rare. And it took this little authority to teach the big boys how it’s supposed to be done.” Wow.
kiki May 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Highly skilled?. who was watching the shop?....who was overseeing their audits???
JS May 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Wow...doing your job and doing the right thing instead of being corrupt - what a novel idea! Someone should get an award for that.... (sarcasm intended....)
Ric May 18, 2012 at 01:31 PM
This award should be known as you scratch my back, I scratch yours. What I said last month still holds true: The expenditures the commissioners approved would have been held in the business world until presented with relevant financial details. For example, the CSA sought $18k to repair 2 tanks that had not been used in 10 years –for a reason they claimed not to know. By operating these two tanks the savings in chemical usage would be “a lot”. The CSA should not approved this expenditure until they are presented with all the related financial information such why the tanks had been down, the additional cost in running these tanks and “a lot” defined. They also approved an emergency expenditure, without asking its cost, for replacing a monitor that had been down for years. As it had been down for a long time, there was no compelling reason to purchase another monitor before the CSA met. The commissioners need to operate the CSA like a financially prudent business. http://cinnaminson.patch.com/articles/sewer-authority-commissioners-pass-stringent-ethics-nepotism-policies
Nancy VanTwistern May 18, 2012 at 01:57 PM
WHAT? An award for 'not doing their job'.........totally ridiculous!! Lately I've had many questions about those 'leading/heading' this town. No wonder our taxes keep going up and up and up..........................................................
Joe May 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Politics at its best!! I guess I should get an award for always paying my bills then!
Annie Wright May 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Glad to see well over 70% of Cinnaminson residents can see through the politically-inspired comments from those with nothing but a political axe to grind. Residents are demonstrating that they're smart enough to see the difference between the dishonest former employees, and the board members who sniffed out the corruption and effectively rooted it out. Unlike that corrupt Camden regime a few miles to our south, we have officials in this our town who have proven they won't tolerate wrongdoing.
Ric May 18, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Wow, you say that you can see through the politically inspired comments. And you say that you share with us your bias free opinion which happens to fully support a board that failed to exercise any control over the authority. Thank you for reminding us that there are even worse politicians out than the ones we have in Cinnaminson. I, for one, am glad you let us know you are without bias and you speak the plain truth.
Annie Wright May 18, 2012 at 05:04 PM
(There you go again, Ric). FACT: The County Prosecutor praised the Board of Commissioners. FACT: Public Safety Director King praised the Board of Commissioners. FACT: The Statewide Environmental Association praised the Board of Commissioners. FACT: Over 70% of Cinnaminson residents in the poll above are praising the Board of Commissioners. Know this must hurt, because it doesn’t fit your political agenda. But these are the facts.
Annie Wright May 18, 2012 at 05:07 PM
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” (Aldous Huxley)
Annie Wright May 18, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Thanks for your comment joepa75. Of course the poll isn't scientific, since it measures only those residents who choose to participate. But it does tell you that there's overwhelming sentiment among Cinnaminson Patch readers who choose to participate in favor of the "yes" side. While I do admire your honesty, the poll is especially not going to be scientific if you decide on your own to skew the numbers and arbitrarily add 75 votes to the "no" side. So if you subtract 75 from the 83 "no" votes currently showing above, does that mean there's only 8 votes on the "no" side? If so, then sentiment among townsfolk is really lopsided in favor of the "yes" side.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Actually Annie, the poll doesn't mean that. I'm noticing an extreme abuse of the voting system which just might make me end voting on the poll very shortly. The poll is not scientific in any way, shape or form and is used to garner interest and increase engagement among users.
Maureen May 18, 2012 at 09:36 PM
The anger and mistrust many feel in town as a result of the ousting of this report is what I would consider a normal response to the feeling of abuse - be it financial - felt by those struggling to manage day to day expenses only to see people making more than 50K a year taking advantage because no one was really looking on a daily basis. While the commission should be commended for stepping up to the plate, I find an award appalling and over the top. Yes, they did the right thing. Yes, it was uncomfortable, embarrassing and hard at times to do, BUT how can we forget that THIS is EXACTLY what the board is elected to DO! So we award them for finding abuse within that resulted in long term issues with potential never looked into until it was too obvious to ignore? The board had an obligation to do the right thing from its inception. Its apparant, THAT was lost when someone nominated them for an award. I might be more apt to support this action if in ADDITION to their findings they somehow ALSO saw a way to refill the financial gap more quickly than to have the town to bear the litigation to get it back. We all Know THAT will NEVER result in a break even. So in the end, the town still feels the pain of their long term lack of tighter oversight! A commendation in writing through a story - agreed - an official award - DENIED! They OWN the root of the problem NOT the townspeople!
Ric May 19, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Annie, fact: your facts are not facts. They lack any objectivity. That the republican prosecutor and the republican safety director praise the republican sewer authority board is not reliable. Even the poll you cite is not reliable - it was manipulated. The sewage authority's board is so desperate to avoid taking responsibility for their ineptness that they play games with the truth at a community board. I wonder how many of the messages and votes were placed by their cronies. Annie stop pretending you are not biased. Even Stevie Wonder can see how bias in favor of the board you really are. Show some dignity for goodness sake.
lesanda May 19, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Maureen you have put this story in it's proper perspective. I feel that the entire board should resign. They did not do the job they were appointed to do. In its stead their should be three Republicans appointed and two Democrats , so they can keep tabs on one another
JS May 20, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Beautifully said, Maureen!
CSA February 16, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Looks like this story will add another chapter. Hope your happy with your awards!!!!
Bull Pitt February 16, 2013 at 03:48 PM
What now? I have never seen this story, can't believe I missed it. Love the comments, the first few are so obviously from the politicians it's ridiculous, and apparently they must have signed on several hundred times and voted. Then the "real" people read the story and tell it like it is. An award for doing your job? And not doing it very well? And then reporting misconduct and corruption? That which was right under your nose and your control for years? Well damn, we should have given them a raise and a bonus too! ....... Or did we?
Ric February 16, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I have posted a link to the most in-depth report about this incident I found. It has been almost a year so there should have been a trial or pleas made by this time. Does anyone know the outcome? Because of this story, I feel Cinnaminson voters need to look closely at the budgets of all the authorities and districts. If we don’t look closely, how do we know that corruption as not only at the CSA? http://www.gloucestercitynews.net/clearysnotebook/2012/02/cinnaminson-sewerage-authority-investigation-yields-7-arrests.html
Lauren Burgoon February 16, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Ric, We continue to check with the prosecutor on this. At last check, there were no indictments. That can take a year or a bit more even for simple cases, not to mention more complicated matters like this one.
CSA February 16, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Sad, just sad. Take your awards and shove them! I'm sure another story will be coming soon, perhaps this time you might want to have some empathy on the header!
another resident February 16, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Empathy? I can't imagine that after the way patch handled the first death.
Ric February 16, 2013 at 09:53 PM
I cannot see any reason for empathy as it is, perhaps you could explain why some is warranted.

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