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Fuel Costs Minimal for King's Car, Officials Say

Cinnaminson officials say the fuel costs are absorbed by more revenue from traffic tickets and court fees.

Cinnaminson’s public safety director will now be able to use his government-issued car to drive to and from work, and officials say the only cost associated with that is fuel.

At Monday night’s township committee meeting, . King already uses an unmarked former patrol car while working in Cinnaminson. Officials put the extra costs associated with driving to and from work at around $2,500 a year.

“It’s not a large sum of money that we’re talking about,” said Deputy Mayor Anthony Minniti.

King, who  commutes from Mercer County to the township each day. When King is needed elsewhere during the work day, he uses an unmarked car specifically for that purpose. Now, King will be able to take that unmarked car home and use it for other emergencies that occur off-hours. The car is already in use, insured and will not need updating, officials said.

It was Committeeman John Rooney, the township liaison to the , who suggested King have the car.

At Monday’s meeting, Rooney called the use of the car “appropriate.” Rooney declined further comment when reached Tuesday afternoon.

Initially, Minniti was against allowing King to have a take-home car but said he changed his mind after hearing Rooney and George Haeuber, interim township administrator.

“As a general rule, I am not a proponent of government-given vehicles," Minniti said. “The testimony given by George Haeuber that it’s typically done in other municipalities … leaned me in [a different] direction.”

Heubeur said it is “standard practice” for someone in King’s position to have a take-home car.

Moorestown employs a public safety director who drives a township car he can take home.

“What this comes down to is Director King already has a township-issued vehicle for use in daily operation and activities,” he said. “It is insured, is owned by the township and is part of our fleet. The only expense that you’re looking at is the fuel allowance.”

On Monday, Rooney said the fuel and maintenance costs would not exceed $5,000 a year. And if they did, he’d pay out of his own pocket, the committeeman said.

In fact, costs could be much lower. With King’s commute at about 40 miles roundtrip, that’s about $2,600 in fuel costs per year.

“I think $50 a week is a liberal amount on what his fuel would cost,” Minniti said. “He’s fueling at the township where we buy on a contract and it’s less than what you pay at the pumps.”

King is not compensated for the time he puts in during off-hours whether it’s a , , a training session or an emergency call.

Although King is in a civilian position and cannot make arrests, officials said King needs to respond to emergencies as the head of the police department and as an emergency management official. On Monday, Rooney gave the example of an injured police officer or a hurricane, such as .

King, along with every other township employee, does not get reimbursed for mileage.

Last year, township committee voted on a policy that would not allow any township employee to take home a car if they lived outside of a 10-mile radius, unless the committee voted for an exception.

This is that exception.

Regarding the 10-mile radius, Brauckman said, “It’s one of those things you do with great intentions.”

"You later realize that it may be limiting the effectiveness of someone like a 24/7 on-call department head," he added.

When candidates for public safety director were being interviewed last year, all were informed they would not receive a take-home car. However, Rooney made the case that King has “earned it” and has “turned the police department around” since he’s been there.

“As it played out, [Rooney] saw a need for it and that’s why he requested it to township committee,” Brauckmann said. “The committee agreed, I didn’t. It wasn’t my preference but that is the form of government we have and I respect the process.”

Brauckmann, who voted no to King having the take-home car, acknowleged that King has “exceeded our expectations” but said “there are a lot of people who exceed our expectations.”

Currently, township employees who are issued a car they can take home include police detectives, the township’s planning and zoning officer, and the director of public works/superintendent.

All of those employees live within a 10-mile radius, Brauckmann said. If they do not or they move, he added, they would have to drive a personal car to and from work.

“[King] is responsible for the police department,” Minniti said. “He’s at the top of their order. He did take the job understanding that it did not come with a car. He’s spending more time in the community, at community functions and responding to the community. He has every right to ask for a car. We looked at the merits of it and we made a decision accordingly.”

Minniti and Committeeman Ben Young voted yes, while Committeewoman Kathy Fitzpatrick abstained from the vote, saying she needed more information.

On Monday, Rooney said increased revenue—from traffic tickets and court fees—will offset the extra fuel costs. The police department accounts for about $8 million of the township’s $12 million budget.

Minniti said that in the end, he voted in favor of the request because "King has demonstrated that he is spending considerably more time involved in community activities both he and committee anticipated at the time he interviewed."

"If approving this request results in continued enhanced service to our residents, than I believe it is worth the cost," Minniti said. "Though I am not a fan of giving out township vehicles, I don’t see this as unreasonable. The cost is so small compared to the return we get in Director King."

Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Donkey, I did already ask and I'm confident in my reporting. As I said, I reported that King's take-home car will be the same car he uses now. I suggest if you have further questions, you ask them of the entire township committee or Mr. Rooney himself at the next township meeting.
Donkey Kong August 08, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Well thanks Christina, but I am not confident in your reporting. If I was a professional journalist as you claim to be, I would make that call immediately and find out the truth, not ask my reading public to do my work for me. He is and was driving a used Crown Vic. There is a huge difference between that and a brand new Dodge Charger with a Hemi V8 engine.
Donkey Kong August 08, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Perhaps Mrs Fitzpatrick asked the question, hence, the not enough information abstention.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I don't "claim to be" a professional journalist, I am one. If you'd like to check out my resume, New Jersey Press Association awards or maybe my work from several other new organizations, I'd be happy to provide that for you; I got the time. The thing is, you're asking a reporter to do your work for you. I reported that Director King's take-home car will be the same unmarked car he has been using during the work day. If that's a used Crown Victoria, then that's a used Crown Victoria. Nowhere did I say he was going to be driving a brand new Charger. I think it was you who said that. Now if you have further questions that are obviously for someone at the township level and not an independent news reporter, I suggest you direct them accordingly. Or, you may email me with any personal questions you may have. Thank you.
Billy Pilgrim August 08, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Something's got you riled up Donkey Kong. You are asking a lot of leading questions. Do you know something we don't? From what I can flesh out, a worker is getting the benefits of a township car. The car will be paid for by our tax dollars. The committee voted on it and approved it. I can infer that King seems to be a good worker and has the respect of our committee and police force. The committee vote seemed wishy washy. How much more diabolical can it be? At worst, the citizens of Cinnaminson are shelling out money so the man can drive to and from work plus maintenance on the vehicle/depreciation. Whether it's a V8 Hemi Charger, a Crown Vic, or a Toyota Prius seems immaterial to me. Especially since a cap was given. FYI Dodge Charger Interceptor V8 Hemi = 25 mpg Crown Vic Interceptor V8 Single Overhead Camshaft = 16 City 22 Highway mpg Source = LMGTFY.com
Richard August 08, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I am glad Mr Minitti thinks $2500 isn't alot of money. This type of waste adds up quickly. $2500 is 25% of my tax bill which I could spend on my commute. Maybe Mr Minitti could pay for my gas or lower my taxes and let Mr King pay for his own gas.
Donkey Kong August 08, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Well yes BP, I don't appreciate being told one thing and then finding out it's not all on the level, which is par for this committee. Why not just come right out and tell Christina, and the public? If it's not that big of a deal, why hide it? I did make a call, and yes, he just received a brand new Dodge Charger, but it is only a V6. To me, that so called perk just went from 5 something thousand to the price of a brand new car, plus gas, maintenance, and depreciation, where an old Crown Vic was already in the fleet and being used by him. Perhaps this doesn't make a difference to anyone else, but it's the lies and deception that tell the story. I'm sure Christina could have made the same call, wasn't very hard, I guess she didn't really want to know the answer, or was told not to tell.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Donkey—just as I attribute my information to sources, who is your source for that information?
Theresa brennen August 08, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I think we can solve this problem at the next election,sounds like a done deal,the township committee has spoken,and we can't do anything about it,until election time and I'm sure they hope we forget about it, $2500.00 a small amount not to me I can't find a job.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Actually, I did make a phone call and learned of some new and different information and I will be writing another follow-up story. Since I have not yet interviewed anyone about it for a story, I will be doing so in the morning, so readers can expect another follow up either tomorrow afternoon or Friday morning. Thanks.
lesanda August 09, 2012 at 02:50 AM
And I can assure you that the issued vehicle will also be used for personal use in Mercer County. Like trips to the super market, the drug store, the local bank and to the physician. Who's to know? We are all aware that the Riverline was purposely created to provide transportation between Mercer County and Camden County with stops in Burlington County. Our Committeemen have been in office too long . The feeling pervades among them. What the hell , we can do anything we want . They'll vote us back in anyway.
Bill O'Connor August 09, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Christina and the PATCH provide stories that they are important to Cinnaminson residents. They are the only media source for consistently covering Township issues. While the Township shows tapes of their meetings, we only see the end product of their deliberations held at Executive session. I believe the PATCH tries to provide fair coverage. When as a reporter, you take things at face value with our local elected officials, you have a good chance of getting burnt. Christina and the PATCH do provde an insight as to what is going with OUR Township. While many of you voice your concerns and opinions on this forum, you need to follow through with your opposing opinions and points of view. It is time for the concerned readers on this site to consider other means of making a difference. While it is too late for anyone to oppose the Republican candidates running for Township Committee in 2012, it isn't too early to start considering a run for local office in 2013. And yes it does appear it was an orchestrated vote on this issue.
Donkey Kong August 09, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Lol, she made a call and got new information? Has the information changed? I doubt it. They were caught in their lies again and basically had to confess. I can hardly wait for the spin on this new story. Christina, you cannot be happy with these people and the lies they tell you, and the way they use you to distribute information to the residents of this town.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Thank you very much, Bill. I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for being a great reader and contribuer to Cinnaminson Patch.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Donkey Kong—I'm not really sure what you're trying to prove here so I'll just respond to this last comment, then I'm no longer commenting on this subject. I do follow-ups with each story I post and of course, this follow-up was inevitable. No one "distributes information" to me. This issue was talked about in open session and I decided to write the first story about it. The second story was a follow-up after talking to people one-on-one the next day and my third will be the same. I found out more information this evening and will another story. I'm not really sure you understand how a newspaper works. I'm happy as long as I've interviewed well and wrote a cohesive story with attributions to the facts I'm given. That is how every reporter and media outlet works. You can stay tuned for the third story in this series and form your own opinion but it sounds to me you know a litte more than the average person—and maybe even more than I do. Feel free to call or email me with anything you have. Remember, we can always chat off the record and I'm obligated to protect my sources if need be. Have a good night.
Shakingmyheadatyouall August 09, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I hear more and more opinions about how the township should be run an how you all have the answers but yet you sit behind your computer and type away most not knowing a clue about what the truth is and running with other peoples responses on here. Whatever the truth is I see people here trying to run a government not a business. I see a difference in the service in this town for the better. I see the new director seems to be doing a great job with our police department. I recently read an article about how production is up by the men and woman that protect this town and all the community oriented services they have offered to our residents. I have read about numerous programs offered and put on by the police department including dare day, national night out and a reading program for our kids. I don't recall these programs ever offered before. People keep writing that he is getting a car for personal use. He is the head of the police department and I'm sure he is on-call 24 hours a day in case of an emergency in the town. I believe they stated it was to be used for department business only. I like the rocket scientist's great idea and question as to why they don't have stickers on all the cars to identify them. Well they are undercover police cars, hence the "undercover" part. Make them slap a police sticker on it so the criminals know who they are. That's great crime prevention! I think you'd do a great job at runnin the town. Wow ! Shaking my head!
Bowtie August 09, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Since Mr King lives so far away and we are buying him a car, why not just buy him a house in Cinnaminson? The home values are so low it might be cheaper...or give him one of the many vacant homes in town.
Scratching my head August 09, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Apparently you don't grab the concept that Mr King is not a Police officer much less undercover.Great he's doing a supurb job well isn't that what he was hired to do? So negotiate a car when his term is up perhaps? Don't give a $2500/year + perk just for doing your job in these times of budget trimming. The main issue at hand here is the lies again from the TWP. they say one thing and do another, is it an older patrol car like they claim or is it the brand new Charger? My bet is it is the Charger. And the Split vote that seems like another lie, Scratching my head!
Deborah Stevens August 09, 2012 at 12:59 PM
No one is saying anything about the job the new director or police are doing. It is plain and simple, the commitee did something alot of us feel was very wrong. As they told us before in these tuff times we have to tighten our belt, as our home values go down taxes go up they spend money like its nothing, on things such as a sledding hill and now an unecessary vehicle..and let me tell you how many times they catch people using there work vehicle for personal use. As far as the director doing a great job, that's what he gets a salary for, just like the rest of.
Boss Hogg August 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Gotta love the way Donkey makes a call and gets an immediate answer. What number did you use may I ask? Hell, with our downsized police force and no dispatchers the last time I had a question and went to the police building I had to talk to a box to who knows who and then had to wait 10 minutes for a uniform to show up. And getting someone in that building to answer the phone, forget about it! Mr. Donkey, you are very much an insider either currently working for the police or retired. Way too much venom in your writing but hey, whatever! Your close ties uncovered the new vehicle thing so good for you and us. Personally, I think both Christina and some on this committee were intentionally misled by the person making this request. Maybe this is why Mr. Rooney is refusing to comment.
Ric August 09, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Gee, extremely unbiased reader, you say King is walking barefoot on water but where is your proof? Oh, some article your read somewhere some time ago. Who wrote that article, perhaps Mr. King himself or perhaps one of his subordinates or political lackeys? But still the question is not whether or not Mr. King is competent in his position. No one is debating that. The question is does he deserve a car paid for by the taxpayers of Cinnaminson? After the recent scandals of the Cinnaminson Sewer Authority a resounding number of people are saying no. He accepted that position without a car. What is the next gift for him - a chauffeur driven limousine? Now, that he has a car from the town who else or rather how many others will get a car?
Jason Furrer August 09, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I'd still like to know if his vehicle is equipped with emergency lights and sirens. Or, if indeed its a new vehicle, will it be outfitted with there's "bells and whistles"? Although I agree that Mr. King is doing an exceptional job with the PD, he is NOT A POLICE OFFICER! His is a civilian administrator.
Jason Furrer August 09, 2012 at 02:56 PM
As for shakingmyheadatyouall's comment about "undercover" cars, they mine as well be marked. Usually the huge spotlight in the corner of the windshield, ginormous strobe lights stuck on the back of the side view mirrors, municipal liscense plates, and super dark tinted windows that is illegal for civilian use gives them away.
John M Walker August 09, 2012 at 05:04 PM
I have a totally parallel (and wholly unimportant) take on this article... >> Minniti said. “The testimony … leaned me in [a different] direction.” << I am fairly certain that this was an incorrect usage of the verb "leaned" --- not by Ms Paciolla but but Mr Minniti. One can "lean" an air-fuel mixture and a supply chain, too, but one is not "leaned" to make a counter intuitive decision. Just my $ .02 worth! : )
Carol B August 09, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I am sitting on the edge of my seat,, is it a Spiffy New Charger or the Vintage Patrol car? Inquiring minds want to know!!! What's the exciting twist!!,,
michael kearney August 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Christina: Thanks for the reply. Is Patrolman Francis Rooney any relation to Committee Person John Rooney?
Christina Paciolla (Editor) August 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Michael, I do not know the answer to that question.
John August 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Thats a good one Bowtie, your right about vacant properties.....Why not have the dept of public works cut the lawns of those vacant lots and besides that why not put a true value on the properties.....I do not know who does the assessing but the current market value are about 50,000 per home under the assessed value that we pay our taxes on....now who does that.....supposedly burlington county reduced its tax rate to the towns but I would venture to guess OUR TAXES WILL GO UP.....enjoy the value of the inflated houses.....
John October 07, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Well Deborah, its just like this, our government, cinnaminson is ours, all they have to do is raise taxes to cover the penny pinching things that the everyday person has to do to survive....as far as tickets go, get rid of the police dept and let the public works dept issue the summons, they do it now for leaves, branches and other stuff out of schedule.....its all a joke, ever wonder why we have so many homes for sale in cinnaminson, one reason is the over pricing of the value of each house.....they do not use market prices, they make up there own, another tax hike...
John October 07, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Hey somebody has to be corrected on this 25 mpg thing, a HEMI does not get 25 mpg unless U believe the EPA on the sticker because thats what it says...who would put a V6 in a charger and call it a hemi, no body....so stop making errors ok....thanks

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