An unexpected development has occurred and it necessitates our additional coverage in our multiple part series about Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson and county government.

This is relative to the multiple complaints that have been filed by employees, who have cited serious alleged dereliction of duty regarding COVID-19.

Forrest Gilmore, the department head of family and community development has written a “Dear Colleagues“ letter, which I have obtained a copy of. I’ll share the letter in it’s entirety later in this article.

Gilmore confirms in his letter, “so you could imagine how disheartened I was when I learned, by reading about it online and not from my staff, of the three complaints regarding a lack of COVID-19 prevention measures.”

Gilmore continues that, “this was the first I had heard of any such complaints about a lack of PPE, plexiglass dividers, proper Building sanitation and daily temperature checks,” wrote Gilmore.

Gilmore is referring to my breaking news article of November 27, 2020.

I find this very unsettling, as The New Jersey state department of health consumer, environmental and occupational health service emailed a letter to Levinson on November 17, 2020 outlining all of the serious allegations made by Atlantic County employees.

The letter from the state was sent directly to Levinson a full 10 days prior to my breaking news article.

How could my article be the first notification that Gilmore received about these serious charges?

For purposes of background information, Gilmore is a 45 year Atlantic County employee, the last 19 of which he has served as the department head of the various social services programs within Atlantic County government.

In my nearly 30 years as a broadcaster, whereby I have covered Atlantic County government closer than any other member of the media in the region, I have always referred to Forrest Gilmore as an honest, decent and elegant man.

In my estimation this letter is very out of character for Gilmore to write. It smacks of an intimidation effort.

It takes on the appearance that he was doing Levinson’s bidding to chill the atmosphere.

When employees have a grievance, particularly during a life-and-death pandemic, they have every right to air their grievances through responsible channels available to them.

I’ve been advised by many county employees since the pandemic began in mid-March, 2020 that Levinson and county government were performing at a woefully inadequate level during such serious times.

During the second wave of the pandemic, the employees hit the breaking point. They felt that there was nowhere else that they could turn.

All they wanted to do was to protect themselves and feel safe. So, they made the decision to file their formal complaints with the state of New Jersey in hopes that someone would come to their aid.

In closing, Levinson and Gilmore must explain to the public how it is possible that Gilmore didn’t learn of these three employee complaints until my column of November 27, 2020?

The state sent their letter 10 days earlier. It must be noted, the letter was sent only by email, so there was no lag time in receipt of same.

Here is Gilmore’s letter, whereby in his own words he confirms this troubling point.



Full Coverage from Harry Hurley:

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