Levinson Hires Formica As Atlantic County Shared Services Coordinator
Former Atlantic County Freeholder Board Chairman Frank Formica has been hired as the new Atlantic County Shared Services Coordinator. The position has never existed before now.
The salary appears to be set at $ 40,000. It’s a one year position with full taxpayer-paid fringe benefits.
The Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved the hiring. The vote was unanimous. But, only after a lot of conversation and deep concerns.
The Formica hiring wasn’t placed on an earlier agenda. It violated the County’s 12-day rule with respect to advanced notice to the public. More about this later.
I have been advised that a grant has been obtained to pay for the salary.
This has not stopped the outrage that is presently mounting at a fever pitch.
There is a legitimate concern that this smacks of political cronyism.
When Formica voluntarily left office as a Atlantic County Freeholder at large, he cited a conflict of interest as a direct result of his work as a political consultant.
Now, he’s coming right back a very short time later in another public position. If you’re being honest, it looks really bad.
In Formica’s defense, he clearly has a substantial background in county government services and operations. He’s qualified to do the job.
On the other hand, it looks absolutely terrible in the eyes of an already weary public.
It should be noted that this is a total Dennis Levinson operation. He placed the Freeholders in a really bad position, making them have to vote for or against an immediate past colleague.
It is my considered opinion that with as close as the Atlantic County election contests have become ... Levinson has provided the Democrats with powerful opposition fodder going forward.
Before filing my report, I telephoned and spoke with Atlantic County Freeholder at large Caren Fitzpatrick.
Before voting in favor of Formica’s appointment, Fitzpatrick had reservations and posed many fair questions about the hiring.
“It’s disappointing that the administration continues to ignore the 12-day rule,” said Fitzpatrick.
The 12-day rule is in place and is supposed to be followed so that the public is provided with ample advanced notice of public matters just like this.
Levinson has really disrespected the public with the circus stunt. The whole Formica Resolution was given to the Freeholder Board with only a few hours advanced notice. It’s wrong to work like this.
“It really takes on the impression of the Good Old Boys network,” said Fitzpatrick.
I give Fitzpatrick A lot of credit for handling this the way that she did. The Formica hiring was sprung on them at the last moment.
Fitzpatrick asked all of the right questions and then did not behave in a politically petty fashion and simply vote no against Formica. In the end, she decided to vote yes. But, not before drilling down on many concerns that she had about the questionable hiring.
This is perhaps exactly why Fitzpatrick was the top vote getter in the November 3, 2020 general election for Freeholder at large.
This is the kind of hiring that irritates the hard-working taxpayers.
Here is a copy of the Freeholder Board public agenda, which lists the Resolution to hire Formica.