By W. Homer Axford
Just had to travel up to the Peninsula City in spite of the recent events. However, we will be going back on hiatus after this column. A lot has happened this month, so let’s just dive in. All the things we have been warning you about are coming to fruition. The mismanagement and incompetence of your Mayor and City Council have led to the layoffs of 287 dedicated education professionals. How did we get here? Read every one of our columns dating back 2 years: the City of Bayonne has been playing a shell game with money at the Bayonne Board of Education since they took office. The fact of the matter is many administrations have done this, but none of them have had a spending addiction like the Davis Administration, so that money has always ended up back at the Board of Education. Davis simply spent it all, on over 100 new employees, amongst other things. You see, if you hire over 100 employees at the City of Bayonne, you have to lose them somewhere else. The City and the Board of Education are birds of a feather, as City taxes fund a large part of our education system. That fact, mixed with the Board’s own poor spending habits, led to this crisis.
Nevertheless, the Mayor and members of the City Council were quick to run down to Veterans Stadium to grandstand and say “now we are involved.” Here’s the thing: you’ve been involved for 3 years, Mayor. Jimmy just says whatever pops into his head, there is no way the City of Bayonne, with its own multimillion dollar deficit, is going to be able to do ANYTHING about the layoffs at the Board of Education. The reality of the matter is that the Board needs $7-12 million to hire all 300 employees back and be able to pay the bills. Neither the City, nor the State of New Jersey, has that money laying around. It will be up to the newly elected Board of Education to find a way to come up with that money before the start of the next fiscal school year. End of story. So all the Mayor’s grandstanding is exactly what it is, a ploy to deflect blame for the mess he is largely responsible for creating.
Jimmy endorsed school board candidates, and a couple of his appointees are currently still sitting on the Bayonne Board of Education, so when he says he was “blocked out of school board business,” he is most certainly full of you-know-what.
Either way, we are hearing that the State’s Unemployment office is incredibly angry about the massive layoffs in Bayonne and Paterson’s plan to layoff 208. So expect something to happen to ease this blow to the State of New jersey Unemployment Fund. We can only surmise an influx of federal dollars to help these districts to go with less layoffs. Expect Davis to take credit of this. Actually, count on it.
In other news, we hear there is a MAJOR SCANDAL brewing out of City Hall. This scandal may lead to resignations of top City Officials. We will keep you posted as this story develops.
Retired life is good. As we did last year, we will be heading to our summer home for the spring/summer. We will keep you updated with monthly check-ins until Labor Day.