The Mayor and Council of the Township of Bloomfield NJ: Stop the abuse of power by the Bloomfield Board of Health
Taxpayer dollars have been wasted because of the unethical actions of the Bloomfield Township Board of Health.
Raymond J. McCarthy
- Township Administrator
Stop the abuse of power by the Bloomfield Board of Health!
The Bloomfield Board of Health has been involved in a number of controversial situations while overseeing the Bloomfield animal shelter, which serves Glen Ridge and Caldwell. The shelter is wrought with mismanagement and lack of transparency, resulting in public outrage, waste of resources and lawsuits against the township.
The Board of Health has not only allowed the following alleged abuses of power to happen under its control of the shelter, but during this controversy, promoted the Director of Health and Human Services, Karen Lore, and approved a pay raise for Health Officer Mike Fitzpatrick.
1. Animal abuse by shelter staff has been reported but no action taken
2. Repeated firing of whistle blowers resulting in lawsuits
3. Convicted felon with history of drug charges employed in a position as vet tech with access to drugs
4. Calling of police on residents that visited the shelter to ask about fostering Memphis.
5. Volunteers fired en mass with no just cause
6. Reducing the hours at the shelter with no just cause
7. Shelter manager Romel Fernandez hired without ACO qualifications
8. Violations of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) -including not allowing photos and voting during closed session
9. False statements by Board of Health (BOH) President McLaughlin to the Town Council and by the Board of Health to the public at BOH meetings
10. Conflict of interest and signing unbalanced contract with Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN)
11. Misleading the public (and town council) by claiming the NTNN has no relationship with the Board of Health.
A. NTNN uses BoH offices for meetings
B. NTNN uses Bloomfield resources for their business
C. NTNN has an “official” Bloomfield Township e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
D. NTNN advertises “NTNN serves as the Volunteer Arm of Bloomfield’s Division of Human Services.”
E. The Bloomfield Director of Health and Human Services, Karen Lore, is the also President of NTNN, and Secretary of the BoH.
12. Memphis the dog prevented from being adopted into qualified home after independent evaluator labeled the dog as “average”
13. Providing no proof of life or updates on Memphis the dog despite repeated requests and empty promises
14. Shelter animals not posted on Petfinder for 6 months
We ask you to stop this abuse of power, prevent future lawsuits against the Township of Bloomfield and protect the remaining integrity of the Neighbor to Neighbor Network by doing the following:
• investigate the questionable behavior of the Board of Health, including mismanagement, lack of transparency, conflicts of interest and alleged wrongful terminations of employees
• avoid any re-appointments of current BOH members and remove other BOH members as needed
• cease attempts by the BOH to transfer animal shelter to the Neighbor to Neighbor Network
• insist and ensure an open and fair bidding process for animal sheltering
• insist on proof of life and the safe return of Memphis to Jeff and Diana Coltenback
Update: The Board of Health has spurred further controversy and potentially overstepped their boundaries by again ignoring a decision by the Mayor and Council. Discussion of transferring shelter management was supposed to be postponed until next year when the new town administrator could be involved. Instead, the Board of Health passed a resolution to transfer shelter management to the Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN), without any RFP process. The NTNN has already been involved in seemingly unbalanced agreements with the Board of Health in the past, which some have seen as a breach of fiduciary duties, self-dealing and a conflict of interest. With concerns over mismanagement and lack of transparency at the shelter, transferring shelter management to a non-profit with unsettling ties to the Board of Health may result in even less transparency in the future, as the Open Records Act does not apply to non-profit organizations.
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