December 24, 2010. (Kearny, NJ) KOTW wishes everyone Merry Christmas and a belated Happy Hanukkah. I especially want to give thanks for those who have supported KOTW throughout the years. Some have supported KOTW by taking time to express their opinion on our Discussion Board. Others have purchased some of the KOTW merchandise or made purchases by clicking on our advertisers. Every purchase insures the future success of KearnyOnTheWeb. KOTW has tried throughout the year to make improvement to the website. This year we revamped the look and feel of the website, updated KOTW's Discussion Board, and added a "Shop" section for those who are interested in supporting KOTW through shopping with our very fine advertisers.
December 11, 2010 (Kearny, NJ) Kearny Fireman have reached an agreement with Mayor Alberto Santos that will save the Town of Kearny $1.1 million. The givebacks are numerous but seem to be a one time fix. The list of givebacks are as follows: comp time instead of overtime; wage and step freezes for the department's 17 newest members; $750 in contributions from each member of the department and 10 firefighters who have retired since 2007; and the cancellation of a lawsuit challenging a state-mandated 1.5 percent contribution toward firefighters' health insurance.
December 4, 2010 (Kearny, NJ) Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, in an apparent response to criticism from the Kearny Police and Fire Department unions, has written an Open Letter to the Residents of Kearny and posted the letter on the town's official website.
The letter addresses the issue of Police and Fire Department layoffs indirectly pointing out the economic crisis facing the town in 2011. The Town Budget is set for adoption this Tuesday, December 7, 2010. The Budget includes Police and Fire layoffs. Here is the Mayor's letter printed in its entirety:
An Open Letter To The Residents Of Kearny From Mayor Santos Regarding 2011 Budget
For the past six months I have repeatedly raised the alarm that 2011 will be a very difficult year for balancing municipal budgets throughout New Jersey. As we near the end of 2010, a perfect storm of events has made the outlook even bleaker.
In July of this year Governor Christie signed a law that limits property tax increases to 2% a year beginning in 2011. Also promised, but never adopted, was a “tool kit” of reforms to restrain the cost drivers in local budgets, such as pension and health insurance costs and the binding arbitration process for police and fire personnel. With no reforms enacted, costs continue to leap upward. In Kearny, the health insurance bill is going up by 12%, pension payments by 13% and garbage disposal by 19%. Municipal salaries are continuing apace with an arbitrator’s five-year award that would make a Kearny firefighter’s salary on July 1, 2011 a stunning 17.25% higher than it was in 2010.
November 25, 2010 (Washington, DC) President Obama gave his annual Thanksgiving message in his weekly address to the nation. You can read the message or watch the video of the message below:
Today, like millions of other families across America, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I will sit down to share a Thanksgiving filled with family and friends – and a few helpings of food and football, too. And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we’ll spend some time taking stock of what we’re thankful for: the God-given bounty of America, and the blessings of one another.
This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves. Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries; contributing to their communities; and standing guard around the world.
November 20, 2010 (Kearny, NJ)The Kearny Discussion Board has heated up with discussions related to the proposed layoffs of police and firefighters by Mayor Alberto Santos. The tough economy and a state mandated property tax cap has forced Mayor Santos into making some tough economic decisions. Mayor Santos is not alone. Harrison, East Newark and North Arlington have made cuts in their budgets including layoffs of town workers. Mayor Santos however is getting a lot of heat for his planned layoffs of police and fire personnel. Harrison Mayor Raymond McDonough has not laid off any police or fire personnel although there were some cost savings from retirements in the fire department. Mayor Joseph Smith has not laid off any police officers or fire personnel. East Newark has a small Police Department and a volunteer fire department.
One of the topics opened up this week was entitled, Leadbeater was right. Guest poster, Old Timer, started off the topic with the following:
"I just got done reading this weeks Observer and am totally shocked at what our supposed mayor says. We are going to layoff essential service personnel, police and firemen, because of a 5 million dollar shortfall. When Leadbeater was running against Santos he continued to tell us how they were lying about the surplus. Yet you Kearny residents fell for his line of s__t once again. Well I guess he was right. Instead of getting the board of education to look at reductions (because they represent over 50% of our taxes) the mayor has stooped to a new low. Stop spending money on playgrounds and keep the employees. Rid yourself of all the attorneys and see how much you save there."