Sweeney’s cronies: Taxpayer rip-offs?

SenSweeney

Pocketed more than $1 million as a political consultant while employed by the county.

Call them his SUPERMEN.

They’re Senate President Steve Sweeney’s cronies who get paid for the work of two or three or even four people for jobs done simultaneously.  These cronies are truly amazing – one even has three careers – and when they attract the attention of the media, Senator Steve Sweeney is there to defend them with always the same claim:

“They work nights and weekends.”

Take the case of Mr. Robert N. DiLella.  He has an important job.  Not only is he supposed to maintain records on everything the Freeholder Board does, he is supposed to supervise other public employees – and he is the county’s public information officer – responsible for handling open records requests from citizens and journalists alike.  His responsibilities don’t end there.  Along with the Director of the Freeholder Board, the Clerk of the Board is authorized to execute agreements, contracts, and administer funds.

As Gloucester County Freeholder Director, Senator Steve Sweeney appointed DiLella to the job of Clerk of the Freeholder Board.  It should be a full time job, according to DiLella himself his 2012 salary was $83,326.  Unfortunately for the taxpayers who pay him, being the Clerk of the Freeholder Board isn’t really what DiLella does.  In 2006, the Courier-Post reported on how DiLella was doing political work for the same politicians who were supposed to be supervising him on the Freeholder Board.  The Courier quoted an ethics expert who said it was a “conflict” and noted that DiLella had pocketed $654,621 in fees for his political work.

Go to DiLella’s twitter page and it explains that he is a “Political Consultant” who is “President/ CEO Strategic Message Design Group”, a political consulting firm with clients from around the United States, in China, and from the Caribbean – including the Prime Minister of the Island of Aruba.  His corporate clients include Valero Energy, the Palm Beach Civic Association, and the Aruba Hotel &Tourism Association.

Looking at DiLella’s recent “tweets” gives you no idea that he holds an important county job paid for by Gloucester County’s taxpayers:

“SMDG Client has passed Miguel Pourier was of great significance for our Country – Curaçao Chronicle: http://www.curacaochronicle.com/main/miguel-pourier-/#.UVJM3hyAob4.twitter …

Florida elects their judges have signed 3 for the 2014 cycle … Still not sure this is the best way to seat judges!

At Emerald Society Breakfast in Ft. Lauderdale honoring SMDG clients Mayor Jack Seiler and Judge Dale Ross

From his Florida clients alone, DiLella pocketed $723,191.

Before you wonder how someone with the responsibilities of the Clerk of the Freeholder Board can also manage a pretty happening political consulting firm – stop, because that’s only half the story.  Robert N. DiLella is also the Chairman of the Gloucester County Pollution Authority AND the owner of a business called Cruise Outlets & Travel.  All of this is what DiLella himself lists on the personal financial disclosure statement he is required to file each year, under penalty of law.

What is Cruise Outlets & Travel?  Well, according to the information it provided a business website, it takes in between $1 million and $5 million each year – and DiLella is the owner!

How does he juggle a full-time job paid for by the taxpayers, a lucrative political consulting career, a second government appointment, and a second business too?  Well, it’s that same old story Sweeney likes to tell.  In 2006, DiLella told the Courier-Post that he worked “nights and weekends” to do it all.

That doesn’t seem to ring true though.  For one thing, in DiLella’s biography on the Cruise Outlets & Travel website it brags that he has vacationed in Aruba “over 100 times”.

You do the math.

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As Clerk of the Freeholder Board, one of Bob DiLella’s more important roles is to oversee county employees like Michelle Coryell.  She’s paid $90,000 a year as a full-time county employee while being paid $50,000 a year to be the District 03 legislators’ chief-of-staff.  On top of this, she gets another $33,000 to run Senator Steve Sweeney’s political operation.

It’s clear somebody isn’t getting what they paid for… any doubt that it’s the county taxpayers who are getting ripped-off?

Somebody has got to look into the kind of operation being run out of the office of the Clerk of the Gloucester County Freeholder Board.  A complete review of how their time is being spent and on what – for the money the taxpayers pay them – is called for.

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