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Sunday, 1 September 2019
Hamilton Matters




Hamilton Matters


There is a lot of tension in Hamilton township, Mercer County.  The issues are massive; the suspension of the CFO, the large illegal issues at the animal shelter, the sewer issues with Robbinsville, a health director indicted, an ACO indicted, the list goes on and on. The leadership refuses to meet with the public to discuss the issues; even though they have been contacted by residents, by council and concerned friends. Their unified silence is deafening.  The leadership has failed its residents.  What is next for Hamilton? Only a select few; who have been performing an extensive investigation of the town, know the real answer to that question. The same agent who did the investigation of Hamilton during the prior administrations rein, is also doing the current investigation.  Is there more than one agency looking into the issues, residents will soon find out.


Let the story begin…….this weekend, we interviewed the CFO of Hamilton, Mercer County, John Barrett.  This is a man who has had to withstand some grave hardships over the past several months, because he stood up for what was right. He signed up for this, this family did not. The strain this local political hit has on one’s family is devasting.  Those that created hit, could care less. It’s all about them. You are either on their team or you become their next victim. Maybe they will even leave pamphlets on your doorstep that preach about the death of Jesus.  The threats are quite substantial.


Some of the great things Barrett did for the township of Hamilton are:


  • ·     Turning a $79,000 fund balance into close to $10 million.  That gave the town a better bond rating and less interest costs to make capital improvements.
  • ·       Getting the towns financial house in order and getting the town out of state oversite over a year early because the state new Barrett’s track record of getting Ewing out of state supervision.
  • ·       He is a hired gun to fix towns that have financial disasters.
  • ·       He has always treated everyone the same. He does not report to the 6 elected officials, he reports to the 90,000 residents of Hamilton township.
  • ·       As the CFO he is the custodian of the public trust.  If trust in the number’s fades, it’s the beginning of the end.


What has happened in Hamilton, Mercer County, the trust has eroded. The township officials removed Barrett to do the things they knew he would not allow them to do, due to the damage it will do to the town and its residents.  He is not to blame for any of it.  He looks forward to coming back and fixing Hamilton, just like he did in 2008 when he was hired originally.


In 2008, Hamilton was in a $16 million operating deficit.  This was since the leadership spent $16 millions in funds that were not approved. They spent it on sewer projects and they raided the Uniform Construction Code trust.


In 2007, the auditor gave over 45 comments to Hamilton on issues with their finances. That is the audit that Barrett inherited when he came to Hamilton in 2008.  He got the audits cleaned up to where there were only clean audits without audit comments. Hamilton was on the mend.  However, since the removal of Barrett, the shenanigans are in full throttle and it will take his level of expertise to make Hamilton solvent again.


There was recently a posting on the www that talked about how the people in charge of the money now in Hamilton were moving moneys from the trust funds.  There are trust funds that begin with the letter “T” in the budget.  If there are any budgetary certifications on any resolutions,  anything  with a T is clearly identified as a trust fund.  This could be for storm basin maintenance, i.e. a developer will pay money to maintain a storm basin.  There are also third-party escrow fees that exist, there is off duty employment, there is an animal control trust, and recreation trust.


When the town under-budgeted in the current fund and the utility fund budget to get through this year, creative accounting took the front seat in 2019.  When the leaders need money, and they do not have it in the operating funds they attack the trusts. This is a very quiet place where no one really understands the purpose of the trust funds, except the CFO or the deputy CFO. However, since the removal of Barrett the leadership has already raided the trust funds to put one-time revenues in for this year’s budget.  


There is a report that demonstrates, that the funds were drained quietly.  They were put into appropriations.  An audit will reveal this, and it will have all the fingerprints of those responsible for this on it.  Their names will be on the entries.  For example, let’s say you need a million dollars and you have a million dollars in a trust fund, that no one is worrying about, one can bring it in and reimburse the currently fund with it. This drains the trust fund and instead of having a $100,000 in a line item,  and you reimbursed it $50,000 from the trust fund, now you have $150,000 to spend. However, in the budget it will still only show as $100,000. If all the trust funds are depleted, by the time the smoke clears with Barrett’s suspension, this puts Hamilton in a very bad financial state.


Barrett’s leadership style is one where he is not the “boss”; he is an equal coworker with his team. Unless he must deal with an HR issue or must protect his team, they all worked as equals. The culture on this team was very positive and a great place for him to work.  Until last October or 2018, he would gratefully drive the 45 miles from his home to Hamilton to perform his duties as CFO.  When he was on vacation or sick, he still enthusiastically answered his phone to help his team and the residents of Hamilton township.  He would always remote in to help everyone at any time.  There are very few people in any organization, that behave in this manner.  The consummate professionals do. There are other employees that would sooner hand in their keys than compromise their integrity.  Many are being harassed by the leadership. These bad behaviors allow other bad behaviors to be stimulated in the town. They see what the leadership is doing and has gotten away with so far, and they feel they can do other crazy things that compromise resident safety.


The position of ambivalence that the leadership is taking is no surprise to anyone.  To a large degree this is due to the arrogance and lack of intelligence by the leadership. They are going to very famous when all of this done, this will make the mayor extremely happy.  One of the leaders in both staff and private meetings, weeks prior to the removal of Barrett,  stated in a meeting, “That the town has handled the issues at the animal shelter like pros.” As if they had brought in a PR firm to help them spin the story. They went on to say, “We are going to win the November election without issue. The Mayor is at the ballfields, hanging on the fences talking to residents. People do not follow this stuff going on in town.” This comment was made by one of the three leaves.


Leaves of Three, let it be... 




History will expose why this leadership has done what they have done and the motivations behind their decisions and behaviors. It also appears from the conversations on the street, the end is near for the shenanigans and a cure for the residents. There have been numerous interviews of both township employees, residents and the like over what has transpired over the last 18 months. Many were done under oath by different agencies.  It’s a trying time for the town and its residents.  The residents are looking forward to healing.


There was a mediation this past week between Barrett and the township officials. The township does not want Barrett to come back, for obvious reasons. It would appear they do not want him to continue to discover the financial shenanigans that have been going on since his removal; especially with the election around the corner.  This case will continue to go on in the future.  


In Oct 2008, Barrett was hired to become the CFO of Hamilton Township, Mercer County. At that time the town had a $79,000 fund balance. The current mayor was on council and Wrinkle Penny was dating their sister.  There were approximately 50 employees that were either laid off or threatened to be laid off.  There was a $16 million-dollar deficit, the town was in a financial mess.


Wrinkle Penny was moved from personnel director under Mayor Gilmore to payroll supervisor this was a demotion and a cut in pay. Barrett at that time had a team of four people. Out of all the employees in the room, Wrinkle Penny was the only person who raised their hand when Barrett asked, “Who wants to do bank req’s?”  Wrinkle Penny became a friend in 2008.  In 2009, Barrett received a phone call from Little Egg Harbor that they too needed a part time CFO.  Barrett reached out to Little Egg Harbor and found out that he could mentor the new CFO they had just appointed, who was on their planning board. To ensure that all was on the up and up, Barrett went to the then BA of  Hamilton to ask if it was okay for him to work part time for Little Egg Harbor. This would have been a consulting agreement due to the fact Barrett has his own consulting firm. The township had no issue with this. All the audit schedules were already done for Hamilton and they were way ahead of the financial tasks for the year due to Barrett’s expertise.


Soon into 2009, there started to be collection calls to the township for Wrinkle Penny to the office. Barrett realized that WP was under stress due to this. This was a person that Barrett could rely on and he wanted this person to take CFO classes. These CFO courses would have helped the wp to best understand how to move money  and book it and perform journal entries.  Barrett offered WP the ability to do work for his consulting company in Little Egg Harbor. WP made an additional $1,000 a month doing this work so that their family could pay their bills by doing the bank req’s for Little Egg Harbor township.  This helped develop a strong friendship between Barrett and the administrations family.  Barrett was invited to holiday parties, weddings, birthday parties and the like.  The mayor was  appreciative of the help Barrett was giving to her family members and the town financial issues. At the league of municipalities, they would all go out together for drinks and dinner. He got hugs not handshakes. He felt like part of the family.


In 2015, things shifted, the hugs stopped, and the turmoil began. The BA was out on medical leave, and the ball committee and mayor that year thought it would be funny to have all the directors dress up as women at the ball.  The directors were instructed to dress in different manners that the mayor would dress.  In the end, all the male directors had to parade into a room of very 500 people dressed in this manner. The prior year Barrett had done the invocation at the ball, so going in drag the next year was quite the pivot.  While in drag at the ball in 2015, he was called upon to do the invocation,  as his name was still on to do the invocation this year at the ball.


Barrett has just entered in the deaconate program in August that year.  He was so embarrassed that he had to do this.  The year prior all the directors were forced to act as though they were all the back up dancers for the Jackson 5 song, I want you back.  In case you do not know the song….here it is.



Here are the lyrics….ironic….was this a cry for what would happen in the future?  The directors had to put on top hats and dance behind the mayor. Barrett is a white finance guy; he would agree his dance rhythm is not seen in the video of Michael J. He did not invite his wife to the second years ball for he was so embarrassed by what they were making him do, dressing drag. He shared with others how demeaning this was. The mayor did not walk in dressed as a bald guy; she wore an evening gown.   


I Want You Back"

Uh-huh huh huhhh
Let me tell ya now

When I had you to myself, I didn't want you around
Those pretty faces always made you stand out in a crowd
But someone picked you from the bunch, one glance was all it took
Now it's much too late for me to take a second look

Oh baby, give me one more chance
(To show you that I love you)
Won't you please let me back in your heart
Oh darlin', I was blind to let you go
(Let you go, baby)
But now since I see you in his arms
(I want you back)
Yes I do now
(I want you back)
Ooh ooh baby
(I want you back)
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
(I want you back)
Na na na na

Trying to live without your love is one long sleepless night
Let me show you, girl, that I know wrong from right
Every street you walk on, I leave tear stains on the ground
Following the girl I didn't even want around

Let me tell ya now
Oh baby, all I need is one more chance
(To show you that I love you)
Won't you please let me back in your heart
Oh darlin', I was blind to let you go
(Let you go, baby)
But now since I see you in his arms

All I want...
All I need...
All I want!
All I need!

Oh, just one more chance
To show you that I love you
Baby baby baby baby baby baby!
(I want you back)
Forget what happened then
(I want you back)
And let me live again!

Oh baby, I was blind to let you go
But now since I see you in his arms
(I want you back)
Spare me of this cause
(I want you back)
Give me back what I lost!

Oh baby, I need one more chance, hah
I tell you that I love you
Baby, oh! Baby, oh! Baby, oh!
I want you back!

I want you back!




When Barrett got into the deacon program, they knew he was aligned with politicians in Hamilton.  As  the CFO it is a political position in the town. The laws of the church states that no deacon can participate in any political activity, which includes a fund raiser, ball or dance, gold outing, contributing or run for office without Bishop approval.  That was the best news Barrett got in late August.  He felt this was his way out of the galas. In 2015, he went to the then Economic Development director and shared with him what the Bishop shared with him. He asked him to share this detail with those above him.  Since his suspension since January 2019, to make matters worse, a member of the administration called the Bishop to inform him that Barrett was going to be indicted, so he should be kicked out of the deacon program.


This message, that Barrett could not participate in future political shenanigans,  got to those higher ups and what he knows, is that this triggered the thought process that now Barrett can no longer be involved.  He was the number two guy under the BA.  He knew where all the numbers were and all the inner workings in the organization. There is no neutral island with the administration. You are either with them or you are voted off the island. There is no middle ground.


This is where the shift occurred with their relationship. All the friends and family of the administration unfriended and blocked Barrett on social media. At the end of 2015, going into 2016 the BA was out on medical leave. The town had just had a re-evaluation so the penny on the tax rate switched from 500,000 to approximately 800,000. 


After this, all the sudden Barrett was not being contacted by the administration. He then found out from the municipal clerk that the mayor has delivered a budget with a zero-cent tax increase, they went around the CFO.  He received a copy of the budget and was in bewildered on where the numbers came from on the revenue side. It turns out that there was a shenanigan done to do a zero-cent tax increase. However, they used 500,000 as a penny vs. 800,000  and it was a one cent tax increase as they were presenting to council.  All the fund balances were now gone. The surplus was gone, and no one ever consulted the CFO, Barrett. The hard work by Barrett for years was erased in an afternoon by the leadership.


Barrett met with the Mayor and the township attorney to share his concerns.  The rating agencies look at the finances of a town with great rigor, so there was great concern about this. Barrett had a meeting with them to help them understand the ramifications of their decision to create a budget without him. The adjustments to revenue were not consulted by the administration to the CFO. He asked them why this was in the meeting.  Why did they create a budget without him, and decrease the surplus?  He did all he could to protect them.  Barrett had reached out to the then BA and he was not aware of what was going on. 



Out of respect, Barrett signed the document. He must report to the state and has a fiduciary responsibility to the town. He contacted council immediately and while he was in the clerk’s office he stated, “Do not introduce that budget its wrong.”  That year taxes were raised, $1.3 million since the budget that the leadership (without the CFO’s input) introduced was not appropriate. This was also the year that it was a family event, just like in 2019.


At this point, the relationship between Barrett and the administration dissolved. He got called into frequent inquisitions. One of which, the then township attorney, the mayor, the mayor’s assistant (who for the first time was the official note taker) during the inquisition and Barrett were in attendance.  This was a meeting that was quite bizarre, like an episode of the Twilight zone. (see link) Unfortunately, this was not a first-time occurrence of this space odyssey type meeting. This was the norm not the exception.  




Even though Barrett asked repeatedly in the meeting why did the Mayor go around him to submit a budget, the mayor refused to answer him. She attacked him about an email where he called her classy. The dialogue in this meeting leaves one to wonder about the leader of the township.


During this timeframe, Wall township had reached out to Barrett to recruit him to be their CFO. It was an amazing opportunity. This would have put him closer to home (4 miles vs. over 40 miles) and an increase in salary. When he shared that he had this offer, the attitude was from the administration, GREAT, leave. A conversation with the township attorney, asking for his advice, he stated, “ If you leave, the mayor wins.” At that point, being a stubborn Irishman from NY, he decided to stay on in Hamilton.


When we asked Barrett if the current mayor is capable of responsibly running the town, Barrett answered,  with a swift No response. When asked what she has demonstrated in meetings to convince him of that, Barrett stated, that the process by which the municipal budget and finances are run are as follows. The administrator has control of personnel, purchasing and budget.  The CFO has control of finance. The task of building the budget is the administrator’s duty.  It was a team effort between the BA and the CFO. They worked together to ensure what the tax rate needed to be, they brought the revenues together, what the surplus targets were for the rating agencies for S&P and Moody’s. They had to understand every move they made and how it would affect not only that year, but future years as well. They always wanted to keep the taxes flat during election years.  Once the budget is almost completed and in binders, it was only at that time when they met with any mayor. The mayor, the budget officer and CFO would meet to review of the entire budget.  At that point, it was very easy to see, based on the questions or challenging questions they asked, what grasp any mayor had on the budget or finances of the town. During these meetings Barrett shared that there was an eye glazed over response from the Mayor during these reviews.  There was no engagement that he experienced in the day to day financial operations of the town.


So, the question is what does the administration do every day? Barrett’s office faced her parking spot in the lot. On Tuesdays, they have staff meetings at 9am to 11am.  All the directors, surrogate and at times a member of the police department will come to the meetings. In the last two years, after the staff meeting there would be a second staff meeting that only the Three Leaves, Sammich, Legal Eagle and the mayor would attend to refuse “other items”.  There were only minutes for the first staff meeting and at the conclusion of the meeting there was always an email sent to all the directors with the minutes from the meeting. There were never minutes done during the second meeting that was held with the elite group.


When asked if he knew he was going to be suspended, Barrett stated it was a huge surprise. He had scheduled a vacation over a year ago in January of that year.  The day before he left for vacation two of the three leaves entered his office to ask for his computers. Due to the forceful nature, he left and went to the police station. He reported the altercation and then shortly thereafter left for his vacation. While he was in Florida, he received a phone call from  his attorney stating that the administration had reason to believe he was still at home in Brick. It appeared someone went to his home and saw all the cars in the driveway and reported back that Barrett was not in Florida, which was not the case.  He had to send copies of his airline tickets and take a photo of himself in Florida to prove to his attorney that he indeed was in Florida. The administration was very concerned about the computers that Barrett used during his employment. Barrett’s attorney said he will return them upon his return.  But that was not good enough for the administration.  The administration not only filed the tenure charges against Barrett. They also filed theft charges for $4,000 worth of computers. So, Barrett now has a police report that he stole computers, even though his attorney was in touch with them.  They sent the tenure charges to him. He was scheduled to go back to work after vacation. However, upon his return from vacation, he learned that he was suspended with pay pending the hearing.  The administration immediately cut off all his access to the township systems. This left the town without a CFO and no one managing the fiduciary responsibilities of the town.  This was a huge surprise to Barrett.


The shenanigans did not stop there. There was a photo from 5 years ago of Barrett that was sent to the Trentonian taken by a member of the administration. It was sent to the paper on their personal cell phone. 


When we asked Barrett, “What do you think they are trying to hide that they wanted you out so desperately?  He knows exactly what it is. They wanted to play the tax gimmick, by giving a false tax break. The towns ratable base went up and our levy went down by $165,000. It’s immaterial. They have used $4,000,000 of one-time revenue that Barrett would have never let them use. He also would have never let them cut the budgets on the appropriation side to under fund budgets.  The utility budget has been cut so drastically.  It does not appear that Robbinsville is ever going to pay an extra million dollars to Hamilton. This is on top of the $1.6 million they have been paying for years.  The worksheets prove it. This is the fight. The administration had to get rid of John Barrett so they could fool the residents that taxes have been cut and helped re-align sewer fees.  What are they hiding with this sewer drama? Does Hamilton owe Robinsville? Time will tell. 


After this week’s mediation, Barrett will be getting his job back when a new mayor comes in. If the current mayor wins the election, Barrett will still get his job back.  The stars are aligning in his favor in the judicial system.  The allegations are weak that they have developed.  The motion that was initially sent into the courts also was not written by the township attorney.  It was written by the BA. It was viewed as an illegal document.


The mediation forced Barret to develop two formula’s,  Option one and Option two.  Option one: the administration would immediately have to take Barrett back, pay for all his legal fees, pay pain and suffering, an apology letter, dropping the administrative charges and loss of income. He has lost  a lot of revenue in the towns he consults with.  The township administration has also harassed the towns he consults in with numerous OPRA requests. They have all hired another consultant in Barrett’s in his place due to this.  


The mediation last week was Barrett vs. Hamilton, not Hamilton vs. Barrett. The administrative law judge overseeing this case will again in the future review the case.  At that point they will either charge Barrett with something or recommend some discipline if charged or he could be exonerated. This decision will then be sent to the director of local governmental services team. They will then take the result and uphold the judge’s decision, reverse it or amend it. She has that authority as the director. This same director had one of her surrogates reach out to her to see if Barrett would be willing to go to a larger town under state supervision to fix their issues. 


Barrett stated that he will be getting his job back. All the damages from his civil case and whistleblower case may go away.  They will no longer be the amounts that were calculated but will be limited to pain and suffering from the time he was a whistleblower. There is no huge payout for Barrett at the end of this ordeal.  The township will be on the hook for the legal fees ( at least $55K). One cannot put a price on one’s reputation. In option two, the township would have to pay him to leave. They would have to buy him out for the next 20 years, with benefits.


After three hours, the mediator stated that there are hundreds of thousands of dollars accumulated in legal fees and other expenses for this case.  They are paying Barrett $140,000 a year plus another $40,000 in benefits to stay home.  This is resident’s taxpayer dollars. By the time this is done, it would have been a year and a half, that is a lot of taxpayer dollars.  If he would be found guilty, he would have the right to appeal it and would be put back on his salary during the term of the appeal.  The township is not gaining anything by doing this. This could cost the township over a million dollars by the time this ends.


Barrett asked the township attorney, “What are they thinking?”  The township’s legal council said,” I went to them in October 2018 and told them  that they should stay away from Barrett and bring the joint insurance fund in. He has a huge valid claim against the township.” They did not listen to their attorneys advise.  


This same township attorney shared that a township employee, we will call this person, the Hulk, got 45 extra days of vacation.  Evidently before the other BA left, he supposedly signed something  that gave him this. That is why the Hulk was on vacation most of the year. Barrett called in an auditor for it was the township attorney who shared this story. The auditors came in and they brrought with them their forensic accountant.  They ask Wrinkle Penny who entered these vacation days into the system, why he did this. WP was not truthful to the forensic accountants.  He said he could not remember doing that in Jan of that year.  They confront Wrinkle Penny further with the printout they had of the entries.  Then WP’s amnesia was cured, and they remembered a memo that the employee evidently had stating that they were to add 45 days of vacation. The auditors and CFO asked for the memo, Wrinkle Penny said he no longer had the memo. However, all documents are on a shared drive in the township for documentation. When the auditors and CFO asked WP why they did not load the document up onto the shared drive, they stated, “I do not know, I forgot.”  By twelve noon that day. Barrett met with the prosecutor’s office and everything unraveled. This is one of the major issues that he was reprimanded.  Later that evening, after Barrett lawyered up, he attended the council meeting. At the meeting council asked Barrett why they were buying flowers from capital accounts. Barrett stated he was just as shocked when he read the reports. 


Barrett believes that the expenditures are reviewed and approved appropriately. The purchasing agent is very detailed oriented in Hamilton. During the good times with the administration’s family, members would share with him that when their air conditioning broke, a “friend of the family” would take care of it for them. When asked how much it was their response was, “ I do not remember.  When residents must replace their air conditioners, they never forget how much it was for this is a very expensive replacement in one’s home.  


When we asked Barrett, why do you think Sammich, who has been indicted, has not been fired. His response was interesting. “He knows too much.  He was the municipal chair of the party prior to the current leader.  He takes direction from the mayor and was made director by the mayor. He is someone who has leveraged himself against his pension, and he has obligations that he cannot meet according to Barrett.  He is not someone who can walk away from the town. He should have just retired.   The towns leadership is helping him by keeping him game fully employed. There chatter on the street that they have asked him to leave.” 


This case is going to get expensive for Hamilton. The township has a $50,000 retention.  The first $50,000 the town pays;  everything else is the JIF (joint insurance fund) pays.  The JIF could come back and create a standard for these types of cases due to the large payout that could happen if the town does not settle this case.


Barrett told the two of Three Leaves that they are not dealing with the animal shelter correctly. That they needed to show that this type of behavior would not be tolerated.  It’s better to have these people get their jobs back on appeal that sit ideally by and do nothing.  The administration is very loyal to people who yes them.


We asked Barrett what is next for his case against the township of Hamilton. Barrett stated that there is a conference call at the end of September with the judge assigned to this case.  Since mediation has failed a hearing will be scheduled and they will go into discovery with depositions.  The next step will be a hearing in the first quarter of 2020. Based on the  results of that Barrett will not be cleared to come back to work until June of 2020, unless the charges are dropped. If the charges are dropped this all goes away.


Editors note: What we have shared with you above represents a substantial systemic failure in the aspect of leadership in Hamilton, Mercer County. The “three leaves”, Wrinkle Penny, Sammich and the mayor have a strategy, point the finger and take zero accountability. The mayor of the town, being the first female mayor has missed the opportunity of a lifetime. She has done zero to help the female population in the town, as it pertains to inspiring them, holding them up when they needed assistance, and driving positivity with the youth. She has surrounded herself with directors who only think about their pensions and payouts. 


The missed opportunity to mentor, inspire and take the town to new levels it not of any interest to the mayor or the “three leaves”.  She has chosen to put herself first, the residents are an afterthought at best. As the Public Safety Director, she has zero interest in the safety of the public, only herself. But she cannot help it, for she lacks the resilience that is needed in leaders to drive teams to success; in the face of unforeseen circumstances.  


In March of this year, the mayor visited one of the schools (7th and 8th graders) in the township. She started the conversation with the students, “I am here to talk about how the fact that I am so pretty and how that affects my ability to be mayor.”  She went on to say to the students that people told her that she was too pretty to ever achieve anything.  I think the mayor missed the memo on how to motivate children and do public speaking. I can only hope that after that fiasco, that the Superintendent of schools in Hamilton set a protocol for political visitors. One student after her visit was so disgusted by her visit they tweeted this….. his last sentence is compelling. She wasted their time, not a smart thing to do to a future voter. The complete disrespect of their time was yet another missed opportunity to inspire. That student no doubt went home and shared what happened that day to his family. They vote too.







Do you think they were inspired from her visit? This tweet roars the frustration. Do you think she talked about anything but herself? Do you think she spent any time getting to know the students and understanding their needs and future dreams? No, of course not, except yes to the second question, that is all she did. It is not in her DNA to care what others think or to have apathy.


The mayor grew up in the Bromley section of Hamilton, yet recently she told residents in the Bromely section of Hamilton, when they reached out to her, “We have done enough for Bromley.”  She has also proven to the residents of Hamilton, its not in her DNA to care about them. The examples to prove this statement are endless.


The mayor is fixated on titles. She has done this in every job she has held.  This has allowed her to never learn what leadership is truly about.  It is not about the title, its not about the position, its not a crown, its not a red carpet, a throne for her to sit upon with the right to order everyone around.  It is an opportunity. A chance to turn the whole into something greater than the sum of its parts. She has missed this opportunity in all aspects of her career and as mayor.  She has demonstrated gross abuse of power in her role of mayor, causing her to not become an effective leader. The phrase one person used was,” She is a tyrant in heels.”


The mayor spends a lot of time combing the streets, not looking for things to optimize, but stalking the residents. She spends a lot of time driving by my home.  As she drives by, she tells passengers, “That is were that Democrat, Tammy Duffy lives.”  Well, I must break your bubble mayor, but I have been a  Republican since I registered to vote.  However, I vote for the right candidates.   I request you stop the drive by’s. My house is not Starbucks, I do not sell coffee.  This is just normal behavior that all who have ever challenged the mayor on a topic are rewarded with harassment, stopped OPRA requests, being the topic of staff meetings in a negative manner with nonstop defamation etc.  The residents will never stop fighting for right is right. One good thing all this bad behavior has done, it has brought the community closer together to fight “city hall” for the rights of the people


It’s day 43 that the mayor has not responded to council to have a town hall meeting about Jeff Plunkett and other ailing issues in the township. This is grossly unprofessional of the mayor and the three leaves.  It is the duty of the administration to create an atmosphere for residents that is not harassing, bullying or intimidating. The residents would give the mayor and the three leaves an A plus in this arena. But my dear that is not something you want an A plus in.  


The best leaders learn how to pace themselves- in everything they do both personally and professionally.  One must develop a rhythm that suits you and enables you to use your energy as efficiently as possible.  If you don’t the likelihood you will meet your goal, is unlikely.  At worst, you risk physical and mental exhaustion as well. 


It is important that you develop a rhythm that suits you and that enables you to use your energy as efficiently as possible. It takes fortitude to keep yourself from the natural urge to just get the task done as quickly as possible at any cost.  Make sure you get perspective before you make decisions and earn to pace yourself. Create moments of rest for yourself and the people around you.  Recognize that the best people or employees are not workaholics, but rather people who are connected to the world, who are connected to families, who give back to the communities.


Apathy and lack of passion are serious encumbrances that need to be jettisoned and replaced with positive attitude and a commitment to excellence. There is no room for ego in these types of roles you have been either elected to do or hired to do. It is not very classy to behave in the manner that K and the three leaves do.  


The experiences you as leaders in our town must have on residents is critical to the residents.   The talk at the high school “I’m so pretty” left an indelible impression on each of the students in that room.  The fact that that mayor could not read their body language also speaks volumes. Read the room. Each member of a team must generously give and graciously receive.  We all need to continue to step up to the plate and fill the void with positive forces.  We need to face the difficulties and challenges life gives us in the most positive manner.


What are those challenges that are inside us all? When we conquer vanity, excessive love of self, insecurity, fear of failure and perfectionism we summit in life.  We live a life where we not only conquer mountains but conquer ourselves as well. In doing so, you will one day look back at a time of crisis with satisfaction that comes from having courageously conquered the challenges within and without, and with the assurance that you have fulfilled your purpose in life.  


No time or energy should ever be wasted searching for a path to realization. Live your prophecy. Never question fate. We experience a life that in no way resembles the ordinary civilized life to which we have grown accustomed.  Inside each of us, is the ambition to reach the summit, to realize that you are stronger than the obstacles, that it is within your power to do something uncommon and indeed impossible for most people. But one must be prepared to face those obstacles.


It would be far better if ambition compelled people to train, to commit to preparation that went from simple to complex, hardening the spirit.  An individual should derive pleasure from the process of leadership and mental development.  The payment for ambition should be made in preparation, in training and improving oneself, not threats, intimidation and bullying. The greatest significance of our efforts is to have a way to evaluate our actions in life.  It is time for the mayor to evaluate herself, to show the Hamilton residents matter.




Posted by tammyduffy at 6:28 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 September 2019 8:46 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 August 2019
Hamilton Residents Do Matter




Last night, a local resident celebrated the one-year anniversary of rescuing a turtle from the Hamilton Shelter. It was quite the event. The musical group, the Jazz Lobsters performed, playing a multitude of jazz songs and other requests made by the guests.  It was a great night had by all those who attended.


The Mercer County Prosecutors office has been diligently working on a case that led to the indictments of the ACO and Health Director of Hamilton Township. The unthinkable acts performed by these two people and others are beyond human recognition.  The turtle was rescued from the Hamilton Shelter.


The support by the local Mayor, Director of Health, her Chief of staff, and BA, of these unthinkable acts has perplexed residents for over a year. How can anyone support the purposeful killing of animals? How can anyone ignore subpoenas to testify? Well, this is what is the norm in Hamilton, Mercer County. The current Mayor has not only allowed the animal shelter to be a point of contention for the town but she has allowed public health to be ignored. The Mayor made herself the Director of Public Safety when she was elected, so she is 100% accountable to all the wrong doings, and ignorance to public health in Hamilton, Mercer County.


Residents and council have been reaching out to the Mayor to request a town hall meeting to discuss all the issues. The Mayor for several months has demonstrated a belligerent position to residents and council, ignoring all emails and phone calls. She has gone as far, it would appear, as to direct employees to ignore government issues subpoenas.  


Let’s look at the public health issues that have resulted in deaths in Hamilton


1.  2014: EVD68, Eli, a 4-year-old Hamilton resident dies from the disease.  The Mayor, health director and entire administrative staff were obtusely unaware of a Nationwide epidemic going on. They stood up town halls and openly admitted to the fact they had no idea what the disease was. An OPRA request also demonstrated that prior to the death of Eli. No SOP's existing in the schools in Hamilton to manage dealing with outbreaks. This was demonstrated from an OPRA request. It was not until there was a death in town that they learned about the epidemic that the Mayor and her administration, addressed the public demonstrating they had no idea what the disease was. They misled the public by stating they were rewriting the SOP's. The SOP's at that time never existed. 

2.  In 2019, Legionnaires cases and a death in Hamilton. To date, there has been no information shared on the township website. Other municipalities in NJ, that have had this unfortunate event as well, all have been forthcoming with residents.  The administration of Hamilton, Mercer County, stated that the state is responsible for telling residents.  The township Health department never let the BOH know this was happening.

3.  Director of Health department gets indicted for numerous issues. DOH states they are in process of revoking his license. No public annoucement from the Public Safety Director on this issue. When she was approached by residents, she ignored all of them as well as councils requests for a town hall. 

4. For 7 years, residents in the Cornell Heights area have contacted the current Mayor on traffic issues. They have been ignored for 7 years by the Mayor, even though she claims she has an opened door policy.  In July 2019, a 24-year-old boy was killed on the corner of Sandalwood and Carlise while riding his bike. The township officials the next day had an emergency meeting to finally approve signage to stop the use of trucks on the streets. Again, it takes another death before the leadership responded.

5. Currently there is a Hepatitis A outbreak in NJ. This is a disease that is very contagious. There are 361 cases on record, 19 of which are in Mercer County. Yet, again there is zero information of focus on community education on this issue from the Public Safety Director: Mayor Yaede or anyone on her staff. They again are obtusely unaware of this epidemic.  The Director of Public Health for Hamilton who is also the Mayor, must be waiting for a death or two to happen before alerting the residents of this epidemic. 

6.  Youth Suicide Epidemic. Statistics show that Mercer, Warren, and Ocean counties have the three highest rates of suicide attempts and self-inflicted injuries in the Garden State, which has 21 counties overall. So what is the Hamilton Public Safety Director doing about this? Nothing. 




ETC. ETC. ETC.....you get the picture?


This consistent ignorance by the Hamilton Public Safety Director has residents very concerned. There is a very bad pattern of behavior that exists in this administration and the directors that is causing deaths in the township, needless deaths.  They have zero remorse for their wrong doing. 


Below are some informative links focused on the current Hepatitis A epidemic in NJ.






Another example of the closed door administration of Hamilton, Mercer County….


The letter below was sent to the Mayor several weeks ago, the resident never received a response even though they have called, emailed and placed a request for a call with HAMSTAT. All requests have gone ignored.



Dear Kelly Yaede,


I never received a response to this request/email. I do look forward to a response and do expect one as a 53-year resident of Hamilton township. The residents of Hamilton pay your salary. It's not unreasonable to expect a response. 


This evening, the animal shelter subcommittee scheduled and held a meeting in Hamilton Chambers. As you are aware, this meeting was to have ACO Munford present to residents and the subcommittee details of optimization at the animal shelter.  There was a request by council for months to have Ms. Munford share the information regarding the shelter. She refused, as you are well aware. This should have been a very positive meeting but the refusal by your team to share the details forced council to subpoena her, and she received the subpoena. She refused to come without it. It is our understanding that you and Mr Kenny advised her not to come to evening. Why did you do that? If you and the employees of Hamilton have nothing to hide, and all is well at the shelter, there should be no reason why a harmless meeting like this evening could have taken place.  Residents took time away from their families to attend this meeting. Only to have their time wasted because the instruction to Ms Munford was....don't show up. 



A subpoena is a court issued order that cannot be ignored, at least not without consequences. Failing to comply with a subpoena can result in a legal penalty, as noncompliance almost always constitutes contempt of court, which can lead to imposition of fines and/or jail time. To have Ms. Munford behave in a manner this evening where she ignored the subpoena leaves residents to believe that things are not fixed at the shelter.  The ad you placed in regards to the shelter,  which was paid for by the Republican party, of which I am a member, was propaganda.  Your position on this issue is quite perplexing and very concerning. It's time to stand up and speak to the residents.



A Mayors role is to enforce the laws of a town. It is also the Mayor’s job to maintain safe streets to control crime and establish programs that preserve the health and welfare of residents. You gave yourself the additional title of Public Safety Director when you were elected. It is also a Mayor’s responsibility to supervise the conduct of all officers and department supervisors in our town authorized by law.  An additional responsibility of the Mayor is to provide council with information they request in order to help them make good decisions for the residents of our town. You have failed the residents in every aspect of your responsibilities. This is gravely disappointing as a fellow Republican to see such widespread failure in the administration.


At the 2018, at the US Conference of Mayor’s in DC, there was a forum (see link) https://www.c-span.org/video/?443646-1/us-conference-mayors-examines-school-public-safety, where Mayor’s from all over the United States discussed public safety in their towns, challenges in their towns, etc.  I highly recommend you watch this 3-hour video. For you were not in attendance to this break-out at the meeting. This could prove to be an effective training for you to learn what Mayors are doing to keep their residents safe, deal with challenges, and be a leader in creating an active communication link between departments, residents and the administration.


Barbarians at the gate usually don't bring down once-successful civilizations. Nor does climate change. Even mass epidemics like the plague that decimated sixth-century Byzantium do not necessarily destroy a culture. Far more dangerous are institutionalized corruption, a lack of transparency and creeping neglect of existing laws.  Ultimately, no town can continue to thrive it its government 

refuses to enforce its own laws and ignore its residents. The residents of Hamilton are wondering why you and your administration are selectively exempt from following the law.

For the past 7 years the residents of Cornell Heights have been in contact with you and your directors about the traffic, speeding, and road issues in our area. You have ignored residents for 7 years. The council recently has been very helpful to try and move issues along to course correct signage that should have been put up over 10 years ago during the American Metro Project. This signage would have decreased speeds, put in calming measures on the roads, increase signage. For seven years, you and your directors ignored the residents.

A few weeks ago, another young youth was killed in our neighborhood on a bicycle.  He collided with a car. His 24-year-old body went through the back window of the car and then he was catapulted back onto the street. This killed him instantly. His face and neck were torn beyond recognition and his body lay in the street for over 3 hours while police did their investigations. The sheet over his body was soaked in blood.

Last week the mother of this child was in the neighborhood. She leaves fresh flowers at this death site every week. She proceeded to go to the area where her son’s body was during the accident and sniffed the ground where his body laid. She then proceeded to kiss the ground and sob uncontrollably in the area as well. She repeated this at every mark on the ground, where his bike was, where his sneaker was, etc.  No Mother should ever have to make the last kiss, the last scent she gets to do with her child in a street.

The area where this young boy was killed lacks enough lighting as well as properly marked stop lines. They are worn away. There was no way for this child to see the stop sign or the street line to know to stop. Why did you ignore residents for 7 years on the issues in Cornell Heights?  Why did you allow the project not to be properly managed by your directors for the calming measures in Cornell Heights? As our Public Safety Director, you must take ownership for these institutional failures.   If all the things residents asked for, for the past 7 years were taken care of, this child may not have died on our streets. His Mother would not have had to have her last kiss and inhalation of air to try to capture her son's scent, would not have had to happen on Sandalwood Ave.  

The failure at the Animal shelter, with our Director of Health and elsewhere in the administration, are making residents to have pause about the abilities of the administration.  Your commitment to residents is concerning. A Mayor cannot be absent from the administration.  There is a large public safety concern as it pertains to all food establishments, the animal shelter and many other issues. It is your responsibility as Mayor and Public Safety Director to ensure our safety. To speak to residents in time of need.

So, in closing I will ask again, when will you hold a town hall meeting to address the residents of Hamilton township, Mercer County. It's time to do your job as Mayor. If you do not feel like doing the job, resign. Let someone who cares about the residents take over. The residents need leadership and someone who cares about them. Not an absent Mayor. 


Kind Regards,


Hamilton Resident in Cornell Heights



Posted by tammyduffy at 5:06 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 25 August 2019 6:32 PM EDT
Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Government Gone Bad

Government Gone Bad








Seven days ago we Opra’d the food inspection reports from 2010 to 2019 for several food establishments in Hamilton township. We got a message yesterday from the township stating that the request was too broad, and they would not share the information. We pushed back on them to state our request was not too broad and in the event the township did not reconsider their response, we would seek legal assistance to get the information.


Today, the clerk’s office sent the information we requested. However, there was one extra document in the mix that we did not ask for, a document that is quite compelling.  Turns out on Feb 26,2019 the clerk’s office of Hamilton township certified the destruction of records. There were 72 cubic feet of records destroyed. The certification of the destruction is below. The specific records that were destroyed were:

-All food surveillance inspection reports from 2000-2015 have been destroyed. The email from the clerk’s office stated,

Good afternoon Ms. Duffy,

Pursuant to OPRA request 19-1286 regarding specific food delivery/restaurants in Hamilton Township, please be advised that the inspection report records that you have requested for the time period of January 2010 through December 2015 were destroyed through a request and authorization for records disposal of (Food Surveillance Sanity Inspections Reports [01/2000 to 12/2015], Food Establishment Inspections Reports [01/2008 to 12/2015], and Reports of Inspections [12/2007 to 12/2015]) as submitted and approved by the NJ Department of the Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, Records Management Services.

That being said, attached hereto is the original OPRA request for reference, the disposition request review summary sheet, and responsive records. This request is considered closed. “

Well, Well, Well…….how timely to destroy all of the food inspection reports when there is an active investigation going on of the health director for not doing the inspections. They are required to hold onto the documents for three years, so not out of the ordinary, but timely to destroy everything in one day.  Leaves one to question why it took over 15 years to destroy the documents.

-Food Establishment inspection reports from 2008 to 2015: DESTROYED

-Report of Inspections from 2007 to 2015: DESTROYED

-Animal Impoundment records from 2000 to 2017, Adoption forms: DESTROYED

-Animal Impoundment records from 2000 to 2017: DESTROYED

Hmmmm…. why the shred fest oh Hamilton leadership? What were you hiding? Why did it take 17 years to do this? The documents only have to be held for one year. This is highly suspicious. Why is the township playing catch up with the destruction of records? Has someone told them to destroy anything that could incriminate them? You be the judge of that.










The OPRA request also focused on certain food establishments in Hamilton. These were selected based on personal frequency of patronage. We asked for the full inspection reports for: Stone Terrace, JoJo’s, Reading Center, the Hamilton Garden Inn, Fred and Pete’s, Longhorne Steakhouse, Banzai and Risoldi’s supermarket.  We asked for reports from Jan 1 2010 to July 20 2019.  We were only able to obtain some of the reports due to the extensive destruction of records that occurred on Feb 26 2019.


These reports in their entirety are attached. There were claims made by a few food establishments when the DOH report came out with the intent to revoke Mr Plunkett’s health license.  They claimed the inspections were extensive.  However, you be the judge of how the templates were filled out by the inspectors during each inspection. 





We have placed the inspection reports at the link below






 Where is the accountability? Tomorrow is day 14 of zero response from our Mayor on these critical issues as it pertains to public health.  The mass destruction of documents from the animal shelter as well as the food establishments are concerning. We hope you find this information useful as you make decisions on where to obtain food and meals in Hamilton township.







Posted by tammyduffy at 7:48 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 July 2019 8:22 PM EDT
Unresponsive Mayor: Town Needs a Code Cart

 Unresponsive Mayor: Town Needs a Code Cart


It is day 14 where the Mayor of Hamilton Township refuses to respond to council or the residents request for a town hall meeting.  The town hall is to focus on the indictment and pending loss of license of their health officer. In a DOH report it was revealed that the restaurants in Hamilton have not been inspected in years.  Mayor Yaede is in support of that, the residents are not. Mayor Yaede has also been in support of the gross negligence and animal cruelty that was uncovered at the Hamilton Animal shelter. The residens also are not in support of that and have also asked for a town hall on that, again silence from the Mayor. 


The letter below was sent to the Mayor on 7/29/2019 at 8pm. We are not optimistic that any response or town hall will happen from this letter.  What is happening in Hamilton is a crime. A crime against residents public safety. The Mayor assigned herself the title of Public Safety Director when she was elected. It's time for her to do her job. Talk to the residents and business owners. 


The Mayor touts her open door policy and transparent government. Yet, the reality is her government is as transparent as the foundation for a linear accelerator and her door is as open as a coffin in the ground. The dishonesty surrounding the administration has been outlined in the press and it has residents scared, worried and going outside the towns where MR Plunkett had jurisdiction on the inspections to have meals with their families.


Letter sent to Mayor and council. Will anyone respond? 


Dear Honorable Mayor Yaede,

Last week I contacted your office and requested you consider doing a town hall meeting as it pertained to the issues surrounding Mr Plunkett. I did not receive any response. As a resident I am very concerned about the disclosure by the DOH as it pertains to the lack of inspections performed by Mr. Plunkett of our restaurants and his overall and derelict of his duties. This poses a significant risk on public health in Hamilton. A town hall meeting, chaired by yourself, could ease the concern of residents and the business owners of Hamilton.

In 2018, the Greater Mercer County Public Health Partnership (GMPHP) undertook development of its third Community Health Assessment (CHA). The CHA was designed to ensure that Mercer County public, private, and community-based organizations continue to effectively and efficiently serve the needs of their communities. The CHA was developed in accordance with all federal rules and statutes, specifically PL 111-148 (The Affordable Care Act) which added Section 501(c) to the internal revenue code and, in accordance with New Jersey regulations N.J.A.C. 8:52 10.1-10.3 governing local boards of health.

The Community Health Assessment is a process that determines and evaluates the state of health and health needs of a local population. It enables the identification of major risk factors and causes of ill health; and - Identifies action needed to address these factors. The report they published provides valuable information regarding why and how to improve the community’s health status.

Mercer County was split into 5 pie pieces to ensure that each part of the county is well represented. Out of 5 focus groups held between March 5 – 14, 55 people from diverse backgrounds shared their experiences and opinions. Results were broken down by “Definite Improvement” and “Some Improvement”. The improvement categories are broken down by municipality in the report. I have placed below what was recommended for Hamilton in the report below.

Area Definite Improvement Some Improvement for Hamilton
• Clinics for uninsured
• Support for disabled
• Veterans programs
• Childhood obesity
• Senior services availability
• Opioid addiction

There were additional focuses that were also recommended. Those are listed below from the report.
1) Community/Network Connectedness/Communication
2) Access to care
3) Mental health –the single greatest concern area that was broadly defined - Opioid addiction, Stress/Anxiety management, Suicide prevention
4) Transportation
5) Language barriers/Immigrant population
6) Senior/Adult Needs -Also Veterans Services in some areas
7) Education -Health, Parenting, Social Media, tutoring programs, bullying
8) Medical Conditions - Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Asthma, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Hypertension, Childhood Obesity, Chronic Pain Management Although occasional improvements were noted, respondents characterized access as ‘not good’ or ‘in need’ of improvement’: this was true across all groups.

The Census repors and the MCHA report demonstrate that in Mercer County/Hamilton the Asian population grew by 29% between 2010 and 2018, and Hispanic and Latino populations grew 20% during the same timeframe. Poverty rates in Mercer County for families, people, and children, were higher than the State. In Hamilton, the poverty rate is 38%. Poverty has long been recognized as a contributor to death and disease, but several recent trends have generated an increased focus on the link between income and health. Lower levels of education attainment can indicate issues of health literacy and the ability to follow medical advice. 50% of residents in Hamilton only have a HS or Associates degree level education. (Source: US Census). This also has an effect on healthcare disparities.

The inpatient use rate in Mercer County (171.7 per 100,000) was higher than that of the State, and the zip codes of Trenton/Ewing zip code 08618, Trenton zip code 08628 and Trenton/Hamilton (08609) all have hospital use rates well above the statewide rate. We have a lot of residents that required hospitalization due to their disease states. In Hamilton we have the highest rate of diabetes, renal disease, COPD, and hypertension in the state. The oncology statistics are also rising in the Hispanic and Black communities, all of which are communities rising in population in Hamilton. These patients are all immunocompromised. Thyroid, Renal, uterine, etc are all cancers on a significant rise in MC/HTWP. The overall age adjusted rate for cancer occurrence in Hamilton Mercer County is on the rise and is representative of one of the highest in the entire state of NJ, as compared to other counties in NJ. These are all patients who are immunocompromised. 

Any patient who is immunocompromised does not have the ability to respond to infection due to an impaired or weakened immune system. Young children are readily susceptible to disease and the consequences can be serious or life-threatening. Adult or pediatric patients who are immunocompromised (i.e oncology patients, diabetics, HIV, malnutrition, or on different drugs etc) can die from the simplest event of exposure.

These immunocompromised patients will go out to eat to break the monotony of their disease to get out of the house. The lack of inspections of our eating establishments puts these patients at the highest risk of adverse event. The entire population is at risk, but these residents who are immunocompromised are at the greatest risk.

In Oct 2014, Hamilton lost a small boy, Eli Waller to EVD68. You did a town Hall for that issue. That helped residents. During those Town Halls, Mr Plunkett shared that he was rewriting the SOP’s for the schools. However, when I OPRA’d this information in Oct 2018, I asked for the SOP’s that existed prior to Oct 2014 I was informed that no SOP’s existed. I can forward the OPRA request and the response from the clerk’s office. How is it that Mr Plunkett said he was revising them during those press conferences, yet, an OPRA showed they never existed. That is concerning. Eli was immunocompromised. There was a nationwide epidemic going on in the US for EVD68. NJ was the 30th state to be hit with hit. Yet, Mr Plunkett stated at the press conferences, as did you, that you had never heard of EVD68. As our Director of Public Safety, it is imperative that when nationwide epidemics are occuring, we are ahead of the curve. Educating the community and safeguarding the children in our schools. It was not until the death of Eli that the town reacted to the Nationwide epidemic.

We have a large population of immunosuppressed residents in Hamilton. It is the responsibility of the Mayor, the Public Safety Director and the Department of Health director to ensure the safety of our community. With the indictments that occurred for Mr Plunkett and the recent DOH decision to revoke his license, the residents want and deserve answers. The community must be safe. There must be accountability for the lack of supervision that occurred on Mr Plunkett. To continue to ignore the requests of residents to have a town hall on these important issues is not acceptable.

I just OPRA'd very specific information on inspection reports in Hamilton for food establishments. The clerk's office is not sharing the data. This is not representative of a transparent government. This adds to the level of concern for residents.

I would also like to understand why in the Annual reports prepared by Mr Plunkett he makes no reference to the findings to the Mercer County Community Assessment report. The recommendations made in the report from Hamilton should also be a topic of discussion for the town hall.

We look forward to a response and a town hall for residents in the immediate future.

Kind Regards

Dr Tammy Duffy

Posted by tammyduffy at 6:08 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 July 2019 6:11 AM EDT
Saturday, 22 June 2019
DPW in Hamilton Assists With Flooding


 DPW in Hamilton Assists With Flooding




photo taken by Tammy Duffy on Laura Ave in Cornell Heights last week after the paving by Hamilton DPW 




Storm drain inlet bags are made from a heavy fibrous material that allows the water to drain into the storm drain. When these are used, and it is mandatory in the state of NJ that they are used when a road is being paved in the presence of a storm drain, they keep the asphalt and tar from entering the waterway. These inlet bags are used by taking the storm drain head off and put it on, then place the storm drain cover back on. This then keeps all the contaminate rocks, milling, tar from entering the storm drain. The bags fibrous material allows water to keep on flowing into the storm drain. These bags are very strong and can withstand a lot of material into them.







Over the past several weeks Hamilton Township DPW has been repaving roads in the Cornell Heights area. They ignored the fact that the usage of these bags is mandatory. There is not an option to not use them. Severe fines, jail time can result if a contractor ignores this law that requires the usage of storm drain inlet bags. The detrimental effect this level of ignorance has a negative impact on flooding. The material dumped into the storm drain by the Hamilton DPW will clog the storm drain. The township and or the state then will have to come back and use a large suction vacuum to clean the storm drains.  If they do not clean up this mess they made its guaranteed that flooding will result due to this amazing technique utilized by the Hamilton twp DPW. Many years ago the inlet pipes were made smaller so that water bottles and trash could not get into the water ways. So dropping asphalt and tar down a storm drain during resurfacing of a road, it just gross negligence. 



When the township used their asphalt paver, when they came up to one of the storm drain boxes, they paved right over it and then scraped the asphalt off. When they scraped it off it fell into the storm drain. The tar they used also was scraped off and that too fell into the storm drain. This gross negligence on the behalf of the Hamilton DPW will clog the storm drain and increase flooding in the area.


After the asphalt and tar leaves the storm train it will enter the waterway. Even if the township employees cannot read (the storm drain has labeling on it, DO NOT DUMP GOES TO WATER WAYS) there is iconography of fish that demonstrate whatever you dump in the drain will have a direct effect on the waterway and fish life.


LAZY, that is the only word to describe this road resurfacing technique utilized by the DPW from Hamilton township. On the highways, the DOT makes the union companies that are doing the overlays, mandate that the companies use the storm drain inlet bags. This then saves money to the state because without the use of the bags the state would then have to pay to have the storm drains cleaned on the highways.


Looks like the taxpayers of Hamilton are going to have to pay to have the storm drains cleaned again, thanks to the Hamilton DPW. There are three different outfits paving the roads in Hamilton. The  non-union company, Earle that the township has hired to do many of the repaving in Hamilton are using the inlet bags. The Hamilton DPW is not. There is a third company, Crisdel, a union company,  that the township has hired to repave the roads has state inspectors that oversee their work. This ensures they are using the bags and ensure that no toxics go into the basins. The road Crisdel they did in Cornell Heights did not have any storm drains on it. So one has to ponder, why is the Hamilton DPW taking the strategy they are taking to pave the roads? Who is giving them this direction? Who will hold them accountable for their actions? The residents will. An offical complaint to the DEP has been submitted against the township DPW for their actions. The complaint is under investigation. 


During this month’s Hamilton Council meeting a resident brought this issue up, she had sent an email to council, the Mayor and the business administrator.  The Mayor has never responded and the Business Administrator at the meeting said, “He would look into it.” Residents are not holding their breath for a resolution.


Why is no one checking the work that DPW is doing? Why would no one be inspecting this work and using the mandated storm drain inlet bags? 


Hamilton DPW will and is doing the resurfacing work on Basin Road in Cornell Heights as well. The teams are working from 9am to 12 noon and then they are done for the day. The neighbors are seeing this lack of work ethic and are furious. They are furious that the drains are being deliberately clogged by Hamilton DPW and this will flood the surrounding area. This is not how they want to see their tax dollars spent. 


When it rains, water washes over roofs, streets, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and land surfaces. Along the way, it can pick up a variety of pollutants, such as oil, pesticides, metals, chemicals, and soil. This polluted stormwater drains into the storm system that eventually discharges into our rivers and streams. The pollutants can endanger the water quality of our waterways, making them unhealthy for people, fish, and wildlife. No matter where you live, there's a drainage system in place to help rainwater find its way to the river. 


Inlet protection devices intercept and/or filter sediment before it can be transported from a site into the storm drain system and discharged into a lake, river, stream, wetland, or other waterbody. These devices also keep sediment from filling or clogging storm drain pipes, ditches, and downgradient sediment traps or ponds. Inlet protection may also include placement of a barrier to create a bypass of an inlet transferring flow downstream to a sediment trap, basin, or other inlet discharging to a non-critical area.


The Construction Stormwater General Permit states: Permittees must establish sediment control BMPS on all downgradient perimeters of the site and downgradient areas of the site that drain to any surface water, including curb and gutter systems. Permittees must locate sediment control practices upgradient of any buffer zones. Permittees must install sediment control practices before any upgradient land-disturbing activities begin and must keep the sediment control practices in place until they establish permanent cover.


The federal Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act direct the City to improve stormwater quality and protect watersheds, rivers, streams, and drinking water resources. With the exception of storm drains maintenance, the overall management of the stormwater system is the responsibility of the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES). BES coordinates the citywide response to the federal stormwater permit that requires the town to reduce stormwater pollution, and oversees programs that respond to water quality requirements and promote private stormwater management efforts.


The Bureau of Transportation (NJDOT) is responsible for maintaining storm drains and responding to street flooding and other safety concerns.


To lessen street flooding, residents need to act as storm drain sweepers to help clean the inlets and storm drains in front of their properties. Use a rake or pitch fork to clear leaves, limbs, and debris from the storm drain. Do not put your feet and hands into the storm drain because all kinds of debris collect there that could be dangerous. Do not try to remove the grate, only the debris on top of the grate.


The best time to inspect the storm drains in front of your house or business is prior to a rain event and right after a rain, snow, or ice storm. If you cannot clear a clogged storm drain yourself, notify the town that help is needed.


Never rake or blow the leaves from your yard into the street. Bag them at the curb in the parking strip and prepare them for curbside pickup by your garbage hauler. The town’s leaf removal service is intended solely for leaves that impede stormwater drainage and cause traffic hazards.


For leaves that have fallen into the street, please keep them out of the channel right along the curb, where they will block the path of rainwater. Rake them at least one foot from the curb.  


When it rains, storm water runs off roadways, driveways, and construction sites into grates which carry the storm water to rivers, streams, lakes and other waterways. Unlike sewage, storm water is not treated so as it flows into grates it carries with it sediment, trash, oils, chemicals and other elements that are harmful to our water resources. Why not do your part and help protect our water resources?


The township has laws against these kinds of things from happening. (see below) the residents want to know why the township directors and officials continue to act as if they are above the law.




§ 577-11 Violations and penalties.


Any person who erects, constructs, alters, repairs, converts, maintains or uses any building, structure or land in violation of this chapter shall be subject to penalties prescribed by the Township with consideration to this chapter, including any penalties contained in the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.; the Stormwater Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8-1.1 et seq.; and/or Chapter 1, General Provisions, § 1-2, Violations; penalties, of the Code of the Township of Hamilton.



Posted by tammyduffy at 7:40 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 22 June 2019 7:42 PM EDT
Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Destruction of Public Records


 Destruction of Public Records







A good communications strategy is essential for any municipality to get important information out to its residents. Understanding what communication channels and tools are available to a municipality, and which are used by community members, is essential for making sure that a town gets word to its entire audience. The way people get their news varies from traditional forms of media, to word of mouth, to social media and other online sources. Municipalities need to be where the people are.


So much happens within every municipality that needs to be shared: upcoming events, new programs, sustainability initiatives, important updates, celebrations of success, changes in leadership, etc. Municipalities have an opportunity to share such happenings as a means of promoting the good things they are doing, as well as to inform residents of timely news. Since we know that people use different methods of communication to receive information, from the digital to the more traditional, municipalities have a responsibility to disseminate such news in a variety of ways.


A good communications strategy will aid in relationship building and restoring trust between residents and their government through strategies that engage the public in determining which channels should be used and what information is most necessary.


Every town must have a strong social media policy. The policy should be implemented to not only legally cover the towns butt — it is important that employees and citizens actually understand it.


Social media is a complex topic from both a legal and policy standpoint for municipalities. Every government institution must safeguard all digital social media in accordance with the PRA (Public Records Act). Issues to consider with respect to social media and the PRA include:


1.    Ensuring that the agency has proper procedures in place to retain social media posts and associated comments with respect to official agency (as opposed to personal) social media accounts


2.    Clarifying that use of personal (including campaign) social media accounts should not be used to create public records and providing guidance to agency officials and employees on best practices in that regard.   




With respect to personal social media accounts, there has been clarification from the Court of Appeals that a councilmember's personal Facebook posts do not constitute public records if they are not created within the councilmember’s official capacity. However, it is important to note that there still are situations in which use of a personal social media account may result in creation of a public record.




There are several important elements of agency social media policies including the following:


·        Content posted to agency social media accounts is a public record


·        Agencies need to maintain content on agency social media accounts in accordance with applicable retention requirements


·        Posting secondary copies instead of original public records on social media is encouraged to avoid retention problems




What the law says…




All information posted and other activity conducted on a municipal social media site is subject to the Public Records Act and Office of the Secretary of State Records Management Guidelines and Retention Schedules. 


All municipal social media sites shall contain a statement that all content submitted by users is potentially subject to disclosure pursuant to the Public Records Act.  Where appropriate, users and visitors to the municipal social media sites should be directed to submit public records requests to the town’s Public Records Officer.


All information and content on township social media sites are required to be retained under state and local retention policies and guidelines shall be maintained for the required retention period.


In order to ensure appropriate retention of public records, most content posted by  municipal personnel on the town’s social media sites; should not be original source content (content that has not been created anywhere else and only exists on the social media site), but rather a secondary copy of information that is posted on the  website or contained in an electronic copy or a hard copy. If original content is posted on a social media site, that information shall be retained in accordance with the state records retention policies and other applicable laws, for at least the minimum retention period listed for those records beginning the date of posting. Copies of records the already retains elsewhere will be considered secondary copies and need to be retained accordingly. 


Department staff are responsible for ensuring retention of the original-source content in an organized, searchable electronic format. The records should be retained in such a manner that it can be deleted after meeting the required retention periods. Any other strategy utilized would be in violation of the law.


All edits made to posted content and comments posted by outside users on a town’s social media sites, including those that are inappropriate and removed by staff, shall be retained as outlined by the governance for each social media tool. When staff edits their posted content or removes inappropriate content, a record of that staff name, date, and time the content was edited or removed shall be retained in an organized, searchable electronic format. The records should be retained in such a manner that it can be deleted after meeting the required retention periods. 




Today, the Mayor of Hamilton’s Facebook page disappeared. This is a huge problem.  There needs to be an OPRA request sent to the clerk’s office searching for the certification of the destruction of this public record. In the event no certification exists for the destruction, this poses a huge problem yet again for the Hamilton administration.




In the State of NJ social media sites are subject to the State of New Jersey public records laws. Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to township business, including a list of subscribers and posted communication, is a public record. Whenever possible, such sites shall clearly indicate that any articles and any other content posted or submitted for posting are subject to public disclosure. Users shall be notified that public disclosure requests must be directed to the town’s public records officer. 


It amazes us how incomplete policies are in towns throughout the United States. The most common problems are: The policy is either way too sparse and skimps on some of the bases it should cover, or it’s too convoluted and


Many government agencies want to get a policy in place quickly, but are not particularly confident that it is comprehensive enough.


Town’s need to be crystal clear about privacy in their policy. You might caution employees that they have no expectation of privacy while using the Internet on employer equipment. If employees will be monitored, the policy should inform them of such monitoring. Also make sure to clearly state that employees should never post legally protected personal information that they have access to on the job.




Given the potential for criminal penalties in some states’ open meetings laws government officials should be advised to avoid contemporaneous discussions or debates of public business (such as the benefits or impacts of a particular development proposal) on social networking sites or in chat rooms, and should ensure that their social networking interactions comply with applicable open meetings laws.  Governments must be aware that state law may require that these records be retained indefinitely or that permission must be sought prior to destroying them under public records law, and that the records must often be provided upon request. A good rule of thumb is that governments should avoid creating new material on social networking sites and instead use existing material that is already maintained for local records law compliance. To have a non-government employee managing a government social media site is grossly negligent and can be viewed as misconduct of a government official.  When a town has someone in charge of their IT department who knows nothing about it, this puts the administration in harms way.


All governments that use any form of online communication should develop, implement, and enforce a website and social networking policy. That policy should include a well-defined purpose and scope for using social media, identify a moderator in charge of the site, develop standards for appropriate public interaction and posting of comments, establish guidelines for record retention and compliance with sunshine laws, and include an employee access and use policy. The government should also post express disclaimers on its websites reserving the right to delete submissions that contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive comments that target or disparage any ethnic, racial, or religious group. Finally, the government should train employees regarding appropriate use of social networking and how use might impact the employer.


Today, the Trentonian newspaper reported…


“Mayor Kelly Yaede is only a paper mayor; her online mayoral title has been at least temporarily stripped after the administrator took down her social media page likely in the last 24 hours after being painted as a liar by a township politico.


“Never get sideways with the guy who created your web pages,” a source said.  It turns out the man at the center of that front-page expose, Michael Sabo, was still the administrator of the mayor’s official Facebook page.




A past OPRA request for a list of all the township employees, does not demonstrate Mr. Sabo as an employee at the township of Hamilton. Currently, there is a lawsuit against the Mayor of Hamilton for violation of first amendment rights of residents on this very Facebook page that disappeared today.  The complexity of this disappearance is compounded due to the current lawsuit that was launched by residents for the violation of the First Amendment Rights on the Mayor’s FB page.


It is the policy of the state of  NJ that social media tools be accessed and used in a responsible manner.  Official use of social media to communicate and engage with the public must be in accordance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies including those regarding accessibility; records management; information quality; and intellectual property.   Today’s disappearance of the township Mayor’s official site is quite the situation.   Employees must be granted approval to use social media, or other third-party services, to directly support or enhance activities being undertaken in an official capacity.  This includes receiving approval to create social media accounts for locations, programs, offices, and employees that are to be used for official work.  Social media accounts created as professional personas (for example an account dedicated to “Bark Ranger Gracie”) for official business and maintained using government resources (staff time, devices, etc.) are the property of the federal government.  Content created in an official capacity constitutes a federal record and is subject to relevant information related laws and regulations, including the Freedom of Information Act.  


It is required that before gaining access to an official social media account, employees (including part time, seasonal, volunteers, and partners) must take the mandatory social media training and sign a social media user agreement.   We bet an OPRA request could demonstrate interesting information as if pertains to the training of Mr. Sabo on the sacred approach that is needed to government documents as well as whether or not a certification for the destruction of the public record that vanished today exists. Giving an outsider full access to a government site where they have the power to delete years of public records on a whim is yet another demonstration of the gross mismanagement of the current administration. It is illegal to destroy public records.  


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:04 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2019 8:08 PM EDT
Saturday, 11 May 2019
Hamilton Twp Leadership and How It Compares To Theranos and ENRON Leadership






Hamilton Twp Leadership and How It Compares To Theranos and ENRON Leadership







Hamilton Twp Leadership and How It Compares To Theranos and ENRON Leadership



Both female blonde CEO’s

Both demonstrate narcissistic tendencies

When confronted with negatively the person giving the negative statement are attacked.

Factually not true statements are a staple for their existence.

False information is given to investors, patients.

Lack of concern with false information

Reckless comments based on ignorance

Nepotism is a core hiring strategy

They try to convince everyone that everyone is stupid and that they are the brains of the operation

Whistleblowers exposed their gross negligence and maleficence

They view themselves as the victim

They blame the media, her employees and her lawyers for what happened

Manipulative to make people going. They hand out things that are 100% not true

Greed and Incredible Deception is eaten for all meals ingested by the CEO

Personal strategy is to Deny Deny Deny!


You get the picture….you see the similarities? Elizabeth Holmes was the CEO for Theranos. She pleaded not guilty last summer.  There are 16 million pages of documents that demonstrate the fraud she committed. She faces 20 years in prison.


At the end of a five-year investigation, the FBI discovered that Enron Corporation — an American energy, commodities and services company based in Houston, Texas —  who also used a variety of deceptive and fraudulent accounting practices to cover its financial reporting fraud. Corporate officers created the illusion that Enron was making profits in the billions, and its stock soared. Between 1996 and 2000, Enron reported an increase in revenue from $13.3 billion to $100.8 billion. However, the company was actually losing money.

When Lay was indicted for fraud, he conveniently blamed Skilling, Fastow and CAO Richard Causey for Enron's demise and denied he'd known anything about the accounting fraud. Before his trial, he insisted he was a victim in an interview with "60 Minutes," stating: "I don't think I'm a fool, but I think I was fooled … I can't take responsibility for the criminal conduct of someone inside the company."  Sound familiar?  What’s next for the leadership in Hamilton? The recent statement from the leadership of Hamilton are right out of the book of Lay and  Holmes.


Fraudsters, like Lay and Skilling, commonly proclaim their innocence by denying a guilty mental state. In a securities fraud case, for example, management will artificially inflate an organization's stock price and then claim it was only a temporary measure to get through a difficult period and not an attempt to deceive anyone. Or in an embezzlement case, the perpetrator will say he never intended to fraudulently take the money because it was only a temporary loan.


High-level executives and CEOs might try to distance themselves from fraudulent behavior by claiming ignorance to demonstrate they didn't know of any organizational fraud to minimize the chances of possible indictment. They'll argue that subordinates who orchestrated the fraud scheme kept them in the dark. At a recent council meeting it was stated by a member of council that they felt the mayor knew nothing of the issues at the animal shelter.  How can that be, she is the Public Safety Director. Her job and title dictate that she knows and knew everything.


In most criminal trials, prosecutors seeking a conviction must prove that the defendants showed a "guilty or culpable state of mind" — the legal concept of mens rea. Unfortunately for Lay and Skilling, Fastow testified at trial that his superiors encouraged him to make the financial health of the company look as positive as possible and to avoid public disclosure. So, the jury found that Lay and Skilling knew exactly what they were doing. The damsel in distress statements by the Hamilton leadership will not keep them out of orange jumpsuits.


Legislators, public employees, and other public servants may face severe consequences for violating the public trust. The range of penalties includes censure, removal from office, permanent disqualification from holding any state position, restitution, decades in prison, and fines up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Not all ethics violations are treated equally. Punishments correspond to how bad an instance of misconduct is viewed in the eyes of a state and in consideration of the harm a violation may cause. The most severe consequences are normally reserved for cases of bribery involving large sums or similar types of violations. Like most issues in ethics, however, states vary widely on the details. When Mayor Yaede came into office she disbanded the ethics board and for good reason. She and her team had a lot to accomplish.


The criminal justice process works separately from commissions and committees to impose punishments for wrongdoing. Each may discipline violators of ethics laws using criminal or administrative penalties, respectively, independently and concurrently, depending on the law violated.



New Jersey

Public corruption profiteering subject to penalties of $500,000, $25,000, or $75,000

depending upon severity, or three times the

 value of any property involved in the crime. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-8.

First degree crimes:

§  Corruption of public resources if the value of the resource is $500,000 or more

§   and subject to obligation to facilitate

§   a public service. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-12.

§  Punishable by term of imprisonment between 10 and 20 years. N.J. Stat. Ann.

§  § 2C:43-6. Restitution plus a fine of up

§  to $200,000. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:43-3.

Second degree crimes:

§  Pattern of official misconduct, if one of the acts is a first or second degree crime.

§  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-7.

§  Speculating or wagering on official action or information, unless benefit is of

§   $200 or less. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-3.

§  Official misconduct, unless benefit is of $200 or less. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-2.

§  Corruption of public resources if the value of the resource is between $75,000

§  and $500,000 and subject to obligation to facilitate

§  a public service, or over $500,000 if not. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-12.

§  Offer of unlawful benefit to public servant for official behavior, if over $200.

§   N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-11 & N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-10.

§  Bribery, if value is over $200. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-2.

§  Punishable by term of imprisonment between 5 and 10 years. N.J. Stat. Ann.

§   § 2C:43-6. Restitution plus a fine of up to $150,000. 

§  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:43-3.

Third degree crimes:

§  Pattern of official misconduct, if none of the acts is a first or second degree crime.

§  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-7.

§  Speculating or wagering on official action or information, if benefit is of $200 or less.

§   N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-3.

§  Official misconduct, if benefit is of $200 or less. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:30-2.

§  Corruption of public resources if the value of the resource is less than $75,000,

§  and subject to obligation to facilitate a

§   public service, or between $75,000 and $500,000 if not. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-12.

§  Unlawful benefit to public servant for official behavior, if under $200. N.J. Stat. Ann.

§  § 2C:27-11 & N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-10.

§  Improper influence in official and political matters. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-3.

§  Bribery, if value is $200 or less. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-2.

§  Punishable by term of imprisonment between 3 and 5 years. N.J. Stat. Ann.

§   § 2C:43-6. Restitution plus a fine of up to $15,000

§  . N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:43-3.

Fourth degree crimes:

§  Public servant transacting business with certain prohibited persons

§  (him or herself, a family member, associated business).

§   N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-9.

§  Corruption of public resources if the value of the resource is less than $75,000,

§  and not subject to obligation to facilitate a public

§  service. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-12.

§  Retaliation for past official action. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-5.

§  Punishable by term of imprisonment no more than 18 months. N.J. Stat. Ann.

§   § 2C:43-6. Restitution plus a fine of up to

§  $10,000. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:43-3.

Joint legislative ethics committee on ethical standards is able to impose, for violations

 of the state conflict of interest provisions:

 fine of between $500 and $10,000 per violation, reprimand, restitution, removal

from office, permanent disqualification from serving in public office in the state.

 N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13D-22.



013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Section 2C:30-2 - Official misconduct


Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 2C:30-2 (2013)

2C:30-2. Official misconduct
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit:

a. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized or he is committing such act in an unauthorized manner; or

b. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

Official misconduct is a crime of the second degree. If the benefit obtained or sought to be obtained, or of which another is deprived or sought to be deprived, is of a value of $200.00 or less, the offense of official misconduct is a crime of the third degree.












Did the leadership of HAMILTON TOWNSHIP commit an act of criminal coercion when they purposefully attempted to restrict a resident to obtain government records as the leadership is named as the defendant in a legal matter.  In addition did the leadership of Hamilton commit an fourth degree crime when they sent a township employee to a residents home, to harass them for challenging the leadership.


Let’s pay a visit to Mayor Yaede’s website… http://kellyyaede.com/about-kelly which was developed for her last campaign. I bet she wishes it was deleted now…..Well in case it disappears. Below is the exact text on the site. I would also bet in hindsight she should regret also giving herself the extra title of Public Safety Director.


Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly A. Yaede was sworn into office on November 30, 2012, as the first-female Mayor of our township. Subsequently, during a special election in November of 2013, she was overwhelmingly elected to the office of Mayor.

Mayor Yaede also serves as the Township’s Public Safety Director, overseeing the health, safety and general welfare of Hamilton’s nearly 90,000 residents. She is a spokesperson for the Hamilton Township Animal Shelter and an advocate for the residents, taxpayers and businesses of our community. Under her leadership, Mayor Yaede has prioritized open and accessible government by implementing an open-door policy for residents, enhancing the Township’s use of social media and outreach to better communicate with our community and by enacting the toughest ethics laws in Hamilton’s history.

During her tenure, Mayor Yaede has also worked to reduce government spending, enact a municipal budget with no tax increase and achieve a credit upgrade of the Township’s finances.

Mayor Yaede efforts in the area of economic development have led to several new businesses opening across our community, as well as the start of several, prominent revitalization projects that will reinvigorate historically underutilized sites.

Most notable has been Mayor Yaede’s leadership during several health-related and emergency situations that impacted our community during her term of service. During these crises, Mayor Yaede led local response efforts along with Township’s Division of Health and Office of Emergency Management by immediately assessing and addressing each situation, implementing the necessary corrective actions and the quickly communicating information to residents.

Mayor Yaede is a lifetime Hamilton Township resident, who is a graduate of Nottingham High School and Stockton State College.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Ms. Yaede served several terms as a member of the Hamilton Township Council, where she served as both Council President and Vice-President. She also previously served on the Hamilton Township Board of Education, during which time she aggressively advocated for, and successfully achieved, a new State educational funding formula that benefitted the Hamilton Public School District with additional funds.

Mayor Yaede’s career in public service includes work in both the State Executive and Legislative branches of government. Her private sector career includes working as the Senior Director of Corporate Relations of the American Cancer Society and as Vice President of Community Relations for Roma Bank. During that time, Mayor Yaede also served as the Co-Chair of the Hamilton Chapter of the Mid Jersey Chamber of Commerce.”


Well, Mayor Yaede states on her website…” Mayor Yaede also serves as the Township’s Public Safety Director, overseeing the health, safety and general welfare of Hamilton’s nearly 90,000 residents. She is a spokesperson for the Hamilton Township Animal Shelter and an advocate for the residents, taxpayers and businesses of our community.”

There are people in the leadership of Hamilton saying that Mayor Yaede new nothing of what occurred at the animal shelter. As the Public Safety Director it is her job and her sole responsibility to oversee it. As the spokesperson for the animal shelter she must know and be responsible for all aspects of the shelter.


What are the job details of the Public Safety Director for Hamilton…


Assumes full management responsibility for all Public Safety Department services and activities; manages the development and implementation of departmental goals, objectives, and priorities for each assigned service area; recommends and administers policies and procedures.

They are responsible for the plans, organization and directing the activities of the Public Safety Department, providing general law enforcement, criminal investigation, fire suppression and prevention, rescue services and emergency medical services, disaster responses, nuisance abatement, and code enforcement.  Oversees the hiring, supervision, training, evaluation and discipline of all department employees.  Ensures all local, State and Federal laws and ordinances are properly enforced. She is also responsible for developing the long-term plans to improve departmental operations.  Evaluates pending legislation and statutes and responds to changing regulations and technology regarding law enforcement and fire prevention and suppression through review of technical materials and professional education. Being able to develop annual department budgets for operations and equipment are also part of the role.  Also assists in developing long-range capital budgets for various public safety programs.  She also is responsible for monitoring the departmental budgets throughout the fiscal year and oversees the purchase and maintenance of equipment, vehicles, and supplies. In addition, she coordinates with the planning and zoning department including the enforcement of zoning regulations, nuisance ordinances and code enforcement.

The Public Safety director also establishes, within township policy, appropriate service and staffing levels; monitors and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery methods and procedures; allocates resources accordingly.  Planning, directing, and coordinating, through subordinate level staff, the Public Safety Department's work plan; assigns projects and programmatic areas of responsibility; reviews and evaluates work methods and procedures; meets with key staff to identify and resolve problems. So to say she knew nothing about the issues at the animal shelter is complete hogwash. Maybe she can get away with that as Mayor, but as the Public Safety director she cannot.

It is the responsibility of the PSD to responds to and resolve difficult and sensitive citizen inquiries and complaints; explains, justifies, and defends department programs, policies, and activities; negotiates and resolves sensitive and controversial issues.

The PSD also has to develop and administer departmental goals, objectives, and procedures. There must be a continued analysis and assessment of programs, policies, and operational needs and make appropriate adjustments expeditiously. 

Do you think the PSD for Hamilton failed the residents? You be the judge.


To ensure it does not disappear….screen captures below.









In 2015, Capodanno, a former councilman in the early 2000s, said Yaede should shed the title of public safety director and the police department should have daily crime briefings with the local media.

"One of the things that really bothers me the most is that when you're not aware of what's happening in your town when it comes to crime, that's when you're most vulnerable," Capodanno said.

"It's a quality of life issue," said Gambino, a former mayoral candidate.

Capodanno said Yaede appears out of touch by not talking about the heroin problem in Hamilton, but often referring to the township as "the big H."

"That's a street term for heroin," Capodanno said. "That shows you where her head's at."

 Below is the link the article in NJ.com: where her now running mate Capadanno shares his opinion of the Mayor.




"Yaede is putting politics above public safety," Capodanno said in the article a few years ago.

While Hamilton has had a string of burglaries recently, a carjacking at a local hospital and a shooting this past weekend, Yaede was on a golf course Monday raising funds and campaigning, Capodanno said.


The residents of Hamilton agree with Mr. Capadanno. Recently a resident at the Hamilton Council meeting brought up the fact that the Yaede campaign removed competitive campaign signs on the corner of Sandalwood and Sweetbriar to place a large sign for her campaign. However, the property they placed this sign on, owned by Vincent McDonald of Florida, has grass 20 inches high on it. The resident asked that the safety of pedestrians be on the forefront for the Mayor versus the destruction of competitive signage.  The next day the Mayor’s team came out and weed wacked a “makeshift sidewalk” for pedestrians, yet her signage remained. The grass is almost covering her sign completely at this point. Why not hold the resident accountable for not keep the property maintained? I bet research into how much money the McDonalds have given to her campaign in the past will show interesting information.

Residents are still waiting for answers to many questions…..such as…

What talent has Ms Yaede hidden from us that qualifies her to manage the 169 officers and to protect and serve us?

Why is it that we keep hearing reports of Yaede showing up at police calls and crime scenes when a civilian Public Safety Director is clearly prohibited from meddling at police crime scenes or police operations?

How much did that specially outfitted SUV cost the taxpayer?

Why does Yaede have police equipment in her SUV when it too, is clearly prohibited for civilian Public Safety directors?

If Yaede was insistent on playing Public Safety Director shouldn’t she at least have followed the Faulkner Act and the state statutes outlined therein and formally nominated herself, subjecting the nomination to public comment and Council approval as is required for all Director’s positions?

The 10 meetings of the PSAC actually brought up many serious issues, thoughts and ideas. How could Yaede put the safety of Policemen, Firemen and Hamiltonians at risk by ignoring and not acting on those issues?


Why is it that Yaede disputes a gang problem in Hamilton, yet her own government applied for a grant to fight gang related crime and the Public Safety Commission expressed its concerns about gangs in Hamilton at 3 meetings?

When will Yaede address the rampant increase in violent crime in Hamilton, particularly the armed robberies, assaults and shootings?


There is a perception that most of the new businesses in Hamilton are small businesses that will bring insufficient ratables to offset the businesses that have closed or left town. Rather then throwing random numbers about business openings, why did Yaede not provide documentation of the NET business growth or reduction and what value it will translate to in future tax revenues for the Budget?

If Ms Yaede believes in an open-door government why was she unable during her 6 years on Council and 1 year as Mayor to ever get the Council meetings televised so residents could see their government at work?

Why does it take nearly 6 months to get Council meeting minutes up on the Township website and why are some meeting minutes selectively missing?



The Mayor’s running mate said in 2009 in at a council meeting….


Tuesday, June 16, 2009



VINCENT CAPODANNO, 4134 South Broad Street:  You should all be ashamed of yourselves, except for Kevin.  It took a judge to bring yous here to have Britton come back with a bid.  Apparently, the other bidder Reliable slapped you in the face with a $39,000 bid.  And there is no more wood chips or whatever there.  I guess what’s ever there really doesn’t amount to nothing.  I don’t think you have learned your lesson.  Once again, you’ve lost in court.  Once again, a judge had to bring you here.  And yet, all of yous just sit here like you didn’t do nothing wrong.  




MR. CAPODANNO:  I’m talking here.


PRESIDENT YAEDE:  (gavel) Mr. Capodanno.


COUNCILMAN KENNY:  You want to make accusations.


MR. CAPODANNO: You know what you got a whole….He interrupted me.


COUNCILMAN KENNY:  You’re saying things that are incorrect.


MR. CAPODANNO: He has a couple of hours to sit up here and politic about everything.


VICE-PRESIDENT GOODWIN:  Talk about politics.


PRESIDENT YAEDE:  Mr. Capodanno, please do not bring up politics.


MR. CAPODANNO:  Don’t bring up politics, that’s all you do is politic.


PRESIDENT YAEDE:  Mr. Capodanno, please stick to the resolution.


MR. CAPODNANO:  The resolution is that even a judge that had to bring you here, you still don’t get it.  You caused a local company to spend hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars and you’re not even ashamed of your actions.  So now, go ahead and say whatever you have to say.



What happens when Lack of experience is ignored? Newsweek this week and numerous media outlets have published that this week for the town of Hamilton.


Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri announced the charges Friday as part of an investigation by his Humane Law Enforcement Unit (HLEU).  Todd Bencivengo, 56, of North Hanover, and Jeffrey Plunkett, 62, of Hamilton, are each charged with two counts of third-degree animal cruelty and one count of second-degree official misconduct.

Prosecutors say that, while investigators uncovered multiple examples of mismanagement, there was insufficient evidence to establish any additional criminal charges. Administrative aspects of the investigation are being handled by the Hamilton Township Council.


Both men are scheduled to appear in court on May 21.

The mismanagement of Hamilton stems beyond the animal shelter for the leadership of Hamilton.  When  an OPRA was done for the SOP’s for the school systems from the Board of Health recently, the results demonstrated zero SOP’s exist.  The dates that were asked for were a few years prior the  youth who died in Hamilton from EVD68 and the range ended with the day the 4 year old died.  Prior to the death of the young boy, there was a nation wide epidemic occuring of EVD68. Forty-three states according to the CDC were affected prior to the death in Hamilton. Yet, when the Director of Public Health and the Director of Public Safety came to a public forum they both stated, “We never heard of EVD68.”  During the public forum the leadership stated that the schools were not rigorously cleaned to avoid the spread of EVD68. It was not until the death of the young boy that SOP’s were scripted. We are not sure if the SOP

S were ever implemented. This is a very concerning  pattern a behavior that exist with the leadership of Hamilton. The leadership owns what happened at that shelter as does the mayor.


Let's not forget the other suboptimal events that occurred under the “watch” of the Hamilton leadership.


-A Bloodmobile at Oktoberfest.

-Flu Shots at Oktoberfest that were kept in a box with no cooling mechanism.  The leadership had a Drug store come to the event. It was an unseasonable day, 80 degrees that day.  A resident received one of those shots and got sick from it. This was reported to the CDC. When Mr. Plunkett was approach on the issue he stated this he has nothing to do with the supplier coming to the event. He only coordinated it.

-A resident a few years back went on a trip to Peru and unfortunately got sick on the day of their return. They contracted two different types of bacteria. Evidently from Chui and cheese. The doctors caring for the resident, couldn't figure out what was wrong with the resident. The resident’s doctor eventually did a unique blood test to help diagnosis the patient. That unique blood test triggers an automatic notification to the health department.  The health department should have contacted the resident immediately. They contacted the resident almost two months after their return from Peru.


In Jan 2016, Mayor Yaede nominated Jeff Plunkett to director. Why was this done? What qualifications did council review to make this decision?  


"Through Mayor Yaede's leadership, Hamilton has realized a sense of pride in our community, public confidence that the township is headed in the right direction and a sense of trust that our local government is prepared to respond to issues and challenges that we may face," he said. "I consider it a privilege to be asked to join Mayor Yaede's cabinet team and I'm eager to continue my public service to help protect the health and safety of our community in this new role." From 2016 NJ.com article


In Feb 2013, Hamilton's mayor asked the town council to abolish Hamilton’s ethics panel and turn enforcement of the code of ethics for public employees and officials over to the state’s Local Finance Board.  She did this for good reason. So that her staff could run amok.  One of her directors has been named as taking 69 free rounds of golf as a government employee. This same employee never disclosed this information on the required Federal disclosure forms.  The rules are for everyone except the Mayor of Hamilton and her staff.


The mayor’s request to abolish the ethics panel, along with the reforms of contracting procedures that are in the works for the township and the school district, was supposed to be a part of an effort to restore Hamilton residents’ faith in their government after the depressing revelations that emerged when former Mayor John Bencivengo and an aide were convicted on federal corruption. She has does little to nothing to restore any residents faith in government. The mayor has made it a point to hire her relatives, sister-in-laws , brother in laws and others for a high ranking position.


The Center for Public Integrity ranked New Jersey first among the states for “transparency and accountability in state government,” with “some of the toughest ethics and anti-corruption laws in the nation. However, bridgegate, Barbiegate, and lots of other corrupt tales have been flying out of New Jersey of late.



Among the things that clearly impressed the center were the state’s Uniform Ethics Code, with its ban on nepotism, zero tolerance for gifts, stringent post-employment restrictions and extensive training protocols; its powerful State Ethics Commission, with a majority of its members from outside government, which investigates complaints, holds regular hearings and delivers penalties for violations; it’s tough pay-to-play law that bars political contributions by vendors; the easy access for the public to officials’ financial disclosure statements, and the anonymous hotline on which citizens can ask questions and report possible wrongdoing.


The laws are clear in NJ. What the Hamilton administration has been allowed to go on is against the law. Will anything will happen to those who broke the law? Let’s see the week of the 20th.



The NJ State laws are:



 New Jersey

·        Public official, directly or indirectly offers, confers or agrees to confer upon another, or solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from another any benefit as consideration for a decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or exercise of discretion of a public servant, party official or voter on any public issue or in any public election, or any benefit as consideration for a decision, vote, recommendation or exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding (Bribery in official and political matters)

·        Acceptance or receipt of unlawful benefit by public servant for official behavior

·        Official misconduct

CC §2C:27-2

CC §2C:27-10

 CC §2C:30-2




If the bribe/benefit is $200 or less, Crime of the third degree
Max. imprisonment  3-5 years; max. fine $15,000

If bribe is more than $200, Crime of the second degree
Max. imprisonment  5-10 years; max. fine $150,000


·        Public servant , while performing his official functions on behalf of a governmental entity, knowingly transacts any business with himself, a member of his immediate family, or a business organization in which the public servant or an immediate family member has an interest (Unlawful official business transaction where interest is involved)

CC §2C:27-9

Crime of the fourth degree
Max. imprisonment  18 months; max. fine $10,000


·        Representation, appearance or negotiation, directly or indirectly, for acquisition or sale of property by state

·        Representation of state agency in transaction involving pecuniary interest

·        Disclosure or use for personal gain of information not available to public

·        Solicitation, receipt or agreement to receive thing of value for service related to official duties

EC §52-13D-21(i)

EC §52:13D-15

EC §52:13D-20

EC §52:13D-25

EC §52:13D-24


Max. fine $500 - $10,000; suspension from office for 1 year; if decided to be willful and continuous disregard of the code of ethics, may be removed from office and may further bar from holding any public office in the State for a 5 year period.


A resident that sat on the economic development board for 1.5 years. They resigned from the board due to the unprofessional aspects and lack of integrity of the township.  The way volunteers were treated was despicable. The lack of integrity demonstrated by township employees was despicable as well.  Their financial papers, invoices, etc were in complete disarray for the board.


The township employees have to sit through "integrity training" which in the past was actually taught by the township’s insurance company. There are normally zero township officials at the training. Only the worker bees and volunteers (at least at the scheduled training I attended). The HR team from the twp also does attend the training it is rumored.


It was clear from the townships insurance company that after the training that if anyone ignored the training aspects and the township was sued for something an employee/volunteer did, and they were trained on this aspect, that employee/volunteer would not be covered under the townships policy. They would need to hire their own lawyer and the township would not help them in any way.  So, will Plunkett and Todd have to hire their own lawyers? Will others?


The integrity policy that the township has does not have the teeth in it as the Mayor touts. It is nothing more than a memo, see link below.  





This memo which was written by the prior mayor who went to jail.  It makes reference to a state policy, but the township does not share this state policy with anyone who is asked to sign this memo. One would think they would have the link directly to the State policy near the memo. This is not the case. Clarity on these types of issues is the only way to ensure everyone understands the policy.



In an article by the Trentonian they make reference to a statement by the Mayor.


"In a memo dated Feb. 4, 2013, Yaede informed all township employees, including police officers, that “gifts and other things of value that are otherwise permissible to accept may be impermissible if they are used or displayed in an inappropriate manner, such as in a manner that may create an impression of favoritism or endorsement.”


Any government employee worth the honor of holding office or having a government job, knows full well that they cannot take ANY gift EVER. There are no exceptions. They cannot take even a pencil. If you do, you are out of a job, instantly. So, is this why the township employee thought it was okay to take 69 rounds of free golf?


This Hamilton leaderships law is not worth paper it is written on. There is no accountability demonstrated to those who break the laws. A few years ago an employee was arrested for possession and distribution of drugs who worked in compliance and planning. They still have their job with the township, nothing happened.


There is never follow up or accountability given for breaking the law with the current administration. They have a social media policy that their own employees do not follow. There are directors within the township that post inappropriate items constantly. There are no repercussions for that. 


If Hamilton really wants to have "teeth" in their law they will formally prosecute all the people involved with destroying government records over the years. The now retired employee who during his employment thought it was ok to take 69 rounds of golf for free should also be prosecuted. All of the digital files and email prior to July 2010 have been destroyed.  There was no certification done to formally destroy these records. This is against the law, a serious violation of the law. One that should not be ignored as well. Why is the township clerk, mayor and her administration not being held accountable? The same person who took 69 free rounds of gold was the same person in charge of all of the IT (internet and computers)  for the township. 


This tale is all too familiar in Hamilton, Mercer County. The last mayor went to jail. The new one looks like she is on the runway ready to take off to the land of orange jumpsuits. She cannot possibly state she knew nothing of her directors lack of integrity. This is a mayor who deliberately ignores numerous public safety issues, allows her directors to break the law, has 15 double dippers on the payroll who are draining the pension system.  She has also has hired her family members, allowed the destruction of public records with no certification for the destruction of the records, the list goes on and on.


When residents asked the Hamilton mayor what happened to the calming measures that were supposed to be installed in residential neighborhoods, they got zero response. The contractor who was hired to do the work has financially supported the mayor’s campaigns with thousands of dollars in the past. The contractor is also personal friends with the mayor. The calming measures were never installed, and the contract given to the contractor was over $400,000 higher than the other bids given to the town. Today, residents are dealing with tractor trailers speeding through their neighborhoods with toxic with anything from gasoline, explosive materials, oversided loads, etc.  Residents have been fighting for years to get this changed. It looked like a decade of fighting for the residents will allow them to win this fight. The calming measures won’t go in, but signage to ban tractor trailers in the residential area of Cornell Heights will happen shortly.

We give the town of Hamilton, Mercer County an F-- for integrity and an A++ for wasting taxpayers dollars and forgetting what public service really means. It does not mean.....steal all you can from taxpayers, hire your family, ignore public safety, etc The current leadership is on the same road as the prior mayor.




Additional tidbits on Hamilton….For women's history month, the Mayor of Hamilton Township claimed herself the first female elected to that office.  This is a fact.  However, sadly her record doesn't reflect that she has used this historic milestone to promote other women, .  In her first year, she dissolved The Advisory Commission on the Status of Women that had been productive under another township Mayor, Glen Gilmore.  During Mayor Gilmore's term former Councilwoman Eileen P. Thornton organized and got sponsors for annual events at Kuser Mansion in March for Women's History Month and another in August at Sayen House and Gardens for Women's Equality Day.  Women were invited to come to hear a guest speaker and enjoy refreshments provided by sponsors of the event.  Now we celebrate women's history month with a Letter to the Editor from the Mayor. Also, notable is that Ms. Yaede has not given a position in her Cabinet to a woman, nor has she appointed any women to lead or be part of one of the Township Boards or Commissions.  For the most part the Mayor just says she is a woman and the first one to be elected in Hamilton as Mayor and will tell little girls they can grow up and be just like her.  Well, let’s hope that does not happen, unless they aspire to be like the executives from ENRON and Theranos.  

Posted by tammyduffy at 9:31 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 May 2019 9:33 PM EDT
Sunday, 5 May 2019
Transparency of Local Government




Transparency of Local Government 



 Where is the Harinet, ponytie or hair restriction device? #abovethelaw



Transparency is an important principle of good governance since a degree of clarity and openness about how decisions are taken can help to build the capacity of the poor and/or marginalized to play a role in policy formulation and implementation; to influence these decisions that affect their lives; and to encourage.




Excessive secrecy can undermine the quality of public decision-making and prevent citizens from checking the abuses of public power. This can have a corrosive effect on virtually all aspects of society and governance. Transparency -- in terms of both information disclosure and dissemination and access to decision-making -- is therefore very important as it better enables civil society to:



• hold government and/or key decision-makers to account;


• promote good governance;


• improve public policy and efficiency;


• combat corruption.




Recently I sent in two OPRA requests. One for the gun range, the other for emails related to the Synnergy project.   April 2018 I sent these to the clerk’s office.  I got responses, however they refused to share any of the information. They said none exists.  This is a preposterious response by the town. 




The township has broken their contract with the residents. They have forgotten that the resident’s matter, that we pay their salaries. The level of disrespect that the Mayor’s office has for residents, the negative culture they have created for the township employees has bred a dangerous environment for all those involved.  The oldest and simplest justification for government is as protector: protecting citizens from violence. The idea of government as protector requires taxes to fund, train and equip an army and a police force; to build courts and jails; and to elect or appoint the officials to pass and implement the laws citizens must not break.  The leaders also need to not break the laws, they are not above them. Elected Officials' have very clear Duties & Responsibilities. It is the duty of the mayor, clerk, and councilmembers to ensure the city fulfills its duties under the law and lawfully exercises its powers. When they do not, there must be accountability. Recently, our MCPO held employees of the township accountable. Our Mayor refuses to accept this accountability. That is not acceptable and is preposterous.


It also is preposterous, that I had to push back a total of 5 times collectively on the two recent OPRA requests. Asking the clerk’s office, “I respectfully ask you to reconsider and re-evaluate your response.”   They sent one piece of information to me after the 5th request.  The residents took the only route available to them – they went to court.  Residents are fed up with this approach by the Mayor’s toxic culture.  The one OPRA request asked for all invoices for the firing range behind American Metro Way for the last few years. Two years ago we asked for the same information. The response to that OPRA request was, “there is no firing range.” UNREAL!  Now, at least they are acknowledging the existence of the firing range, but only would send an invoice by GRES paving for the years we asked, and its well aware to all that there was a lot of work done there over the past 3 years.  Do you think that is representative of transparency?  You be the judge.




The other OPRA request we sent up we asked for all of the emails between the Mayor, and all her directors, between Synnergy and their attorney over the past few years.  They came back with there are no emails in existence, even after we pushed back several times. Do you think that is representative of a transparent government? How can there be ZERO emails between all those people for the last several years. (solar project on Sweetbriar ave)


The rise in government secrecy carries a big cost. When governments have to defend lawsuits or other proceedings challenging their practices, the public bears the expense. When governments fail to post documents on a website and instead respond to repeated queries from the public by photocopying the same material again and again, there is waste. Perhaps most significantly, lack of transparency poses a major risk to good government: When the public is shut out and information is hard to get, governments can mask poor practices, corruption, waste, fraud and abuse.




The blame game continues as Republican Mayor Kelly Yaede rebukes her GOP opponent and political adversaries for filing Open Public Records Act requests.


The increase is because of a failure in transparency. Taxpayers have the right to information. This administration simply cannot accept that residents will not accept their lack of transparency.  Taxpayers have the right to information. This administration simply cannot accept that.


Mayor Yaede’s poorly thought out press releases are consistent with her other actions. In 2016, Mayor Yaede and the council correctly put into place an ordinance banning the sales of dogs and cats, except those that are rescue animals, at retail pet stores. However, Mayor Yaede recently admitted to buying a puppy from a pet store called the Puppy Palace in a nearby community. In other words, Mayor Yaede circumvented the very law she put into place. Even worse, Mayor Yaede sent a message that it is better to obtain pets from shady pet stores rather than saving lives from the town’s animal shelter. If that was not enough, Mayor Yaede brought her dog to a park where dogs are not allowed. Even worse, the Trentonian newspaper said Mayor Yaede contacted the Hamilton Little League President to make excuses for the mayor. While I do not approve of banning dogs from parks, Mayor Yaede’s total disregard for the law and her attempt to get others to excuse it speaks volumes about her character.  Remember the photo opp she took at the local sandwich shops opening, where she made her own steak sandwich. No hairnet, no hat above the grill. All food handlers must have their hair covered. There is not a clause in the law that saws, except when Mayor Yaede is at the grill.




Article on the HAIR issue below from 2015….








Mayor Yaede’s team overseeing the shelter proved the current team running the facility lack the ability to impact positive change. In order to solve a problem, one must acknowledge the problem exists. She refuses to acknowledge a problem existed at the shelter, ever.  But remember the playgrounds…again “best playgrounds in the county”.  Remember when she denied that there was a gang issue a drug issue in our town. When she nicknamed our town the “Big H”, all the while acutely unaware of the street name for heroin was the Big H.  Let’s not forget the famous, ”Crime as low as 1977 she trumpeted for quite a long time. There is a disturbing pattern here. 


The township will pay out $50,000 and spend $75,000 on special environmental projects as part of a broad settlement it reached with Save Hamilton Open Space, ending a decade-old legal battle centered around a housing development.


The township was sitting in proverbial hot water ever since the Hamilton Township Planning Board fully approved a major subdivision for developer Gres and Kaluzny Land Development in 2005, which smoothed the path for Christopher Estates to be built on a 7.68-acre plot at Laura and Evelyn avenues in the Cornell Heights neighborhood.


The developer built 16 homes and a detention basin facility, but Save Hamilton Open Space, a New Jersey nonprofit corporation, has alleged the basin was improperly designed.


This basin didn’t infiltrate because the soils were not of the right nature, Hamilton should have never approved it. But it went through.


When Hamilton Township Council authorized the settlement a few years ago, at a public meeting, the township’s then attorney, Lindsay Burbage, publicly stated that the township was “technically in violation of our permit” by approving the basin design. “It’s technically a failed technology,” he said, noting the township is committed to remediating the problem. Burbage at that council meeting also disclosed that the township is suing the builder.


“The basin doesn’t drain quickly enough, and it creates some mosquito problems. The township has filed a lawsuit against Gres and Kaluzny seeking to get the developer to bring the basin into compliance with state and local storm management regulations. This still is not done.  This has caused a negative environmental impact to the community.


Defining the matter as “strictly an engineering issue,” is the position of the Gres and Kaluzny “The township engineers approved and came out on site and they signed off on everything, just like any other development would be. We build what the engineer says.”


I have attended numerous council meetings in past years as well. What is clear is that the residents are angry with the Mayor. She owns this chaos.  The dishonesty, the lack of accountability, the ignoring of residents is despicable.  Her responses to the recent animal shelter investigative results is in a word….certifiable and very concerning to residents. 


She refuses to get in front of the town, where residents do not have to pay a fee to speak to her. This is not acceptable. She must address what is happening and stop going into hiding and trumpeting, it’s a political witch hunt.


God bless the current council, the MCPO and all the residents who joined forces to hold the administration accountable when the administration refused to acknowledge the issues.




There is a complete lack of concern for the residents and their safety. For over 10 years we have been fighting to get the tractor trailers off our roads in Cornell Heights. It took OPRA requests, letters to DOT, letters to the Governor, Congress, presentations at council to finally get a firm commitment this past week from Dave Kenny that the signage is on the horizon.  I was told he stated, “this should have happened from the beginning.” I was not on the phone to hear that directly, but it should have. Why does it take ten years and fighting with the administration to make this happen? It was slated to happen with the construction of American Metro Way, who let this not happen. Why did the administration not hold the developers accountable for not doing it? Where is the series of checks and balances on the township?  This however, is the typical atmosphere with the current administration…..the animal shelter, OPRA requests, construction, etc.  It is not acceptable.




The residents have created a bond, a strong bond that will never go away. We will refuse to take this nonsense anymore. This is our legacy. This is our town. What will be the Mayor’s legacy. I think Newsweek did that for her this week.  The resident revolution will continue, we will continue to hold you accountable for not meeting needs of the community, for illegal behaviors, for ignoring the safety of the community.






If you are honestly concerned about the anger and “civility” of residents, and I know that you are not, you should step in and meet with them directly in town hall style settings, where they could speak directly to you and get answers to their questions and concerns straight from you, not having to ask council so that council can then ask the business agent and then, if we’re lucky, we get an answer at the next meeting in two weeks or a month later. Wouldn’t that be nice, having a mayor who doesn’t hide from the people she is paid to serve, protected by an armed security detail, and using layers of buffers to shield herself from the very residents who pay her salary?


It should go without saying that candidates should definitely not steal their opponents’ yard signs. Incredibly, however, enough candidates have been caught stealing signs that it warrants a mention: don’t steal signs. Not only is it unethical, it can result in hefty fines and, frankly, it’s just bad PR. Instead of Yaede campaign stealing Henderson signs....how about they focus om the fact where they placed the sign.....and removed Dave’s sign; the grass is over 20 inches high. Did Mayor Yaede not notice that? That the resident that they had an opponent’s sign removed in in violation of a township ordinance as it pertains to lawn maintenance? Why is this overlooked?  Why is the safety of the residents who are forced to walk in the street on sweetbriar where this new huge sign is by Mayor Yaede? There is no sidewalk or road shoulder in front of this vacant property and adding the tall grass growing, the large political sign, is a recipe for a future pedestrian fatality. 




In closing, let’s not forget our sweet animals. The revolution to safeguard them has only begun by the residents of Hamilton. Below is a link to a story that focuses on an interview of an industry expert that focuses on the mismanagement of euthanasia at the shelter.  






God Bless the residents of Hamilton, keep holding the administration accountable. 






Posted by tammyduffy at 10:44 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 5 May 2019 11:40 AM EDT
Sunday, 28 April 2019
Mountain Climbing Leadership



 Mountain Climbing Leadership









Leadership is a lot like climbing a mountain. The ascent can be grueling, and the path is uncertain, but the reward comes from successfully navigating every challenge and reaching the metaphorical peak. Applying this analogy, it’s worth considering your motivation for making the climb in the first place. Also, where are you climbing to, and where are you on the mountain right now? Who is your executive coach/mentor who will serve as your mountain guide/Sherpa? And who has joined the climbing team that will help you reach the top? These are all relevant questions for any leader/mountaineer.


In business as in mountain climbing, advance preparation is critical. Being prepared means having a detailed plan, adequate supplies, and the proper physical and mental training to overcome any potential adversities. Consider the start of a new leadership role as your chance to set up your base camp.  Assemble your inner circle of advisors and build momentum for the big climb ahead. Remember, that initial period will set the tone for your entire ascent up the Mountain of Leadership, so stay positive.


Sometimes, the smartest route isn’t a straight path forward. When a sudden storm overtakes the mountainside, survival may depend on a climber’s ability to beat a fast retreat back to Base Camp. Business leaders should have similar agility and a willingness to make tough decisions on the go. In addition to adverse weather conditions, mountaineers face a lethal threat from the lack of oxygen at extreme heights. For this reason, they often make their ascents in staggered stages. For instance, they will climb from Base Camp to Camp 1 first. Then they will go back down to Base Camp, before ascending to Camp 2, etc. In this way, their lungs and blood become acclimatized over time in order to reach the peak.


Mountain climbing teams need to maximize every person’s skills and fill in the gaps for any shortcomings. Leaders are responsible for pulling the whole group together. Some climbers may have exceptional strength to carry heavy loads, while others have strong endurance to drive trails over deep snowdrifts and steep cliffs. Some may have upbeat personalities that lift up team morale when things go badly, while still others are accomplished cooks who can even make stale rations taste delicious for the climbing team.


Experienced mountain climbers are cautious to never make a trek alone, because teamwork is essential from a safety standpoint. In case of injuries or mishaps, other members of the team can assist by mending a wound, carrying an extra load, or sharing their provisions. Also, in the case of sudden storms or blizzards, teammates are there to support each other and quickly shelter in place. What’s that old adage? If you don’t succeed at first, try, try again. That saying applies equally well to business leadership and mountain climbing. After all, when someone asked British mountaineer George Leigh Mallory why he wanted to scale Mount Everest in the 1920s, he is said to have replied, “Because it’s there.”  




Mountain climbing is an odyssey which gives me ample time to think deeply about life, my inner peace, friends, family what my next steps in life.


When you are part of a team with a clear, audacious goal like climbing Mt. Everest or any of the 7 summits,  it focuses the mind. It influences every little decision you make each day. Little things that might subtract from the goal fall by the wayside. There’s a big difference in the clarity and urgency of those goals. These little everyday decisions, to stay disciplined and focused on an overarching goal with a non-negotiable deadline, make a huge difference over time. Usually, there’s a way to accommodate another goal if you think about it.


Guides on the mountains I have climbed all have a crystal clear mandate—get as many members of your team up to the summit and back home safely. Some of this depends on the strength of the team members to begin with, and their level of commitment. But every day is mapped out to allow for gradual acclimatization to altitude, and to maximize team health and strength. Some wiggle room is built in to adjust for the right weather window of opportunity. Details matter. For example, a few guide services on Everest a few years ago switched to new oxygen regulators and masks. These regulators were defective. When these oxygen masks failed for quite a few climbers and guides, above 8,000 meters (26,000 feet), that’s a deadly serious situation. It forces everyone to immediately descend. Summit bids were lost for dozens of climbers because someone screwed up a pretty basic thing. Ouch.  There were a thousand other details to pay attention to on a mountain quest. Many expedition leader’s are quite businesslike in keeping strict schedules. If they said we would leave Base Camp at 3 am, they meant 3 am, not 3:05 am or 3:15 am. No lollygagging, no begging to sleep in. This was for a good reason: they wanted to make sure our team would pass through the Khumbu Icefall or other mountains ascents—the most dangerous part of the mountain —during the cold hours of the early morning, when melting and avalanche risk were at a minimum. If you were struggling in the morning, there was a simple solution. Get to bed earlier the previous night. Having a clear, overarching goal acts like a forcing function that influences a thousand little decisions, in a positive way. As the leader,  the main goal is to set a deliberate, but quick pace that everyone could keep up with, and that allowed for safe travel while clipped to the rope. Efficiency in this sense goes hand-in-hand with safety—the more time spent on the course, the higher the chances are that an avalanche or rockfall or something else bad might happen. There would be plenty of other times and places for taking photos and savoring the moment.


Selfish behavior, when allowed, tolerated or even rewarded, is corrosive to team morale. It can quickly devolve into every-man-for-himself selfishness. On the mountain, consider carrying weight. Every ounce counts. Each Sherpa, and each climber, was expected to carry certain pieces of gear, and a certain number of oxygen bottles on the high part of the mountain. Want to foist an extra eight-pound bottle onto your Sherpa to lighten your pack? Want to pay extra for the privilege? Not happening. My respect and allegiance for the expedition leader grew immensely when I saw how he responded to an individual who consistently put selfish interests ahead of the team. Leaders have to be clear, consistent, polite and firm in situations. If you can’t carry your gear, maybe you need to stop climbing. No, you can’t have an extra oxygen bottle cranked up to the max. No, the monks said we can’t take photos inside the monastery we visited on the trek. That means you, too. Making exceptions here and there would take a toll on other members of the team who have to pick up the slack. On the flip side, we gained strength as a team, and became more cohesive, by helping each other out. When someone helped me with a small thing, like checking whether a backpack strap is properly fastened, I’m more motivated to help out that person the next time they need a hand. This can become a positive feedback loop, where everyone is looking out for everyone else. Once that team ethic is established, you can be confident the team would mobilize in case we ran into a serious all-hands-on-deck situation.


As long as the weather patterns appeared to remain favorable for the extended forecast, many leaders prefer that we hang back at Base Camp, maintaining team strength with decent food and water and supplies. We would make our move later. This was going to test everyone’s patience. It’s far longer than anything any of us had done before. This is also a tough test mentally. On Everest, from Base Camp (17,500 feet), you go up to Camps 1 and 2 for a few days to acclimate, then descend back to Base Camp to breathe thicker air and maintain strength. A week or so later, you go up on another push, this time for another five days all the way up to Camp 3 (23,500 feet). Then, again, you descend back to rest at Base Camp, because it’s so hard for the body to spend much time above 18,000 feet.  Climbers sit and sometimes wonder: What if the weather window closes, the monsoon arrives early, and none of us get to summit? Leaders are steadfast in this strategy from beginning to end. If there were a few unhappy campers, then he would just have to explain his reasoning one more time.


On our summit rotation push, we had a problem. At a break spot, one climber set down his helmet on the ice, without securely clipping it to his backpack. Whoosh! Down the mountain it went. No way could anyone go down to retrieve it, we’d never find it. No way could this climber go up the mountain without a helmet—it wouldn’t be safe. None of us carried spares. We were on a steep. That was followed by an uncomfortable silence. None of us had experienced a setback like this. After a few minutes, one of the guides improvised a work-around. The guide in back would loan his helmet to the climber so he could continue upward. One guide would hang back at the break area, checking with descending Sherpa for an extra. Luckily, it worked out. There was no finger-pointing, no recriminations, no yelling. Maybe there was some muttering about carelessness. But mistakes will happen on any long journey. The key is always in how you adapt and move forward.


We all make snap judgments about people. It’s human nature, part of how we navigate the world. When our team gathered at the hotel in Kathmandu, we all sized each other up—old, young, male, female, fit, or maybe less fit and less likely to summit. But when you are on a climbing crucible with a small group, eating three meals a day together, the superficial stuff fades away. You get to know people at a deeper level. That person who might seem like a jerk may have sides to his personality you don’t see at first. One of my Everest guides, after 20 years of leading expeditions, said he’s learned to disregard his own first impressions of people. Appearances aren’t just deceiving. They are almost always wrong. Take this example. One member of our team had a habit of making rude, abrasive, smart-aleck remarks. Casual insults would spill forth on the trail, at dinner, around camp. “One of these days, you’re going to have to learn how to dress yourself,” this guy blurted to a teammate who was struggling in the wee hours, getting ready for the day’s climb. The other teammate threatened to “kick his ass” and the offender apologized. These sorts of remarks bugged people. They create a sort of cumulative toxicity. At Base Camp, in my pen-and-paper journal, I wrote, “Let the insults, put-downs and snide remarks roll off my back.” I’m glad I held my tongue. Over time, this tough, Type A achiever revealed himself to be a good teammate. Some abrasiveness, it turned out, stemmed from some tensions at home that had nothing to do with any of us. It also became clear this person had a kind and empathetic and generous streak.


This is a phrase used by the Natural Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)—an excellent nonprofit leadership development organization. This concept is all about remaining calm and resilient in the unpredictable outdoor environments. It’s not about “suffering at all costs.” It is about maintaining self-control, and focusing on the things you can control. Namely, your own thoughts. You can’t control the weather, for instance. There’s no point in complaining about it. You can, if it’s raining, put on rain gear. If it’s too windy to move, you can stay in your tent a while. My tolerance for adversity has been tested during climbs.  I had fitful sleep. I’d wake up, feel like I was suffocating, and gasp for breath. Panicky thoughts creeped in. “How will I climb tomorrow without sleeping?” I’d ask myself at 2 am. This sort of negative self-talk is common, guides say. But I also knew these negative thoughts weren’t going to do me or anyone on the team any good. So, I would force myself to focus on more positive thoughts. I’d say to myself, “I’m always better when I wake up in the morning, get some food and water, and start climbing again.” That helped put me in the right frame of mind the next day. Everyone had their moments when they had to think hard about the fine line between sucking it up with “tolerance for adversity” and when they were pushing it too far.  Our leaders have always cheered for us when we summited.  Failure is inevitable if you’re reaching for big goals. If you hit all your goals, you’re not reaching far enough. So, I look at failure as part of the process. That’s the kind of “tolerance for adversity” that it takes to achieve the big goals.


This was one source of disappointment. Our team, myself included, had a lot of gadgets. Smartphones, cameras, Garmin watches, video and more. We had a spotty Wi-Fi connection at Base Camp, and spotty cell phone service there at 17,500 feet. For sure, it was nice to call family. It was nice to log on to Twitter, and share the occasional photo update. But. But. But. This constant connectivity had its downside. Some of my favorite moments on the climb were on the high mountain when we had no connectivity at all. Distractions are one thing, misinformation was another. For example, there was plenty of half-baked weather forecast information to chew over online, which provided fodder to second-guess our guide. We all knew the guides were taking into account historical weather models, updated satellite data and forecasts from multiple competing meteorologists, combined with first-person feedback they got via radio from people stationed at different spots on the mountain. Yet there we were debating a superficial website with junk data. In human activities that require long and hard concentration, the smartphone can be more of an enemy than a friend. If you allow it.


I paid close attention to Sherpa culture on the mountain. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. And yet these people work hard, and value their families. They seem happier on balance than most people I know in the wealthiest country in the world. One of my fellow climbers, a successful businessman and worldly individual from Mexico City, had a habit of saying “Thank you, my friend,” at the end of sentences. Whenever the assistant cook at Base Camp would bring us tea or bread or anything else, this climber would always say “Thank you, my friend,” with genuine warmth. He was treating others as he would like to be treated. The spirit of gratitude and generosity can be infectious. At our Puja ceremony before we began our climb from Base Camp, gratitude was everywhere. The Sherpa were there, making their offerings to the Chomolungma, the Mother Goddess of Earth, as Everest is considered in Tibetan Buddhist culture.


At our Puja, we listened to a Buddhist monk chant. We flung grains of rice in the air near the rock altar. The scent of burning juniper and sage filled the air. We drank a little rice wine (not too much). We laid down our sharp items, crampons and ice axes, at the altar, asking the Mother Goddess to allow us safe passage up the mountain. We smeared tsampa (barley flour) over our faces, as the Sherpa blessed us all, and themselves, for not just a safe climb, but for long life. There were hugs galore.




I call the guide “the trust-builder.” Not only do you build trust in the guide, but you also build trust in yourself. When you climb on a rope, often the guide would go first, and then there would be four or five team members. Now, the guide’s gone up and he’s around the corner. You can’t see the guide. I now am climbing, and I have someone behind me. That means I have to go up 120 feet and get on a ledge. Now I’m responsible for the person coming behind me.


So, not only do I have to build trust in myself, and my feet, I also have to earn the trust of the person behind me who’s going to say to me, “Buddy, I am now climbing. My life is in your hands.” The great English sociologist Anthony Giddens came up with a beautiful little statement: “Trust is precisely the link between faith and confidence.”


You want people to have faith in their feet, faith in their capacity to climb, and faith in their guide. But faith, in a way, is like hope. You know, “I hope I can climb. I hope my guide’s a good one.” What you really want is confidence. Trust is that link between just faith and real confidence. That’s where guides really shine.


It’s a thing that I’ve seen. I’ve seen a guide at 13,000 or 14,000 feet turn to a first-time climber, who is on a ledge about the width of this table, maybe three or four feet. He’ll calmly say,  I want you to put your back to the ledge. And I want you to step off the ledge. I want you to step backwards.” I was attached by a rope, and now going to do 120-foot rappel for the first time in my life. And he just calmly says, “Just take a step back, and step off into the thin air.” This is what trust means.


Guides are risk-aware, that’s for sure. They’re aware of thunderstorms, bad weather and rock fall. They’re aware all the time. Their senses are just always switched on. But they’re not risk-averse. When you think about this — why would I try and get to the top of this ridiculous mountain, if I were averse to risk? You wouldn’t do it.


Guides have this wonderful balance. [They are] constantly risk-aware, but they’re not risk-averse. They will take clients in places that are risky. That’s why you need trust. If you don’t face risk, you’re not going to need trust. So, trust is important out in the mountains. But they’re very careful with this line between being aware and not being averse to risk, and they are also finely-tuned on, “Dude, this is just not your day.” They’re not afraid to say to somebody, “You can come back tomorrow. The mountain will still be here next year. This is not a good day for you, and we’re just not going to go any further.” So, they know this balance.


But you must be risk-aware, that for instance, when you climb the mountain, summit fever kicks in. The only thing I want to do is get to the top. People rush to the top, and then get trapped by a storm. What they should have been was risk-aware, not suffering from summit fever. If they would have been risk-aware, they would have known that at a certain point, it was wise to turn around. This dividing line between risk-aware and risk-averse is something that guides are really schooled in. They can teach wonderful lessons to people who go with them.


Looking at the big picture, whether it’s climbing a mountain, or business-wise, you do have to have that perspective. You do need to take in everything that is around you, and not be the bull in the china shop.




The big picture is contrasted to, “We follow trends.” Many of us watch CNN. We read the paper. We’re reacting all day long to small events. Sometimes we miss the big picture. You’ve got to get on the balcony. You’ve got to get off the dance floor, where you can’t see anything developing. All you can see is the person next to you. You can’t see the pattern on the floor. If you get up on the balcony and look down, now you have the big picture. I think guides are expert at developing the big picture.




The summit is important, and everybody wants to get to the summit. But the guides seeing the big picture say, “You have to learn also to enjoy the journey.” The journey is where the lessons are; there aren’t many lessons to be learned on the summit. The lessons are on the way up and on the way down. Many of us, in life and in business, get lost in the details. [We get] lost in the events, and in the crush of information. Maybe we don’t take enough time to get up on the balcony.


Leadership is sometimes seen as an inherited trait. Is that true of these guides?


It’s still a learned art.




So, in conclusion, climbers and guides need to have these leadership strengths — having the big picture, understanding risk, helping other people get to the top, being flexible in your leadership style. When you put them all together, you have a guide.




What would it be like to work for someone who acts like a guide, rather than just a manager or the fount of all knowledge, or the person that will come in and tell you how? How about a guide as a manager? Someone who you can go to, who will give you the strength and the empowerment to do what you need to do, and is there for safety — I’ll back you up. I won’t let you fall off the precipice. But you must solve this problem yourself.




Do leaders like this exist off the mountains?  




 Working in an environment where people are guiding you toward your own personal summit, in work and in life, is the ultimate. That is developing over time. But it’s going to take a little work.



Posted by tammyduffy at 8:50 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 April 2019 8:53 AM EDT
Sunday, 31 March 2019
Design Flaws Attributed to Deaths and Injuries at Trampoline Parks





Design Flaws Attributed to Deaths

and Injuries at Trampoline Parks






We visited Skyzone today in Hamilton township, in Mercer county to check it out and learn about the place. Our intent was to write an article to help promote the park. But upon entering we were stunned with what we saw, we cannot positively promote it. The vast majority of the patrons today were kids under the age of 12. Many of the children present were toddlers who just learned how to walk. I witnessed a 1.5-year-old little girl in glasses jumping on the mat as her Mom took photos of her. We had to question the common sense of the mother of this infant. Their child was on the same mat with 3 older kids. We also watched a mother weighing over 200 pounds jumping on a mat, then her child who weighed 40 pounds get catapulted into a foam pit. We also witnessed other kids trying to run up a ramp wrenching their necks each time they tried to get to the top of the ramp. None of the patrons are taught how to use the equipment, they are just let loose to go wild in the park.


At first glance, trampoline parks seem like a fantastic idea. They're a fun, relatively inexpensive place to take your kids so they can jump off all their excess energy. But those innocent trampoline parks can be a lot more dangerous than most parents realize


In the last 8 years, the number of trampoline parks have increased exponentially. In 2011, there were only 40 in the USA, now there are over a 1,000 around the world, 800 of them being in the US. In the US, they all operate with zero federal oversite. There is a rise in injuries at these parks across the United States.


State law makers in Utah have passed a law that focuses on the safety at trampoline parks in 2019. There are seven other states already with laws on the books (PA, TN, LA, UT, CO, KS, AZ, MI) that focus on the safety at these parks. They have implemented annual inspections as well as many other criteria to keep patrons safe.  The laws focus on:  1.  notification and education of risks 2. Equipment standards 3. Staff training 4. Restricted participant behaviors 5. Separation based on age or size 6. Operational issues 7. Staff supervision and monitoring of activities 8. Tracking of major injuries (protected information 8. Local governments issue and renew business licenses for parks  9.Third-party certificate of compliance with health and safety guidelines (issued by a qualified entity) 10. Proof of ability to respond to liability claim. Other areas of focus in the legislation cover:  (a)  the majority of activities e based in training or rehearsal and not recreation; 112 (b)  the facility derives at least 80% of revenues through supervised instruction or 113 classes; and 114 (c)  the student-coach or student-instructor ratio is based on age, skill level, and number 115 of students; or 116 (3)  equipment used exclusively for exercise, an inflatable ride, or an inflatable bounce 117 house


A few days before the law went into effect in Utah in 2019, a high school football player was paralyzed at a park in Utah. In the last 7 years, there have been 6 deaths in the USA at trampoline parks. This number could be a lot higher due to the fact the parks are not required to keep accurate logs of injuries.


An adult on the trampoline can cause what is caused a double bounce, due to their weight as it hits the surface of the trampoline. A small child that then hits that same square is forced to the mat and is injured. The force of the trampoline coming back up from the higher weighted patron, and then a small child jumps on the mat, that force pushed the smaller child to the mat, in one case causing a child in NJ to break their femur. It took over a full minute for anyone working at the park to realize that the child was injured.


In the last few years, injuries sustained from trampoline parks have skyrocketed.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the numbers are:


2013: 2,500 injuries

2014: 6,200 injuries

2015: 9,100

2016: 11,300

2017:  17,800

2018: Not available yet


The parks are lacking supervision, trained personnel, thinly padded walls next to trampolines. If a patron were to hit their head on that thinly padded wall, they would get a brain bleed instantly. There are foam beds that are way to shallow. When Skyzone opened in Hamilton, an employee at Skyzone shared with me that they had the wrong kind of foam in the beds.  They only had the beige colored foam initially upon opening of the park. This foam did not allow for the proper safety and support to patrons. The establishment opened for business and it was then learned that this foam was completely inadequate (but the park was open for many months to patrons prior to the foam getting changed according to an employee). There is now multi-colored foam in the foam pits.  But the question still stands if the pits are deep enough to elevate injury.


It may not come as a surprise that ball pits are a bacteria haven. The sheer number of kids jumping into the play place would suggest this to be the case. Just how much is  found in ball pits, however, might come as a shock.


Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan, a professor at Arizona State, took her tools to a local McDonald's  Play Place ball pit and found the following: "We found stuff that causes meningitis, food-borne illness, skin, hair, eye infections. . . fecal contamination, coliforms, quite a few things that can make children ill, and several of which are multi-drug resistant and potentially fatal." Luckily Carr-Jordan will not have to face these illnesses anytime soon, as she was swiftly banned from local area McDonald's locations after her findings were made public.


The ball pits in many fast food restaurants have been removed mainly because they are extremely unsanitary. The foam pits at the trampoline parks are no different. Parents often do not enforce strict rules while their children are playing there as they may be preoccupied or not be able to clearly see what their children are doing while in the ball or foam pit.  This causing things such as food, band aids and even soiled diapers to be disposed within the ball/foam pit. It isn't practical for the cleaning staff at fast food restaurants such as McDonald's to clean the ball pit various times throughout the day so those items sit in the ball pit causing bacteria to spread throughout all of the balls. The same hold true at Skyzone. Most likely staff do not enjoy the maintenance of the ball/foam pits and it probably costs a pretty penny for the ball pit to be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis.




We spoke to three different employees and asked how often they clean the foam, they responded with, “no idea we are instructed to change foam pieces as they get tattered.”  There is no daily cleaning of the foam according to employees. There are too many pieces to do that.  They do clean them occasionally, it would appear from videos on you tube, but it is not clear how this is done routinely. What happens when a toddler’s diaper leaks urine, a young child defecates by accident or vomits due to the significant motion and no one notices that. That will be grown in the foam pit for weeks until an employee possibly finds it during a foam swap.





People are going to these parks not understanding the true safety issues. The Sooner family suffered a tragic loss with the untimely passing of Ric Swezey.  Ric was an elite USA gymnast. A member of the 1991 National Championship team, Swezey also competed nationally with the Sooner cheer squad after completing his gymnastics eligibility.


Ric went on to put his gymnastics talents to use at Disney World. First, as a performer, in both the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and as one of the original Tumble Monkeys in the Festival of the Lion King show, and later as a recruiter who brought many of his fellow Sooners to live and work in Orlando.


Swezey also did stunt work for TV, stage & films, such as Waterboy, and worked with the innovative AntiGravity Entertainment Group. Originally from Colorado, Swezey eventually settled in New York City with his husband and their twins, where he became a top real estate agent with the Corcoran Group.


He remained an active and enthusiastic Sooner supporter, both as a donor to his alma mater, contributing to the Iron Cross Club, and a physical presence at Oklahoma gymnastics events around the world, including attending the most recent NCAA National Championships with his family.


He died due to injuries sustained at a trampoline park. In 2017, he visited a trampoline park with his partner and two children in VA. He was jumping on the trampoline when he came down wrong on his foot, stumbled and hit his head against a thinly padded wall. His C2 vertebrae cracked, which constricted his airway and blood flow. He was instantly paralyzed and 90% brain dead.  He was at the park for 3 minutes. His family watched the lights go out in his eyes at the trampoline park.


The injuries that can happen at these parks can be life altering. Broken neck, broken backs, dislocated and broken shoulders or extremities are just some of the injuries that have occurred at these parks. These are catastrophic injuries. Trampolines at parks are interconnected and can have different slopes. Many people jumping at the same time increases the chance of collisions. Similar to a skateboard park or bicycle park, these parks incorporate games, obstacles and various geometric configurations. It's just like any sport you participate in, except we think, it's substantially more dangerous.


The Skyzone park on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9pm to 11pm has Glow events. These events turn off all the lights in the park. The only light is UV and black light. Patrons wear special t-shirts so they can be seen. However, the patrons fail to realize that their ability to adequately see and judge depth perception is significantly limited. Injuries can happen just because you have changed the light effect.


The danger lies in the design of these trampoline parks.  Several trampolines are connected with chain links underneath with thin padding. As people jump waves of energy are generated in all directions which can cause double bounced that can end up in high impact collisions.  The patrons at these parks are moving at speeds and with energy, that when they are hit by or with someone twice their weight, then end up with crush injuries.  Injuries so severe they lead to death.


In response to the many deaths and severe injuries, the International Association of Trampoline parks has stated that there are parks that are not adhering to the industry standards. They are not operating with safety at the forefront of their agenda. There are 800 trampoline parks in the USA, only 25% of them are members of the IATP. We have reached out to Skyzone management in Hamilton and asked for their input on training of their staff, how they warn patrons (there is no warning, just pay and sign the waiver) how they clean the foam, etc. They were not available to speak to during our visit.


When patrons enter these parks, no doubt you are signing your life away and there are signs everywhere alerting you of the risks. However, they are not alerting you of the risks and the inherent design flaws that exist that can cause irreputable damage to yourself or loved one.  Parents need to understand these parks are not just a place to play, but a place that their kids can get really hurt, permanently. Skyzone has a policy that anyone that can walk can go onto the trampolines. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that trampolines not be used by children under six. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, advises against trampolines for all children.


Commercial jump parks may contribute to higher-energy mechanisms of trauma than previously suggested based on data extrapolated from domestic trampoline use. Our data suggest that with the expansion of commercial jump parks, the incidence, severity, and economic effect of trampoline injuries may be underestimated. Jump park participants, legal guardians, and public policy-makers should have accessibility to accurate safety profiles. This implication is of particular importance as healthcare costs continue to rise, and public safety is emphasized as a prevention mechanism. This report also highlights the need for further evaluation into the economics and societal effect of jump park associated injuries.


As the town of Hamilton, Mercer County, appears to be focused on an entertainment district, we would like to challenge the administration on the following..... Do your research...please!


1.     Why was the park able to open with substandard foam in their foam pits?

2.     Is Skyzone documenting any and all injuries?

3.     What does their employee training manual look like? Are they taught emergency first aid? It would appear not based on the conversations we had with employees there.

4.     In essence, consider the implementation of the laws already in place in 8 states in the USA as it pertains to trampoline parks.  This would focus on keeping the safety of the resident’s front and center. This same rigor should be evident in any type of entertainment plaza planned in the town. It keeps residents safe.


Indoor Trampoline Park injury accidents can cause life-threatening physical injuries and trauma that can include financial damage to victims of negligent drivers. Injured victims must deal with large and unforeseeable medical expenses, loss of wages, pain, suffering and loss of quality of life. Family members also can suffer economic loss, mental anguish and loss of companionship in caring for an injured family member.


Posted by tammyduffy at 9:00 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 31 March 2019 9:02 PM EDT

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