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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
Booger, Wants To Give You His Love….. Will You Be His New Forever Home?





Booger, Wants To Give You His Love…..

Will You Be His New Forever Home?



Booger looking for his new owner, Will it be you?


Play Video below to show photos of Booger 







There are wonderful people in this world how help foster animals as amazing Non-profit organizations go on quests to find them “forever homes”.  It's A Ruff Life Rescue; is one of these very amazing non- profits.




Their mission is to rescue and save the lives of innocent dogs who find themselves on death row through no fault of their own and/or provide a safe-haven for stray, abandoned, or abused/neglected dogs. Whenever possible we will assist families who, because of various circumstances, are unable to continue caring for their dogs (owner surrenders) so they are not dumped into the shelter system. Their goal is to do exactly what our slogan says..."turn rough beginnings into happy endings". And as Rescuers, we strive to not only save lives, but to improve the lives of each & every animal who they take into their rescue. But their mission goes beyond just rescue. As Animal Advocates, they also work toward educating the general public about the importance of spaying/neutering, responsible pet ownership, positive behavior modification training, proper nutrition, advocating to ban BSL, and for inhumane gas chambers to be abolished.




Each dog we take into their Rescue is temperament tested, provided with optimal medical care, and is fully vetted to correspond with the dog's age. The dog is then placed into a thoroughly screened/approved and appropriate foster home. It is in the foster home that the dog receives love, is cared for, socialized, and we really begin to know and understand the dog. They look at overall behavior/temperament, energy levels, quirks, and mannerisms. This process is crucial. They chose to rely on fosters, because they feel that a true reflection of a dog's temperament can only be truly accessed while living in a home environment where the animals are exposed to and tested with a multitude of elements and situations.





Once the animal is in foster care, they begin to work to find each dog the perfect home for him or her. They believe there is a great home out there for every dog! And they are committed to bringing dogs and people together who are the right fit for each other! How do they accomplish this? They do this by knowing the dog and by getting to know the prospective adopter. Many things are taken into consideration, such as lifestyle, energy level of the dog vs activity of adopters, experience, family members, living arrangements, and expectations as well as tolerances, when pairing up a dog with an adopter. They want to place the dog one time and only one time and for that home to be it's forever home, so we work hard and diligently to match up each dog with the best possible home & each adopter with the best possible dog for them!




I was given the opportunity today to do a photo shoot of this amazing lovebug, Booger. He is a gentle giant who has the eyes of an old soul. He is about 8 years old and A Ruff Life Rescue is looking to find him a forever home.  I hope you can help and adopt this beautiful dog, Booger. He will bring lots of love to you and your family.





To Adopt Booger......


PLEASE CONTACT…. It’s A Ruff Life Rescue at….




aruffliferescue@gmail.com: Is the contact email for It’s a Ruff Life Rescue.


Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/itsaruffliferescue


Posted by tammyduffy at 12:50 PM EDT
Saturday, 30 March 2019
Preserve Our National Parks


 Preserve Our National Parks





Yellowstone….Great Smoky Mountains….Grand Canyon….Valley Forge….Everglades…..Mount Rainier....Denali.  Our country’s National Park system is one of the finest in the world and it needs your help.




The National Parks in the USA are facing threats such as air and water pollution, commercial development, and attempts to change vital protections for wildlife.




There has not been sufficient funding  over the years- leading to crumbling facilities and too few rangers and staff to serve visitors and protect cultural and natural resources. This has taken a toll on our park systems.



There is a remarkable effort in the works to preserve our national parks now and for generations to come. This year , NPCA (National Parks Conservation Association)  is celebrating its centennial. For 100 years, they have been working to protect our national parks. Today, they stand ready to protect these magnificent places for 100 more. Some of the things NPCA has done are:



-PROTECTED Gettysburg National Military Park from the harmful impacts of a casino and racetrack proposed near hallowed ground.


-FOUGHT HARD to protect California’s Joshua Tree National Park from Eagle Mountain Landfill, a dump that was one of the largest ever proposed in the lower 48 states. NPCA was able to support and prevent the part’s beautiful canyons and hillside habitats from being overrun with up to 20,000 tons of garbage a day.


-ENCOURAGED designation of new park units that more fully reflect America’s shared historical and cultural heritage, Chavez National Monument and Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument


-WORKED HARD TO PROTECT wildlife throughout the country, including brown bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve and the American bison and grizzly beats in Yellowstone National Park.


-HELPED stop a massive development project proposed just outside the boundary of Grand Canyon National Park.




As a result of these and many other campaigns, the NPCA, has earned an excellent reputation amount government officials, the media and the American public.  They need to remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that no visitor of our National Parks encounter these poor conditions which dramatically impact park experiences.




You can learn more about this amazing organization at https://www.npca.org.  If you visit our parks and loved the experience you had, please consider supporting them by joining their organization. 




Posted by tammyduffy at 7:39 AM EDT
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
Congressman Chris Smith Your Hard Work Is in Jeopardy










Dear Congressman Chris Smith,

        Richard Anderson, CEO Amtrak

        James Weinstein, CEO NJ Transit

        Jeffrey Knueppel , Septa General Manager



Congressman Chris SMith: All the hard work you did to work with the Army Corp of Engineers to implement the feasibilty study of the Assunpink and its tributaries in Hamilton Township is in jeopardy. You fought so hard to make this happen and now "economic development" in Hamilton, Mercer County is threatening the residents, the NE corridor. 


The effects of Hurricane Irene in New Jersey in 2011 included about $1 billion in damage to 200,000 homes and buildings. This made it the costliest disaster in the state's history, though this was dwarfed by Hurricane Sandy the following year. Irene struck the state on August 28, and was initially reported to be the first hurricane to hit New Jersey since 1903; however, post-analysis downgraded Irene to a tropical storm at its landfall in the Little Egg Inlet.[




Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency on August 25, with President Obama reaffirming the declaration by August 27. New Jersey Transit rail, bus and light rail operations were suspended for Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28. That same day, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey suspended incoming flights at the five metropolitan airports under its jurisdiction and the on Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) rapid transit system. The Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G) opted to dispatch roughly 6,000 workers in case of power outages, with 840 lineman and 540 tree contractors.




At the Trenton Train Station along Assunpink Creek, flooding impacted Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, SEPTA's Trenton Line, and New Jersey Transit's (NJT) Northeast Corridor Rail Line. Engineers reported that the service disruption could lasted almost a week. Service was restored to and through Trenton on August 31, barring a few exceptions. According to Executive Director Jim Weinstein Irene cost NJT just under $10 million in lost revenue and damaged infrastructure. The agency was criticized for the system being closed the entire day after the storm. In total, ten deaths within the state are attributable to the storm. A medical rescue squad worker was swept away in flood waters and was pulled from the water early Sunday in Princeton, but did not survive.





In total, it has been reported that the total loss costs were approximately $48 million on the NEC. Although, initially a Category 1 hurricane and later categorized as a tropical storm, Irene brought flood-level records in New York City and in much of the Northeast, raising casualty loss estimates to $20 billion.


Two days of lost economic activity, over a period of a week, was another loss of $20 billion.  Longer term, rebuilding and postponed business activity made up much of the near-term impact on the economy.


Estimates of the direct damage caused by Hurricane Irene were in the range of $20 billion. Add to those the loss of about two days economic activity, spread over a week, across 25 percent of the economy, and an estimated of the losses imposed by Irene was about $40 to 45 billion.


One cannot discount the direct costs to individuals by temporary and in some cases permanent displacements; however, when government authorities facilitate rebuilding quickly and effectively, the process of economic renewal can leave communities better off than before.


Initial computer models of Irene's potential impact put the estimated damage at $4.7 billion, according to research by Pielke and catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT. That figure, which came from analyzing 27 comparable storms dating back to 1913, includes destruction of homes, cars, public infrastructure and other property caused by high winds and flooding. The number doesn't factor in the added impact of lost sales from shuttered restaurants, quiet casinos, canceled flights and boarded-up stores —  all of which could add billions of dollars to the fallout.


The public transportation outages caused by Hurricane Irene should serve as a wake-up call for governments that investing more in public transportation — and housing, retail and office development around it — is necessary for the state. The destroy 1200 trees that surround the NEC to build a solar array, which it has been stated under sworn testimony will increase flooding to the Sweetbriar area. 


The lack of NJ Transit service between Trenton and New Brunswick for three days after Irene swept through the Garden State packed nearby roads and left commuters frustrated. With increased investment in transit, there can be redundancy in more of the system.





This is especially important now as ridership on NJ Transit is growing — more than 247 million riders last year, almost a 10 percent increase since 2004 — and housing near transit is surviving the economic recession much better than units far away from public transportation. According to Christopher Lineberger of the Brookings Institution, there is an insufficient supply of housing in walkable neighborhoods — walkable, urban housing represents 20 percent of the housing stock, despite demand from 50 percent of the population.


Hurricane Irene and derailments this summer gave us a sense of how important our public transportation network is. It is clear that the state must provide the necessary financial support to ensure redundancy and reliability in it. Restoring funding for Transit Villages, as well as increasing funding for public transportation and transit-oriented development generally, would fundamentally enhance the business, health and energy future of New Jersey. The Mayor of Hamilton keeps touting she wants a transit village in the old Congoleum lot. However, if she continues to allow the Synnergy solar array to be built next to it, and they remove the 12 acres of trees, which will increase flooding in the area; the village will be quite lonely without the ability for the trains to function due to flooding.


Acts of nature can have serious consequences for public transit systems, including flooding, buckled rails, damaged facilities, and other threats to safety, state of good repair, and regional mobility. Transit agencies need to undertake risk assessments, pursue adaptation strategies, and address implementation challenges; some leading transit agencies have already begun.  Broadly speaking, agencies’ adaptation options will involve some combination of maintaining and repairing their systems in response to acts of nature, strengthening and protecting assets to withstand extremes, enhancing redundancy to avoid loss of service, and abandoning or relocating infrastructure.  Weather variability and extremes have always existed, but they can severely stress infrastructure already in need of investment.  Consequently, these impacts could have serious ramifications for public transit systems.





Beyond the extensiveness of the physical damage, Sandy’s impacts led to a virtual statewide shutdown of transportation. All public transportation was suspended, until limited schedules resumed as assessments were taken. The rail operations center of New Jersey Transit was flooded by up to 8.0 feet (2.4 meters) of water, damaging as many as 74 locomotive engines and 294 rail cars. Amtrak resumed partial service from Newark on November 1, 2012. All tunnels (except the Holland Tunnel) from New Jersey to New York were open for travel by November 1, 2012 and PATH services were partially resumed on 86 routes by that date as well.


If you’ve ever traveled along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), you’ve seen the diversity of the region come to life. The student taking their first trip, the business traveler taking their umpteenth ride and the family going to Nana’s house, the 24/7 operation of the NEC is one our riders expect. As a majority owner of the NEC, Amtrak owns and maintains 80% of the mainline which is used by 710,000 rail commuters and 40,000 Amtrak riders daily.


The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission released the Northeast Corridor and the American Economy Report which is chock full of data that cites the positive affects rail has on our economy. Some data from the report is below.









1.    One out of five U.S. jobs are located in the NEC Region.


2.    One out of three Fortune 100 firms are headquartered in the NEC Region


3.    Seven million jobs are within five miles of a NEC station.


4.    If the NEC were lost for a day, the U.S. economy would face $100 Million in increased congestion costs and lost productivity.


5.    263 colleges and universities are within five miles of an Amtrak station.


6.    Seven of the top 20 most visited museums in the world are located along the NEC.


7.    19 professional sports stadiums and arenas call the NEC home.




All of which have positive effects on NJ’s ability to generate income. To deliberately allow a solar farm to be built adjacent to the NEC, tear down 12 acres of trees that serve a strong purpose to control flooding.







The planning board needs to vote no on the Synnergy project in front of them. The township hired Banc3 to assess this new construction along the NEC and Sweetbriar Ave. Their engineer from Banc3 testified that the removal of the 12 acres of trees will increase flooding. Amtrak, NJ Transit, Septa and local businesses, residents, etc. will be greatly negatively affected by this plan. PLEASE HELP STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING!




Below is a link to a prior article we have written that gives even more background on this detrimental project to the Hamilton community by Synnergy.  There is a meeting on March 28th at 7pm at the Hamilton Municipal Building, 2100 Greenwood Ave in Mercer County. PLEASE COME AND HELP US FIGHT THIS DISASTER ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO THE NEC and the Sweetbriar community. 








Posted by tammyduffy at 10:50 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 March 2019 10:56 PM EDT
Tuesday, 12 March 2019














At a press conference today the Mayor of Hamilton touted she will be releasing the crime report. She claimed that there is a 10% decrease in crime. Let’s see what the data really shows. Will the data show that the township leadership is using creative accounting to make this statement?  You be the judge.






Let’s see what 2018 brought to Hamilton as it pertains to crime…..




Homicide up 300% from 2017.


Rape up 67% from 2017


Robbery by knife or hand up 34% 


Aggravated assault up 45% from 2017


Simple assault up 11% from 2017




These results come directly from  NJSP (New Jersey State Police reports).



There was an article recently written rating the safest places to live in Mercer County. Hamilton did not even make the list. See link below.












Crime in Mercer County, New Jersey

Crime is ranked on a scale of 1 (low crime) to 100 (high crime)

Mercer County violent crime is 37.2. (The US average is 31.1)
Mercer County property crime is 35.3. (The US average is 38.1)




Historical Data below…… 






Hamilton, Mercer County Results from 2015 to 2016






Robbery by firearm from 2015 to 2016 is up another 190%.




Since 2014 Robbery by firearm has gone up 440% in Hamilton NJ, Mercer County in total.




Robbery by other dangerous weapon up another 133%




Since 2014 Robbery by dangerous weapon has gone up 533% in Hamilton NJ, Mercer County in total.




Assault by gun up another 75%




Since 2014 Assault by gun has gone up 200% in Hamilton NJ, Mercer County in total.




Aggravated Assault up another 5.3%




Since 2014 Aggravated Assault has gone up 76.5% in Hamilton NJ, Mercer County in total.




Forcible and Unlawful entry up another 8%


Since 2014 Forcible and unlawful entry has gone up 76.5% in Hamilton NJ, Mercer County in total.




Larceny up another 6%




Since 2014 larceny has gone up 69.2% in Hamilton NJ, Mercer County in total.




By the end of 2015, Rape was up by 63.6%.


By the end of 2016, attempted rape was up by 100%






On February 27,2017 the new 2017 NSP report was released. The results so far are demonstrating, comparing Jan 2016 to Jan 2017:




Forcible and unlawful entry for Hamilton residents is already demonstrating an already additional 72.7% increase.




Unlawful entry for Hamilton residents is already demonstrating an additional 50% increase.




Simple assault for Hamilton residents is already demonstrating an additional 106.3% increase.

















Posted by tammyduffy at 9:53 PM EDT
Sunday, 10 March 2019









Gloria Vanderbilt and Tammy  photo: David Steele



The American public is stressed. I went to meet with one of my clients this week, who was essential to helping me close a large deal. When people went to his office, we learned he left a note on his desk, I quit. He said nothing to know one, just left the note. The bad treatment that employees receive in corporate America is having a toll. So much for forecasting that deal to my boss. This reminded me of an episode of Sex in the City where Berger broke up with Carey on a post-it note.




The American population is also somewhat obsessed with good looks. The magazines, web, newspapers we read focus on driving this obscession.  Being thin and having unrealistic expectations on how to obtain the looks that celebrities have; seems to be on the forefront of many minds.  



The OED (for those who do not know, OED stands for Oxford English Dictionary) states that the word botched; means something that is carried our carelessly or badly.



In June 2014,  the network E; launched a show entitled, Botched.  This show is quite intriguing. The two doctors on this show, Dr Terry Dubrow and Dr Paul Nassif are the real deal. They are not just some plastic surgeons on a reality show, but men who are changing the lives of people. They are published physicians.  There are patients on the show that the producers purposely seek out to add to the intrigue. Some patient cases on the show; demonstrate their quest for perfection; only to find physicians that could in the end only guarantee and give imperfect BOTCHED results. 



The doctors on Botched, clearly are well qualified, well-educated/board certified plastic surgeons.  The image they portray on screen demonstrates a rare breed in medicine today.  It’s refreshing to find a physician who actually cares about the patients.   They personally take the time with the patients, not pawning it off to some PA. They create miracles for many of the patients on the show. The difficult cases are the most profound stories and have the largest impact for the patients on the show. 



A physician who makes it their mission to do outstanding work every day. To take the challenges to get to the summits no matter how hard the climb, how treacherous the weather. They get there with their team, to the summit. These two doctors on the E show, transform the lives of many of the patients on the show.  On the show,  give their patients a new life, a new confidence that they may have never found.  



Dr Dubrow and Dr Nassif make it their mission to do their best every day to bring beauty back into their patients lives. The show is more than just about plastic surgery, it demonstrates two doctors who have a level of clinical apathy that is stellar. They never seemed rushed, taking their time to ensure the patients are trusting of them. A trusting patient will have better clinical outcomes.  Making these patients with radical botched surgeries feel comfortable is critical to the outcome to de-botch” the patient. Even when a patient comes in for something unrealistic, they are guiding in the most professional manner.  



Bedside manner is all about the physician’s total approach to patient care. It encompasses all the attributes of medical professionalism blended in with the specific personality of the individual and with the ability to comfortably communicate a certain degree of concern about the patient’s welfare.  Bravo to Dr Nassif and Dr. Dubrow, you care, and it shows. Your patients have better outcomes because of it. 



Patients want to feel comfortable with the people with whom they are entrusting their lives. They want to feel like someone is on their side. They need to feel that the person who is advising them to do scary things like surgery is really concerned about them and has their best interests at heart. The medical transformations that are created by the doctors on Botched are amazing. There are times I cry watching the show as the patients are crying about their results. Results that now have changed their lives for the better; forever. It's touching to the soul at times. 




When people feel unattractive due to a deformity, birthmark or botched plastic surgery, this is intensified by the rudeness of the American public. When people have a deformity, they are aware of it every day. They feel awful when someone brings attention to it.  One can only wonder why people do this; for we do not need attention brought to it; we know it’s there. There are times we are born with it.




Port-wine stains (PWS) occur in about three of every 1,000 people, according to the U.S. National Libarary of Medicine. They're caused by swollen blood vessels, which give a reddish-purplish hue to a certain area of skin. Most often, they occur on the face and deepen in color as a child gets older. They exist for life, sometimes growing thicker with time. Treatments like laser therapy, surgery and tattooing can often eliminate or lessen the appearance of the birthmarks, but there's no guarantee.




I was born with a PWS on my right arm that goes from my shoulder to my elbow joint.  Though my entire life I have had to hide this, explain it and be ridiculed by children and grown adults.  It never ceases to amaze me the radically rude things people say.  My PWS is very unique (as they all are) in is shape and placement. It goes from my shoulder to my elbow joint. It is so much lighter today (see below) but the rudeness of the American public is evident once I uncover my arm. 



                           2019 photo, where we are today with my PWS





In 2005, I visited Dr Eric Bernstein who is THE man for PWS.  I learned about him from my friend who worked at a laser company. He is an amazing physician who has transformed cosmetic dermatology.  My friend told me to go visit him after a day of ridicule by someone on my PWS and I was saddened by it. He showed him photos of my birthmark and I then I met with Dr Bernstein. He enrolled me into one of his studies where they used a 585 nm pulsed dye laser treatment. The study was investigating a prototype device, a high-energy 595 nm pulsed dye laser capable of delivering up to 9.5 J/cm2 using a 10 mm circular spot, with a 1.5 ms pulse duration. 



After 5 treatments we saw results. It did not remove the PWS, but it made it 40% lighter and almost removed some of the PWS in areas. We did 7 treatments and stopped, for between the 5th and 7th treatments there were no changes.





I reached out to Dr Bernstein in 2014 by email thinking he would never respond. I had another day of ridicule and was saddened by it and wanted to see what new options were available. I asked for the photos from the original study he did so I could feel better about how far I had come with my PWS. He instantly responded with information. It made me feel better. He was so kind to answer me. That is who he is, he really cares about all of his patients.


Some of the comments made by adults to me are: "What is that on your arm, has someone been beating you? Has someone been sucking on your arm?”  I was at a fashion event for Prince Harry’s charity in California a few years ago and one of the Housewives of Orange County was in attendance to the event as one of the designers. She saw my birthmark and politely said,” Why don’t you go backstage and cover that with some makeup, its really unsightly?”  She proceeded to bring it to the attention of the entire table. I do not wear makeup on my face and surely not going to put it on my arm. What I found unsightly was her comment. 



These ridiculous statements are the reality.  What people say is worse than the deformity at times. Only those with a deformity, PWS or botched plastic surgery can truly understand the hurt they create. I try to position myself in photos to hide it. The photo of Gloria Vanderbilt and I my right arm is wrapped around her so not to see it. She never questioned by PWS, she has class!   



My PWS is a part of who I am. I struggle with going to have it removed, for no doubt the lasers available today would warrant an outcome of silence to my critics of PWS. If I could I would keep as much of my birthmark as possible because it’s such a huge part of who I am. I would be a different person completely if I wasn’t gifted with my birthmark and all that comes with it. 

If I wanted to cover it up I could, but I don’t want to use make-up, I like living my life this way, it’s a birthmark not something horrible. I do not wear my birthmark with pride due to the fact of what others say about it. I thank a gem like Dr Bernstein for helping me in the past and being so willing to help me again.  

Doctors like Eric Bernstein, Dr Nassif and Dr Dubrow, spend their days transforming lives. They make people beautiful again both inside and out.

Spring and summer are coming and so will the insults on my PWS. Bring them on, for if they are BOTHCED; I will just go see Eric.




Bravo gentlemen! Keep up the smashing great work!


You are true artists in the world of medicine.














Posted by tammyduffy at 5:36 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 10 March 2019 5:53 PM EST

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