Thursday, September 15th, 2016
FREHOLDERS PASS RESOLUTION NOT TO ALLOW UNFUNDED PROMOTIONS THAT COULD BURDEN TAXPAYERS
The Morris County Board of Freeholders last night unanimously passed a resolution condemning the actions of Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford for restructuring his department via a series of promotions that are not funded in the county’s 2016 budget and which derailed a recently arbitrated labor settlement with a Sheriff’s union just a few months before he leaves office.
Sheriff Edward Rochford’s actions are likely to cause personnel and budget problems for his successor after the Jan. 1, 2017 inauguration of a new sheriff, and leave county taxpayers liable to pay for his financial mismanagement, according to the freeholders.
“The Sheriff is creating an unsettled and divisive situation by making improper promotions that we cannot afford and which will impact the next Sheriff’s administration,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “We are sending him a message that his actions are totally unacceptable.’’
The Sheriff personally participated in a state public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) arbitration hearing last week at which he offered no input or objections to a tentative labor settlement that included among other matters that there would be no additional promotions in 2016. However, a day later he produced a new organizational chart with a series of promotions – without adequate funding and clearly in contradiction to the arbitrated settlement — that has jeopardized that settlement with other officers.
The freeholders, via their resolution, put the sheriff on notice that he will be held personally responsible for salary, costs, and expenses related to his actions, and that Morris County would not provide him with legal counsel at taxpayers’ expense should court action arise due to his actions.
The freeholder’s resolution approved the following actions:
Sheriff Rochford did not seek re-election. His term expires at the end of the year. An election to choose his replacement will be held in November.