Marc Finneran Accuses Falmouth DPW Director Raymond Jack of Incompetence
By: Brent Runyon
Yesterday, an East Falmouth man brought to light an incident that occurred 20 years ago in which Raymond A. Jack, then superintendent for public works in Woodbury, New Jersey, allowed employees to sell old fire hydrants and water meters as scrap metal and keep the money.
Marc P. Finneran of Trotting Park Road supplied an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer published on June 25, 1992, to the Enterprise, that outlines accusations against Mr. Jack, now the director of Falmouth Department of Public Works.
According to the story, which is available on the Inquirer website Philly.com, Mr. Jack admitted he allowed town workers to keep money from selling outdated fire hydrants to scrap dealers, which amounted to about $60 a year per employee. Money from the sale of old water meters was used to fund department Christmas parties, which cost several hundred dollars, according to the story.
The people in this town aren’t being served in an honest and complete manner.
In the article, Mr. Jack is quoted as saying he did not see a problem with allowing employees to keep the money, because they only made $5.50 an hour. Mr. Jack also said at the time that the investigation was politically motivated and the allegations stemmed from a personal vendetta by the mayor of Woodbury, because Mr. Jack did not oppose the efforts of city employees to unionize.
After the allegations came to light, Mr. Jack was suspended for a month without pay. The Woodbury chief of police said the practice of scrapping metal was at least 30 years old, according to the story. After his suspension, Mr. Jack ended the practice.
Yesterday, Mr. Jack confirmed the story, but disputed some details.
“It was a common practice there and, actually, everywhere,” Mr. Jack said, to allow employees to sell scrap metal for personal funds. When he got the job in Woodbury, he allowed the practice to continue with the condition the money be used exclusively for the annual Christmas party, he said. But that was a mistake, he said.
“That was a lesson for me in municipal administration,” Mr. Jack said yesterday, “one that I learned well and one that I’ve practiced diligently since that time.
“The nature of mistakes is that we learn from them,” Mr. Jack said.
There were also allegations of payroll fraud, which were unfounded, Mr. Jack said. “They looked into everything, and that’s all there was,” Mr. Jack said.
Mr. Finneran is bent on destruction at a very, very personal level.
In 1994 Mr. Jack left Woodbury and was hired as the Falmouth Department of Public Works utilities manager. He was the top choice of then-Town Administrator Peter F. Boyer and then-Department of Public Works Director William B. Owen, and unanimously approved by selectmen.
Mr. Boyer said yesterday that he did not know of the incident when he hired Mr. Jack, but it would not have affected his decision. “It wouldn’t have made a bit of difference,” he said. “He’s a skilled, knowledgeable person and, at the time, the best person for the job by far.”
Mr. Jack was promoted to director of the Falmouth Department of Public Works in 2006.
Mr. Finneran said he has been investigating town employees for years, because he believes they are incompetent and corrupt. “More incompetent than corrupt, for the most part,” he said.
The article was discovered by a friend of Mr. Finneran’s after between 60 and 80 hours of research online, he said, but Mr. Finneran declined to identify his friend by name.
“It’s a pattern,” Mr. Finneran said, referring to more current allegations that the money from the sale of scrap metal at the Falmouth Waste Management Facility was never paid to the town.
“The people in this town aren’t being served in an honest and complete manner,” he said. “I don’t want to be here, but I’m not going away.”
Mr. Jack disputed the claim of corruption. “I don’t know how he could ever claim that there’s any corruption in this department?” Mr. Jack said. “These are some of the finest people I’ve ever worked with. People will make mistakes, that’s true, but as far as corruption, that’s completely baseless.”
In the past, Mr. Finneran has targeted the town manager, the building commissioner, the health agent, Mr. Jack said. “Mr. Finneran is bent on destruction at a very, very personal level,” Mr. Jack said.
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