Hartnett Says “Wake Up Montclair”

More details emerge about the Clary Anderson privatization issue from the Montclair Times, including some tough talk from town manager Joe Hartnett and a family connection between the township attorney and United Skates.

Asked whether municipal officials had met with Ohio-based United Skates of America prior to this process, Hartnett acknowledged he had met with company representatives about a year ago when officials started to examine the idea of contracting with an outside management company. Hartnett said United Skates of America is “a recognized company in New Jersey,” and municipal officials meet with companies all of the time.
The township manager noted that he has been looking to apply a similar strategy to the sewers, swimming pools, and the first aid squad.

“Everybody in Montclair needs to wake up to the fact that we have to be fiscally responsible and fiscally disciplined,” Hartnett said. “This is a town where everybody wants everything, and it isn’t going to happen ‚Ķ People in the community and the new council members, as well, need to start listening.”
Some citizens have pointed out that an employee of United Skates of America named Bill Irving is a former manager of the Clary Anderson Arena and is Township Attorney Alan Trembulak’s wife’s son-in-law.
“I thought it was common knowledge,” Hartnett said of Irving’s relationship to Trembulak. “But it was a non-factor in evaluating the proposals.”

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23 COMMENTS

  1. If Bill Irving is Alan Trembulak’s wife’s son-in-law, isn’t he also Alan Trembulak’s son-in-law? Unless she was married before and has a child that’s not his…

  2. She was married before. It is not his son-in-law.
    Please note that even if Bill, who has no financial interest in United Skates (he is an employee) were Alan’s son-in-law he would not be in violation of the State Ethics law which would only come into play if Bill were a spouse or child.
    Also note that the evaluation of the proposals has been done with the active involvement of the Council, as well as Steve Wood, Gordon Stelter, and Pat Brechka. Alan has not been part of the evaluation process.
    Now, can we get back to discussing the real issue, which is managing the town in a fiscally responsible manner while delivering superb services?
    Thanks!!
    Cary Africk

  3. This bears repeating:
    “Everybody in Montclair needs to wake up to the fact that we have to be fiscally responsible and fiscally disciplined,” Hartnett said. “This is a town where everybody wants everything, and it isn’t going to happen… People in the community and the new council members, as well, need to start listening.”

  4. Africk–
    I think is wrong on this one. It would appear that there was some sharing of information, resulting in United Skates summitting the lowest bid on the skating arena. Oh lets see, Bill Irving was the manager of Anderson Arena, but wait, his boss was Pat Brechka, who met with United Skates more than a year ago, and also evaluated the proposals. Oh, I get this. Hey Joe, We woke up

  5. I am not right on everything. But I start from the assumption that people are basically honest and want to do the right thing.
    The evaluation of the proposals is still being reviewed by the Council, and the score card involves more than costs. It also includes Affirmative Action plans, among other criteria.
    Trust us. The Council has a lot at stake.
    Cary Africk

  6. Note to Councilor Africk:
    Part of your new job description involves holding non-elected employees at 205 Claremont accountable for the way they run Montclair.
    Please consider that while evaluating the arena proposals, and then ask yourself who dropped the ball in the first place.
    You serve the Township, not the Township Manager.

  7. “‘I thought it was common knowledge,’ Hartnett said of Irving’s relationship to Trembulak. ‘But it was a non-factor in evaluating the proposals.'”
    Then how did the dead horse get in the bathtub?

  8. “I thought it was common knowledge,” Hartnett said of Irving’s relationship to Trembulak.”
    Really, common knowledge? How would anyone know that?
    Crooked or not, it just looks bad and i thought the new council learned from the mistakes of the past council. It’s all about the appearance of impropriety.
    Cary, I don’t remember you being a big fan of cronyism when you were on the other side. Did YOU trust the last council when they said “trust us”?
    tron makes a good point, serve the township, not the township manager, or the township attorney.
    And regarding PAWS, with the new arrangement, don’t the duties now fall under Trembulak’s wife’s department?

  9. And regarding PAWS, with the new arrangement, don’t the duties now fall under Trembulak’s wife’s department?
    —————
    Yep, Mrs. T. works for the Board of Health.

  10. The relationship between 205 Claremont Ave. and United Skates of America began in earnest 3 years ago when they were invited to attend a arena renovation meeting at Clary Anderson Arena as “consultants” when the McMullen proposal came to light. Who made that phone call? Hmmmmm……Furthermore, Bill Irving was trained by Michele Cammarata(present Arena manager, skating school director) years ago at Clary Anderson Arena and he is now the Director at the Woodbridge Center. He is NOT just an “employee” as it is being reported.

  11. “Then how did the dead horse get in the bathtub?”
    ok so which number do we call to get animal control to take away the dead horse in the bathtub? Clifton animal control?

  12. I am delighted that Joe Hartnet made the inquiries with United Skates in the past. That’s his job isn’t it? We have a money-losing rink here…isn’t the Town Manager supposed to focus on a solution? Cut the guy some slack.
    As long as the bidding process is out in the open there is no problem.
    Thanks Cary, and the rest of the Coucil for taking this on. I hope there is solution that stops the $ bleeding and improves rink services.
    With all due respect to the folks who have been managing Clary arena, it sounds like their strengths are not in marketing and optimizing the Arena’s finances. Now they have a wake-up call and they are scambling to come up with some answers. It is probably too little too late. I don’t think Taxpayers have the patience for Town employees to get educated in Zamboni advertising, etc.

  13. The folks who were managing Clary Anderson are well versed in marketing the arena and optimizing its finances. For years, they’ve petitioned their superiors — Joe Hartnett, et al. — with new ideas for advertising and cost cutting procedures to help successfully run the facility. Those ideas were routinely ignored or cast aside. Why? Because Hartnett was angling to get United Skates of America in there the whole time and he figured it wasn’t worth investing energy in something he was going to try to unload.
    United Skates has every right to put in a bid, and maybe they can do a good job, but the way Hartnett went about it stinks. Why wasn’t he out in the open about his ideas in the beginning? Why didn’t he include the people who actually work at Clary Anderson in the initial discussions or at least ask them for their input? After all, they’re more familiar with the facility than anyone else. Instead, Hartnett had the arena’s locks changed and reassigned its fulltime workers.
    Now Hartnett has the nerve to tell the community he works for that we need to wake up and be fiscally responsible and fiscally disciplined? Last time I checked, we’ve been paying him to do just that and it was his voluntary inaction that caused the arena to bleed money at the taxpayers expense. Thanks for the advice, Joe. And no, most Montclair residents don’t want everything, we just want accountability for the things our taxes pay for in this town.

  14. Your taxes will never go down because of privatization…..06/07 budget-425 employees….07/08 budget-425 employees….all 5 full-time salaries will be re-assigned to other departments with the town picking up the energy costs on the building for this great plan….. That’s great, Joe. You’re worth the money we are paying you. You should set up a table at 42nd and Broadway and play 3 card Monty or a shell game……Ol’ Ted Mattox and Richard Seltzer were on to something before you and the entire town council dumped on them. Mr Spin Doctor: “I thought it was common knowledge” or “if I had known then, what I know now, I would have acted differently…..” or “Montclair needs to wake up…..” or “this will have a chilling effect on public/private donations…..” According to NJ Monthly Magazine, Montclair now ranks #156 out of 583 municipalities for places to live in NJ under Hartnett’s watch. When he got here, we were in the top #10 nationally, you have not saved this town 1 cent since you have arrived…..how much has the Community Service Reorganiztion Plan saved the town? You have added another level of management to the mix by bringing in Steve Wood…….15 months and counting til we get to dump this dead weight and all his cronies.

  15. A government run “enterprise” looses money, is poorly managed and is a thorny issue for local bureaucrats and politicians? Wow, shocking!

  16. Absolutely not! We should remove whatever regulations currently exist on health care and insurance companies and let the unfettered market do its work.

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