Top Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) Officials Use Public Funds To Mislead Public & Snuff Out Competitors. Time for County Exec & Commissioners To Step In.

This is about more than “misusing public money”.  This is abuse of power and betrayal of public trust. For years,, the highly paid employees of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) systematically used their positions, staff, and public money to lie to the public, expand budgets and power, bully critics, and snuff out competitors. Its wind turbines and recycling are a scam, it spends a fortune on “public relations” to win political support.  It indoctrinates our public school students to support higher taxes and electric bills.  It’s time for County Executive Dennis Levinson and the County Commissioners to step up and bring this rogue agency under control.

Below is Press of Atlantic City “Our View” of August 25, 2021:  Click here for link to full article.  ACUA campaign misuses public money | Editorial | pressofatlanticcity.com

ACUA campaign misuses public money

The intergovernmental fight over a planned transfer station for construction debris in Pleasantville has gotten a little too interesting.

The Atlantic County Utilities Authority took the extraordinary step of mounting a political campaign against Pleasantville’s support for the project. That prompted a county commissioner to denounce the campaign and question using public money for it.

ACUA Executive Director Rick Dovey stood by his campaign. The disputed “Stop the Dump” signs he has put up across Pleasantville have disappeared, reappeared and then disappeared again. The local government workers have an advantage in that part of the fight. The ACUA’s slick “Stop the Dump” website, though, is beyond countermeasures.

Meanwhile, Pleasantville Mayor Judy Ward, who wants the transfer station and the revenue it would bring the city, is a member of the ACUA board of directors. That’s awkward.
The project would be built across Washington Avenue from The Press of Atlantic City, where its former property already hosts a cannabis growing facility. Our position is unchanged from May, when we said we’d accept whatever outcome of this fight, though the transfer station looked unlikely to get the approvals it needs.

The ACUA’s campaign against the actions of Pleasantville government, however, is wrong.  Dovey has called it merely an effort to inform the public. That’s nonsense. His calling the project a “dump” is false and inflammatory. He of all people knows that there are many trash transfer stations in the world and they’re just places trash is gathered for transport.

He could inform the public by giving better statements to our reporters, or by writing a guest column for these pages as he has done in the past. He could make a presentation to Pleasantville City Council and seek coverage of it.

The various parts of government at all levels have plenty of opportunities to make their cases and settle their disputes without wasting public money on campaigns against each other. Since much of government consists of coming to terms with other parts of government, the means for doing so are long-established.

This needs to be a bright line that frustrated officials won’t cross. Otherwise, the public will be paying to be afflicted with political signs and advocacy websites for ever-more issues on which state, counties and municipalities disagree.

Atlantic County Commissioner Ernest Coursey, who represents Pleasantville in part, questioned whether the ACUA spending on the campaign was legal. Authorities were made to be less accountable and less transparent, so the law regarding them may not specifically prohibit political spending (although it should). Their members are appointed by the governor and the Atlantic County executive can veto the meeting minutes of the ACUA — stopping its ability to enter into contracts and agreements, and maybe the ability to issue bonds. Perhaps a statement by Executive Dennis Levinson or a resolution by the County Commission that such spending is inappropriate would be sufficient.
Pleasantville City Council approved the project last month, but its planning board is only the next of several hurdles the transfer station will need to clear. The county Solid Waste Advisory Commission, the county Board of Commissioners and the state Department of Environmental Protection all need to approve it, too.

What the county and state can consider about such a proposal is unclear. Its potential to raise municipal trash service rates may be enough to reject it. Private entities aren’t allowed to skim valuable aluminum from the flow of recyclables to the county, so an argument could be made they shouldn’t be allowed to take valuable construction debris if that raises costs to the general public.

We trust those yet to consider this project won’t be swayed either for or against it by the ACUA’s ill-founded campaign in Pleasantville.

We are a group of roughly 200 citizens who mostly live near Atlantic City, New Jersey.  We volunteer our time and money to maintain this website. We do our best to post accurate information. However, we admit we make mistakes from time to time.  If you see any mistakes or inaccurate, misleading, outdated, or incomplete information in this or any of our posts, please let us know. We will do our best to correct the problem as soon as possible. 

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