Home>Local>Gloucester>Wolfe: Monroe Democratic primary is in November, not June

Monroe Council President Gregory Wolfe. (Photo: Greg Wolfe).

Wolfe: Monroe Democratic primary is in November, not June

By Gregory A. Wolfe, March 10 2022 11:59 am

OPINION

The residents of Monroe are mad! It is beyond comprehension that the Republicans would allow a man who has been a Democrat his entire life, Rich DiLucia, 83, to run for Mayor as a Republican. Two other defectors from the local Democrat party have apparently jumped ship with him. In essence, the Democratic Primary is no longer in June, it is now in November, because you will now have Democrats running against Democrats guised as Republicans (RINO) in the General Election. We wish we were running against true Republicans, who would at least represent the Republican Party in their best interest, and not their own interest. We thank the GOP for helping us empty the garbage out of the Democratic party.

Rich DiLucia was quoted that he was “disillusioned by Gloucester County Democrat Politics”, but to my knowledge DiLucia has never reached out to the Gloucester County or State Democratic Leaders to discuss his disappointment, issues or concerns.

As the Mayor and leader of the Monroe Township Democratic Party, Rich DiLucia had every opportunity to lead the party with honesty and transparency. He and his cronies have been destroying the Monroe Township Democratic Party for years, as well as Monroe Township as a whole. It is time to clean it up, and that’s exactly what I have been doing along with the help of Council Person Patrick O’Reilly, Council Person Carolann Fox, and Republican Council Person Chelsea Valcourt.

DiLucia can say all he wants, that he is fed up with the Democratic politics but, along with many other things DiLucia says, I do not believe him, he is truly your typical politician. DiLucia is simply running away because I stood up to him, called him out on his poor leadership, unethical behavior and his cronyism. DiLucia knows that he stands no chance against our Team in the Democratic Primary and now hopes he can catch a “red wave” to win re- election. Social media post has clearly showed the everyday Republican voter, is not happy with allowing three democrats to run on the Republican ticket. It is also rumored that if DiLucia were successful in the General Election that he would then change his party affiliation back to Democrat. We have uncovered an enormous amount of evidence and documentation for everyone to see exactly what’s going on with Monroe Township Politics.

Since I have been elected and took office in 2019, along with Council Person Patrick O’Reilly, we have challenged Members of Council and the Mayor to be transparent. We have stood up to the cronyism and the political favors. This all began for us after taking office and discovering that individuals were reaping great benefits at the expense of our taxpayers and rate payers of the MUA.

We quickly learned that Campaign Manager, Chairman of the MUA Board, current Deputy Mayor, Joe DiLolle, who is a longtime associate of DiLucia and who was appointed by DiLucia, had been receiving Health care benefits from the MUA, in excess of $30,000 per year, even though he has never worked as an employee of the MUA; however, the employees were required to pay a large portion of their healthcare benefits. DiLolle has been a well know political appointment to the MUA for approximately seventeen years and reaping those benefits. Shortly after the discovery, the benefits were removed from DiLolle and another board member. Later, a separate complaint was lodged against DiLolle by a female employee for alleged unethical behavior and numerous allegations were made against him, which have been rumored for years, that MUA employees were forced to get involved in politics, join township boards and commissions, and encouraged to distribute and collect absentee ballots for elections. The employees at the MUA are hardworking, dedicated people who simply want to go to work each day, do their job and go home. Since DiLolle’s departure, it is my understanding that this type of behavior is no longer happening.

In 2020, I made a motion at a Council meeting for the removal of DiLolle from the MUA, based upon receiving a report from an independent investigation that was conducted by an independent law firm that was hired by the MUA to investigate the allegations. DiLucia publicly fought against the allegations, opposed the removal and defended DiLolle, who was his longtime associate, campaign manager, MUA Chairman and appointed Deputy Mayor. DiLucia also adamantly opposed the removal of the Health Care benefits DiLolle was receiving from the MUA, which cost the MUA ratepayers thousands upon thousands of dollars through the years.

Just prior to a hearing being scheduled, DiLolle suddenly resigned from the MUA and gave up his right to ever be appointed to the MUA board again.

Also, while campaigning with DiLucia, he complained that while he was on Council, the Township Attorney fees were excessive at $295,000 in 2018 and insisted that we had to make a change. He recommended hiring an in- house attorney at a flat rate fee of $200,000 but after winning election, DiLucia insisted on appointing current Solicitor and known associate, John Trimble, who was paid an approximate $472,000 in 2019, which represents an approximate 60% increase from the previous solicitor that DiLucia complained about. The majority of Council did not Consent to the Solicitor appointment in 2022 but DiLucia refuses to work with the Council and appoint a new Solicitor that Council will Consent to.

Further, not long after taking office, DiLucia opted not to retain long term engineer, Adams Rehmann & Heggan (ARH), who served under multiple Mayors, Administrations and Councils. DiLucia decided to replace ARH with a new engineer, Pennoni Engineering. Initially after the appointment, a vote was taken by Council which was approved by 6-0 vote; however, one Council Person abstained from the vote. It was later learned that Council Person Ron Garbowski abstained from the vote, because allegedly, he was now working for Pennoni Engineering, which we believe is highly unethical and inappropriate. Since, year after year, DiLucia reappoints Pennoni Engineering but majority of Council, with that knowledge, does not Consent to the appointment; however, they are considered a hold over and DiLucia refuses to work with Council and appoint a new engineering firm that all can agree on. DiLucia entered into a new contract with Pennoni Engineering in 2021 even though he did not obtain Council’s Consent to do so, which he is not permitted to do so under NJ Law.

DiLucia has also hired certain employees since he took office, who have received substantial pay increases and promotion in a very short time. Just after three years, some of these newly hired employees are making far more then employees that have worked at the Township for years. Meanwhile, DiLucia is attempting to re-negotiate contracts that he previously negotiated in 2019 with members of the Police Department and the School Crossing Guards, claiming a hardship on the Township; however, the CFO verified at a public meeting that the funds were in the budget. This is simply wrong and not the way we want to treat our dedicated employees.

We have been opposing DiLucia on these contracts for several reasons. We believe the Township has an obligation and should honor the contracts that DiLucia negotiated in 2019 which were set to expire at the end of 2021. We believe DiLucia and/or his Administration bullied, intimidated and threatened certain employees, which they then signed contracts under duress. DiLucia signed these contracts without the Consent of Council which is required by NJ Law. We believe DiLucia’s actions have placed legal liability on the taxpayers of this Township and now have to be quickly cleaned up.

 

Monroe Township has become a Dictatorship under DiLucia and is no longer a Democracy as he attempts to bully, block and interfere with Council, just to get his way. In disclosing this information, I am certain that we will now be attacked and scrutinized both politically and personally by our opposition; however, it is simply the right thing for us to do. It is very easy to verify our allegations through the Open Public Records Acts (OPRA) and we encourage all to research.

We question the Republican Party on how they think DiLucia, and his cronies are going to work with the Republican Party when he consistently attacks, berates and opposes the only Republican Council Person, Chelsea Valcourt, a twenty-one-year-old female. The reason for his antics is because Council Person Valcourt primarily votes along the same lines as myself, Council Person Carol Ann Fox and Council Person Patrick O’Reilly.

We have proven, in working with the Republican Council Person Chelsea Valcourt, that once elected, we all have to come together, no matter what party affiliation, and work together for the betterment of Monroe Township. The Republican Party leadership has abandoned their only elected Monroe Township Official in many years, to side with DiLucia and his cronies. They are being played.

During our upcoming campaign, we look forward to exposing Di Lucia and his cronies for their destruction of the Monroe Township Democratic Party as well as Monroe Township. We warn the Republican Party to understand what they are allowing into their party as they now have three defunct Democrats out of the four candidates running on them Republican ticket simply because these people think, they can ride the “red wave” just as they rode the “blue wave”. It’s evident, that these people will do anything to be elected and stay in power.

I have fought my entire life for the little people, for the people who couldn’t defend themselves and I have fought against bad people my entire Law Enforcement career. I protected and served my Community as a Police Officer, a Council Person and will continue to protect and serve the people of this town when elected Mayor.

Our Team of Greg Wolfe for Mayor, Patrick O’Reilly, Denise Adams and Don Heverly for Council will continue to clean up the dirty politics and cronyism within Monroe Township. We will stop the wasteful spending on costly contracts awarded to political connections and friends. Our Team will create and utilize new revenues, such as the ones generated from the solar initiative program, spearheaded by Council Person Patrick O’Reilly, to provide the residents of this Township with better services, while holding the line on taxes, which this Township desperately needs.

Gregory A. Wolfe in the Monroe Council President and the Democratic candidate for mayor.

Spread the news:

 RELATED ARTICLES