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Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Prosecutor Calls Cuts in Request ‘Irresponsible’

By Rick Racela

Freeholders, by a 3-2 vote Jan.19, reduced his request for 16 people at a 10-month salary cost of $654,933 to three investigators at a 10-month cost of $122,572.
The two “no” votes — from Freeholder Director Daniel Beyel and Freeholder Leonard Desiderio — didn’t even want the prosecutor to get three additional staffers, a number determined by Freeholder Ralph Sheets, liaison to the prosecutor, and retired Wildwood police chief.
“I think we added five new people there in the last year, more than any other department in such a short period of time,” Beyel told this newspaper.  “I want to see the benefits of that before I even debate a request for 16 more.”
“They got five last year,” agreed Desiderio.  “Over the past five years, they got 10 more.  I need to see the reasons why they need 16 more.”
“We got three last summer,” replied Taylor, “and only when there were retirements in other departments.”
Taylor said that, although he requested 10 investigators “of various levels of experience, the freeholders only approved hiring entry-level investigators.
“They will not be of much use since they will not start the academy until sometime in August and will not graduate until December. Meanwhile, we have to go through another year without being able to hire any experienced investigators or assistant prosecutors.”
Taylor had requested six entry-grade investigators, four experienced investigators, two assistant prosecutors, two secretaries, one clerk and one chemist.
Everyone expects he will resort to a legal remedy, going to the Assignment Judge Valerie Armstrong with his request. There is precedent for the assignment judge to tell the county to provide additional money.
 Freeholder Gerald M. Thornton, who has previously said he never voted against a prosecutor’s request, told the Herald, “This is the first time in all the years I  served I ever had reservations.  We need more justification from the Prosecutor’s office.  There was a study by the state Attorney General some time ago. I would like to  have access to that, which hasn’t been forthcoming.”
Taylor told the Herald that study, dated November 2000, recommended 15 new investigators, two a year for five years.
“All that was before Homeland Security, Megan’s Law, the Drug Court,” said Taylor.
“The freeholders like to call paralegal type people investigators,” he said. “They’re not.”

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