Some Asbury Park residents are expected to attend this week’s City Council to complain about the city’s hiring practices which they said more often than not places non-residents in city jobs, shutting out qualified residents.
The residents also say the city has a dismal record of screening potential employees.
Duanne Small, a resident and unsuccessful City Council candidate who is a longtime advocate for hiring local residents for jobs, said that he was informed that several newly-hired employees live outside of Asbury Park.
“All were hired from outside the city and I heard that one is a convicted sexual offender and one supplied a fake address at the Asbury Towers. This is wrong and something needs to be done about it. Any qualified Asbury Park resident should be hired before any nonresident,” he said.
Small said the council should put in place a residency ordinance requiring new hires to be city residents or at least give them time to move to the city to comply.
He is expected to discuss the matter at the City Council meeting taking place tonight, Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
Twenty-three year-old Izameek Harris, who has lived in Asbury Park for about nine years, said he has worked for the city’s public works department for most of his teenage years cleaning up at the beachfront.
After graduating high school and being one semester away from getting an associate’s degree in engineering from Brookdale Community College, Harris said he is still trying to get a job with the city.
Now Harris said he is finding out that all of this is not necessarily true and that a few people have been hired.
“I feel disappointed. I have been working for the city most of my life and I know it well. I don’t know who is getting these jobs but I am a good worker and feel I am as qualified as most others to get a job. And I am still hoping to get a job,” he said.
Former acting-City Manager Anthony Nuccio, who was at the helm when some of these new hires came onboard, said he cannot comment on the matter because it deals with personnel. Current City Manager Jack Kelly, who was also at the helm for some of the new employees, said that he asked City Engineer Joseph Cunha to prepare a summary of the most recent hires and that he is now in the process of reviewing it.
“It is a work in progress,” he said.
Councilman John Moor said one of the platforms he ran on in the last election was to get as many city residents employed as possible.
“In our form of government, the mayor and council have no say in hiring and firing but we do have a say in the procedure of how it should be done. Some people recently brought to my attention that some inappropriate hiring procedures may have occurred and I have brought the matter to the attention of the city manager,” he said.
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