Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mexican Flu Hits Home

Just received word that Yeshivat Noam, an orthodox day school in Paramus, is closed through next Monday due to a flu outbreak. According to my friend's kids, there were many absences today. The principal sent a recorded phone message to all of the parents this morning telling them to keep their kids home if the kids exhibited any flulike symptoms. Another message this evening told parents that school was closing through Monday. (School was already scheduled to be closed Friday for the holiday).
In keeping with Israeli Ministry of Health edicts, the illness is to be refered to as "Mexican Flu" and not "Swine Flu." No word on whether the confirmed flu case at Noam is the H1N1 variety.
With the Shavuot holiday coming up later this week, I ask, do men shake other men's hands in wishing them "Chag Sameach" or "Gut Yomtov" or saying "Yasher Koach" after an aliyah or kibud? Do we supervise the kiddush more closely to discourage those Brooklyn slobs who always stick their hands in the food serving plate instead of using a fork? Do we kiss the Torah? Do we eat the piece of challah that our host cuts and hands to us at the Yom Tov table?
Stay healthy everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Money To Burn

A 62 million dollar budget. No layoffs. The maximum allowed increase in the tax levy. A 2.4 million dollar tax hike. Half a million more in spending. "Modest" raises for several years.
The rest of the world is in a recession. People are losing jobs or taking pay cuts and losing benefits. But not in Teaneck. We're going to keep the bloated bureaucracy just as bloated as it ever was.
The proposed layoffs are out the window. Our spendthrift mayor is willing to hand out raises to Teaneck's employees. What do the employees have to sacrifice? Maybe rolling back larger raises to take smaller ones. No givebacks, no productivity increases, nothing!
Looks like Feit fiddles while Teaneck burns. Who ever thought I'd agree with Monica on this one?
And now that William Broughton is officially the township manager, I'd think he'd be taking over the negotiations with the unions. Not so. We're going to keep Interim Manager Greg Fehrenbach on the payroll. Why? Because it would be "challenging" for Broughton to take over midstream. If Broughton can't even handle the job from Day One, imagine what kind of trouble Teaneck is going to be in on Day One Hundred.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Democracy Defeated

The voters went to the polls and defeated the school budget proposal. 
The town council decided to take the recommended 4% increase and decrease it to 3%, defeating the will of the majority of Teaneck's voters.
We'll keep on paying six figure salaries to gym teachers and to administrators who haven't seen the inside of a classroom since they removed the inkwells from the student's desks.
The town approves a "worst case scenario" layoff plan to deal with a $650,000 deficit, yet claims to be trying to avoid any layoffs.
Our interim town manager says he wants to avoid layoffs and limit salary increases.
In a world where people are losing jobs or taking pay cuts, we want to give out raises to township employees, but "limit" the amount.
This is fiscal irresponsibility. How about asking for pay CUTS instead of limiting the amount of RAISES!
Our firemen claim to only want 3% raises annualy beginning next year. How about we counteroffer a 3% annual pay cut (after we eliminate 28 men).
This town is not democracy in action, it is democracy inaction.
According to 2008 figures on the Asbury Park Press' website, Teaneck had 174 employees making six figure salaries, with 98 of those coming from the board of education. (The records include employees enrolled in various pension systems. These are base salaries and do not include overtime, bonuses or benefits).
If the town feels it can make do with fewer employees, the cuts should be made whether or not there is a budget deficit. Just because we can somehow get the money from the backs of the township's residents, doesn't mean we have to spend it all on grossly exorbitant salaries and unheard of benefits for extraneous township employees.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Giving Back In A Big Way

You may never have heard of Kasib Powell. He's a Teaneck High School graduate. He played basketball here, then went on to play college basketball at a community college in Kansas before landing at Texas Tech for his junior and senior seasons. 
He wasn't drafted after college, and has played mostly in basketball's minor leagues and overseas over the last few years. He spent this past season playing in China and Sioux Falls, SD. He was called up to the NBA's Miami Heat at the end of the 2007-08 season, where he appeared in eleven big league games.
He's never given up hope of getting another "break" and another shot at the NBA. He's played in NBA Summer Leagues and his decision to toil in the "D-League" instead of chasing more money in Europe speaks to his desire to achieve the NBA dream.
He's no millionaire. His NBA salary over the course of his short stint is estimated at only $36,000. And there's not a lot to be made in basketball's "D-League" where Powell is one of the league's top all-time scorers.
But Powell is giving back to Teaneck in a great way. He has started the K.P. Youth Foundation.
His foundation is offering a summer SAT prep course free of charge to Teaneck residents in grades 11 and 12.
For info, visit kasibpowell.com or email kasibpowell1@yahoo.com
Teaneck at its finest.