Playing Politics With City Jobs

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LINDEN – City officials are accusing each other of playing politics with government jobs.

Councilman Derek Armstead says that selected workers should not receive special privileges due to political connections, but Council President Robert Bunk wants to “grandfather” 11 civil service workers into the Linden Supervisors Association, then keep any future non-supervisors from joining to the union.

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Mayor Richard Gerbounka opposes the plan to permit those individuals to remain under the association, arguing that they “are not qualified to belong to [the] union.”

Gerbounka noted that one of the workers at the center of the dispute is a plumbing inspector who is Bunk’s son-in-law.

According to the mayor, three other workers were going to be added to the supervisors union – a technical assistant to construction official, a building subcode official and a purchasing assistant typist – but that plan was scuttled.

“All public employees should be treated equally and fairly,” Gerbounka said.

All three men are running for election to be Linden’s mayor. Bunk, running with the support of the regular political organization of Union County, and Armstead, running as part of the Democrats for Change ticket, will face each other in the June primary election. Gerbounka will face the primary winner in November.

According to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, a plumbing inspector “Under direction performs plumbing inspection work involved to enforce relevant public health laws within the jurisdiction; does other related duties as required.”

One of the other job titles in this dispute is “Sanitation Inspector.” According to the civil service commission, a sanitation inspector, “Under direction, conducts inspections and investigations to enforce codes, ordinances, and other standards related to collection and disposal of refuse and litter; does related work as required.”

Another job title under contention is “Computer Repair Technician.” A computer repair technician “Under direction repairs, services, and maintains computer system equipment and related peripheral devices; does related work as required,” according to the state civil service commission.

None of those job descriptions make mention of any supervisory duties.

Playing Politics With City Jobs

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