Citing “reports of horrific abuses of animals,” Bayonne mayoral hopeful Jason O’Donnell is calling on the city council to terminate the animal control services contract they have with a North Hudson-based company owned by Geoff Santini.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“When New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue was first selected there were reports of horrific abuses of animals and widespread concern over the lack of resources possessed by this company. Their bid was not the lowest and they appeared to be the least qualified and, yet, they were still hired by the Council,” Team O’Donnell said in a statement.
Back in December 2015, after weeks of controversy and a large scale protest, the council opted to allow their contract with the Jersey City-based Liberty Humane Society to expire and brought in New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue to provide animal control services.
“Since then taxpayers have paid tens of thousands of dollars amid multiple press reports accusing the owner of New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue of abusing taxpayer dollars.”
Geoff Santini, the owner of NJACR, was fired from his job as the security director at the North Bergen Housing Authority – where he earned an annual salary of over $81,000 – after the NBC I-Team produced an expose series alleging that Santini rarely went to work.
Earlier this month, Hudson County View first reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has submitted subpoenas in relation to his animal control business.
“While some cities have terminated and others are undertaking reviews to see the legality of termination, our Council added an emergency resolution to make sure this company continued receiving taxpayer money even after the expiration of their contract,” added Team O’Donnell.
“This is yet another disturbing instance of Mayor Davis and his Council abusing Bayonne taxpayers.”
The Bayonne council approved an emergency 30-day extension of NJACR’s contract last month, within a few days of when Garfield terminated their contract and when the West New York Board of Commissioners approved a request for proposals for animal control services.
The agenda for tomorrow’s Bayonne council meeting does not include a measure related to animal control, but a source with knowledge of the situation said an add-on resolution will be introduced.
It was not immediately clear whether or not the city plans to contract with Liberty Humane Society again or if they intend to handle animal control services in house going forward.