A number of Jersey City Incinerator Authority employees spoke during last night’s special meeting, with one worker stating that making the agency a part of the city’s Department of Public Works would force him back to the streets, where “I may kill somebody or somebody may kill me.”
“I’ve been in here [the JCIA] for … since 2004. I’ve been in jail, I’ve been on streets, used drugs, no other agency, no agency – if you didn’t have a cusp with city hall – would hire me,” said Steven Richardson, a JCIA employee, during the public portion of yesterday’s special meeting after Dabney’s retirement was approved.
“I’ve been here since 2004: drug free, street free – I’m asking y’all: don’t do this because, to go under DPW, you can’t have a [criminal] record. This is the only facility that allows you to be here with a record. Nobody else! To give 10, 20 years away, just like that! You’re forcing me to go back to the streets.”
“I may kill somebody, ‘cuz I cannot go back to the streets, or somebody may kill me,” later concluding with: “politics should not cause me, or nobody else here, to lose our jobs.”
Board Vice Chairman P. Terrell Flood, the only board members who voted against accepted now ex-JCIA CEO Oren Dabney’s retirement, was brought to tears at the conclusion of Richardson’s remarks.
” … He helps everyone who comes through this agency,” said the next speaker, Kevin DeGree, also a JCIA employee in regards to Oren Dabney.
“Everybody. I’m from the second chance too. I have a whole family, I got married while I was here … my life is good now. For them to take that away, what am I supposed to do? Start, like he said, go back to the streets? Nobody want[s] that.”
“I’ve been here since before 2004. I used to ride a bike down here, back and forth, all the way to [Route[ 440. My daughter’s bike, purple. Trying to get in here, trying to get a job. I can’t go back to the streets. It’s ridiculous. I can’t. I have a family, I’m trying to buy a house for myself. you understand, and he gave me the opportunity.”
DeGree concluded by stating he believed the whole merger between the JCIA and city DPW was political: “Just do something about [Mayor] Steve Fulop man, that’s all.”
After Board Chairwoman Maureen Hulings reiterated that the consolidation of the JCIA and Jersey City DOW was not on the agenda, Frank Casals, a near decade-long employee of the agency and former New York Police Department sergeant, said “there is no one more dedicated to civil service than Oren Dabney.”
“I can look at everybody here: he’s done favors for everyone here,” later adding, “you guys are making a big mistake by letting him go … He entertains every phone call from the guys from the gutter, whatever you need to get done, he gets it done for you.”
” … He’s the best there ever was. By the way, Clayton Dabney, this is America: you’re innocent until proven guilty!”
Clayton Dabney, Oren Dabney’s brother and an assistant executive director of the agency, currently faces charges of theft of service and conspiracy for his alleged scheme where JCIA equipment was used to collect construction debris, which was later sold for cash.
Dabney, who was earning just over $152,000 a year when he left the agency, is expected to earn a lifelong pension of $77,000. The interim CEO replacing him will be Hudson County Executive Director John Minella.
A spokesman from Fulop’s office did not return an email this afternoon asking where JCIA employees with criminal records would stand if they become absorbed by the Jersey City DPW.
The Jersey City Council will vote on the measure at tomorrow’s meeting.