This is a compelling example of how citizens can root out abuses by accessing public records. Great work by ESSEX WATCH ! -NJFOG
BELLEVILLE, NJ — Belleville residents have been so shell-shocked by destructive and costly politics recently, it seems almost nothing comes as a surprise to them anymore. After the results of last year’s mortifying financial audit of the Belleville Board of Education by the State of New Jersey, how can you ever hope to top that stomach-churning disgrace?
Given how the topic of the infamous 2,000 USB flash drives comes up time and time again at public meetings however, our very dear friends in Belleville may just find this small untold chapter of the story I’m about to reveal to be a whole new level of outrage and betrayal of the public trust. As if these poor people haven’t had enough already.
Listen up, New Jersey. All of this could happen in your town as well.
Back in May of 2014, I wrote an article called, “Where, Oh Where, Did Our 2,000 USB Drives Go?”.
This slightly cheeky investigative report shows how now-Councilman Joe Longo was a sitting trustee on the Belleville Board of Education in April 2013 when the school board strangely purchased $20,150 of computer accessories — 2,000 USB flash drives — from his own employer, Marange Printing Inc.
At this time, Longo was a salesman for Marange Printing, the BOE was practically destitute if not already in a budget deficit, teachers were complaining that they did not have adequate supplies, students were sharing outdated textbooks, and the few computers in the district that were still functional were so old, most if not all of them did not even have USB ports to accommodate the devices in the first place, much less 2,000 of them.
Therefore, what on earth was the justification for spending over $20,000 on flash drives no one needed?
Continue reading HERE.