Sheriff Jerry Speziale responds to my recent post

I checked my email this afternoon to find a letter (shown below) from Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale, which he also posted in the comments section of a previous post (lest anyone think I am publicizing any confidential communication). Here is my response to his email.

Dear Jerry,

Thanks for the very thoughtful letter, much appreciated.

I am currently in Dakar, Senegal, but certainly look forward to having a chat after I return to NJ on December 10.

In the meantime, I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Best regards,
George Ajjan
Fri 11/17/2006 6:36 PM

Dear George:

I hope this letter finds you in good stead.

After reading the article authored by you on November 11, 2006, I felt compelled to send you a quick response.

Undoubtedly, you interject your political view, which is solely based on your belief and opinion. I beg to differ with that opinion and it’s clear to me that you don’t know the voters of Passaic County or me at all.

As you know, my life and career is an open book and I am proud of all that it has symbolized. Unfortunately, you see me as a political foe, which is founded on politics.

I am secure in my position and standing with the voters of Passaic County and confident Karl Rove tactics of hate and deceit does not fool them. This is evidenced by the malicious campaign mounted against me by Ron Fava, a former Prosecutor and Acting Sheriff who ran against a relatively unknown.

I will never forget my reelection campaign in 2004, which ended unexpectedly two months prior to my reelection. My best friend of twenty-eight years, mother of my three children and the love of my life, my wife Maggie was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I can assure you that campaigning was the last thing on my mind. I was focused on taking care of my three children, holding my family together, praying for my wife’s recovery, taking care of her when she returned home and managing the department. The most important thing to me is my family, which I am so grateful for. Yet, through it all, the voters of Passaic County overwhelmingly reelected me for a second term by record numbers, (78%).

Nothing has come easy for me in life, I was shot, hit by a cab; fell off a roof, beat by rouge cops undercover and many other dangerous situations that nearly cost me my life. However, complex situations are when I am at my best, because I remain alert, focused, composed, resolute and steadfast in my abilities to handle the situation at hand. Believe in me, I worked hard and earned everything I have attained in life taking nothing for granted.

So, with that being said, I want to address your comment about Reporter Paul Brubaker. I have had the pleasure of meeting the Mr. Brubaker who has been fair and balanced in his reporting. I don’t believe for one minute that the Herald News, Record or Mr. Brubaker is going to engage in any conspiracy to assassinate my character in an effort to assist the Republican Party.

Certainly, they are aware of my record, accomplishments and services provided by the department. Nevertheless, I have opened my doors to Mr. Brubaker and the newspapers. In fact, unlike any other agency, I don’t require them to make written requests through the Open Public Records Act. Clearly, I make sure the documents released are not protected under any law or privilege and then release them immediately upon their request. I have met with him on a number of occasions and provided him all of the budgetary documents of the department and outlined the operation.

George, I would like to personally invite you to join me for lunch and a tour of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department if you promise to be objective, non-partisan in your view and are open minded. Perhaps it would give you a clearer picture of the effective and efficient operation and our awesome responsibilities.

This is not about partisan politics, as you would like to have it. It is about public safety and providing essential services to the public at the most affordable cost.

Please try and understand that my budget is based on the cost of the agency to the taxpayers. With that being said, you will learn that during my tenure as the budget has increased because of contractual obligations among other things. The department operates with revenues and expenditure's ultimately being the bottom line to the taxpayers.

Since becoming Sheriff, I have increased my revenues by more than (100) million dollars offsetting the cost of the department to the taxpayers, my operating expenses have been flat for (6) years and the department has purchased all of it's vehicles and equipment with millions of dollars in drug forfeited funds. So when you look at the actual cost to the taxpayers and average out my years in office you will learn that we are operating about (15) million dollars under the cost to the taxpayers of my predecessor Ron Fava.

I welcome any debate on my budget and would only hope I get the chance to educate the public instead of the unsubstantiated propaganda spewed by people that have no clue how the agency operates.

As for my opposition, I welcome any candidate and will work vigorously to ensure my Victory in 2007.

In my opinion, turn out is not a factor for a candidate who won (15) towns overwhelmingly (3-4-5 and 10 to 1), and narrowly lost one.

As to be expected, I conduct poll data every year about the department and me, to include this year. Consequently, this years (800) sample poll has me even higher than my previous years, to include the year I beat Mr. Michalski and set record numbers in Passaic County. For the record, the poll data excludes Paterson and Passaic.

As for you absurd comment about the horrific events of 911 fading from the minds of our residents. Those terrible and tragic events will forever be etched in the minds of every American.

We have had great success in Passaic County in the area of homeland security as well as traditional law enforcement endeavors. We have modernized our infrastructure and have put into place a coordinated and cooperative effort to prepare ourselves for any contingency threatening our people. I do want to point out that this would not have been possible without the coordinated team comprised of our Police Chiefs and County Prosecutor.

Rest assured that the Passaic County Chiefs, Prosecutor and I have an extremely close working relationship founded on mutual respect, trust and friendship. Together, we have put together the finest law enforcement effort Passaic County has ever seen. The coordination between us all brings a keen awareness of balancing vigorous crime fighting efforts and criminal prosecution with just as vigorous protection of constitutional rights and civil liberties.

During my tenure, numerous programs have been initiated. These programs have been designed to improve both the services we provide and the relationships we share with the community.

I have dedicated my life to fighting crime and protecting and serving our citizens. So, as to be expected, I feel energized knowing that the people recognize and appreciate my abilities as their Sheriff.

So my friend, bring on your candidate, because I look forward to spending my million dollars to ensure that the public knows the truth about their Sheriff for a sweeping victory for me in 2007!


Jerry Speziale
Sheriff of Passaic County


Dino P. Crocetti said...

I think you hit a nerve buddy! Isn't it great when you get a response? That happened to me back in '01 when President Bush's tax cuts were being debated. Then Senators Torricelli and Corzine were voicing their opposition with the typical lib mantra, "tax cuts are for the rich."

I then proceeded to write them each a letter and in the spirit of Revolutionary times, to place a teabag inside the envelope to show my disgust. Needless to say, I got long multi-paged letters from the both of them. It's amazing howw people can talk and talk and not say anything!

They each basically said that this tax cut was "for the rich" (again) and that they were looking at the Dems proposed tax cut which I believe was almost 800 million dollars or so.

In the end they ultimately voted in favor of the tax cut anyway. I like to think that maybe, they both got together and discussed their decision over a cup of tea!

Anyway, he seemed really defensive, George. Are you going to take him up on his offer? I think you're more than up for the challenge.

PassaicCountyPundit said...

As an independent minded voter I have to say that, overall, Speziale has done a good job as sheriff (for those who don’t remember, he was in fact a life-long Republican before switching to the Democrat Party and running against Ron Fava in 2001; He won with 78% of the vote in 2004 because he received a substantial number of cross-over GOP votes on top of the Democrat votes which went his way).

The bulk of the problems in Passaic County aren’t necessarily with the Sheriff’s Department, but in other areas. Future GOP freeholder candidates need to focus efforts on things like:

Why it is that the county owns and operates a hospital? There is not one good reason for this. It should be sold to a private operator.

Why is the Sheriff elected yet the Prosecutor is appointed? This seems undemocratic.

As the Herald News pondered, Why does Passaic County not have a County Executive to oversee the out of control Freeholder Board?

The GOP should focus on getting rid of some of the bullshit administrative jobs that Democrats have given to cronies with titles like the "Assistant to the Assistant to the Clerk of the Board" or whatever the case may be.

One of the things the Sheriff's department could do is to cease wasting manpower on petty traffic violations and leave such matters to individual towns and state police to handle. Writing traffic tickets could hardly be considered a legitimate “Homeland Security” function. The Sheriff's department should focus 100 percent of its efforts on cleaning out these violent, crime ridden areas of cities like Paterson. Stake out officers 24/7 in so-called “hot-spots” if need be. As Erik Lowe alluded to in the debates, it’s pretty obvious to any external observer that the Paterson police just can't cut it by themselves, and there is no reason why any county residents should be forced to live in fear.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see Speziale go up against Pascrell in the Democratic Primary in 2008. That would be a race worth watching!

HaledonHound said...

This letter is very long and shows a somewhat doddering style. I think Jerry just thought he'd get bashed by loonys on the NJ forums with things like "Jerry's secret trial on Garret Mountain" and absurdities like that. Now that he faced honest critique for some of his fiscal methodology, he is a bit surprised and defensive.

Jerry is not the biggest problem in our foundry county, though. It is the County Administrator's job to keep the budget in check, but Tony DeNova is more worried about surrendering Little Holland (I mean North Haledon) to the GOP and funneling the $$$ back to the county Democrats. Maybe DeNova just likes giving money away?

This is why Passaic needs a good county executive.