Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST
WORKING TIRELESSLY, NOT!
Last week, the Hamilton Township Council questioned Mr. Plunkett, Hamilton’s Health Officer and Health Department director. Mr. Plunkett stated that there were no standard operating procedures in place since his tenure began in 1995. That they conducted business for decades without undergoing a routine inspection and was conducting euthanasia on a license; that they issued themselves by the Hamilton Township Division of Health.
“Any shelter, kennel, pet shop whether it is public or private, should have one inspection a year before the license is issued,” Plunkett told Hamilton Council at the Nottingham Fire Co. ballroom meeting. He confirmed the shelter had operated for many years without an annual inspection prior to the facility being inspected July 11 by West Windsor Township health officials on his request.
Plunkett said it would have been “a conflict of interest” if he or a Hamilton municipal employee self-inspected the township’s animal shelter. But there was no conflict of interest to print their own license. He also said the shelter had no standard operating procedure or SOP, forcing him to write one up from scratch after researching the issue in recent weeks. Before Mr. Plunkett admitted to the absence of the SOP’s he stated that he was “rewriting them and updating them. Upon further questioning, he admitted they never existed.
This comment about the SOP’s was brought up in 2014 when there was a death in the township of a 4 year old boy due to EVD68. At a town hall meeting that was chaired by Congressman Chris Smith, the Mayor of Hamilton township and Mr. Plunkett. On stage in front of the residents all three political leaders stated they had read the existing SOP’s and were updating them and training the staff in the school systems in Hamilton, Mercer County.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2k6Qc9FRfE Dr Oz video on Eli
As the Director of the Department of Health, Recreation, Senior & Veterans Services, Mr Plunkett has a lot of responsibility. How long do the residents of Hamilton have to endure this shirking of responsibilities of their officials?
Mr Plunkett also stated that there are no requirements for ACO's or those in charge of shelters. He went on to say that there are no continuing educational requirements needed as well. Upon researching this comment, we found this to be incorrect as well. The link below demonstrates the follow statutes: (clearly none of this is being acknowledges by our Dir of Health or Public Safety Officer in the township of Hamilton, Mercer County. These regulations have been in place since 1983, prior to Mr. Plunkett's arrival in 1995.
NJ STATUTE 4:19-15.16A - Animal Control Officers; Certification
A. The commissioner of Health shall, within 120 days after the effective date of P.L.1983, c. 525, and pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c. 410 (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations concerning the training and educational qualifications for the certification of animal control officers including, but not limited to, a course of study approved by the commissioner and the Police Training Commission, in consultation with the New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officers Association, which acquaints a person with...
http://www.njcacoa.org/aco_authority.htm is a link to all the regulations.
In 2014, a 4-year-old Hamilton boy died from EVD68. There was a nationwide epidemic occuring for numerous months prior to the death of the young boy. The virus was prevalent in 40 states and over 300 confirmed cases, prior to the cases in Hamilton. Yet, the Hamilton township health department did zero preventive measures in the schools or in the township to optimize awareness of the epidemic. At a press conference for the death of the boy, Mayor Yaede said, "I have never heard of EVD68 and neither has my staff."
How is that possible? As the director of Public Safety it should be a strategic imperative that the Mayor and Mr. Plunkett be aware of any and all epidemics occuring in the nation to be proactive for the residents in the town. However, they are completely unaware. At that same press conference Mr. Plunkett stated that he "updated the SOP's as it pertained to cleaning the schools and awareness as it pertained to hand washing."
On Oct 10th we OPRA'd the SOP's from Jan 1 2000 to Sept 26 2014 from the department of health, as it pertains to cleaning and health in the township school systems. We still await the information. We have also sent an additional OPRA request for the annual reports that are prepared by the Hamilton township Division of Health. The only report that is available on line is dated Jan 15, 2015. A few months after the death due to EVD68.
Mr. Plunkett used the same phrase at the EVD68 town hall meeting in 2014; " we are updating the SOP's", where a child died in the township from EVD68. Did the SOP’s in the school systems even exist prior to the 2014 death of a 4-year-old resident? What did Congressman Chris Smith, the Mayor and Mr. Plunkett actually review to update prior to the death in 2014 from EVD68? Did the political leadership all hide the fact that the SOP’s never existed? The results of the OPRA request will demonstrate the truth. The same phrase was used by Plunkett at the shelter meeting and turned out the SOP’s never existed. Below is a link to the only annual report available on line. We have OPRA’d all the reports and await a response with this information.
There appears to be a very frightening pattern of behavior with Mr. Plunkett. The leadership also seems to be turning a blind eye to it for decades. There needs to be accountability for all of this. The residents and the animals of the township deserve better. The public safety is at risk due to the lack of accountability of the leadership. Our Public safety director, Health Director, the Mayor, and the Congressman may have some tough questions to respond to in the near future. This could cause the Congressman to lose his election if it turns out that there was a wink and a nod given to the absence of SOP’s in 2014.
The mayor of the township has been quite silent during the entire animal shelter exposure. Yet, she states in the past she works tirelessly for the animals. At the beginning of the exposure she vehemently denied the early accusations and shamed the people who did their best to give light of day to the truth and banned the whistle blowers from shelter access. The fact that things are improving now is the same as saying too late. The leadership’s deflections and distractions away from the truth resulted in the unwarranted suffering, poor treatment and death of thousands of animals.
We are thankful there is a process to get to the truth. It’s called OPRA. (Open Public Records Act). The New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) gives New Jersey citizens (See Harry Scheeler, Jr. v. Burlington Twp; GRC Complaint No 2015-93 Ruling) greater access to public inspection and duplication of disclosable government records through the filing of an OPRA Request. New Jersey citizens have access to government records except for those documents that fall under defined exclusions. Under OPRA, the Hamilton Township Clerk has been designated as the official Custodian of Records.
What else are the leaders closing their eyes to?