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Village Workers' Holiday Party to Again be Held in Hawthorne

Do you mind that the taxpayer-funded employee party will be held outside of the village?

Only one of about 20 Ridgewood businesses/non-profits approached to host the annual holiday party for village workers responded, Village Manager Ken Gabbert said Wednesday. With such a lack of interest – and perhaps courtesy – the taxpayer-funded party will again be held at Macaluso's in Hawthorne.

According to Gabbert, of the 20 places approached, only meat haven The Stable responded to the prompt. Because of its relatively small size, the restaurant on South Broad and East Ridgewood Avenue likely could not accommodate for up to 75 people. So it's back to Hawthorne they go, Gabbert said.

Taxpayers will be dropping $2,300 for the December party, which has been held at Macaluso's for years.

As he does every year the discussion comes up, Mayor Paul Aronsohn expressed disappointment the party isn't held in Ridgewood.

"It still boggles my mind we don't do this here," Aronsohn said, noting that there are 104 eating establishments in town. "It just seems wrong to use village money in another town...it's taxpayer money."

He suggested the party could even be held at Village Hall, sans alcohol.

Previous mayor Keith Killion – a former police officer – had suggested in past years that workers already spending 40 hours a week in the village prefer a cold one and a hot meal outside Ridgewood confines.

What do you think? Do you mind taxpayer funded worker parties being held out of town?

Boyd A. Loving September 21, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Another classic example of how Village officials refuse to think outside of the box. Instead of insisting the event be held at a restaurant, why didn't they consider having a Village establishment (e.g., The Best of Everything) cater the party at a Ridgewood facility such as the Elks Club or the Free Mason's Hall?
James Kleimann September 21, 2012 at 05:26 PM
The Elks Club has a bar, too.
jp1 September 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Agree 100% with the above comments.
JAFO September 21, 2012 at 05:52 PM
After spending 40 hours per week in the village with fellow employees, I would be more interested in grabbing a cold one WITHOUT them. Location would not be important.
Irene September 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM
First let me say there are some incredible Ridgewood employees, dedicated, professional, compassionate. That being said, I still do not feel that I as a taxpayer would like to fund their holiday gathering. I really don't. Is there a contributory payment from each employee? Macaluso's is a very extravagant venue - shame that the Council powers that be could not have done something a bit less expensive such as what was mentioned above, the Elks or American Legion Hall.
James Kleimann September 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
It's $65 a person; their share is $35.
RdgwdGRock September 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Boyd - seems like a no-brainer. But, of course, there seems to be no brains at village hall. in these tough times, why a holiday party at all?
longtimer66 September 21, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Boyd is right- have it catered and at someplace like the Elks which indeed does have a bar. Its web site says the hall will seat 136 comfortably and it has a dance floor etc too. http://www.elks.org/lodges/lodgefacilities.cfm?lodgenumber=1455 Or have it at Vill Hall (which was actually the OLD Elks Club) and forego the cold ones. Those wanting to hoist a few could adjourn to venue of choice. I hope they come up with definitive answers to Boyd's good questions on the whole radio matter too. Lotta murk still in that whole thing..
News Man September 21, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Who is the "official party planner" in the Village? When was the first "employee" party and are there any photos of previous good times? Perhaps, the next one might be held on 'President Election Night' and the party winners pick up the Tab. Just a thought.... D
Bob Hutton September 21, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I would be the first to sign up for a Holiday Party. Unfortunately, here again is the discrepancy between municipal government and public schools. During my tenure on the Board of Education, legislation was passed prohibiting ANY expenditure of funds to feed staff. The district annually had a lovely retirement dinner, recognizing those staff members retiring that year. We then as board members paid to attend. To remain legal, the next step would have been to ask the retirees and their guests to pay. That was not considered appropriate. For the last few years a simple reception and presentation was held at the Ed Center. Both Village Hall and the Ed Center are funded by local taxpayers. Unfortunately, the long arm of Trenton does not reach equally to both buildings. A double standard is a consistent approach.
RdgwdGRock September 21, 2012 at 07:42 PM
if taxpayer funds are being used, there should be pics posted
Ron Verdicchio September 21, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Instead of hand-wringing Aronsohn and the Council majority should pass a resolution requiring the event be held in town or not at all. Less "conversation" and more action by the mayor should resolve the issue. Just say no.
Boyd A. Loving September 21, 2012 at 09:08 PM
The Aronsohn Team's post election promise for a "commitment to good government" (see Letters to the Editor, Ridgewood News, May 18, 2012) seems to be falling very, very, very flat as of late. Thus far, I don't believe a single promise made has been kept.
Boyd A. Loving September 21, 2012 at 09:49 PM
In recent years, Keith Killion and Tom Riche picked up the Village's portion of the tab; as a result, there was no taxpayer liability. I guess no one on the Village Council now wants to make such an offer?
barbara September 22, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Again, Mr. Loving says it all so eloquently......Once in office the pre-election promises seem to disappear. Shame on the mayor and the newly elected village council if they let this extravagant party on the taxpayer's dime be held when people are struggling to pay the outrageous tax bills in this town.
Angie S. September 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Really? Extravagant party?? $2,300 is cheap to throw a party for the Village employees! These employees work hard for us!! The garbage men I wave to every week deserve a party - with booze!! Come on people, find something else to complain about.
Andrea September 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Sad that they don't find a place in RIDGEWOOD! Support the town, novel idea... I know that the bid went to the Woman's Club of Ridgewood...
Craig Hueneke September 22, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I agree with Angie. They deserve it. If I could afford it I would throw them a summer party too! It's the little things like a holiday party that goes a long way in the morale department, which we all know is a critical aspect of any job!
Ron Verdicchio September 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM
There is no dispute on my part about the need to demonstrate respect for employees who are hard working and in many cases go above and beyond(solid waste employees). The Council should simply require the event be in Ridgewood. No mind boggling here. As long as the taxpayers do not fund "cold ones" the cost is minimal to taxpayers. Let's hope this issue is not a Aronsohn- Village Manger set-up.
JayJay September 22, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I think they were trying to support the town,didn't it say only one place even responded?ISorry,it's a two way street.Can we blame the council for everything?And besides it 2300 bucks in a town of 29,000 people.Can someone here break down the cost per taxpayer,c'mon people stop it.
JayJay September 22, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Maybe they did Boyd,only one establishment even got back to them.We really don't know who they asked do we?
Andrea September 22, 2012 at 05:23 PM
they asked for a quote from the Woman's Club of Ridgewood, but they wanted turn-key and we are a rental hall. however, i don't know if they went another step forward to find a caterer to fill that need. Unfortunately, it would have most likely cost more than $2300, cause you would have wanted liquor and a d.j..
jp1 September 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I do not think the money is a problem,but i do believe this could have been done better and with a venue in town that serves alcohol.
News Man September 22, 2012 at 07:18 PM
National politics are creeping into National Patch Local stories. What a mess.
Harlan Consider September 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Holiday parties have all but disappeared in the private sector. There are still a few, but they tend to be funded by senior management sharing in the cost. In a time of high public deficits and layoffs, it's simply inconceivable to use any amount of taxpayer money to fund a party. Imagine how someone who has recently been laid off due to budget cuts feels knowing that they went on to spend money on a party? These are extraordinary times we are living in and every penny should be carefully watched.
Rose Boniello September 23, 2012 at 02:39 PM
"Only one of about 20 Ridgewood businesses/non-profits approached to host the annual holiday party for village workers responded" "...there are 104 eating establishments in town" So what about the other 80+ places?? Obviously some are small coffee shops, etc but there must be dozens of places that would welcome this party. Jamboree supports the local restaurants that contribute to the fundraiser -- Tre Voci (to name one) hosted a fantastic cast party last year. And I guess $2300 is not an extravagant amount for a party -- however, it should be a cash bar no matter where the party is to keep costs down. But I agree that having a holiday party is good for the morale of the people who help keep our town working.
Anne LaGrange Loving September 23, 2012 at 02:54 PM
If you take the time to go through the Work Session Minutes from previous years, it can be seen in several instances that Mayor Aronsohn (who was not mayor at that time) was adamant that the party should be held in Ridgewood. For example, in the Minutes of the September of 2010 work session, Councilman Aronsohn is quoted as saying: Hosting the party in Ridgewood would bring much needed revenue to local businesses, would lower the cost per person, and would provide great accessibility for employees who could not otherwise afford to attend the party." This is a party, folks, not brain surgery. Surely this is one area in which our elected officials could have held their ground and insisted that an in-town venue be found.
News Man September 23, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Anne, I hope it's not brain surgery emergency, patients would have to be sent to St. Joes, Valley can't handle it. See you at the street fair.... d

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