Surrency, Cumberland Freeholders at Odds Over Jail COVID-19 Proposal

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

BRIDGETON – Cumberland County Freeholder Jack Surrency is speaking out after his proposal to test those in the county jail for the coronavirus and then treat and track those contracting the virus was defeated at its board work session Tuesday.

Freeholders voted 6-1 against Surrency’s proposal that included hazard pay for corrections officers, weekly testing and reporting of personnel and inmates, personal protection equipment disclosures and strict enforcement of the state attorney general’s guidelines.

“I’m naming names,” Surrency said in a statement. “There’s too much at stake. Freeholders [Joe] Derella, [Carol] Musso, [George] Castelinni, [Darlene] Barber and [Jim] Quinn sold out our jail, putting their egos before the health and safety of our corrections officers, staff and inmates.”

But Freeholder Director Joe Derella pushed back against Surrency’s characterization of the meeting.

“Freeholder Surrency completely misrepresents the board’s action as a rejection when, in fact, action on the resolutions was postponed until necessary additional information Surrency should have presented can be supplied to the board.” Derella  told the Press of Atlantic City.

“Freeholder Surrency proposed four poorly worded and researched resolutions for the board’s consideration without supplying any of the information necessary for the board to discharge its duty to the public to intelligently consider and vote on those resolutions,” he added.

Surrency, though, called the vote “politics at its worse” and said the board let personal feelings “affect the men and women within the four walls of the county jail.”

Surrency is fighting to keep his seat on the Cumberland County Freeholder board after the local Democratic Party declined to support him along with two other board incumbents earlier this year. Surrency has seen built his own slate of candidates, including former Freeholder Donna Pearson and Tracey Wells-Huggins to compete in July’s Democratic primary.

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