The demotion / stripping of title of Brigantine Police; Captain Cox, has already caused a nasty battle. But now, it’s a very public and embarrassing battle between our city manager and the local police union. The Brigantine PBA Local #204 is publicly flogging our City Manager; Jennifer Blumenthal…with a lonnnnnnnggggggg missive in the pages of local papers & websites. This week, the union purchased big, blaring, full page ads. Perfect timing too, right at the height of our tourist season. Some think this is just one more skirmish brought on by the rumored ‘right-sizing’ of public employee head count & salaries. See Brigantine Public Employee Salary chart here.
Here’s text from the actual Brigantine PBA ad:
BLUMENTHAL DISRESPECTS POLICE DEPARTMENT & OTHER CITY EMPLOYEES.
Submitted by Brigantine PBA Local #204.
During June’s council meeting, in a show of utter disrespect, City Manager Jennifer Blumenthal stated that the leaders of the Police Department, Fire Department, and Beach Patrol lacked leadership qualities. She completely disrespected dozens of city employees who are ready to move into leadership positions. These are men who have spent a lifetime serving this community.
She has no experience in these departments and has no right evaluating employees who have worked in their departments for over 23 years. She wants the community to think these men are incompetent to further her own agenda. It is simply not true. It is a huge “slap in the face” to the entire community.
These men are our neighbors, they coach sports here, and they have spent their whole careers protecting the residents of this great city. Blumenthal stated to City Council that these leaders are not “imaginative thinkers” and “not ready for management positions”; therefore not ready to lead their respective departments.
Blumenthal made the mistake of perpetrating to council and the community that she was qualified to make such an assessment. She is not. She does not possess one credential that qualifies her to recommend to council who is ready to lead these departments.
The exiting Police Chief named Captain Ray Cox as the Acting Chief. He is the one who makes that appointment for a reason. He has worked with Captain Cox for the past 23 years. He has seen his ability to handle tough situations and his ability to lead the department.
The retiring Chief knows better than anyone who can lead the department when he retires. Blumenthal got hired by the city less than two years ago and has no police experience. She has never worked a day in the Brigantine Police Department.
She has no right to recommend to council who is qualified to be Acting Chief. Captain Cox had the support of the entire Police Department when he took command. While Captain Cox was Acting Chief, he had a difference of opinion with Blumenthal. He did what he thought was right for the men and women of the Police Department. He explained his position to Blumenthal on behalf of his department, that’s what true leaders do. Blumenthal disagreed and immediately demoted him via a written letter, not in person.
Is this how we want our City Manager to treat the leaders of our departments? A competent, professional City Manager would have worked through the problem and established a productive relationship with her acting Chief.
Captain Cox would not “sell out” and turn his back on the men and women of his department. For that, she demoted him. It is completely irresponsible city management. She had one disagreement with the Acting Chief and her solution to the problem was to demote him.
That does not sound like competent city management, or imaginative thinking for that matter. Demotions are usually very serious actions in the realm of Law enforcement. It’s usually the result of someone breaking the law or committing an egregious violation of department policy. This resulted in numerous rumors and accusations being spread about why Ray Cox was demoted. Now you know the real, uninteresting, not-so-serious reason why Captain Cox was demoted.
Let’s go back to Blumenthal’s statement that Captain Cox is an unimaginative thinker. Captain Cox rose through the ranks of the Police Department. He made sergeant and commanded a squad. He then made Lieutenant and commanded even more people as a Lieutenant. He is now the Captain and leading the entire department. Captain Cox was a Team Leader for the Atlantic County SWAT Team. On that team, he led highly trained officers from departments from all over the county. He gave them assignments and led them during critical SWAT operations.
Other department’s Chiefs from all over the county trusted Captain Cox to lead their men during those operations. The type of imaginative thinking that you need to command men during those operations is the type of thinking Jennifer Blumenthal only dreams about having. She will never know that type of imaginative thinking, ever. The community needs their leaders back.
Come to the next council meeting on July 17 and show your support. This is the time for the community to speak up and show that they don’t want their city to be continually weakened by improper decisions.