Guadagno’s Worrisome Record as Sheriff of Monmouth County


Kim Guadagno dodges responsibility for the failures of the Christie Administration by alternately hiding behind or blaming the Governor.  But she cannot hide from her record of dishonesty as Monmouth County Sheriff. 

In 2009, to cover a large budget deficit resulting from the recession, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, of which I was a member, froze the wages of non-union county employees and asked the unions to agree to a wage freeze. Failing such an agreement, some union members would have to be laid off.  

The Freeholders asked Sheriff Guadagno to persuade the unions representing her sheriff’s officers and corrections officers to accept the freeze.  She refused to cooperate, predicting that the savings anticipated from a wage freeze or offsetting layoffs would be lost because she was going to use overtime to continue running the jail, serve warrants, and discharge other functions.  When invited to comment on her budget at a public meeting, she turned her back on the Freeholders and told the hundreds of union members present that they were right to object to the freeze and the Freeholders were wrong. (Asbury Park Press, 7/21/09).

The Sheriff’s unions rejected the freeze, and fourteen of their least senior members with young families were laid off. In addition, Guadagno laid off process servers who had agreed to the freeze and replaced them with higher paid personnel.  After intervention by the county administrator and attorneys, the process servers were reinstated (APP, 7/27/09).  Despite Guadagno’s machinations, the county ultimately did realize salary and fringe benefit savings in the Sheriff’s budget (APP, 10/1/09).

At her first press conference as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Guadagno said, “I can tell you that I’m probably the only elected public official who had to stand toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye and negotiate with unions.”  The truth is she was playing footsie with them. At a closed Freeholder meeting earlier in the year, the Republican County Administrator and County Counsel had recommended that the Freeholders pull operation of the jail and youth detention center from Guadagno because of “complaints and concerns relative to the …performance of her duties and lack of responsiveness to the Freeholders” and her close alignment with labor unions in opposing payroll cuts. (APP, 9/30/09).

Angered by these episodes, a Republican blogger wrote “it is common knowledge that Guadagno made the union men and women feel as if she was 100%  PRO them. Then after the smoke clears and she is running with Christie she publicly states that she fought hard to suppress the unions she was protecting.  She still makes 110K as sheriff….What do the laid off workers have?  Sheriff Guadagno is a fraud.”  (PA_TH_TIC, 9/30/09). 

This history of shady behavior by former Sheriff Kim Guadagno, strikingly similar in many respects to that of President Donald Trump, is worrisome and calls to mind the warning in the following Bible verse: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10, New Living Translation).

John D’Amico is a former Monmouth County Freeholder.

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