Tabernacle Committee meeting focuses on health care benefits

Tabernacle Committee meeting focuses on health care benefits

By Katrina Grant

The public portion of the Tabernacle Committee meeting once again focused on the issue of health-care benefits for committee members.

Resident Fran Brooks brought up that Deputy Mayor Ken Baranowski still collects benefits under the committee for his position. Brooks then brought up that Baranowski recently purchased a vacation home for just under $600,000.

“The loophole that was passed that allowed Mr. Baranowski to stay on health benefits was not transparent,” Brooks said. “It was taken out of the light of day. There is no reason why Mr. Baranowski needs to collect $18,000 a year in health benefits for a $5,000 a year job.”

Brooks said that with this revelation that Baranowski purchased the home while still collecting benefits that are paid for by taxpayers, that he should resign his position as deputy mayor immediately.

“The vacation home was purchased for $594,000 dollars under his business address, 6th Street Summer Breeze LLC,” Brooks said. “Mr. Baranowski, you are an immoral, unethical person. This is scandalous. I call for your resignation immediately and for you to return the money for your health insurance.”

“I bought the home with half of my retirement funds from a pension from a job I retired from years ago,” Baranowski said. “Retirements are going down, and I decided to use some of mine to purchase this home. This home was not purchased with any taxpayer money. I purchased it with my own money.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do with your own money,” Brooks said. “You shouldn’t be taking health benefits if you can buy a vacation home. It’s your own business, if you want to purchase the home, but you shouldn’t have the taxpayers pay your benefits.”

In other meeting news:

Sgt. Thomas Zito of the State Police attended the meeting to tell residents that if they had any questions about anything going on in the township, that they could call the Red Lion State Police Station. The station serves Tabernacle, Shamong, Southampton and Woodland Township. Since 2007, the station has lost 18 troopers due to layoffs and cuts.