By Linda Hughes | The Save Jersey Blog
Burlington County residents crammed into a Mt. Holly courtroom Wednesday night to have a word or two with Democrat Burlington County Freeholder Joanne Schwartz.
What did they want to discuss with her, Save Jerseyans?
Her disregard for both the county’s library services and the correctional facilities’ employees.
First up, Schwartz’s baffling decision at the May 27th Burlington County Freeholders meeting to vote NO on the county library budget. Fortunately, logical heads prevailed and thanks to the bi-partisan support of three Republicans and one Democrat on the board, the budget did pass. However, her disregard for the library and residents who rely on it was noticed.
Throughout the week, residents of Burlington County – including seniors, parents and those living in rural areas – all made it clear that they rely on the library system. They have posted online, written letters to the editor, and sent hundreds of emails to Freeholder Schwartz about what the library means to them.
Aside from the typical book check-out that most people think of, county libraries provide valuable programs and services such as the bookmobile that travels to rural areas on the outskirts of the county, outreach to schools to engage students, programs with senior centers, e-learning opportunities and technology upgrades. In short, the Burlington County library system allows residents to have the world opened up to them, even if they are unable to leave their hometown.
Schwartz also came under fire for the actions of the county correctional facilities – which fall under her jurisdiction – to deny vacation requests of employees. Even though these dedicated workers have earned their time, they are being prohibited from using it. One member of the public was almost in tears as she spoke about her father-in-law’s inability to attend her graduation, even though he had plenty of time.
Schwartz was elected to the historically Republican Freeholder board in the 2012 Obama sweep. She is up for re-election this year along with Aimee Belgard who was resoundingly defeated by Congressman Tom MacArthur in last year’s CD-3 race.