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Bloomingdale DPW Workers Fail Pesticide Testing

Councilwoman Jo-Ann Pituch says employees failed test to qualify to administer pesticides.

One councilwoman expressed concern during the borough’s council meeting last week that employees from the had failed tests that would have qualified them to administer pesticides.

Councilwoman Jo-Ann Pituch said she did not understand how the two employees could have failed the tests on March 24 even after she provided them with study materials in October.

Pituch, who works for the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, said she was also annoyed that it took them so long to take the test.

“We didn’t have any snowfall or any problems this winter,” she said. “This all could have been done by January, maybe February at the latest.”

Pituch also expressed anger that she was not notified about the test results until long after the employees were informed. However, Borough Administrator Ted Ehrenburg said she was not purposely left out, explaining that he was out of the state when the results were received on March 26 and that DPW Superintendent Al Gallagher didn’t return to work from a temporary leave until April 1.

Pituch brought up the failed tests during discussion of the borough's turf program and the awarding of a contract to lay down fertilizer. Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy explained and reiterated throughout the discussion that the Integrated Pest Management test only allows for the use of pesticides – not fertilizer – and had no bearings on the turf program contract.

“They could have passed, and we could be doing it,” Pituch said. “I don’t care what you’re trying to tell me.”

Dunleavy told the council that he and Ehrenburg had done the “homework” to gather the information Pituch wanted, but that she was not satisfied with the answers. As a result, he told the councilwoman he could not help her anymore.

“Well I’m going to help you by saying no to voting to hire somebody to do the work our DPW guys are supposed to do,” Pituch said.

The councilwoman was ultimately the only member to vote against awarding the turf program contract.

Dunleavy also reminded the council that the test can be taken again in June, to which Pituch suggested that “we wait until October and make it an anniversary.”

After Pituch said June would be too late, both Council President Glenn Schiffman and Councilwoman Linda Shortman said it would be best to keep the process moving, while Councilman Ray Yazdi said it’s only late “if you want to sit back and complain.”

“I don’t want to talk about fertilizer for four hours,” Schiffman said.

Both Dunleavy and Yazdi asked Pituch to overlook the process going forward due to her familiarity with the subject. Pituch agreed to meet with the three DPW employees at her office to further help them through the process. She also agreed to prepare a letter for the council with all relevant information on the topic, including the next test date.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated three employees took the test.

paul bastante April 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Nasty, Bitter woman!
Ann April 30, 2012 at 12:26 PM
"I don't care what you're trying to tell me". Classic Pituch...
Royta April 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
ya think?
Leeann Coleman April 30, 2012 at 02:50 PM
How about the town goes green and stops using pesticides? Then the guys don't have to take any IPM tests and the council can tackle other important issues, and nobody kills any of my honeybees. Did you know that my bees forage across just about all of the developed part of Bloomingdale? Be a good neighbor and don't spray during the day.
Albert Gallagher May 01, 2012 at 02:38 AM
It was 2 men that took the test not 3 and they only missed it by a few points.Not bad for a couple of guys that never did this before
dweezie48 May 01, 2012 at 04:18 AM
In my opinion, She sounds like a real professional, just what any town needs on their council, LOL!
STEVE SMITS May 01, 2012 at 11:46 AM
There are more facts about our DPW employees doing this task that need to be discussed. Once certified do we have the proper equipment to apply the pesticides or fertilizers and the proper safety equipment so no employee gets sick from the use of them? Or will that be an additional cost the towns people need to absorb for this equipment? Will additional insurance be required by the borough in the event something goes wrong with said pesticides or fertilizers? (ex. accidental killing of someones bees or plants.) Do we have proper storage facilities for the fertilizers or pesticides? (they are toxic and dangerous if mishandled.) Will the Employees salaries have to be adjusted to a higher level because they now have a certification in something they were not required to have in the past? Who will absorb those cost? What are the actual savings after all these above items are addressed? Show us more facts so we can give more accurate and fair responses. Sometimes certain things are best left to individuals whom do this everyday. What looks like a savings initially may actually cost us more.
Ariana Cohn-Sheehan (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Al, I made that correction. Thanks.
jersey girl May 01, 2012 at 01:41 PM
They could have passed, and we could be doing it,” Pituch said. “I don’t care what you’re trying to tell me.” Ms. Pituch your comments are consistantly nasty. Do you speak to your family that way, how about your co-workers? I certainly would not have my employees exposed to your behavior. You do this not only to the employees, but to the residents as well. This kind of behavior is not acceptable of a council person who is "supposed" to represent the community she is SERVING!.
dweezie48 May 02, 2012 at 05:05 AM
In my opinion, that happens when someone thinks they are better than everyone else, and really doesn't care about who they represent, only themselves!
paul bastante May 07, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Democrats everywhere are overjoyed this person is running for another term.
Paul Lehman June 01, 2012 at 04:01 AM
You sound like Linda Huntleys brother....
Paul Lehman June 01, 2012 at 04:05 AM
This councilwoman needs to head back to Rutgers so we can get someone with their head in the game and their arrogance in their pocket. Lets hear a list of her accomplishments....She has consistently opposed anything to help this town. Time to send her packing like we did Huntley....

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