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Public servants say they wish they had ‘being a dad’ luxury of Christie copter ride

Photo Credit: NJSP
Photo Credit: NJSP

EDITORIAL: Gov. Christie went on CNN Tuesday night and said he was being “a father first” by hopping the State Police chopper to his son’s ballgame –a luxury that police and other public servants at war with the governor envy.

PHOTO courtesy NJSP

Schoolteacher Tracy Feely Glock told CLIFFVIEW PILOT she’s missed just about “every school party, concert, VIP report, graduation, clap out, field trip or event held during the school day.” Her husband, a police officer, has missed “family parties held on a weekend or holiday, weddings, funerals, games, school activities, first milestones….”

“My son’s first steps,” added Police Officer Tom Smith. “…enough said.”

During the wide-ranging CNN interview, Christie said he will pay “up front” from now on whenever the NJSP helicopter takes him to a family event, but that he won’t stop going.

And while some found the “father first” approach admirable, others say they wish they had that ability.

Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor

Police Officer Jim Quaglino told CLIFFVIEW PILOT he’s missed “too many holiday dinners to count, hockey, baseball and soccer games and practices, New Year’s Eve while you are stuck at work because someone is out and your pregnant wife is home alone, Easter mornings when you either work day shift or worked all night.

“But we all knew that when we took the job, right?” he added. “[I] don’t think so!”

Indeed, it has become part of the job – and will be more so, several Bergen County police chiefs reluctantly predicted at a recent meeting, moves they said can’t be avoided because of cutbacks in their staffs. Fewer officers, they said, eventually lead to more working overtime or days they might ordinarily be able to take.

“I too am a parent of 2 beautiful children first and foremost,” said former police dispatcher Kim Brown. “I need to provide for them, therefore I have to [sacrifice].”

“As a teacher, I missed many birthdays, graduations, etc…,” added JoAnna Boylan Castellano. “My husband, a police officer, misses Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve celebrations, & any other holiday you can name. We sacrifice for the benefit of our society, our community.”

Officer Tom Borgia offered to “make it easier” to explain, noting that he has been home for one Halloween and one Thanksgiving in eight years.

“[O]h and [I] had to drive myself to the hospital after giving cpr to a junkie because he was nice enough to come out of it and puke on my face,” Borgia told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “[A] chopper ride would have been nice.”

“How about missing time away from your family because some classy citizen with [tuberculosis] deliberately coughed at you and you can’t go near anyone ‘til you’re cleared[?],” Smith asked. “…. but hey, why do cops deserve affordable healthcare?”

On the flip side, ToniAnn Migliore said that everyone’s situation is different and “there is always someone who has it worse than you. If anyone one of you were given the opportunity to have a job with certain perks or benefits you know you would talk full advantage of them especialy when it comes to your children.

“My husband and I have have perks that you don[’]t have and you all have perks that we don[’]t. So stop worrying about this petty stuff. … Worry about yourselves and not other people because I can GURANTEE that you all including myself have not done EVERYTHING right in life.”

“A panel review in 2007 found that ground transportation poses the greatest threat to the Governor’s safety,” added Lisa Volpe Yakomin, a state legislative aide. “If cops, firefighters and teachers had a chopper at their disposal AND a directive to use it MORE often when traveling large distances (as stated in that 2007 review) would we be having this conversation? Seems like gratuitous pile-on to me when we should be addressing more serious issues like pension reform and passing a balanced budget.”

By the same token, some have openly wondered what type of message Christie sent when he left during the 5th inning of his son’s game to attend a meeting in the Princeton area with Iowa party officials who want him to run for President.

“I drive a ’93 Merc to my kid’s games,” Officer Jeffrey Camp said.

“When we dated or even when we were married, these things didn’t bother me,” one police officer’s wife told CLIFFVIEW PILOT, “but now that we have two precious kids, ages 3 and 6, it’s very hard that he misses family things because he is working.

“The hardest was when he left us after Christmas morning this past year,” she added. “Of course we had a fun time opening the gifts and having breakfast all together and then he had to leave to go in for his shift. The kids cried and they wanted their daddy.”

The officer also missed his daughter’s pre-school show and her losing her first tooth, as well as “celebration and holiday dinners,” she said.

He also missed some of his daughter’s t-ball games — even though he’s an assistant coach.

“As our kids gets bigger, it’s getting harder for us,” she said. “We don’t even have family dinners.”

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