BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ – When Kate Gibbs was serving as a Freeholder in Burlington County, she brought her own brand of patronage to the county seat. With her union obligations withstanding, Gibbs went above and beyond the standard patronage that goes on in New Jersey, rewarding contracts to political allies and donors, she even made sure her mom, Annette Gibbs got a job. It’s a political play that draws a yellow penalty flag in mostly every county and municipality in the state, where the bar is very low on calling out political patronage.
The month after Kate Gibbs was elected Freeholder, Kate’s mother Annette Gibbs received a taxpayer-funded job (including pension and benefits) at the Burlington County Bridge Commission. Mom’s hire circumvented the anti-nepotism policy in Burlington County that has been instituted in 2004 and during her daughter’s lone term as Freeholder, Annette Gibbs received 5 pay increases, raising her salary 25% in just 3 years. Not too shabby for a first time hire in the county, as many who served for decades saw the bare minimum raises. In Kate’s last month in office in December 2018, Annette Gibbs was given a promotion and her largest pay increase (16%) – the former backyard pool customer service rep turned Bridge Commission Administrative Assistant was promoted to “Business Development” on Kate’s way out the door.
Before working for the Bridge Commission, her mom’s work history included stops at two local pool and garden companies. Prior to being hired by Burlington County, Annette Gibbs began work in July 2013 in the Customer Service Department at Merlin Industries (“maker of vinyl liners, spa covers, safety fences and pool steps”). Previously, Annette Gibbs spent 10 years with pool dealer Riverton Pools & Garden (“installs pools, spas, and hot tubs, and offers landscaping, snow removal, and supplies”)
Nepotism didn’t stop with her union or her mom, which is probably why Burlington County voters replaced her with a Democrat who was accused of domestic violence. With all the shoplifting, failure to pay rent, arrests for public intoxication and drugs in her history, she’s probably not the wise choice for Republicans going against a squeaky clean Andy Kim, whose biggest offense was being a stooge and henchman for former President Barack Obama.
The Gibbs Nepotism Timeline
- In 2004, Burlington County adopted an anti-nepotism policy that states that relatives of the Freeholders “Shall Not Be Appointed, Hired, Employed Or Permitted To Work” for the county
- In November 2015, Kate Gibbs wins a seat on the Burlington County Freeholder Board
- In December 2015, weeks prior to Kate being sworn in as a Freeholder, Gibbs’ mother, Annette, is hired at the Burlington County Bridge Commission
- Between Annette’s hiring in 2015 and Kate’s re-election defeat in 2018, Annette Gibbs received a series of raises and promotions that raised her salary from $40,000 to $50,003 in 2018, an increase of 25% in just three years
- In 2018 while serving as Freeholder Director, Kate Gibbs appointed herself to serve as the Freeholder Liaison to the same Bridge Commission where he mother worked.
- During the lame duck period after Kate’s re-election loss (December 2018), Annette Gibbs, who was hired as an Administrative Assistant at the Commission, received a promotion to work in “Business Development” and a $7,000 raise.
- Source: Burlington County Employee Records
- Source: http://press.co.burlington.nj.us/PRESS/Meetings/AgendaFrmHolder.aspx?eid=383&ty=2