Turns Out It Might Be A Good Thing American Medical Response Is Handling Gloucester Township’s EMS

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Gloucester Township, Camden County’s third largest municipality, has issues, some of them covered right here on The Bob & Steve Show blog, an assistant store manager from the Deptford Mall as its communications director, a newly elected school board member with connections to an “adult superstore” and the fact the newly elected school board member didn’t even live in town when he got elected now the governing body has been forced to deal with controversy with the township’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Typically, this is where I would have some unkind words for the governing body in their handling of the situation, but no matter how hard I try I can’t. Mayor David Mayer will likely fall out of his chair when he reads this part of this post, but he actually did the right thing dumping the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance in favor of American Medical Response before the 30-day transition period ended.

With that said, I have been told the board of the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance are Mayer’s people, which may be true, but I cannot confirm and I certainly cannot make the argument that he is the reason they got the contract in the first place, no matter how many emails the show has received making that argument.

Folks tried to tell me that dumping the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance was the beginning of the Democrats getting Cooper Hospital into Gloucester Township. That’s completely untrue because Cooper is having trouble staffing BLS units in Camden City, proving Camden County Republicans were right when they fought against the bill that gave Cooper Hospital control over ambulance service in Camden.

Here’s what we do know. The Gloucester Township EMS Alliance should have never dumped Francis Pagurek. He knew what he was doing, saved the Alliance money, kept things running well, but asked too many questions. Pagurek is well-known in the EMS community and has been named “Outstanding EMS Administrator” by the New Jersey Statewide Conference on EMS in the past. No one has argued that the Alliance started going downhill after they dumped him a year ago.

There were serious issues with the mismanagement of money at the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance (questions that were raised by Pagurek). They guy who became acting chief is/was a board member of the Alliance, is a retired accountant (and a paramedic) and his daughter works/worked in the office. The board’s president’s wife worked in the office too. These connections, of course lead to the question, who was watching the money?

Where indeed did the money go? Several sources have told The Bob & Steve Show the Board of Directors of the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance helped an Assistant Director (to the chief) pay for her divorce attorney and new tires for her car. Additionally, we’ve been told now that the Alliance is essentially out of business the same Assistant Director is being “gifted” a command vehicle.

In an odd twist, The Bob & Steve Show has learned the Assistant Director in question was a retail manager before getting hired as an Assistant Director at the Alliance. Remember, the Gloucester Township communications director’s last job before joining the township was assistant manager at a retail store. Maybe a career in retail is the way to get noticed for a position of influence in Gloucester Township.

So, yeah, it looks like it might be a good thing American Medical Response has taken over EMS in Gloucester Township. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

The Plot Thickens In Gloucester Township BOE Election; This Isn’t The First Time Porn Shop Venus Video Has Been Involved In Political Controversy


I confess, I always enjoyed watching Gloucester Township politics as a casual observer. It’s fun, with all the rumors about the lifestyle of Mayor David Mayer, or that time Mayor Mayer had a plaque dedicated in his honor.

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There’s just never a dull moment in New Jersey’s 19th largest municipality. People in Gloucester Township even got excited when Mayer shaved off his mustache.

Now, we have the recently completed school board election and folks are starting to draw connections to the mayor’s office.

Just yesterday The Bob & Steve Show reported Gloucester Township’s Communications Director, Regina Caristo, secured the domain name for the campaign website used by Brian Reagan and his running mates.

Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how this young lady went from being the Assistant Store Manager at a retail store in the Deptford Mall to being the Communications Director of Camden County’s 3rd largest municipality. That’s the experience listed on her LinkedIn profile:

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Based on voting records I’ve been able to access it doesn’t appear Caristo has been participating in the electoral process in Gloucester Township for too long, only since 2016. Based on a quick search on ELEC it doesn’t appear she, or any family member are big political donors.

The only connection Carsito has to politics is the fact she used the address of the Venus Adult Superstore in Southwest Philly as the registrant address for the domain of the campaign website used three school board candidates.

Well, it’s just my luck that I discovered the owner of the Venus group of adult stores, Joe Caristo, is likely the communications director’s father. He’s the right age and the two share the same voter registration address in Gloucester Township.

And, it turns out this isn’t the first time a Venus adult store has been involved in a political scandal.

An April 4, 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer article posted to Philly.com with the headline, “Porn may play role in Traffic Court-related case” happened to include the elder Caristo and a Venus location.

Here’s part of the Philadelphia Inquirer story:

It was Alfano's lawyers who opted to bare all.

Their motion Wednesday identified them for the first time as pornographic and named the shop where they came from - Venus Video, an Essington Avenue storefront owned by Alfano and leased to the business' owner, Joe Caristo.

Caristo and Alfano discussed the videos Perri requested in a February 2010 conversation caught by an FBI wiretap, the motion states.

Alfano's lawyers have also asked U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly to bar that recording from court.

"The conversation, with its derogatory remarks toward women and the references to the adult nature of the DVD videos, is extremely inflammatory and prejudicial toward the defendant," their motion says.

As for what titles the judge favored, no one is willing to say. Not Perri, not Alfano, not their attorneys.

None of the men returned calls for comment Thursday.

Caristo, Venus' owner, however, was hardly so circumspect when reached at his shop.

"I lent the DVDs to Mr. Alfano," he said. "Who he gave them to, I couldn't say. I can't remember which ones, but it was normal boy-girl stuff. Nothing weird."

Who knows, maybe the elder Caristo is still lending videos.

Like I said, Gloucester Township politics can be fun to watch. I can’t wait to see what Monday brings.