Eugene
Wales
aka
Eugene Waleskiewicz



EUGENE WALESKIEWICZ was born in 1903 to Albert and Mary Waleskiewicz in New York. Shortly after his birth, the Waleskiewicz family moved to New Jersey, where daughter Freda was born, and by 1920 lived at 1243 Everett Street in the Whitman part section of Camden. Albert Waleskiewicz was then working as a riveter in one of Camden's shipyards. Eugene Waleskiewicz graduated from Camden High School in the early 1920s, and went on to college and law school. The Waleskiewicz family was still living on Everett Street at the time of the April 1930 Census.

By February of 1933 Eugene Waleskiewicz was practicing law in Camden. He was also the president of the South Camden Civic Association, and active in Democratic politics in the city of Camden. In the bitterly fought 1934 primary, he supported Edward J. Kelleher in his bid to wrest control of the county organization from Emma Hyland and Harry Maloney. Eugene Waleskiewicz later shortened his name to Eugene Wales.

The 1947 Camden City Directory shows that he had married, and lived with his wife Stella at the 1243 Everett Street address. Still active in politics as a Democrat, he was then the Deputy Register of Wills for Camden County. Eugene Wales served on the Board of Education during the 1950s. He still resided on Everett Street as late as 1959.

Eugene Wales spent his last years residing in University Place, Pierce County, Washington. He died on May 5, 1994 at the age of 91.

Camden High School Yearbook Entry

Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1933

CITY ADOPTS CUT BUDGET AFTER CLASH
Slash of $702,890 Is Revealed in Totals Passed at Session of Rulers
LEASE ANNOUNCED OF RADIO STATION

Commissioners Debate With Von Nieda as He Charges Gross Extravagance

By WALT BATEZEL

 The Camden City Commission yesterday approved the 1933 city budget after hearing and rejecting economy recommendations of several civic and labor organizations.

Eight speakers representing five organizations urged budget reductions and protested the total of $3,353,124.60. Verbal clashes over opinions were frequent between Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of finance and revenue, and former Councilman Frederick von Nieda and Thomas B. Hall, representatives of the Congress of Civic Associations of New Jersey.

Nearly 300 persons attended the hearing, in marked contrast to the 5000 who marched on city hall last year to demand budget reductions. The hearing lasted three hours. The departmental budget appropriations of $3,353,124.60 with the local school appropriation of $1,250,000 and other appropriations, totaling $960,060.55 to be added in the tax ordinance yet to be adopted, will give the city a total expense of $5,563,185.15 for 1933.

Tax Bill About Same

The tax rate will not be known until the tax ordinance is adopted. After the hearing Commissioner Bennett declared that due to equalization of assessments, the bills of some taxpayers will be a few dollars higher than last year, and a few dollars lower in other cases. The commission, after approving the budget on a motion by Commissioner Bennett, adopted a resolution leasing WCAM to the Broadcast Advertising Company for $1000 per year and a percentage of all receipts over $24,000. All maintenance costs will be born by the company, of which Rudolph Preisendanz, Jr., is head.

After the budget was adopted Bennett declared the City Commission would take into consideration an allegation of Frank J. Hartmann, Jr., secretary of the Civic Congress, that the $125,400 appropriation for street  lighting was $26,450 higher than it should be according to figures obtained by him concerning the city's .lighting equipment. "If there has been an error the budget can be amended at any time," Commissioner Bennett said.

Commissioner Clay W. Reesman, under whose department street lighting comes, declared that figures in his office concerning street lighting were different from those quoted by Hartmann. The figures he used, Hartmann said, were obtained by him from City Comptroller Sidney P. McCord.

Von Nieda Case

 Von Nieda was the first citizen to address the commission. Shifting papers in his hands, he faced the commissioners and said: "We have here $40,000 for your Recorder's Court in 1932, and $25,000 for 1933."

Commissioner Bennett jumped to his feet. 

"Those 1932 figures," Bennett said, "were merely an estimate of the receipts to be taken in, but that amount did not come in. This year we anticipate only $25,000, which we consider a fair estimate."

"That's fine" said von Nieda, "but we have never had a chance to sit in with you on these figures."

"You can sit in with us at any time," responded Bennett, "We're glad to have you."

"I see here," said von Nieda, "that the transportation inspector is paid from fees, but you show no fees and the inspector should be paid by the Public Service. I also suggest that you turn Convention Hall over to the poor. Now in dealing with Station WCAM, I see you show a profit for the last three months of $1000, while in 1932, you show no records of receipts, and we are just wondering.'.

Worried by WCAM

 "Do you want that answered now?" asked Bennett. "WCAM has given myself and the other commissioners some concern during the past year. It is our duty to see that we receive as much income as possible. Different methods have been used in the radio station to make it pay during the past three months, and during this time that station has been in the black. We figure that in 1933 there will be no deficit in this station, and we look for a profit of more than $1000." 

"Now in this matter of eliminating deputy directors," von Nieda said. 

He was interrupted by Commissioner Reesman

"I'll tell you," said Reesman, "about my deputy director Carlton Harris. My deputy receives $1750 a year. He has charge of all labor in the Department of Parks and Public Property. He is on the job every morning at 7:00 AM, and often works until 10 p. m., with the labor outside."

"In speaking of the assessors," von Nieda continued, "we should have assessors who are not influenced by politicians or political dictators."

"You know I won't stand for that," answered Bennett. "The readjustment of ratables is only a small part 1 of the work we are doing. Each property is assessed on a basic principal. Any time you have a suggestion that will help us in our work we will be glad to hear from you but I firmly believe that real state must be relieved of its heavy tax burden by an income and sales tax, and this tax must come sooner or later. 

Seeking Relief

 "As far as the city commissioners are concerned, we are studying it from day to day, in efforts to get out of the wilderness.

"In speaking of the purchasing department," von Nieda continued, "we know what happened there last year. You fired your purchasing agent, and if you had not fired him it probably would have afforded the public some interesting reading about this purchasing department.

"All of my men are working overtime,' replied Bennett. "It is true the purchasing agent is out and his work is being done by an assistant (William Dilmore) at half his salary. We have got rid of as many people in these departments as we can. I had to let one girl go in the purchasing department and one girl in Controller McCord's department. One man went on pension in the tax office and two were let out in efforts to balance the budget.

"In .one of my departments where there were three girls I had, to make a $900 cut by leaving one girl out. called the three girls into my office and told them that one had to go and asked them what their home responsibilities were. One had to take care of her family, including a 77-year-old aunt; another a family with a 66-year-old aunt, and the third was supporting three or four brothers with the help of another brother, who is a barber working for practically what tips he could get.

"But I had to make a $900 cut. The girls asked me not to dismiss any of them, as they each would take a $300 cut in addition to cuts .already applied. Another man took an extra $260 cut so that he would not be out of work. But I had the budget to take care of, and I am ready to challenge any city the size of Camden to show so nearly a balanced budget. Our plan is to pay as we go."

"You cite two or three instances," protested von Nieda. "But I want to show you scores of families which have no money and they are taxpayers. You say you have cut to the bone, but you should cut through the bone. This is no grandstand play by us. Maybe we can give you some help. Then, too, the debt interest must be paid on this tragedy," he shouted, pointing to walls of the commission chamber.

"Maybe you can tell me how to get rid of the bonds," suggested Bennett. "You must remember this year we have cut $900,000 from the budget."  

Offers Recommendation

Von Nieda said the Civic Congress recommended that work now being done by two city solicitors should be done by one, that when more policemen and firemen are needed "little fellows” be restored first wherever possible; that the city incinerating plant be closed; that the personnel of the city's two' sewage disposal plants be reduced; that the city's lighting bill be cut $40,000; that inspectors of lighting be abolished and their work done by policemen and the city's engineer's department. Personally he favored an income tax, he said, to relieve the I burden on real estate. 

"1 realize,” von Nieda said, "that the city commission has done a fair job, but of the congress, with conservatively 15,000 members, think you can do even better.

Commissioner Frank B. Hanna, director of public works, interrupted von Nieda on the subject of the incinerating plant, which von Nieda declared could be abandoned because it did not burn garbage, but only rubbish. 

"Can you see me at 9:00 AM tomorrow and go through my department with me?" asked Hanna.

“Any time," replied von Nieda

Warns of Tax Strike

"However," von Nieda continued, "we are wondering what the figures in the right hand corner of the tax bill will be. Assessments may be lower and the tax rate higher, and that does not give a true picture. I fear the bills will be more for 1933 and for one am willing now to take the 1932 assessment on my home. 

"The congress vigorously opposes this personality tax. You expect to tax the homeowner for everything he has. I warn YOU gentlemen that if this tax is imposed in Camden there will be a run on banks and building and loan associations. If that happens homeowners and renters will leave this unfortunate city. There will be a tax strike here, and so help me God, I'm helping it!"

Von Nieda was followed by William Hughes of 578 Mickle street, who spoke for the Unemployed Council of New Jersey.

Hughes reiterated demands of the union for increased relief payments to unemployed, urged a municipally-owned lighting plant, operated at a profit, the same as the city's water department; a municipal lodging house; use of hand labor instead of machinery in all city contracts and the employment of labor to "tear down the slums in Camden."

Hartmann was the next speaker. He read from a prepared statement which he declared was an analysis a\of the city's 1932 lighting expenses, and which, he said, could be lowered “had we used larger lamps.“

Reesman Contradicts

After enumerating the individual costs of lamps of various candle power, and contending a change in the lamps would effect a saving this year, Hartmann charged the city has overpaid for electric energy in street lighting. 

Commissioner Reesman declared that figures used by Hartmann were in error and that therefore, his computations as to possible savings were wrong. He announced, however, he would study the situation to discover if there was any error in the budget concerning street lighting, as alleged by Hartmann.

"The Civic Congress is now circulating petitions for a referendum on a municipal lighting plant," Hartmann said. "We now have 10,000 of the required 11,000 signatures, and we do not intend to stop until we have 25,000. You commissioners can stop these petitions by adopting a resolution declaring a referendum on the question."

He then asked that the work of the city electrical inspector be taken over by the National Board of Fire Underwriters, and that "when the next tax sale is held, all properties be advertised, including banks, garages and to whomever the property belongs."

Commissioner Bennett then arose and said: "I've used' discretion on that. There are some who are paying as low as $5 per month, and I think these people should be helped. We commissioners do not want to sell the home of anyone. That is what we are trying to stop. We are in perfect agreement on that."

Debt Moratorium Asked  

"How about the Bridge Garage?" some one in the audience shouted.

"The Bridge Garage has just paid $1500," Bennett said, "and promises to pay something every month. We are trying to make the tax bills lower by getting in all the monies we can, and where possible to take in delinquent payments no matter how small. 

Clarence Moullette, secretary of the Unemployed Union of New Jersey, then arose. He asked for a moratorium on the city debt service for five years, and urged the commission to adopt such a resolution memorializing the Legislature for that relief: He announced opposition to the personality tax.

"We are not questioning the actions of the commissioners, Moullette said. “Spending less money will not help the situation. Commissioner Hanna. told me if he had $51,000 additional in his department six closed garbage trucks could purchased. This will help give work. By cutting down salaries you decrease purchasing power. Work must be had. Eventually you will pay in scrip. Why not pay in scrip now and give out work."

Hall asked that Convention Hall be abandoned and the building used for hospitalization work for the needy, and urged the city commission to "meet in the evenings so that citizens will know and see what is going on." He asked for abolition of the positions of plumbing, building, sewer and heating inspectors.

'Close High Schools'

"The commission should face conditions as they are," he said. "I speak for myself, and not the Civic Congress. I ask that the high schools be closed. I heartily approve closing of the Vocational School, but if choice was to be made between high schools and the Vocational School, I would say close the high schools. Before selling the home of anyone to meet impossible taxes, I say cut to the bone by getting rid of everything that is not absolutely necessary. 

"You commissioners must be made to realize that increased taxation is what has destroyed purchasing power in America. Meet this condition!

Commissioner Bennett challenged the statement of Hall that government costs were responsible for conditions of today.

"There are numerous causes," Bennett said.

"I would rejoice in debating it with you or anyone you select," Hall replied, "including United States senators, and convince them in 20 minutes."

"I’ll debate that with him," shouted Morris Stempa of Audubon from the audience. Stempa later addressed the commission, speaking for the Socialist party, and urged the moratorium advocated by Moullette, also a Socialist.

Eugene Wasilewski, speaking for you the South Camden Civic Association, denounced the commission for failing to call in civic association representatives in their preparation of the Budget.

Bennett Gives Reply 

"You called in the bankers, but not those others of us who also are interested in city costs," Wasilewski said. "You tell us now there is a reduction in assessments and then come along and wallop us with a higher tax rate. That is not fair. You were elected to look after our interests and that you have failed to do. You are making us eat red herring, and we want you to eat red herring with us."  

The last citizen to address the commission was Salvadore Guadelli, president of the Citizens-Taxpayers' League. He made a general indictment of conditions, ,and asked that the city commission "do not let sectionalism creep into city affairs."  

Commissioner Bennett then arose and addressed his fellow commissioners and the audience.

"All these things suggested here today have been considered," he said. "We five men came into office with the idea of serving the people. I know the business of financing the city is a. serious problem. We have endeavored to move the budget into that realm of 'pay-as-you-go! We appreciate everything presented here. Every taxpayer we look upon as an employer.

"Looking at it from every angle, this budget cannot be delayed any longer. You'll find we were severe in preparing this budget; you'll find we were severe last year. Last year we cut a half million. This year we cut $702,890.74, and to that the board of education, we hope, will add a cut of $250,000. That is a total cut of $952,890.74. Other cities in New Jersey show nothing to compare with it.  

Budget Adopted 

"I hesitate in making more cuts. I speak from experience when I say I'm a taxpayer. In the past two weeks I've been trying to raise money to pay taxes. I want all of you to know we commissioners can sympathize. It is not easy being at the head of a government in times like these. I hope that municipalities will receive federal relief in payment of debt service. There has been a tremendous cut in our budget, including the board of education figures. I feel the commissioners are to be commended for the work they've done this year.

 "If we pass the budget we won't stop at that particular point, but will see what else we can do all along the line. I feel the essential thing is to pass the budget. I'm proud of the fact we came through 1932, and are started in 1933 the same way, although I make no promise for the future. I wish for a moratorium for interest on bonds. There are the bondholders on one side and the taxpayers on the other, and the man out of work to be considered.

We are in sympathy with the man out of work. I say let the federal or government put some money into to the interest rate. We must pass this budget this afternoon. Do not delay longer. This is not an arbitrary 10 stand on my part. I make a motion the budget now be passed."

City Clerk Frank S. Albright called the roll and all five commissioners voting 'unanimously. No demonstration followed passage of the measure.  

*Eugene Wasilewski referred to in this story was Eugene Waleskiewicz, who was later known as Eugene Wales.


Camden Courier-Post - May 2, 1934

Camden Courier-Post - February 20, 1936

ADVISERS BAR 60 FUND PLAN; APPROVE OF 77
Forget Politics and Adopt an Honest Budget, City Rulers Told

COLLECT TAXES,
REPORT Urges
Commissions Also Urged to County Affairs

By W. OLIVER KINCANNON 

Disregard Chapter 60. 

Refinance under Chapter 77. 

Reinforce that with what security you can give by resolution or ordinance, but Disregard Chapter 60.

Use a business rather than a political basis.

Take an active Interest In the management of Camden County as well as Camden city, acting as a committee of inquiry on county management.

These are some of the points of advice given to the City Commission yesterday, at a special meeting of the Commission, by its Citizens' Advisory Committee.  

In trip-hammer style, James W. Burnison, chairman of the advisory group, read a report that followed with these recommendations: 

Forget politics and work as a unit.

Cut expenses and stay within your budgets.

Prepare a complete and honest budget.

Let the taxpayers decide when an emergency exists that requires an addition to the budget. Fight shy of gamblers' Interest rates.

Don't default; it's too costly.

Get on a cash basis and stay there.

Make every taxpayer in the city realize and live up to his tax responsibility.

Think about Camden city and county in a patriotic rather than a political sense. 

Vote to Act Quickly 

The commission voted to take quick action by passing a motion introduced by Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance.

This motion empowers Bennett to call, as quickly as possible, a meeting of the commission, representatives of its advisory committee, the finance committee of the board of freeholders, representatives of the city's bonding attorneys, Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow, representatives of Lehman Brothers and other bond houses to determine what arrangement can be effected to solve the city's financial problems. Setting forth that it is not our intent or desire to criticize the performances of past or present city officers, " the report nevertheless, contained frank condemnation of emergency deficiency appropriations for items that are and were left off budgets. 

Hits Past Budgets 

It contained also implied condemnation of all the city budgets since 1930 and pointed out: "That Camden City receipts have been running behind expenditures approximately $1,000,000 a year since 1930."

"Our yearly budgets do not at present, and did not in the past, in the opinion of your committee, give a frank clear picture of anticipated income and expenditures.  

“The job of contacting bondholders to procure interest reductions, "your 'committee finds, has not been handled as frankly as it deserves. We can find no evidence of a sincere effort to layout a program and attack this problem logically. No more than 30 cents can be lopped off the tax' rate if the contacting program were completely successful. The committee has failed to receive a requested report of efforts to contact bondholders.

The committee was convinced that it is futile to expect any large-scale interest cuts from bondholders. 

 Hopeful of Rate Cut 

It believes the majority of high interest-bearing bonds can be refunded at substantially lower interest rates if constructive action is taken immediately. The committee has been informed that the state has refused to accept "reasonable rates" on the city's bonds held by the State.

Furthermore, "the present difference of opinion on this subject among members of our present city commission would in itself effectively block any real work along this line, " and "We feel that real results along this line require a united front on the part of our commission and the county freeholders." "Our sinking fund, we are informed, is stuffed with our own frozen paper. Such financing, in our estimation, kills the purpose of such funds."

"The present plan of singling out a few wards in our city and call for sporadic tax sales is neither fair to the delinquent taxpayers in these wards nor is it fair to the taxpayers throughout the city." 

Has Detail Report 

After concluding his reading of the summarized report, Burnison informed the commissioners the committee has completed a detailed report of "40 to 42 pages of homework for you" and said that will be submitted today.

"That will contain detailed recommendations, including some errors in figures and in judgment, but we ask that you disregard the errors and use the good in it," Burnison said.

He explained that when he mentioned 30 cents as the maximum figure to be lopped from the tax rate of the city were completely successful in obtaining interest reductions, he figured that would be the result if the city got 2% to 3 percent rates on all its bonds..

"There’s a large number of these bonds you can't hope to refund at lower interest rates, as the rates already are low. You couldn't get under 4 or 4% percent on your first refunding under Chapter 77 and almost all of the bonds not immediately refundable are around those figures, " he said.

Commissioner Bennett immediately opened up argument concerning what the committee thinks will replace his favored refunding plan- Chapter 60 combined with Chapter 77. 

Tells Objection to 60 Plan 

"Sixty seems to give the other fellow more advantages than us; that's our objection to it," Burnison said.

"Apparently you have been assured from some source that we can avoid an increase in the tax rate without adopting Chapter 60," Bennett said and continued:

"I see no way of keeping down this year's budget without 60. Politics is out in my argument, but I honestly believe 60 and 77 combined make the only plan for us. Under the present plan the rate will go up this year. Won't you tell us your source of assurance that it will not?"

Burnison did not answer the question immediately and Bennett said: "We would have to pass resolutions committing us to procedure similar to that under Chapter 60, wouldn't we?"

"Yes," Burnison answered, "but not binding you to as close supervision. You can't continue to exceed receipts and improve conditions anyway."

"Well," Bennett said, "give us the advantage of your sources assurance.” 

Tells Sources 

"We have two such sources," Burnison said. "Mr. Middleton is one.

(Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., former city director of revenue and finance and now a bond dealer interested in the city's refunding issues.)

"Lehman Brothers (New York bankers who have handled many of the city's bonds in the past and were interviewed last Friday by the advisory committee) also said if we showed a sincere frank idea of economizing and staying within our budget, the bondholders would accept our bonds without necessity of recourse to Chapter 60.

"They said 60 'meant no more to the bondholder than resolutions and ordinances, if you get together and go on record to give security and then do it.

"I don't think the city commission should have any compunction in binding itself not to exceed the budget. Then, if you find it is impossible for you to operate on what you are taking in under the present tax rate, call in a group of taxpayers say 200 of them-and explain the situation and raise the tax rate.

"Any reasonable man or group will see the necessity and logic of that. They will go along with you.

"But under Chapter 60 you put yourself under a rigorous unbending set of restrictions." 

Mrs. Kobus Urges Action 

"Let's quit arguing and do it," Commissioner Mary W. Kobus suggested, and Mayor Frederick von Nieda asked: "If we take an average of the income for the past three years would you not consider that average for this year?"

"Yes", said Burnison.

At that point Bennett made his motion for power to call a special meeting of the freeholders, commissioners, citizens' group, bond attorneys and bond dealers, and it was passed unanimously after Commissioner George E. Brunner seconded it.

"I reserve the right own discretion about dealers will be asked” Bennett remarked.

"It may be that Lehman Brothers are the only ones who will trust us," Burnison said. "They know the lines we are working along. They work with other houses, and there may be other sources of credit we can tap."

"Well, 42 of the largest cities in New Jersey with 62 percent of all at the ratables of the state are under Chapter 60 now," Bennett said.  

"Sixty-two percent could be wrong," Burnison answered and laughed, adding: "In my opinion, those cities going under 60 haven't looked very far ahead."

"That's what we have done," Bennett replied. "My department has done that and that is why we are advocating 60.” 

Burnison Disagrees 

"Well there are members on our committee who know a good bit about that sort of thing and they say the city is justified in not going under 60," Burnison said.

"The Legislature is going to pass a new budget law that will act just the same as Chapter 60, though it will not be passed in time to effect this year's budget," Bennett said.

"Well," said Burnison, "I'd think the commission would prefer to adopt a safe course voluntarily than to be forced into it."

"We have no assurance that those who will have charge of the city's affairs for the next 15 or 18 years will follow the course we lay down for them," Bennett said and added: "Past political experience shows that they won't."

This brought the argument to a close and Burnison, questioned by a reporter, said:

"We are not unalterably opposed to Chapter 60. We oppose it, yes. We believe under 77 a better job for us can be worked out." 

Members of the committee, in addition to Burnison, who attended the session are James V. Moran, Harry A. Kelleher, Carl R. Evered, Dr. Ulysses S. Wiggins, A. Lincoln Michener and Eugene E. Wales.

City Comptroller Sidney P. McCord, with an aide, attended, and a stenographer from Commissioner Bennett's office took a complete report of the proceedings.


Camden Board of Education - 1955
Around the Table:

Victor Levinson
James O'Neill
May A. Jones
John J. Horn
Samuel J. T. French Jr.
Joseph C. Ragone
Alfred R. Pierce

Harry R. Janice
J. Maxwell Griffin
Eugene E. Wales
John Odorisio
Dr. Leon Neulen


Camden Board of Education - 1957
Around the Table:

Eluria Milliken
Victor Levinson
May A. Jones
John J. Horn
Alfred R. Pierce
Samuel J. T. French Jr.
Joseph C. Ragone
Anthony R. Catrambone
Harry R. Janice
J. Maxwell Griffin
Eugene E. Wales
John Odorisio

Click on Image
to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1958

May A. Jones
John J. Horn
Eugene E. Wales
Harry R. Janice
Spencer Smith Jr.
Bernard E. McNulty
John M. McCloskey

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