Somerset County Freeholder candidate Melonie Marano is tying the incumbent freeholders to the county’s scandal-plagued parks department.
Marano, a Democrat, is seeking a seat on the all-Republican Freeholder Board, which recently hired a law firm to conduct a review of the Somerset County Parks Commission. That review found a host of abuses, which included high level employees living lavishly off public funds. The report blamed the Freeholder Board for lack of oversight of the department. The parks commission was subpoenaed by the state Attorney General’s office late yesterday, according to the Star-Ledger.
In a press release today, Marano said that she will show up to tonight’s Freeholder Board meeting to pressure them to pursue a stricter audit of the parks commission.
"The all-Republican Freeholder Board authorized only a partial audit that amounted to a 'half measure'," said the Democratic release.
Somerset County Freeholder and Assembly candidate Denise Coyle disputed the notion that the board was at fault for lack of oversight, as the parks commission was set up to run indepedently. But she said that she and the rest of the board actually agree with Marano.
"I absolutely agree that there should be a forensic accounting, but initially when we hired them to do the report, we didn’t know the scope of the problem," said Coyle, who's stepping down from the freeholder board once her term is up. "Frankly I support a complete takeover of the park commission’s financial, engineering and procurement offices.”