Police interview Kenny but he recalls nothing, Garrett likes pork too, more Paterson Housing Authority guilty pleas, Rabner sworn in, McCann seeks to recoup lawyer fees, Hoboken homeless man may have been paid to vote.
KENNY STILL DOESN’T REMEMBER
“State Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny, D-Hoboken, was upgraded to good condition and was moved out of Jersey City Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit yesterday, according to hospital spokesman John McKeegan.
Kenny, 60, is expected to have surgery on his dislocated right shoulder today. The surgery was delayed earlier this week.
A source close to the situation said Kenny has spoken to Hoboken police detectives, who had been waiting a week to speak to the politician. However, Kenny was not able to recollect the events that sent him to the hospital, the source said…………
The doctors' opinion prompted investigators to consider the possibility that Kenny was the victim of a hit and run and they canvassed the neighborhood around the 800 block of Bloomfield Street. Several residents said they had heard a "screeching" sound and a "thump."
The investigation did not produce any significant leads, according to law enforcement sources, who said they were hoping Kenny could provide a clearer picture of last week's events.” (Renshaw, Jersey Journal)
GARRETT’S GLASS HOUSE
“U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, who casts himself as a fiscally conservative foe of pork-barrel spending, angles for some bacon of his own from time to time.
Garrett, R-Warren County, got two notable earmarks, or special projects, in recent appropriations bills.
One would provide $750,000 to train law-enforcement officers enrolled in programs at Centenary College in Hackettstown.
Another would direct $600,000 to Sussex County to improve a bus terminal……………
Garrett may be one of the GOP lawmakers to take the House floor most frequently to lament increases in discretionary spending.
"Too many members of Congress see the dollars that we appropriate here not as the taxpayers' dollar, but see it as their very own personal checking account. Maybe that is the fundamental problem that we have with why we spend more and more each year," Garrett claimed July 18, during a heated confrontation with U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska……………
Mary MacLean, a spokeswoman for Garrett, on Wednesday denied anything was amiss.
Garrett "doesn't have a problem with members seeking legitimate funds for their districts — especially members from donor states like New Jersey whose taxpayers send far more money down to Washington than they get back," MacLean wrote in an e-mail.” (Cahir, Express-Times)
DROPPING LIKE FLIES
“Three more former public employees arrested on various corruption charges in March pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court — bringing the number of guilty pleas so far in the year-long investigation, which netted 14 people, to five.
Marisol Cortes, 46, of Paterson, and Flora Cruz, 54, of West Paterson, former Section 8 caseworkers for the Paterson Housing Authority, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to solicit and accept cash for their official duties. Both took $200 from an unnamed property manager in return for directing Section 8 tenants to his apartments………..
Each of the three could face a maximum of five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.” (MacInnes, Herald News)
“Most of the accused were involved with Section 8 housing, a federally subsidized program for low-income residents. Two of the 14 have been indicted, said Hope Olds, the assistant U.S. attorney who handled yesterday's pleas.
Cortes and Cruz were identified in court papers as Paterson Hous ing Authority workers when they met with the unnamed cooperating witness early last year to discuss payoffs, while Rosa was employed by the city of Paterson.
As caseworkers, they each iden tified eligible Section 8 participants and apartments as a key part of their job responsibility.
Rosa told Linares she and another Section 8 worker in Paterson agreed to accept cash from the property manager to help him get tenants for his units. For her services, she said, she was supposed to get the equivalent of a month's Section 8 rent, which averaged $1,500.” (Steling, Star-Leder)
THE YOUNGEST CHIEF JUSTICE
“Stuart Rabner stood before the state's top lawyers, judges and politicians yesterday and said the state Supreme Court — which he may lead for a generation — belongs to the people, not the powerful.
At an hourlong swearing-in ceremony, the chief justice said the courts should serve those like his late father, George, a Holocaust survivor who ran a candy store in Pequannock and rarely set foot in a courtroom.
"These majestic halls are … for people who go about their daily lives trying to earn a living and raise their families with a faith that our system, while it may not be perfect, functions fairly and properly and will be there for them if they ever need it," Rabner said.
Saying he is humbled by his new job, Rabner, 47, pledged to maintain a sense of humility, strive for excellence and protect individual rights. He paid tribute to the chief justices who came before him.
"They created and burnished the image of excellence the New Jersey Supreme Court stands for," Rabner said. "They left to all of us the task of maintaining and enhancing its luster. I pledge to try to do so each day that I am privileged to serve on the court."” (Coscarelli, Star-Ledger)
“As the youngest chief justice in New Jersey's modern history, Rabner, 47, will have the opportunity to shape the state's future — which he vowed to approach with the humility and honor of those before him.
The issues ahead will include education, health care and civil rights cases, said Gov. Jon S. Corzine.” (Graber, Express-Times)
JUST A HOBOKEN SIGN OF COMPASSION
“The Hudson County Prosecutor's Office plans to investigate a claim that a homeless man was paid $10 to vote in last month's runoff election for Hoboken's Fifth Ward seat on the City Council, Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.
John Branciforte, former Zoning Board president and a challenger for Peter Cunningham, said he challenged a voter during the June 12 runoff election after he saw the voter and a group of six others acting suspiciously. Branciforte said the man signed the register, but was confronted and left before he could vote.
Branciforte pointed the man out to police, and the man admitted to cops that he lived at St. Lucy's Homeless Shelter in Jersey City and was paid $10 to vote, Branciforte said. Hoboken police refused to release information about the incident.
Cunningham defeated Perry Belfiore in the runoff election.” (Chen, Jersey Journal)
MCCANN WANTS TO RECOUP LAWYER FEES
“Having prevailed when his Board of Education election victory was challenged in court, former Jersey City Mayor Gerald McCann now wants taxpayers to pick up his legal tab.
The grand total: $56,000.
In April, McCann eked out a 21-vote victory over fourth-place finisher Jenny Garcia. But Garcia – who was backed by Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise and the teachers union – didn't go quietly.
She challenged the election in court on the grounds McCann "coerced" nearly 300 "incompetent or otherwise elderly and ill" residents at four nursing homes to vote for him using absentee ballots.
But McCann put up a ferocious defense that included attacking the teachers union for allegedly failing to file accurate campaign disclosure statements with the state. Garcia dropped the lawsuit on June 22.
But the bills didn't go away.” (Thorbourne, Jersey Journal)
ROTHMAN JOINS OBAMA CAMP
Sen. Barack Obama announced today that U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman would serve as Northeast regional co-chair of his Presidential campaign. In a press release issued by his office, Rothman said Obama is the best candidate to unite the country, and reverse the damage created by the Bush administration.
Rothman is the only member of the New Jersey congressional delegation to endorse Obama so far. He is considered a possible candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2008, if Frank Lautenberg does not seek re-election…………..
In a statement, Obama said, "I am honored to have the support of Congressman Rothman and proud to have him represent the Obama campaign in the Northeast.” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)
“(Hillary) Clinton called rival Sen. Barack Obama’s willingness to sit down with government leaders who are enemies of the United States "irresponsible and naive."
But U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman disagrees. In fact, the New Jersey Congressman said when he watched that debate he finally decided he was going to support Obama for president, and today he fired off a press release enthusiastically endorsing Obama ‘08.” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)
“Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, will serve as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign co-chairman in the Northeast, officials said Wednesday.
Rothman, a six-term congressman, will be responsible for raising popular support and money for the senator in nine states, including New Jersey.
Obama is trailing his Senate colleague Hillary Clinton in polls of likely Democratic presidential nominees. In the second quarter of 2007, Clinton raised $1.6 million to Obama's $1 million. For the same period, Republican Rudolph Giuliani raised $1.5 million, and his chief rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, brought in $454,000, records show.
"Barack Obama is the best candidate for president," Rothman said in a news release issued by Obama's campaign in Chicago. "He will engage in the aggressive diplomacy necessary to hold countries that pose the greatest threats to our national security accountable."” (Bergen Record)
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN
“A showdown between the Bush administration and Congress next week could determine whether about 40,000 North Jersey children and nearly 29,000 of their parents continue to get government-subsidized health insurance.
A 10-year-old program that covers children from families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own insurance expires on Sept. 30. The program is known as SCHIP on the federal level and marketed in New Jersey as part of FamilyCare, which also includes Medicaid.
All three of Mixi Mus children are covered under Family Care.
"They will die without these kinds of services," the woman said in Spanish at a Paterson day care that encourages families to enroll. "The children will get sick, and how can we afford to pay?"
President Bush has threatened to veto a five-year renewal because he says the cost — $50 billion over five years in the House version and $35 billion in the Senate's — is too high and Democrats are trying to broaden the program as a first step toward providing national health coverage.” (Jackson and Carroll, Bergen Record)
DEMOCRATS REACH FOR IT
“South Jersey Democrats have their eyes on a coveted prize: overtaking the most staunchly Republican district in Burlington County.
Eighth District Democratic candidates Tracy Riley and Chris Fifis are running on an ethics platform, sounding themes of fiscal responsibility that ring of conservatism and putting the blame for high taxes squarely on the shoulders of local Republicans. They’re facing off against three new Republican candidates – Burlington County Clerk Phil Haines for state Senate and his Assembly running mates, Dawn Addiego and Scott Rudder.
But while lowering taxes and cracking down on corruption may resonate with local voters, the candidates may also have a hard time figuring out how they will reconcile their support for Gov. Jon Corzine with popular opposition to his toll roads privatization plan.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
“Army Spc. Jim Benoit rose slowly from his wheelchair and leaned over a table in an examination room of the fifth- floor plastic surgery clinic at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He pulled his black shorts down to his knees. A tight-fitting mesh waistband held gauze pads against his backside.
A plastic surgeon, Rick Bonnecarrere, stood behind the Morris County resident and, with gloved hands, plucked out the gauze. Bonnecarrere peered at the patchwork of skin that had been transplanted from Benoit's legs and upper back to cover the hole blown out of Benoit's backside by a roadside bomb in Baghdad……………….
After 80 surgeries, months of grueling physical therapy and 30 two-hour treatments in a hyper baric chamber, Benoit is getting ready to go home to North Jersey.
Now the 25-year-old military policeman and his 22-year-old wife, Pam, will pack up the canned food, soda and doggie treats in their cluttered hotel room and head to their temporary home in a trailer at Picatinny Arsenal.
Next month, they'll make one more move: into a handicapped-accessible Colonial being built by volunteers in Benoit's hometown of Wharton.” (Massey, Star-Ledger)
SMITH FIGHTS FOR VETERANS LIKE BENOIT
“U.S. Rep. Chris Smith yesterday renewed his call to overhaul funding for veterans health care, warning a Senate committee to act or face an impending crisis.
In testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Smith, R-Hamilton, told members that only by revamping the way health benefits are funded can the country avoid future scandals like the one that rocked Walter Reed Army Medical Center in March, when veterans were found to be living in squalid conditions and suffering substandard outpatient care.
"Unless we fix the funding process for VA health care, all efforts to improve its delivery will continue to be impeded, and worse, we risk new Walter Reed-like problems at VA facilities in the future," Smith told the committee.” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)
PRO-LIFERS WANT THE STEM CELLS TO VOTE ON IT
“New Jersey voters will decide this November whether to approve borrowing $450 million to pay for stem cell research in the state for 10 years under legislation scheduled to be signed Thursday by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
Corzine is to sign the bill at the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange.
Corzine is to sign the bill at the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange.
"Given the lack of leadership from the Bush administration, it is up to the states to do what is necessary to cultivate this cutting-edge research," Corzine recently said. "I am proud that New Jersey is leading the pack."
The money would support research on adult and embryonic stem cells……….
Bush has vetoed efforts to ease constraints he imposed on federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
Abortion foes oppose such research because it destroys human embryos. Marie Tasy, New Jersey Right to Life executive director, has called the Corzine proposal a "boondoggle referendum which will place a moral and fiscal burden on New Jersey taxpayers."
But supporters say the $450 million will not only advance medical treatments but also attract leading scientists and research companies to the Garden State. The state has already approved spending $270 million to build stem cell research facilities.” (Hester, AP)
THE BATTLE FOR FORT MONMOUTH
“Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1904 who are working on a report that will eventually be submitted to Congress do not have to sign a nondisclosure agreement governing the work, the union president said Wednesday.
The report in question was mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure commission when it voted to close Fort Monmouth and move most of its mission to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The commission required the Secretary of the Army to report to Congress that moving the fort will not adversely affect the global war on terrorism.
The Asbury Park Press last week obtained a draft version of the report, which stated that the entire electronics and communications functions of the installation would have to be duplicated at Aberdeen, before the fort is closed, or else the war on terrorism could be compromised.” (Brown and Bowman, Asbury Park Press)
“Fort Monmouth is on track to receive a $33.6 million jolt of new federal money for its ongoing work supporting the global war on terrorism, two New Jersey congressmen said Wednesday.
Reps. Rush D. Holt and Frank J. Pallone Jr., both D-N.J., said Wednesday the funds were included in the 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, which is expected to be voted within a week………………
"It will take the combined efforts of the entire New Jersey congressional delegation to ensure that this funding stream becomes law," said Holt. "I will be seeking the support of New Jersey House and Senate members on both sides of the aisle to help keep this increase in the DOD budget." (Brown, Asbury Park Press)
DOES CHRISTOPHER DAUL HAVE A MYSPACE ACCOUNT?
“The state Attorney General's Office is seeking more names of New Jersey sex offenders who had MySpace profiles and will try to determine whether they used the site to contact children, officials said Wednesday.
The announcement came a day after the social networking site disclosed that it had deleted the profiles of about 29,000 registered sex offenders, more than four times as many as it said it had found after an initial database search in May.
MySpace already has identified 248 New Jersey residents among the 7,000 sex offenders whose profiles were deleted after an earlier sweep in June. State Attorney General Anne Milgram said Wednesday that her office would serve MySpace with a third subpoena to find out how many Garden State residents are among the larger number of sex offenders that the site disclosed this week.
"The new data makes it shockingly clear how vigilant we must be in fighting the danger of sexual offenders surfing social networking sites," Milgram said in a statement. "As new information becomes available, we will continue to demand that MySpace makes available to us the names of convicted New Jersey sex offenders that set up MySpace accounts.”………..
Milgram's first subpoena, issued in May, yielded the names of 141 convicted New Jersey sex offenders who logged on to MySpace 34,000 times before their profiles were deleted. Of those users, 43 are on parole and 37 are on probation, state officials have said……….
The site identified an additional 107 New Jersey sex offenders in response to a second subpoena in June.” (Lamb, Bergen Record)
AT LEAST IT’S NOT $80 BILLION
“The tab for the health insurance benefits New Jersey taxpayers have promised retired schoolteachers and government workers is about $58 billion, a seven-month analysis scheduled to be released today has concluded.
Gov. Jon Corzine, speaking with reporters after a ceremony honoring Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in the Statehouse yesterday, confirmed the estimate, which was first reported in the New York Times yesterday.
The new estimate is a refinement of an earlier rough calculation that put the tab at $78 billion, although Corzine took little comfort in the $20 billion drop.
"It was a pretty serious poison at $80 (billion); it's still a pretty heavy body blow at $58 billion," he said………..
The health insurance tab is in addition to the $110 billion cost of pension benefits the state has promised to working and retired public employees and teachers.
But unlike the pension debt, which is partially covered by an investment fund currently worth about $82 billion, the state has no money set aside to cover the health insurance costs.
State officials had been making deposits into an account to cover health costs until 1994, but then-Gov. Christie Whitman discontinued that practice and used the $400 million that had been set aside to help balance her state budget.” (McNichol, Star-Ledger)
CORZINE WANTS TO LEAVE PAY TO PLAY REFORM TO LEGISLATURE
“A government watchdog group called on Gov. Corzine Wednesday to toughen New Jersey's campaign-finance restrictions, a move the Citizens' Campaign says would combat the practice of rewarding political donors with government contracts.
Corzine, however, indicated he is unlikely to take such steps.
While existing law limits the practice known as "pay-to-play," Citizens' Campaign chairman Harry Pozycki said government contractors and developers can still ingratiate themselves with candidates by exploiting loopholes. He said lawmakers have been slow to act on pending bills sponsored by Sens. Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth, and Peter Inverso, R-Mercer, that would tighten the law………….
Corzine said there are legal questions about what rules he can set by executive order, although he stopped short of saying the requested action could not be done.
"I think actually this should be dealt with legislatively," Corzine said.” (Tamari, Gannett)
IN PERTH AMBOY
“In his strongest statement yet on criticisms of his police department, Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas yesterday defended embattled Police Chief Michael Kohut, saying he has been the target of unfair at tacks.
"He has demonstrated through his action and his work, day after day, his love and concern for the people of Perth Amboy," Vas said of the chief during the city council meeting.
The comments came moments before Vas swore in three new police officers and reappointed an officer who was among eight laid off in January to cut city expenses. The other seven officers were re hired after the city received dona tions from city businesses………
At two sessions in May 2005, Kohut told a group of officers they needed to guard materials for the municipal complex under construction, and to make sure Mexicans didn't take the steel girders.
Kohut, who also serves as police director, later apologized for the remarks, but only after protests from the Hispanic community. One officer, Guadalupe Munoz, the first Mexican-American on the force, later filed a civil lawsuit, claiming he had been subject to harassment from other officers and the chief over his heritage. ” (Haydon, Star-Ledger)
“The Morris County Human Relations Commission is asking the federal government to send a representative to Morristown to educate the public about a program that allows local police officers to enforce immigration laws.
"There's just so much misinformation out there about the program that we felt it was better if we heard about it from the horse's mouth," said Wayne Cresta, chairman of the Human Relations Commission………….
Cresta, who also works in the rent leveling and senior services offices for Morristown, cautioned the forum does not mean implementation of the program, known as 287(g), is inevitable in Morristown…………….
Thus far, some 60 county sheriff's offices have implemented 287(g), but only one municipal police department, Herndon, Va., has received approval. Just this week, Mayor Steve Lonegan of Bogota in Bergen County publicly expressed interest in the program to address overcrowded housing in the tiny borough.
However, ICE officials have said 287(g) is intended to be used for criminal activities, as opposed to civil infractions.” (Hassan, Daily Record)
“YOU’RE ALWAYS A TARGET WHEN YOU’RE SITTING IN THIS CHAIR”
“PHILLIPSBURG | Town Mayor Harry Wyant said state authorities are investigating him in relation to the community service program for youthful offenders he supervises.
Wyant declined to discuss specifics Wednesday but said he feels allegations are politically motivated.
"Like with any investigation, I've been advised not to say anything at this point except that I've done nothing wrong," Wyant said.
He volunteered to lead the town-run program for about six years. Each Saturday morning, he supervises a group of youths who perform tasks throughout the town like picking up trash, whacking weeds, trimming overhanging branches and mowing lawns………
Wyant stressed anyone can make allegations. Such claims have to be evaluated, he said, but aren't always true.He wouldn't identify anyone he suspects might be behind the allegations and said he doesn't want to lower himself to name-calling.
"You're always a target when you're sitting in this chair," he said from the mayoral office in town hall. ” (Eilenberger, Express-Times)
IN WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
“Mayor Paul Moriarty who, in September 2005 banned the personal use of township vehicles to save taxpayers money has on occasion used the municipal gas pump to fill his SUV.
The ability to stop at the pump on the taxpayers' dime is one that other elected officials throughout the township and county and Moriarty's colleagues in the Legislature don't have.
Moriarty, who is also a state assemblyman, said he has used a total 44 gallons of municipal gas in three stops over the past 12 months. He stopped as recently as Tuesday when he filled up before going to a meeting in Clayton about road improvements in the township.
He said he accesses the pump by using a key, and a passcode, which logs his usage.
"I have authorization to do so," he said.” (Beym, Gloucester County Times)
“When the sun goes down in the city of Camden, the "urban terrorists" come out.
That's what Councilman Gilbert "Whip" Wilson calls the criminals and drug dealers who menace the city's everyday hardworking residents and take over their neighborhoods like parasites on a host.
Twenty-four people — many of them teenagers — have been killed in Camden so far this year, and roughly 200 open-air drug markets exist on the city's streets, Wilson said.
"We have a playground here," the councilman said, nodding toward the graffiti-covered play equipment at 4th and Berkley streets that served as a backdrop to his Wednesday news conference. "We're in an area where people like to come outside, but now they're scared to do so."
Camden is in an escalating crisis — a "War on Urban Terrorism" — that requires a drastic response if the city wants to avoid eclipsing its all-time murder high of 60 deaths in 1995, said Wilson, a former city police officer.
It's why he's asked Gov. Jon S. Corzine to assign at least 30 more state police officers to Camden and provide them with diversity and sensitivity training.”(Grzyboski, Courier-Post)
NOTHING SAYS PEACE LIKE THREATENING TO CHOKE SNITCHES
“Civic and religious leaders will hold a protest today at City Hall to demand the cancellation of a peace rally featuring a hip-hop artist whose lyrics are filled with violent imagery.
Swizz Beatz's single, "It's Me Snitches," released in advance of a new album that will come out next month, features this line: "I ain't gonna shoot ya/I could just choke ya."
At the noon protest, protesters said they will demand that the peace rally sponsors — the mayor's office, school district, city housing authority and Power 99 FM, which is paying for the performance — cancel the rally or at least take the rapper off the bill.
The police department, another sponsor of the rally, withdrew its support Tuesday after learning about the artist's lyrics. They will still patrol the rally, however.” (Katz, Courier-Post)
IN WALL TOWNSHIP
“A Wall Township convenience store owner was arrested Wednesday on charges he attempted to pay $40,000 to a U.S. Department of State employee, in exchange for a multiple entry visa for his business partner's son.
According to the federal complaint, Jiguveshkumar G. Patel, 26, of Belmar, a.k.a. Jay, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in India, offered $40,000 to a public official from September 2006 to January 2007 for the entry visa for his partner's son, who is a citizen of India.
According to the complaint, Patel's partner's son was unable to obtain a visa to travel to the United States.
Patel, according to the complaint, became aware that the daughter of a patron worked for "Immigration." Patel approached the patron and offered to pay the individual's daughter initially $20,000, and later $40,000, for a visa to get his partner's son out of India and into this country………..
The bribery charge carries a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.” (Asbury Park Press)
IN WARREN COUNTY
“Warren County voters will decide this November whether the freeholder board should expand from three members to five.
The current three-member board authorized the public referendum Wednesday. A group of residents had been circulating a nonpartisan petition to get the expansion question on November's ballot.
Those speaking in favor of the referendum Wednesday included one of the group's members, a state assemblyman, several local elected officials and other residents. No one spoke against the proposal.
"It's not bigger government, it's better representation," Hackettstown Councilwoman Nancy Brown said.
Warren County has the only three-member freeholder board in New Jersey. Each freeholder is paid $24,000 a year. Hunterdon County residents voted to expand its board to five members in 1998.” (Olanoff, Express-Times)
ALSO IN WARREN COUNTY
“Copies of freeholder correspondence, meeting minutes and other county records can now be obtained for less money.
The Warren County freeholders on Wednesday voted to reduce the copying fees the public is charged.
The county had been charging the maximum fee allowed under state statute: 75 cents per page for the first 10 pages, 50 cents per page for the next 10 pages and 25 cents each page for anything beyond. Under the new copy fee policy, the first 10 pages of requested documents are free and anything over 10 pages will cost 15 cents per page.
"I think the first 10 pages free is helping the average citizen," Freeholder John DiMaio said.” (Olanoff, Express-Times)
“The Gloucester County prosecutor yesterday dismissed criminal charges against two Deptford Township police officers in a high-profile case whose centerpiece was a videotaped scuffle with a motorist.
Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton said in a prepared statement that a jury's July 13 acquittal of a third officer, charged with assaulting the 19-year-old motorist in February 2006, was a key factor in his decision.
"The criminal prosecution of the remaining matters would only cause further disruption to the police department serving one of Gloucester County's most populous municipalities," the statement said. "In a very difficult case, I believe we handled this matter appropriately."” (Hefler, Philadelphia Inquirer)
“The state Supreme Court has reinstated a whistle-blower lawsuit filed almost eight years ago against the city of Camden by a former municipal public defender who balked at making a $5,000 campaign contribution to former mayor Milton Milan.
Elliot Stomel had claimed he was a city employee and covered by the state's Conscientious Employee Protection Act when he was fired by Milan. Stomel had notified the Camden County Prosecutor's Office when the contribution was solicited by Camden's municipal prosecutor, Joseph Caruso, and cooperated in an investigation into Caruso………….
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court found while Milan took the actual step of terminating Stomel, City Council ratified his action by not vetoing it.
"City Council cannot be permitted to step away in this fashion," according to the opinion reinstating Stomel's claim against the city of Camden.” (Winkler, Courier-Post)
IN PRINCETON TOWNSHIP
“A civil trial in the case of a former Princeton Township maintenance worker who alleges the township failed to make accommodations for his attention deficit disorder got under way this week.
Fernando "Fred" Toto alleges that the township's failure to accommodate his disorder and its discipline against him for altercations with co-workers due to the disorder forced him to stop working………….
Toto worked for the township public works department from May 1982 to January 2002, before he went on paid leave for several months, then applied for retirement disability benefits.
The complaint against the township alleges Toto faced harassment and humiliation from co- workers from the beginning of his employment because he has a stammer caused by a cognitive im pairment. In 1993, Torrance diagnosed him with severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but determined that he could continue to work, according to the complaint. ” (Kitchenman, Trenton Times)
IN MONMOUTH COUNTY
“Retirement for Monmouth County Administrator Louis Paparozzi means a chance to spend more time with music — and many of his friends and colleagues happily served as enablers when they presented Paparozzi with a Fender acoustic guitar as a farewell gift last week……
Paparozzi, 60, has had a long public service career and has been the chief executive of the county government for the last five years, in that role overseeing more than 3,000 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $400 million.” (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)