The 37th district Democratic legislators sent Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joe Ferriero a letter last night expressing frustration at comments from the organization’s lawyer, Dennis Oury.
In Tuesday’s Bergen Record, Oury told columnist Charles Stile that he planned to go to court to challenge pay to play legislation passed in 2004 and 2005 that was sponsored by state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. The initial legislation set standards for choosing no-bid contracts and limited certain kinds of contributions, while a later piece of legislation allowed local governments to pass stricter pay-to-play laws.
Oury told The Record that the legislation was unconstitutional and unfair to “the little guy,” – that the political playing field would be skewed to millionaires like Gov. Corzine or Doug Forrester. He also said that most voters don’t care about the issue.
“As three people who have run races in primaries and general elections from our district and county-wide, and as card carrying members of the "government do-gooders", we wonder what experience Mr. Oury has in any of these areas?” asked the legislators. “We are particularly concerned about our party taking a stand on this issue without the input of our leadership and rank and file. It is bad government, bad politics and bad timing just before an election.”
Weinberg has an adversarial history with Ferriero, often acting as an independent thorn in the side of a chairman who keeps most of his delegation in lock step. She successfully fended off a potential primary challenge from a Ferriero-backed slate in April.
Neither Ferriero nor Oury could immediately be reached for comment.
“It’s a sign of extremely bad judgment and it’s another example of the Bergen County Democratic Organization is not one person, or even two people. It’s all of us who are elected,” said Weinberg of Oury’s comments.