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Voters think Lautenberg is too old, judge urges state to continue plea negotiations with Devereaux, Pascrell backs Hillary, Booker says

Voters think Lautenberg is too old, judge urges state to continue plea negotiations with Devereaux, Pascrell backs Hillary, Booker says police aren’t immigration agents, new gun control initiatives.


“Three out of five New Jersey voters are concerned about Sen. Frank Lautenberg's age and think it's about time for someone else to take his job, a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll released yesterday shows.

It is the second poll this summer in which the incumbent's age emerged as a major issue with voters. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would be 84 at the start of a new term.

The state's senior senator has announced his intention to run for re-election in November 2008. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1982, after a campaign that raised doubts about the age of his opponent — then-72-year-old Rep. Millicent Fenwick.

The latest survey, like a Quinnipiac University poll last month, suggests the age issue could be a huge liability for Lautenberg this time around.

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll found only 24 percent said Lautenberg deserves re-election. Sixty-one percent said it is time for a change, and a similar percentage said that, given his age, they don't think Lautenberg can effectively represent New Jersey for another six-year term.”(Donohue, Star-Ledger)

“A political consensus seems to be emerging in New Jersey: U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg may be too old to serve another six-year term, but he is likely to be re-elected anyway………….

Despite these relatively discouraging numbers, there are few signs that Lautenberg faces a serious challenge next year, said Tim Vercellotti, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

No sitting Republican congressmen are considering the race. No beloved or big-name celebrity or sports figure has entered the Republican field. And several Democratic representatives known to be interested in the Senate have said they are unwilling to consider a primary challenge.

"You look at (Lautenberg's) history. He had no problem in '02 dispatching (Republican) Doug Forrester," Vercellotti said. "He beat him by 10 points … From what I can tell so far, the people making noises about running against him don't have very high profiles, and by that I mean the Republicans."…………..

"I keep thinking of Minnesota, where Al Franken is running for office for the first time and he's creeping up on (U.S. Sen.) Norm Coleman in the polls," Vercellotti said. "If the Republicans could find the right dark-horse candidate, who knows what could happen?"

One potentially strong candidate, former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman, has been bedeviled in recent months by accusations that she failed to correctly warn first responders about health threats presented by toxins in the air surrounding Ground Zero.” (Cahir, Express-Times)

In a 1984 debate against Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan made a memorable quip when asked if his age, then 73, would jeopardize his ability to govern effectively.

“I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and lack of experience,” said Reagan.

Now, with two recent polls citing Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s golden years as a serious concern among voters, one of Lautenberg’s potential opponents has already attempted to pre-empt a similar joke from the senator.

“I hope that age is not an issue, and that my youth and vigor will not be held against me,” said Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, who announced last month that he’s considering running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

But there’s no question that Lautenberg’s age, 83, weighs on the minds of voters, 61 percent of whom say he’s too old to effectively serve another term, according to today’s Rutgers-Eagleton poll (a Quinnipiac poll last month had similar results). When the question was phrased differently, emphasizing that Lautenberg will be 90 when his term is up, those number ticked up slightly to 64 percent.

Whether that will matter on Election Day, when Lautenberg goes head-to-head with a member of a party that hasn’t won a New Jersey Senate seat since 1972, is another story.” (Friedman,


“A state Superior Court judge yesterday urged the state to continue plea negotiations with a former high-ranking official with the New Jersey Commerce Commission accused of funneling more than $11,000 in contacts to her sister and mother.

State prosecutors notified Judge Maryann Bielamowicz this week that they plan to retry former Commerce Chief of Staff Lesly Devereaux on a dozen counts that were unresolved following a six- week trial.

A jury last month found Deve reaux guilty of using a state employee to run her private legal prac tice, but deadlocked on charges accusing her of illegally hiring family members and creating fake documents to cover up her conduct. It acquitted her of a conspiracy charge.

Negotiations on a possible plea deal regarding the dozen counts have broken down, but Bielamowicz yesterday told both sides to try again. She asked the attorneys in the case to report back to her on Sept. 17.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)



“Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsement of Rep. Bill Pascrell on Thursday, adding to a list of longtime Democrats to lead her New Jersey campaign.

Pascrell, a former Paterson mayor who was elected to Congress in 1996, will advise the campaign on homeland security matters.

"Hillary Clinton has been a leading advocate for our first responders affected by 9/11 and for strengthening our homeland security," Pascrell said in a statement.

Clinton also has the endorsement of Governor Corzine, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Rob Andrews, and former Govs. Brendan Byrne and James J. Florio.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Institute poll last week found that 45 percent of New Jersey Democrats would support Clinton in the primary, while 21 percent would choose her main rival, Sen. Barack Obama.” (Young, Herald News)



“With Newark ground zero in a national debate about the role of law enforcement in dealing with illegal immigrants, Mayor Cory Booker said yesterday it's not the job of his already overburdened police department to assist immigration authorities.

Booker, announcing a series of initiatives designed to stem the flow of illegal guns into Newark, said illegal immigrants may be fearful of cooperating with police if they know immigration authorities may be contacted.

"It's important I don't have a climate in Newark where documented or not, naturalized or not, people are afraid to talk with police," Booker said. "We don't want to have any undue burden. Our job is to arrest them and put them in the criminal justice system."

The issue has emerged since José Lachira Carranza, a 28-year-old illegal immigrant from Peru, was charged as a principal suspect in the execution-style slayings of three college students behind Mount Vernon School almost two weeks ago.” (Mays, Star-Ledger)



“Newark Mayor Cory Booker yesterday outlined a series of measures designed to monitor the flow of guns in and out of the state's largest city and to prevent gun dealers from opening shop in residential neighborhoods or near schools.

Booker, joined by Gov. Jon Corzine and Attorney General Anne Milgram at a news conference yesterday afternoon, admitted the initiatives may not stop the bloodshed overnight, but called them necessary steps in order to curtail violence.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after four college-age Newark residents were shot in the head behind an elementary school in the Ivy Hill neighborhood. Three of the students died and a fourth survived.

The shootings have created a heightened sense of urgency in the city as its leaders scramble to find ways to combat gun violence. Earlier this week, Booker announced a plan to install 50 additional police cameras around the city. Booker, who is part of a national coalition of mayors who are against illegal guns, made crime his top priority when he took office last year.

"There is no one quick fix in this battle for illegal guns," Booker conceded. At the same time, he said, if the proposed ordinances can stop three or four guns from being used, it is worth it.” (Wang, Star-Ledger)



“Let's hope the governor is just clearing his throat, and that he has more ambitious plans in the works to fight violence in cities like Newark.

Because in this crucial week after the most savage murders we've seen in years, he's talked mostly about gun control, the go-to response of liberal politicians everywhere.

Yes, that may help a little. But the reality is that Newark's streets are already flooded with illegal guns. And the bad guys are not about to surrender them, or to obey any new rules the governor proposes. We need something much bigger.

And this is the time to push for it, while the outrage over these killings is fresh…………..

So what really needs to be done? How could the governor put his shoulder into this problem and make a real difference?

For one, he could change the drug laws so that we stop flooding the system with nonviolent offenders. That would allow cops, prosecutors and judges to focus on cases like these murders. And it would free up space in our prisons for the robbers, rapists and killers…………..

The governor could also do something about the army of convicts who are being released from prison with no supervision, and no prospects.

Look at Newark, and you can see why Mayor Cory Booker is threatening civil disobedience if this doesn't change. Each year, roughly 1,500 convicts are released into the city, and about 1,000 of them will be arrested again within three years. ” (Moran, Star-Ledger)



“It is replacing baseball as the national pastime: blood sports. From drive-bys to dogfights, bloodshed is a recreational sport in the United States. The star players in this game are not al-Qaida, homegrown terrorists or mythical bogeymen invented by cable television pundits. To paraphrase FDR: We have no one to fear but ourselves.

Two nationally publicized stories with New Jersey roots have much in common. NFL star Michael Vick is charged with operating a dogfighting ring in Virginia. Allegedly a few of the dogs used in the fights were brought from New Jersey to Virginia. The publicity of this high-profile case has drawn attention to the popularity of dogfighting here in the Garden State. The clandestine fights are testament to a sick subculture that revels in seeing dogs fighting dogs.

But the bloodshed is not contained to an 8-by-8 ring. The horrific gangland-style executions of three college students in Newark also have riveted the nation. A fourth student was shot, but survived. Even in a city known for violence, the attacks were so brazen they have united political foes toward a common cause……………

Dogfights. Machete-wielding thugs. This is a world gone insane. What do we need as a wake-up call?

Washington politicians throw "Sept. 11" like hand grenades. They use that horrible September day to justify foreign wars and the expenditure of billions of dollars, all in the name of homeland security. We hear about the threat of homegrown terrorists. That fuels fears about immigration gone amok, although homegrown terrorists, by definition, are not transients in America.

But the greater threat to our day-to-day existence is the joy too many men are finding in bloodshed.” (Doblin, Bergen Record)



“A record 56 women are running for the New Jersey Legislature, but activists and candidates said Thursday that the candidate pool must grow until females occupy at least half the Senate and Assembly.

New Jersey ranks 35th among state legislatures in terms of women elected, according to Rutgers University's Center for American Women in Politics. About 20 percent of the Legislature is female, holding 23 of 120 seats.

"Our Legislature should be as diverse as the state we live in," said Seema Singh, the former ratepayer advocate who is running as a Democrat for Senate in the 14th District.

"I was the eighth woman ever in New Jersey sworn to New Jersey Senate," said Sen. Diane B. Allen, R-Burlington. "It still upsets me. Hundreds of years — eight women."

They were addressing the audience during a meeting of Women Advocating for Good Government, part of the Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey, which helps those seeking elective office.

"Fifty-six — that's never happened before," said Myra Terry, chairwoman of the advocate group. "It's still measly. But 56 is 56."” (Young, Bergen Record)



“The Democratic and Republican candidates for Assembly in the 14th District have agreed to meet for debates in both Mercer and Middlesex counties.

Assemblywoman Linda R. Greenstein, D-Plainsboro, and Wayne DeAngelo of Hamilton sent a letter Wednesday to Republicans Tom Goodwin of Hamilton and Adam Bushman of Jamesburg asking them to meet for debates hosted by League of Women Voters chapters at Mercer County Community College and the Monroe library.

Under the state Fair and Clean Elections pilot program, two debates are required, with one in the first half of October and one in the second half of the month…………

While the state law requires that candidates certified by and accepting money through the state law participate in the debates, Libertarian candidates Jason M. Scheurer and Ray F. Cragle, both of West Windsor, also will be invited once the details are worked out, according to Greenstein.” (Kitchenman, Trenton Times)



“A Texas study that found the active ingredient of Prozac in fish has prompted questions from a legislator about what could be floating in New Jersey's water supply.

Conducted by Waco, Texas-based Baylor University, the 2003 study found traces of the anti-depressant Prozac in the muscles, liver and brains of fish in a stream near a Texas water treatment facility………………..

In addition, a 2002 U.S. Geological Survey found that 80 percent of 138 streams tested in 30 states contained traces of pharmaceuticals.

"These studies are definitely cause for alarm," said Assemblyman Mike Doherty, R-Warren/Hunterdon counties.

Citing New Jersey's thriving pharmaceutical industry, Doherty called on the Legislature to authorize the study of New Jersey's water supplies.

"The state seized most of the land in our district claiming protection of fresh water as its motivation," Doherty said. "If these compounds are appearing in fish tissue in other states, then certainly similar studies are needed here to determine if we are ingesting a drug cocktail without a prescription every time we turn on our tap water."” (Graber, Express-Times)



“The New Jersey Taxpayers' Association (NJTA), a statewide grass roots organization formerly known as the Silver Brigade, announced Thursday the start of its Legislator Report Card initiative.

NJTA has developed a grading methodology based upon a simple zero to 100 point scoring system.

Scores will be tabulated, recorded and assigned as a "pass" ("P") or "fail" ("F") grade. To qualify for a "P" grade, a member must have a taxpayer score of at least 65 points.

NJTA believes a score qualifying for a grade of "P" indicates that the member is one of the strongest supporters of responsible, long-term tax and spending policies. The Legislator Report Cards will be available to the general public at the NJTA Web site in September.

The local effort is modeled after the National Taxpayers Union's annual Congressional voting study and is designed to grade members of New Jersey's 212th Legislature on their actual votes on key bills that significantly affect taxes, spending, debt and regulatory burdens on New Jersey residents and taxpayers.

"Our objective is to hold New Jersey's leadership accountable for their actions while at the same time clearly communicating that politically-driven, short-term tax "relief" programs are unacceptable," said Jerry Cantrell, NJTA president.” (Daily Record)



“Twelve anti-war activists got their chance to try to sway the vote of a U.S. Congressman yesterday. But Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, stood his ground, turning the tables on them and questioning what they would do to save the government of Iraq from collapse.

After seeking to confront Smith in recent weeks and an Aug. 7 rally at his office while he was away, the activists met the congressman in a small conference room yesterday and talked about his positions on Iraq. Neither side changed their views, but both Smith and the activists welcomed the chance to make their case.

Smith told the group he won't vote to set a deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq when the country could be on the brink of a civil war.

"Is that acceptable — that they might have a genocidal civil war?" Smith asked.

Washington Township resident Ed Dunphy said it's too late to prevent problems in Iraq.

"The fact is, it's already collapsed," Dunphy said.

While the residents' passion on the subject was obvious, both they and Smith largely remained civil.

One tense moment came when residents expressed frustration with Smith for his refusal to answer a hypothetical question of whether he would support military action against Iran. When one person said President Bush "could take us through the gates of hell and you would follow him," Smith responded sharply, "I have proven over 27 years that I am not a follower."” (Kitchenman, Trenton Times)



“TRENTON — Never mind keeping up appearances, or even keeping up with fashion. Members of the city council want teens to keep up their pants.

West Ward Councilwoman Annette Lartigue suggested yesterday that the council create an ordinance banning the baggy, saggy, low-rider pants in the city.

She'd like to see pants worn in public with their waistbands on the wearer's waist instead of hanging so low they answer the question, "Boxers or briefs?"

"I'm asking the support of council to send a message to our young people that they must cover up their undergarments," Lartigue told council.

Her comment drew an appreciative murmur from the audience, including council Vice President Cordelia Staton, who said she thought it's an idea that also should be implemented in schools. "It's inappropriate in a school district," said Staton of the loose, underwear-revealing style pants that have been in vogue for a few years.” (Persico, Trenton Times)



“Anybody want a bridge? As is, built in 1898 and in continuous use since 1938.

Monmouth County has one it's willing to give away — as long as the new owner agrees to pay the hefty shipping costs.

The offer to get rid of the 109-year-old drawbridge — possibly the only one of its kind in the country — has a group of locals up in arms. They are outraged the county wants to discard what they consider a historic treasure spanning Manasquan and Brielle.

"It's the history, it's the soul of two towns," said Eloise Knight, a 76-year-old Manasquan resident who traverses the bridge daily to reach her restaurant, Eloise's Cafe, in Brielle. "People my age were swimming off that bridge, fishing off that bridge when they were 10 years old. They want that preserved for their grandchildren." ” (Spoto, Star-Ledger)



“More than one-quarter of New Jersey’s 2,430 public schools were cited yesterday for failing to meet federal education standards after too few of their students passed state reading and math tests this spring, state education officials said yesterday.

A total of 618 schools failed to meet annual testing benchmarks established under No Child Left Behind, which was a slight improvement over the 643 schools cited the year before. Some of the state’s worst-performing schools made enough gains over the past year to escape further sanctions, or to be removed entirely from the list of schools under scrutiny.

“Clearly we have seen improvement,” said Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy, who announced the results via a telephone conference. “But there is still much work to be done if we are to adequately prepare our students for the 21st-century work force.”

Schools that do not meet the standards face increasing sanctions, which could include directives on how they can spend their federal funds.

A New York Times analysis of the data showed that the number of schools that were subject to sanctions because they failed to meet testing standards for two years in a row dropped to 517, from 574 the year before. Those “schools in need of improvement” accounted for 21 percent of the state’s schools.” (Hu and Fessenden, New York Times)


Politics NJ: So who is stepping up to help you win in Somerset this year? Elia Pelios: Well, clearly, the GOP

“Somerset County's reconstituted park commission yesterday scrutinized some bills and contracts but not others, and rejected as "unfair" a move to make employees with county-owned vehicles turn them in by Sept. 1.

Reorganizing with six new appointees, the nine-member commission without comment awarded another contract to a graphic artist who employs the brother of the parks director, and later adjourned into closed session without official explanation.

The attempted makeover followed an investigation by the state Attorney General's Office into park records, and allegations by an outside law firm the commission violated public bidding laws and gave lavish perks to some employees…………..

Commission members and other Somerset officials endorsed continued use of the "fair and open process," which allows governments to award contracts to chosen vendors after publicizing their intent but without seeking public bids.

Conspicuously missing from the action was longtime commission attorney Terrence O'Connor. "I think he resigned," said Steven Fuerst, a lawyer and new appointee chosen as the agency's president.

Commission spokesman Rich Reitman later said O'Connor "submitted his resignation a week or two ago." As a one-man law firm, O'Connor "didn't feel he was able to handle the workload" during investigations by the attorney general and county, Reitman said.

Green Brook Mayor Patricia Walsh, the Republican candidate for county freeholder, called on Tuesday night for O'Connor to step down.” (Tyrell, Star-Ledger)



“Coming soon: A revamped Highlands regional master plan, in an easy-to-digest and easier-to-understand format, with clearly stated goals and objectives.

That was the promise made yesterday by the highly touted, well-paid consultant hired by the Highlands Council to take a couple of years work, dozens of maps, a myriad of scientific documents and more than a thousand public comments and turn them into a cohesive future development guide for an 850,000-square-acre section of North Jersey.

Charles Siemon pledged to deliver a final draft plan to the council by Nov. 16, with approval anticipated in December, and likely adoption in January.

The master plan is expected to be the planning and zoning Bible for future development in the environmentally sensitive region that provides much of the state's drinking water…………..

"We are taking the plan apart paragraph by paragraph, re-ordering it into a more logical system … so everyone can understand, embrace and discuss all of the elements," said Siemon.

"It must be edited and de-jargonized …," he added, explaining the goal is to be sure the council clearly understands all aspects of the plan and the rationale behind its key points.” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)


ATLANTIC CITYFormer Mayor Lorenzo Langford and current City Council President William Marsh must provide details of their current assets, a Superior Court judge ruled Thursday, advancing the city's pursuit of an $850,000 settlement it issued to the two men that was later deemed unlawful.

Superior Court Judge Valerie Armstrong said Langford's and Marsh's personal finances will be detailed in depositions that will be held at City Hall before Sept. 28.

Langford and Marsh, both former city school employees, filed the suit after the defeat of a 1999 school budget ended their jobs. They had claimed retaliation following Langford's unsuccessful mayoral run against former Mayor James Whelan. Langford became mayor in 2001 with the suit unresolved. The settlement was approved weeks later by former Business Administrator Benjamin Fitzgerald.

But in May, The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the settlement be returned because it was "so infected with conflicts of interest that it is void as a matter of state law."” (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)



ATLANTIC CITYDonald Trump insists he is totally opposed to smoking – except when it comes to the casinos.

Trump, prompting intense criticism from anti-smoking advocates, called for abolishing Atlantic City's partial casino smoking ban to prevent gamblers from fleeing to other gaming jurisdictions where they are free to light up without restrictions.

"They're leaving in droves. I'm told by some very talented people that the biggest negative impact is the smoking ban," Trump said of a decline in casino business that has sent Atlantic City gaming revenue tumbling 3.7 percent for the first seven months this year.

Trump sent a letter Wednesday to Mayor Bob Levy and City Council President William Marsh calling for a repeal of the casino smoking restrictions. At the very least, Trump wants the city to suspend its anti-smoking ordinance until neighboring states enact their own casino smoking ban.

"I'm totally opposed to smoking," Trump said in an interview Thursday. "But like it or not, we have vast numbers of smokers. The casino business has traditionally been a smoking business. Casinos have always been places in history where people gamble and smoke."……………..

In a related development Thursday, state Assemblyman James Whelan, D-Atlantic, threatened to revive dormant legislation he sponsored last year to prohibit smoking altogether in the casinos. He said he would act if the partial ban is lifted by City Council at Trump's request.

"Donald's whining again. That's what he's very good at," said Whelan, who clashed with Trump in the past when Whelan served as Atlantic City mayor.” (Wittkowski, Press of Atlantic City)



“PASSAIC — Marcellus Jackson on Thursday became the latest elected official to issue a public apology for trying to give the city's eight elected officials retirement benefits beyond those offered to hundreds of other city employees.

At an early-morning meeting called especially for the purpose, six of the city's seven council members voted to rescind a resolution they approved in May. Councilman Gerardo Fernandez was absent from the meeting called for 8:45 a.m. at council chambers. Fewer than 10 members of the public were present.

The vote capped several weeks of intense public scrutiny over the council's approval of the resolution that extended medical benefits to elected officials who retire after 15 years of service instead of the requisite 25 years of service for the city's nearly 700 employees. The resolution covered the seven council members and the mayor.

Before the vote, Jackson read a public apology. He was the only council member to comment.

"I want to say to the citizens of Passaic, I apologize for this mistake that was made," he said. "I take full responsibility for it … This will never happen again."” (Mandell, Herald News)



“Edison officials apologized yesterday to veterans angered by an ethnic ceremony held at town hall earlier this week in which the POW/MIA flag was removed from a pole so the Indian tricolor could fly below the American flag.

"There was never any intention to disrespect or dishonor veterans, or any group of people," Mayor Jun Choi said. "We have enormous respect for the tremendous sacrifices made by our veterans and the servicemen and women currently defending our freedoms."

To mark India's 60th independence anniversary from Britain, Choi, several senior Edison police officials and more than 100 Asian-Indians gathered Wednesday at a granite monument that honors the 49 Edison residents killed in the two world wars and the Korean War.

The Indian flag was raised in the place where the POW/MIA flag normally flies, and the POW/MIA flag was moved temporarily to a nearby pole outside the police headquarters section of town hall. A dozen veteran supporters showed up to loudly denounce the flag-raising.

Choi said the removal "was not proper" and that Edison would maintain proper flag etiquette in the future.” (Din, Star-Ledger)



Local and county officials have determined that the town mayor's post should be a four-year instead of a two-year term, but the new term length likely won't begin until after the next election. Since Mayor James Dodd is running unopposed in November, that means Dodd likely will be in office until 2012.

Since Mayor James Dodd is running unopposed in November, that means Dodd likely will be in office until 2012.

The new term length was determined after town officials asked town attorney David Pennella to interpret a state statute last amended in 2005.

Pennella determined that the doubling of the mayor's term length would occur "automatically," without having to be voted upon by residents, said town administrator Bibi Stewart Garvin.” (Lee, Daily Record)



“The rift between Bayonne City Councilmen Anthony Chiappone and Gary La Pelusa and the city administration seemed to widen Wednesday night during a fractious four-hour City Council meeting.

Chiappone and La Pelusa, both opponents of Mayor Joseph V. Doria Jr., voted against several administration moves and two bond measures were tabled until later meetings.

Chiappone and La Pelusa opposed authorizing city Business Administrator Terrence Malloy to issue $30 million in short-term tax anticipation notes, which Malloy said would allow the city to safeguard against cash flow hiccups.

As an example of a cash flow delay, Malloy cited $23 million from the BLRA that was expected before Aug. 10 but has yet to arrive.

"Quite honestly, I see this as a way to borrow more money," Chiappone said.” (Judd, Jersey Journal)



“HOBOKEN – The state Deeartment of Community Affairs yesterday booted the city's construction code official from oversight of the Maxwell Place development amid growing concerns over his financial interests in the project.

Yesterday's decision now means the DCA will oversee the project, including the future of a 16-foot portion of a fence that surrounds a park that has sparked a feud between Construction Code Official Al Arezzo and Mayor David Roberts.” (Renshaw, Jersey Journal)



“The New Jersey Press Association will join a Union County watchdog organization in Superior Court today in challenging Union County's policy of requiring citizens to use a standardized request form when asking to review public records.

Union County's administration, which is frequently at odds with the Union County Watchdog Association over releasing public documents, developed the one-page form last year. It came after a Feb. 17, 2006, advisory opinion was is sued by the state's Government Records Council, created in 2002 to oversee government compliance with the state's Open Public Records Act.

"Although the statute does not expressly state that OPRA requests must be on the form adopted by the agency … principles of statutory construction show that the Legislature intended use of this form by all requestors (sic) to be mandatory," the GRC wrote.

But the press association and watchdog group argue that OPRA only requires that requests be placed in writing, and that requir ing the requests be placed on standardized forms can serve to impede requests for information. ” (Murray, Star-Ledger)



“In the hallway of the municipal building Thursday, an elderly township resident congratulated Police Chief Joseph Gallagher on his new position as Winslow's municipal administrator……………..

Gallagher said he will leave his $110,000-a-year job in Haddon Township to begin his new $90,000 job in Winslow on Oct. 1. But the move comes amid concerns by some residents who say Gallagher shouldn't be on the payroll in two towns.

Haddon Township officials are finalizing an exit contract that would allow Gallagher to use accrued vacation and sick time through July 31, 2008, (his retirement date), for a total of $84,211.20. Officials said he will not be paid a salary after he leaves the township on Sept. 30.

If Gallagher agrees to the contract, the township would avoid paying the chief $209,312.04, which includes accrued vacation and sick time and a salary increase through his retirement date, officials said.” (Forde, Courier-Post) Today’s news from