Hackett and Steele officially resign, arrested Pleasantville school board members won’t resign, Stuart Rabner begins what could be a very long term as chief justice, Pennacchio forms exploratory committee.
DONE… NOW WHAT ABOUT JAMES AND BRYANT?
“The two Democratic lawmakers arrested on federal corruption charges last week officially resigned from the state Assembly yesterday, three days after top state party leaders led by Gov. Jon Corzine called on them to step down.
Assemblymen Mims Hackett Jr. (D-Essex) and Alfred Steele (D-Passaic) sent formal letters of resignation to the Assembly clerk late in the afternoon. Neither made a public statement.
Hackett won’t resign as mayor of Orange, where he has served since 1996, and will stand for re-election in May, according to a source close to the former lawmaker who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on Hackett’s behalf.
The resignations were welcomed by Corzine. “The governor believes they did the right thing,” spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said.
Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) said the “swift action” to force the resignations clearly demonstrates that Democratic leaders in the Statehouse “are absolutely committed to having a zero tolerance policy toward corruption.”
Democrats remained on the defensive despite the resignations.
Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris) and Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) yesterday issued a demand for a special session on ethics Monday.
In a letter to Roberts and Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex), they cited the arrest of Hackett and Steele as well as the earlier indictments of Sens. Sharpe James (D-Essex) and Wayne Bryant (D-Camden) as evidence of the need for action. ” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)
But state Sens. Wayne Bryant (D., Camden) and Sharpe James (D., Essex), indicted earlier this year on corruption charges, remain in office, and will continue to vote on gubernatorial appointments.
That fact was not lost on Republican officials, who continued to criticize Gov. Corzine, Senate President Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts for asking the assemblymen – but not the senators – to resign.
“Only in New Jersey would you have two indicted politicians voting on who the judges and prosecutors should be,” said Assemblyman Bill Baroni (R., Mercer).
Baroni said it was even more important for the senators to step down because Assembly members did not vote on gubernatorial appointments. (Burton, Philadelphia Inquirer)
“As two Democratic Assemblymen caught in last week’s web of indictments resigned Monday, Republicans questioned a seeming double-standard that allows indicted Sens. Wayne Bryant and Sharpe James to serve out their terms in Trenton.
“Senators James and Bryant have been indicted for using public monies to enrich themselves,” said state Republican Chairman Tom Wilson.
“To most people, stealing from the public and taking a bribe are equally as corrupt.”” (Graber, Bridgeton News)
WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
“PLEASANTVILLE – The two sitting Board of Education members arrested last week in a corruption sting that stretched to the Statehouse will not give up their seats, both said Monday.
“I have no plans to resign,” board President James Pressley said. “Just as I said before, I’m innocent until proven guilty.”
Pressley is one of five current or former board members accused of accepting thousands of dollars in exchange for contracts. Federal investigators initially targeted Pleasantville in their probe, setting up a fake insurance brokerage, Coastal Solutions, which purported to employ the government’s two cooperating witnesses and undercover agents. That investigation quickly led to public officials in other parts of the state, including two assemblymen and the mayor of Passaic.
Rafael Velez, the other current board member charged, originally said he would resign his seat at tonight’s school board meeting but has reconsidered. He said Monday that he spoke with his family, friends and supporters, and they convinced him “not to give up.”
“If I resign, I’m guilty,” Velez said. “I’m not a guilty person. Only time will tell.”” (Cohen, Press of Atlantic City)
THE RABNER ERA BEGINS AND RIVERA-SOTO MAKES SURE THE NEW JUSTICE KNOWS WHO HE IS
“The New Jersey Supreme Court began its new term yesterday with a new leader and a clutch of criminal cases.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner began his service — which could be the longest as chief in modern history if he serves until the mandatory retirement age of 70 — with little fanfare…………….
Several lawyers took the chance to welcome the 47-year-old Caldwell resident to the bench.
“I, and all those here, welcome the new chief justice and wish him a long and prosperous career,” said Michael Jones, of the state Public Defender’s Office, before beginning oral arguments.
Rabner’s debut has been much-anticipated in the legal community. Yesterday marked the first time lawyers and the public got to see what kind of chief he would be.
The day’s docket was heavy with criminal cases, and Rabner, a former federal prosecutor, seemed comfortable with it, asking questions ranging from the nuances of the subsections of laws to when Miranda rights should be read to suspects.
Rabner listened attentively to the lawyers, leaning forward in his seat, often with his chin resting in his hands, or taking notes with a blue ball-point pen. At the conclusion of each lawyer’s arguments, he thanked them for their time. And while he allowed lawyers to overrun the allotted time for some cases, he was also firm when it came time to steer the discussion back to the central issues or end it.
“I think we have your argument,” he told one lawyer.
It took the chief 39 minutes to ask his first question — which was actually his second attempt, since the first time he tried Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto talked over him ” (Coscarelli, Star-Ledger)
PENNACCHIO FORMS EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE, PAYS LIP SERVICE TO THAT STATE SENATE ELECTION THING
“Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio today announced that he has formed an exploratory committee for a possible bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination next year.
Pennacchio says that Morris County GOP Chairman John Sette will head the exploratory effort. He did not release the names of any other supporters, although another potential candidate, Assemblyman Michael Doherty, dropped out of the race last month and endorsed Pennacchio.
The Morris County dentist, who has served in the State Assembly since 2001, is currently a candidate for State Senator in the 26th district.
“So far I am cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a run for the nomination,” said Pennacchio, who has been testing the waters for a possible challenge to Frank Lautenberg in 2008. “However, my first priority will be to secure victory in November to the State Senate.”” (Editor, PoliticsNJ.com)
Pennacchio said he would focus on a few key issues in his U.S. Senate bid: economic growth, lower taxes, an improved climate for small businesses, plus more ethical government. He has been a leading critic of the state’s Democratic leadership, a position made very clear when he walked out on Gov. Jon Corzine’s State of the State address in January.
Democrats have questioned how Pennacchio can be running for U.S. Senate when he has not even secured the election for state Senate.
“Why doesn’t he just start a presidential exploratory committee, too,” said Morris County Democratic Chairman Lewis Candura.
But Pennacchio said running for the U.S. Senate would require plenty of advance planning, organization and fundraising, something that could not be done at the last minute.” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)
MARCIA “BONE CRUSHER” KARROW
“An ugly spat that left a Hunterdon County politician’s arm broken, and a state assemblywoman accused of being the attacker, will be aired in municipal court, authorities said yesterday.
Raritan Township police confirmed municipal Committeewoman Chris Harcar signed citizen’s complaints against Rep. Marcia Karrow (R-Hunterdon), charging the assemblywoman with simple assault and harassment after their initial confrontation at a GOP gathering on June 3…………..
Harcar had accused Karrow of twice pushing her against a stand or podium at the Kuhl Corp., where Republicans were operating a telephone bank two days before a divisive primary election.
Karrow “came at” Harcar after she picked up one of the phone scripts used that night, the committeewoman said during a phone interview yesterday. Harcar, at the time, was backing a slate of freeholder candidates who opposed those supported by county GOP Chairman Henry Kuhl.
“I have a fracture that’s conducive to the body slam she gave me,” Harcar said. She complained that the assemblywoman also made damaging remarks about her after the confrontation.
Karrow denied she hurt Harcar, and in a 911 recording accused the committeewoman of showing up to the event, “stinking drunk.”
“I had nothing at all to drink that night,” said Harcar, insisting she was “slandered.” “She at tacked my credibility and reputation in the community.”” (Ortega, Star-Ledger)
“WHERE THE WAR WILL BE WON OR LOST”
“How a sleepy hollow farming burgh became a build-out crossroads and earned itself a shot as a sprawl capital may have roots in human nature but surely can be immediately traced to the world of New Jersey politics………………
A 30.02-square mile town of big homes and traffic-glutted roads that wind in confounding configurations into residential dead ends or Route 9 superstore parking lots, Marlboro, pop. over 40,000, is still reeling two years after former Mayor Matt Scannapieco admitted to taking $245,000 plus in bribes from a developer. Over a 24-year period – including 15 years under Scannapieco -12,000 buildings sprang up in a perpetually bulldozed battlezone. Scannapieco’s successor, Mayor Robert Kleinberg says he put his thumb in the development dyke, but the problem is the corrupt former regime didn’t build any affordable housing through years of build-out bliss and kickback heaven………..
Post Scannapieco, the state stepped in and told Kleinberg he has to deliver buko units to comply with Mount Laurel. So despite the mayor’s boast that he up-zoned half-acres to five-acre zoning, the building boom will continue in Marlboro. Kleinberg’s up for a second term. His Democratic opponent, attorney Jonathan Hornik, son of the late former Marlboro Mayor Saul Hornik, says Kleinberg wants to build the government-mandated affordable housing units in an especially traffic-clogged area at the intersection of Route 79 and 520. Hornik also bemoans the backlash of lawsuits the town suffered as a result of Kleinberg’s new zoning strictures and what the challenger says is the absence of a build-out-analysis.
There are 23,538 registered voters in Marlboro, which is not only the scene of a Kleinberg-Hornik free-for-all but the most important town in the 12th district legislative race, where Democratic state Sen. Ellen Karcher is up against a fierce challenge from GOP Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck.
This is the general election battleground where Senate President Richard Codey comes with a spyglass to view the front, where over the heads of the combatants he may catch a glimpse of Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance on the other side of no man’s land looking back at him through a pair of binoculars. In the fastest growing county in the state, the district’s biggest town is where most observers believe the war will be won or lost.” (Pizarro, PoliticsNJ.com)
A SHINING EXAMPLE FOR THE STUDENTS
”At the first class of Politics 107 this morning at Essex County College, some of the students chuckled when they read the list politician guest lecturers slated to speak to the municipal government class over the course of the semester.
“One of these dudes is going to jail,” said Klon Julu, a 27-year-old Political Science major from Newark, after taking a look at the syllabus.
Indeed, one of the several mayors slated to speak at the experimental class was Mims Hackett, the recently arrested Orange mayor and, as of this afternoon, former Assemblyman.
Hackett was asked to speak at the class before he was charged with accepting bribes, but as of right now he’s still scheduled to appear as a guest lecturer – tentatively, at least. While he may decide not to attend, Professor Akil Kokayi Khalfani hasn’t yet withdrawn the invitation.
“Yeah, we’ll work through those parts,” Khalfani responded to the student, drawing some laughter from the class. “I don’t have a direct answer for you right now.”
The class is perhaps one of the more positive aspects of Sharpe James’s legacy. It’s put on by the Urban Issues Institute, which James founded, and the New Jersey Urban Mayors’ Association. It’s taught by Khalfani, who is Acting Director of the Urban Issues Institute and Director of the Africana Institute, along with Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith and Professor Joseph Youngblood. Last year it was taught by James himself.” (Friedman, PoliticsNJ.com)
PALLONE FIGHTS FOR 9/11 RESCUE WORKERS
“On the eve of the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rep. Frank Pallone said the Bush administration is not doing enough to provide aid for ill rescue and recovery workers who were at Ground Zero.
Pallone (D-6th Dist.) spoke yesterday in support of the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment program, whose funding ends in October. “We’re not going to sweep this under the rug,” he said at a news conference outside the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Piscataway campus, where more than 500 Ground Zero workers have sought evaluations and treatment.
The program, also in effect at New York universities and hospitals, is currently helping 1,036 rescue and recovery workers.
An additional $50 million has been proposed for the program.
Iris Udasin, a physician and principal investigator for the New Jersey program, said the clinic in Piscataway has been able to offer free screening and referrals for treatment that patients have not had to pay for.
But Udasin said the program’s costs are increasing and hard to determine. More people have been treated than expected, she said. ” (Din, Star-Ledger)
WHAT’S WRONG WITH USING THE GOVERNMENT AS A PERSONAL CLEAN UP SERVICE?
“A state judge arraigned a former Atlantic City employee on charges he abused his position when he allegedly had debris cleared off his in-law and one-time boss David Callaway‘s front yard last March.
David Thomas, trimly dressed in pressed black slacks and blue shirt, said nothing during the brief arraignment in front of Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury Jr. He declined comment afterward, forwarding questions to attorney Steven C. Harris.
In court, Harris said Thomas pleaded not guilty, had no previous record and there have not been plea discussions. DeLury scheduled a status conference for Oct. 1.
In a memo obtained by The Press of Atlantic City, resort Public Works employee Robert L. Murray Jr. wrote that Thomas called him March 29 and said Callaway, then Atlantic City’s Public Works director, wanted them to meet near Callaway’s home. From there, Murray wrote Thomas directed them to Callaway’s home, where Thomas allegedly said Callaway would take responsibility. Thomas is married to Callaway’s niece.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)
HOW MANY TIMES HAS CODEY BEEN GOVERNOR?
“Gov. Jon Corzine will undergo another surgery Monday on his left thighbone, which he broke in two places in an April 12 car crash.
The surgery will require Corzine to transfer power to Senate President Richard Codey for at least one day, Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said.
She said the surgery is not the result of a complication in the governor’s recovery, but a somewhat routine procedure to scrape away bone overgrowth in the two places where Corzine’s fractured femur healed.
“It’s not uncommon as a follow-up to that kind of injury,” Stainton said.
The procedure does not involve the titanium rod that was surgically inserted and screwed into the governor’s thighbone to hold it together; that will remain in place. The surgery is expected to allow the governor, who has had a slight but noticeable limp, to return to walking with a normal gait.
Corzine is scheduled to undergo the surgery at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. Two senior aides said that Corzine consulted with his personal physicians at the Cleveland Clinic, but decided to return to Cooper for the procedure.” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)
IN DISTRICT 9
“With two months remaining until the general election the 9th Legislative District race is already starting to heat up.
Michele Rosen and Bill Coulter, the Democratic candidates for the 9th Legislative District Assembly, have accused current 9th District Assemblymen Christopher J. Connors and Brian E. Rumpf of “quintuple dipping” by using their position in the state Assembly to score their individual law firms lucrative no bid contracts from municipalities within the district.
An accusation the Republicans called “ridiculous” and “absurd.”
“While their salaries as Assemblymen are $50,000 a year, their law firms earned more than 50 times that amount in no bid professional services contracts from more than 20 governing bodies on the local and county level,” said Rosen, acknowledging there is nothing illegal about what the assemblymen were doing, but saying that she considered it a conflict of interest that should be abolished”…………..
Rumpf, who is vying for re-election, called the claims “blatant political demagoguery.”
“In terms of the financial allegation, while it is true the salary for an assemblyman is $49,000 a year, I could only wish I had a practice so lucrative that I made 50-times what I make as an assemblyman,” said Rumpf, adding that he was a solo practitioner that pays a staff of employees. “I do have public clients, which has always been front and center on my resume. But I have always been extremely careful to avoid any conflict of interest.
“There are rules, in regard to practicing law, that are in place to prevent any conflict of interest. And I go beyond those rules to ensure that there could never be that perception.” (Spahr, Press of Atlantic City)
“Bob Martin, Republican state Senate candidate for the 15th district, challenged incumbent Democrat Shirley K. Turner to a series of five debates before Election Day on Nov. 6.
Martin issued a press release and sent an e-mail and letter to Turner yesterday with the request, stating “voters need to be able to make an informed decision.” Martin, of Hopewell Township, hopes to unseat Turner, of Lawrence, who has served as president pro tempore of the Senate since 2004.
Dave Glass, Martin’s campaign manager, said Martin is open to discussing the format for the debates with Turner, possibly one with a moderated portion and then questions from the audience. Glass said Martin hopes Turner acts on his proposition.
“At a time when individuals feel they don’t get enough contact with their representatives, this is a chance to hear what they have to say,” Glass said.
Turner welcomed the idea for five, or even more, debates and said she has debated many of her candidates in the past.
“Voters have a right to expect us to debate on issues that are im portant to them,” she said. ” (Martinez-Carter, Trenton Times)
SHORE RESIDENTS REACT TO PATRAEUS
“Testimony from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, that he foresees the withdrawal of about 30,000 U.S. troops by next summer was met with mixed emotions by some Shore families with ties to the military.
After being heckled by protesters, Petraeus told a congressional hearing Monday that he advised President Bush that troop cuts could begin this month. He said last winter’s buildup in U.S. troops had met its military objectives “in large measure,” allowing the country to reduce forces “without jeopardizing the security gains we have fought so hard to achieve.”
However, Petraeus said it would be “premature to make recommendations on the pace” of future troop reductions and he recommended that President Bush wait until March 2008 to make any decisions.
William Clemis of Manchester followed the first day of testimony carefully and said the reductions should not be made until the Iraqi government does the things necessary to maintain some form of democracy. Clemis’ son, Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Clemis, served a year in Iraq and is now stationed at Fort Knox, Ky.
“I believe something should be done, but not before we get some assurances from the Iraqi leaders,” said Clemis. “As a member of the House of Representatives stated so well, the Americans are doing the heavy lifting, and the Iraqis are not pulling their weight. It is time for them to step up to the plate. If we pull the troops out, and the Iraqi leaders don’t do what is needed, that will make things even more dangerous for the remaining troops there.”” (Amsel, Asbury Park Press)
“After four years of progress, the effort to clean up and streamline New Jersey’s motor vehicle agencies is on a collision course with the state’s mounting budget problems, a report due for release today shows.
Running the beefed-up Motor Vehicle Commission is expected to cost $313.1 million this year, about $26 million more than is allocated in the current state budget, the new report says. That will force the commission to eat into its surplus at a time when it is already lacking funds for tens of millions of dollars in long-range projects such as security upgrades, construction and technology improvements.
We have to figure out how to balance customer service with prudent financial management,” Sharon A. Harrington, the commission’s chief administrator, said in an interview preceding today’s release of the report, which she commissioned in January.
The report, compiled by six advisory panels, proposes allowing the commission to retain $153 million in fees each year that currently are turned over to the state’s General Fund. That money would have to be made up in some other way to support other programs in the state budget. ” (McNichol, Star-Ledger)
“Six years ago, terrorists demonstrated their ability to turn commercial airliners into deadly weapons.
So what’s to prevent them from doing the same with nuclear plants and chemical factories — forgoing development of their own sophisticated weapons to attack and detonate an existing cache of dangerous material in our back yard?
It’s a question particularly pertinent to South Jersey, with its string of chemical plants and oil refineries along the Delaware River in Gloucester County, and the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear complex downstream in Lower Alloways Creek.
The answer is a network of individual security systems devised and implemented by companies, with varying degrees of government participation — extensive in the nuclear industry, less so in the chemical sector.
The chemical companies describe the precautions they are taking as elaborate.
Critics say the measures fall short, particularly in the area of substituting safer chemicals.
“The best way to protect a plant is to get rid of the dangerous chemicals stored there,” said Jeff Tittel, head of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club………….
Instead of mandating such switches — from chlorine to other, safer chemicals, for example — government is leaving it up to industry to decide…………
New Jersey has acted more aggressively. In November 2005, under Gov. Richard Codey, New Jersey issued a set of rules that has given the state a leg up on the rest of the nation in terms of regulating security practices in the chemical sector.” (Pearsall, Courier-Post)
“Two of the three Rider University students charged with aggravated hazing in the drinking death of fraternity pledge Gary DeVercelly Jr. are applying to enter a program for first-time offenders that could result in their records being erased.
Lawyers for Dominic Olsen, 21, the pledge master for now-defunct Phi Kappa Tau, and Adriano DiDonato, 22, the fraternity house manager, told Superior Court Judge Mitchell Ostrer yesterday their clients are seeking permission to enter the Pretrial Intervention Program.
The PTI program is routinely offered to first-time, nonviolent offenders. If the students successfully complete it, they will be allowed to have the criminal charge expunged from their records.
Assistant Prosecutor Skylar Weissman said he would not oppose PTI for the pair and they will likely be accepted.
“It is a fourth-degree offense,” Weissman said. “They have no criminal history. They are allowed to apply to PTI. They’ll have conditions put on them that they have to follow, such as alcohol counseling and community service. Hopefully, they’ll be able to give back to the community.”
A third defendant, fraternity president Michael Torney, who is expected to appear in court next week, has not applied for PTI, Weissman said. Previously, all three entered not guilty pleas. If convicted they could have been sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $10,000.” (Stein, Trenton Times)
ROGUE NOTARY PUBLICS
“New Jersey launched an offensive Monday against rogue notary publics masquerading as law firms, phantom legal offices, state officials said, which routinely gouge immigrants for common paperwork or charge for work they’re simply not allowed to do.
The national notary alliance applauded the New Jersey move, saying the problem is popping up across the country.
“There are scam artists,” said Attorney General Anne Milgram as she unveiled the initiative in this city known for its variety of ethnic enclaves.
No one had numbers on such cases, but Milgram said, “These people are portraying themselves as attorneys. This is not legal.”” (Baldwin, Gannett)
IN MORRIS COUNTY
“A new state law that forbids elected officials from holding dual elected offices has prompted a Morris County freeholder to say he will give up one of his two posts, even though a grandfather clause in the law would allow him to keep both.
Freeholder William Chegwidden, who also is mayor of Wharton, said even though he believes being a local and county official provides him with a unique perspective that enhances his performance in both jobs, he will step down from one of his elected posts.
I’m thinking long and hard about what I’m going to do,” said Chegwidden, who declined to specify which elected post he might give up — the $6,000-a-year mayor’s seat or the $25,000-a-year freehold er’s job.
However, another dual officeholder plans to keep both posts.
Freeholder Jack Schrier, who also serves as a Mendham Township committeeman and is running for re-election as freeholder, said he intends to hold on to both his county and local positions. ” (Ragonese, Star-Ledger)
“Mayor Ed Remsen, whose “Leadership Montclair” slate dominated the 2004 race for Montclair’s governing body, has announced he will not seek re-election.
“Some like to talk about how we’ve never re-elected a mayor in Montclair as if it’s some kind of contest to be won,” Remsen said as the keynote speaker at St. Mark’s Methodist Church’s 24th annual community breakfast. “Well, I’m taking it one step beyond that. I’m the first Montclair mayor in recent history who will not be seeking re-election.”
n a 10-page address that covered as many bases as a State of the Union message, Remsen on Sunday spoke with pride of leading “this noisy, opinionated, over-caffeinated, often frustrating town we call home.”
Remsen’s decision not to run opens up the field for next spring’s election.
Joyce Michaelson, for one, has made no secret of the fact that she garnered more votes than any other candidate on the ballot in her 2004 run for at-large councilor. Yesterday, Michaelson, who this year also holds the title of deputy mayor, inched closer to an announcement…………
Gerald Tobin, the 1st Ward councilor who last year also served as deputy mayor, wouldn’t go as far. “I’ve been thinking about it, but I haven’t come to a conclusion yet,” he said yesterday. ” (Read, Star-Ledger)
“Former Vineland school board member Nick Girone plans to run for mayor in 2008.Girone, 62, will face Mayor Perry Barse, who is seeking a third term.
Girone is the first candidate to formally declare he’ll challenge Barse in next year’s municipal election.
But the field soon could expand. Robert Romano, a Vineland police lieutenant, said he’s considering a run for mayor. Romano said Monday he expected to announce his decision in late fall.” (Zatzariny, Daily Journal)
IN UNION COUNTY
“Union County’s freeholders have promised to open the process of appointing people to advisory boards and commissions, but their plan is getting a cool reception from the activists who pressed for the reforms.
The “Policy for Appointments to Union County Advisory Boards,” which was approved last week, re quires the freeholder board’s clerk to keep a list of advisory boards, the current membership and open slots available for public scrutiny. The policy also allows people to find out when a vacancy arises and to apply for it.” (Murray, Star-Ledger)
IN HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP
“With Committeeman Mark Iorio out of the race to spend more time with his family and Committeewoman Judy Niederer set to take a “dream job” heading up the recreation department, the Republican ticket for township committee was briefly blank…………….
Meeting last week, the Republicans interviewed and approved Michael Markulec, 42, of Fiddler’s Creek in Titusville and James Burd, 55, of Nursery Road in Titusville to take the open spots on the ballot for the November election.” (Zdan, Trenton Times)
“Mayor Jim Begley confirmed on Monday that Lanuel Ferguson left his post atop the city’s Department of Public Safety last Friday.
But it still remains to be seen whether Ferguson’s departure will turn out to be permanent, or just a “furlough,” as Begley put it.
With a petition challenging a salary ordinance that would have allowed the city to pay Ferguson $70,000 for fiscal year 2008 still being reviewed by the city clerk, the city no longer could pay the retired state police major as a full-time director, the mayor said.
“I know that a lot of people are disappointed,” Begley said of Ferguson’s departure. “They’re disappointed that he left. And that’s not just in my administration. That’s residents. And the business owners in the downtown are not happy. He was the first person from the police department who made a connection with people working in the downtown.”
City council passed the salary ordinance by a 3 to 2 vote on Aug. 14, increasing the salary range for the public safety director’s position, historically a part-time job, from $7,000 to $7,500 per year to $70,000 to $80,000 per year. ” (McCulluen, Bridgeton News)