Today’s news from

Katz wants critic expelled from union, controversy over mayoral nominations in Atlantic City, David Rebovich is laid to rest, Greenstein is given rescue funds to counter attacks from outside group, New Jersey national guard troops will soon deploy to Iraq. ,


“Allies of union leader Carla Katz yesterday filed a formal complaint asking the union to expel one of Katz’s most vocal internal critics.

The document, obtained by The Star-Ledger, charges Jonathan Berg, a member of the executive board of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, of willfully violating union rules, leaking confidential information to reporters and bringing the local and its leaders into “disrepute.”

The action stems from Berg’s internal feud with Katz over the propriety of her intervention in a politically explosive lawsuit over e-mails she exchanged with Gov. Jon Corzine, her former boyfriend, during state worker contract negotiations last spring.

“These charges are an entirely internal union matter,” said Sidney Lehmann, a lawyer who represents the local. “It’s ironic that the charges, which are essentially about the inappropriate leaking of confidential union information, have been leaked to you.

Berg said he was unaware of the statement of charges filed with Local 1034 Secretary Doris Ruffin.

Katz, the president of Local 1034, declined to comment on the formal charges, which were brought by nine members of the executive board. Katz did not sign the charges.

The action distressed leaders of other CWA locals in Trenton.

“Has she no shame?” said Jim Marketti, president of Local 1032. “Bringing a member of her executive board up on charges for having expressed his view about her behavior strikes at the very essence of democratic tolerance. If anything, she ought to be brought up on these very same charges.” (Howlett, Star-Ledger)


ATLANTIC CITY – The Atlantic City Democratic Committee apparently nominated city Business Administrator Domenic Cappella, former City Councilwoman Barbara Hudgins and Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Evans to replace Mayor Bob Levy, who resigned last week. But the voting was marred by claims that Evans, who also ran the meeting as committee chairman, ignored meeting rules for favored candidates.

He allowed only one committeeperson, city Ethics Board member Howard Barsky, to nominate before voting. That succeeded by a 23-18 margin. A challenge sponsored by committeeman and City Councilman Marty Small failed by the same vote.

Then, amid shouting and protest, Evans ended the meeting at the United Auto Workers union hall on Albany Avenue.

Committee member Eva Garrison danced as she left the building. “We need people in here that care for the people of the city, not just themselves.”

Recently fired city Human Resources Director Gwendolyn O. Lewis added, “The disgraced, quote-unquote Craig Callaway and his organization still lives!” Callaway, Lewis’ brother, assembled a formidable political organization before going to prison in March for taking bribes.

The voting blocked acting Mayor William Marshs probable nomination. He said he was embarrassed for the city, its residents and its investors. He also wondered what Gov. Jon S. Corzine, in town today for the implosion of Sands Casino Hotel, would say.

“If you get voted up or down, fine. But one man’s nomination? The process was totally flawed, closed, and in the end you got what the people don’t want,” Marsh said.

Robert McDevitt was one of the loudest critics. McDevitt, president of the casino workers union Local 54 of UNITE HERE, said he ran thousands of meetings.

“If I did what Scott [Evans] did tonight, I would be led away in handcuffs.” Pointing to the yellow police line that separated the committee members from the audience and media, he said, “I’m glad there’s crime scene tape, because this is criminal. There are criminals running the city.”” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)



“Today, New Jersey said goodbye to Dr. David Rebovich, who is remembered as a shrewd, influential political analyst who knew just about everyone in state politics. But more than anything, if today’s funeral is any indication, Rebovich will be remembered as a teacher.

The appearance of Gov. Corzine, who Rebovich criticized in his final column, was testament to just how serious Rebovich’s following was amongst Trenton’s political elite. Corzine had earlier issued an official proclamation saluting Rebovich for his “profound impact on politics” and as “unafraid to criticize aspects of the political system” while maintaining faith in it.

On his way out of the funeral, Corzine reminisced briefly about beginning his political career and meeting Rebovich.

“I remember him organizing debates and town hall meetings that put the fear of God in me,” said Corzine. “But above everything, I remember him as a true gentleman.”

But perhaps the most visible presence at Rebovich’s funeral weren’t big name politicians, but this students, five of whom acted as pallbearers.” (Friedman,

In the purse she brought to her son’s funeral, Gloria Rebovich carried a letter Rutgers professor W. Carey McWilliams wrote on July 18, 1977. It is the type of letter a proud mom might put on the fridge.

“David Rebovich has easily been the most outstanding graduate student I have taught during my years at Rutgers. Rebovich has an exceptional mind; his intelligence is subtle, even mercurial . . . He is a person of rare qualities and character, who can make a major contribution to political science,” McWilliams wrote.

“That was 30 years ago,” said his mother, following the Funeral Liturgy at St. Nicholas Byzantine Church in Perth Amboy. “They’re saying the same thing today.”

Though now it can be said of Rebovich he did make a major contribution to political science.

Rebovich, who graduated from Perth Amboy High School in 1967, died Friday at the age of 58, suffering a massive heart attack while teaching a class at Rider University where he was managing director of the New Jersey Institute of Politics.

For those of us covering New Jersey politics he was our go-to guy. A search on his name in The New York Times archives comes up with 277 entries…….

“He was the voice of reason in a very unreasonable climate,” said Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, who attended the funeral service Wednesday at the Costello-Greiner Funeral Home in Woodbridge.

When McCormac was state treasurer in Trenton he understood it would be wise to run ideas past Rebovich. “If he supported something you did, you had it made. If he didn’t, you probably shouldn’t do it,” McCormac said……

I had the opportunity to experience that humor, occasionally working with him in the studio of Jersey 101.5 on Election Night, most memorably in 2000 when we left the studio wondering what’s up with Florida?

Among those who knew Rebovich the longest is Georgeann Dillman, who graduated one year after Rebovich at Perth Amboy High School. While Rebovich played baseball and basketball in high school, “His studies always came first. His goal in life was to be a professor.”

Dillman explained how he loved history and was particularly fond of history teacher Elsie Perlin. “She saw great things in him,” Dillman said.” (Malwitz, Home News Tribune)



“Members of the New Jersey Army National Guard were told this week they will likely return to Iraq within a year.

In what would be New Jersey’s largest deployment since World War II, about 2,700 of the state’s 6,000 soldiers will begin pre-deployment training in June and could be in the combat zone by the end of next summer, state officials said.

Although military officials said there’s a slim chance Pentagon war planners may reverse course and send New Jersey’s troops to Afghanistan, all indications are that Iraq will be the destination for the widely anticipated deployment. The Department of Defense has yet to issue an “alert order,” the formal paperwork that sets preparation for a deployment in motion………

But Corzine, a Democrat who voted against the war as a member of the U.S. Senate, has been critical of the Pentagon’s reliance on the National Guard in Iraq.

“The fact that we continue to have the kind of overuse of our National Guard is just a mistake,” Corzine said yesterday at an appearance in Camden, according to a transcript of his remarks. “I think it is undermining of the basic purpose of the National Guard, which is to protect local and state elements.” ” (Wooley and Margolin, Star-Ledger)



“The Election Law Enforcement Commission has decided that Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein will get $100,000 in rescue funds after an out-of-state group began targeting her with radio advertisements and phone calls, according to her campaign.

The money will be added to the $526,375 in public funds Greenstein already has from the Fair and Clean Elections Pilot Project. The group that has been targeting Greenstein, Common Sense America, falls under the 501(c)4 section of the tax code and is registered in Virginia. The group, which will not divulge who funds it, has reportedly purchased $125,000 in radio advertisements.

Meyers was not certain when exactly the group would get the money.

“It is disheartening that this group obviously does not respect the Clean Elections program or the hundreds of people who have worked so hard to make this program a success,” said Greenstein Campaign Manager Liz Meyers.

Common Sense America head Brian Brown was defiant, pledging that his group will continue its “public education programs.”

“Rather than explain, defend, or change her tax-and-spend record in the legislature, Linda Greenstein did what she always does – asked the taxpayer to foot the bill,” said Brown. (Friedman,

The Common Sense America actions also were criticized by Greenstein’s Assembly running mate Wayne DeAngelo; Democratic Senate candidate Seema Singh; Republican Assemblyman Bill Baroni, who is running for Senate; Assembly candidate Tom Goodwin; and a spokesman for the Libertarian candidates in the district.

Greenstein said her campaign was put at a disadvantage in reaching voters due to the actions.” (Kitchenman, Trenton Times)


“They are tapping the tristate region for plenty of campaign cash, and new polls show Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani have virtual locks on area voters, which would give them a big boost toward their parties’ presidential nominations.

If their hefty leads in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut hold up, both candidates “can count on their Northeast neighbors to give them an early crop of delegates” in the Feb. 5 primaries, Quinnipiac University polling director Maurice Carroll said.

In a New Jersey poll of 1,004 voters taken from Oct. 9 through Monday, Clinton topped Sen. Barack Obama, the next closest Democratic candidate, 46 percent to 20 percent. Giuliani led his Republican rivals by an even wider margin, with 48 percent to 12 percent for both former senator Fred Thompson and Sen. John McCain.

“The mayor next door and the senator next door dominate the New Jersey primary scene,” said assistant poll director Clay Richards. “And in a general election, Giuliani’s statute as a 9/11 hero could turn this traditionally blue state into a battleground that could go down to the wire.”

The poll has a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points among Republican voters and 5.3 percentage points among Democrats.

The latest campaign finance reports of the candidates show that the tristate area also is a presidential money belt. All three states rank in the top 10 nationally as sources of donations. Together they have supplied all candidates with nearly $71 million. Clinton and Giuliani combined received more than half — $36.4 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. ” (Donohue, Star-Ledger)



“In a rare rebuff of state prosecutors, a Superior Court judge has dismissed the indictments against six state Treasury Department employees who were accused of official misconduct for taking thousands of dollars worth of gifts from a state vendor.

In a 15-page opinion, Judge Thomas Kelly said he found the state’s case lacked a basis for criminal charges because prosecutors presented no proof to the grand jury the employees gave the company anything in return for the gifts.

“There is no direct evidence presented to the grand jury in these matters of a ‘quid pro quo,'” Kelly wrote. “Such acts by public officials are reprehensible, as they violate the public trust. However, attempting to transform these acts of the accused into crimes does not serve the interest of justice.”

Kelly used the same basis to dismiss the indictments against two former employees of OSI Collection Services Inc., which was hired by the state to collect delinquent taxes.

The ruling does not mean the defendants are in the clear just yet. Attorney General’s Office spokesman Peter Aseltine said state prosecutors disagree with the decision and “we intend to appeal it.”

The six state employees will also remain suspended without pay as the Treasury Department reviews the judge’s opinion and the state’s decision to appeal it, a spokesman said.

The case stems from a State Commission of Investigation report issued in December 2005 that alleged Treasury officials allowed the vendor to overbill the state by $1 million while taking $65,902 in illegal gifts over six years. The gifts included outings to the Broadway musical “Wicked,” spa services and three rounds of golf, as well as meals at restaurants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware………..

Taxation Division Director Robert Thompson was the highest-ranking official charged. The others included deputy director Harry Fox; assistant deputy director David Gavin; assistant deputy director Karen Wood, and assistant deputy director Janice Eckstein. Thompson’s wife, Carmela, a manager of clerical services within the division, also was charged.” (Hepp, Star-Ledger)



“Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Wednesday three New Jersey congressmen who oppose expanding a federal health insurance program for children are “turning their backs on the needs of the state.”

“It is almost inconceivable, I would use unconscionable, to be on the wrong side of this issue,” Corzine said Wednesday, standing alongside top state leaders.

President Bush vetoed a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover more children, saying it was too costly.

In New Jersey, more than 120,000 children and 80,000 adults are covered under the state’s FamilyCare made possible with partial funding through the SCHIP program. If the veto is upheld and no compromise made, 10,000 children could be dropped from coverage, state officials said.

Republican Congressmen Scott Garrett, Rodney Frelinghuysen and Jim Saxton were the only New Jersey delegates to vote against the expansion bill, according to reports.

Corzine called on them Wednesday to reconsider, and support an override of Bush’s veto when the House votes today.

Frelinghuysen called Corzine’s news conference Wednesday, where he issued the call, “a purely political event.” ” (Graber, Express-Times)

“Frelinghuysen, who voted to create SCHIP ten years ago, said he supports the bill, and looks forward to voting for a “fiscally responsible and compassionate approach” to reauthorizing the program for Bush to sign into law.

Citing statistics taken from the state Department of Human Services and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however, Frelinghuysen said it is “unacceptable” that 43 percent of SCHIP grants in the state are used to insure adults, while approximately 119,000 children living in households with incomes below $41,000 remain completely uninsured…………

Garrett, who has stated that he believes support of the bill will allow illegal aliens to have health coverage, said Corzine personally called his office in the hopes of urging him to change his vote. He responded to Corzine by posting a rebuttal on

“Let’s not forget that SCHIP was created to help children whose parents don’t have the means to help them alone,” the congressman wrote. “A comprehensive SCHIP reauthorization now should focus on that mission and not divert our attention and resources to illegal immigrants, able-bodied adults, or families that are making annually $70,000 or more.” (Schneider, Daily Record)

Syeebra Palmer isn’t up on the latest political spin on a federal bill touted as an effort to expand health-care coverage for poor families that was vetoed recently by President Bush.

But the 31-year-old mother of two from Winslow was front and center Wednesday at a news conference attended by Gov. Jon S. Corzine, Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, D-Camden, and a half dozen other state and elected officials in front of a doctor’s office here to attract attention to the veto and call for the Congress to override the president.

Palmer said she fears she won’t have health-care coverage for her two young children if Bush’s veto stands. She said she survives on about $36,000 annually in Social Security payments from her deceased husband. She’s an unemployed insurance consultant. She said when she works, her income will be more than the $40,000 annual income limit for a family of four to qualify. She said her family also includes an ailing parent.

State Sen. John Adler, D-Camden, singled her out Wednesday as someone who would be affected if the insurance program is not expanded.” (Duhart, Courier-Post)



“Mayor Steve Lonegan must wonder if he is jinxed.

First, there was the embarrassing news that he hired illegal immigrants — not good when you’re portraying yourself as a big-time critic of undocumented workers, not to mention Spanish-language billboards in your town of Bogota.

Then, on Wednesday, there was the matter of the heavy truck. But the van Lonegan rented was too heavy to drive thousands of his political signs over the rust-bucket Court Street Bridge that separates Bogota from Hackensack. Cops, monitoring the creaky bridge for overweight vehicles, stopped the van and wrote an $85 ticket.

“The two ladies got nailed,” Lonegan said.

But if we are honest with ourselves, maybe we should feel sorry for Lonegan. He needed cheap labor – two men to help assemble signs for his group, Americans for Prosperity……..

Victor Evaristo and Elder Chuta were just like thousands of other day laborers hired by landscapers and restaurants – and probably a few political groups, too. They were living here illegally, and they fudged the truth a bit when asked about their status.

What did we expect of them?

And that’s just the point: Who among us is innocent when it comes to monitoring everyone who works for us?

If you hire a landscaper, should you ask if the men pushing lawn mowers and wielding weed whackers have proper visa papers? And if they don’t, should you intervene and tell them to leave your grass alone?

How about your baby sitter? Or if you dine at a local restaurant, should you interrupt the waiter as he is describing the salmon and pasta specials to ask if all the dishwashers and cooks are legal residents? If the waiter says “no,” should you walk out?

Would you walk out?

Unless we are willing to ask those intrusive questions — and back them up with action — then we have no right to criticize Lonegan.” (Kelly, Bergen Record)



“BOGOTA — Mayor Steve Lonegan has asked the state to extend its investigation into the purchase of two firetrucks to include a taxpayer-funded trip to a Wisconsin factory for two council members and two firefighters.

In a letter to the State Commission of Investigation last week, Lonegan, a Republican, criticized the Democratic council members, Tara Sharp and Patrick McHale, for failing to inform the council of their plans to visit Appleton, Wis., in early August.

The cost of the trip for up to six people was included in the original $799,879 contract signed with Pierce Manufacturing earlier this year. The State Commission of Investigation requested information on the purchase in May after Lonegan claimed the bid was rigged in favor of Pierce.

Last year, voters approved spending up to $800,000 for the two trucks. The SCI in a letter to the borough stated it was looking into towns’ procurement practices when buying firetrucks. A spokesman would not comment.

Lonegan called the trip a “junket” and questioned why two council members without any expertise in firetruck manufacturing decided to fly to Wisconsin using public funds.

“They were wined and dined,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”” (Ax, Bergen Record)



“Former Gov. James E. McGreevey asked a judge to force his estranged wife to follow the recommendations of a court-appointed representative for shared transportation duties and weekly overnight stays with their daughter, Jacque line.

McGreevey accused Dina Matos McGreevey of ignoring the recommendations of parenting coordinator Sharon Montgomery in his latest Superior Court filings in Elizabeth released yesterday. Montgomery was appointed by the court to deal with issues surrounding the couple’s daughter.

McGreevey wants Jacqueline to sleep in his house in Plainfield every Tuesday night. McGreevey wants his estranged wife to drive the 5-year-old to his house and leave her there at 6 p.m. McGree vey would then drive the child to school on Wednesday.

For weekend visits, McGreevey would pick up Jacqueline from school on Fridays and Matos McGreevey would collect her on Sundays at 7:30 p.m.

But according to McGreevey, Matos McGreevey is refusing to go along with the plan he favors even though it also has the sanction of the parenting coordinator.

“In such a climate, negotiations have become a virtual impossibil ity,” McGreevey wrote in a letter to the court. “Her utter failure of good faith seems purposeful. With her regrettable tactics, how are we to negotiate or ultimately settle our case?” ” (Lucas, Star-Ledger)



“MARLBORO — The township is seeking to recover what the current mayor calls “ill-gotten gains” from former municipal officials and developers who have pleaded guilty to or are awaiting trial on bribery charges as a way of off-setting the cost of the growth of the town.

A lawsuit filed by the township in federal court in Newark names as defendants former Mayor Matthew V. Scannapieco, former Planning Board member Stanley Young and former Municipal Utilities Authority member Richard Vuola. They all pleaded guilty to accepting bribes between 2001 and 2004 in exchange for giving approvals for development projects.

approvals for development projects.

The suit also names developers Anthony Spalliero and his son Joseph Spalliero, brothers Bernard and Steven Meiterman and their partner Edward Kay, as well as their development companies. The developers are awaiting trial after being accused in federal indictments of passing along thousands of dollars in bribes.

In addition, the suit can be expanded to sue more individuals and corporations in the future.

“We plan to try to recover the ill-gotten gains and give it back to the taxpayers they took it from,” Mayor Robert Kleinberg said Wednesday. “This could be one of the largest recoveries in the history of New Jersey because of the effects of the corruption are exponential.”” (Petrunico, Asbury Park Press)

The legal strategy of trying to recoup the ill-gotten gains of corrupt politicians is a relatively new one in New Jersey. Hudson County is currently going after its former executive Robert Janiszewski for bribes he took that ushered in major development on the state’s Gold Coast.

Kleinberg argues some of the rapid development that swamped Marlboro in the past two decades would never have happened without the undue influence of corruption.

William Dressel, executive director of the state League of Municipalities, said the suit should serve as yet another warning to public officials about being held accountable.

“The present mayor and council have been very outspoken since these indictments came down on sending messages and developing strong ethical practices,” he said. “They’re sending a very strong message, and … I see that as a positive.” (Spoto, Star-Ledger)



Moshe “Mike” Gohar thought a $50,000 bribe would buy him approvals for a 75-unit housing development in Ocean Township. Instead, it bought him two years in federal prison.

Despite Gohar’s service in the Israeli Army and numerous acts of charity, U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano refused Wednesday to give Gohar a lesser sentence than the maximum recommended under federal guidelines.

“I don’t forget about the fact that you fought for your government. Nor do I forget you tried to corrupt this government,” Pisano said. “It’s yet another sordid case in the pattern of political corruption that we have suffered under, all of us have, in this district.”

Gohar pleaded guilty in December to paying the $50,000 bribe to then-Ocean Township Mayor Terrance D. Weldon in 2001. When Weldon’s house was later raided by FBI agents, the mayor showed them the cash from Gohar.

“The mistake in judgment you made was in thinking you could trust him,” Pisano told Gohar. “So much for trust.”” (Prado Roberts, Asbury Park Press)



“He’s Bayonne’s interim mayor. And he says he knows he’s in for no shortage of sleepless nights.

The Bayonne City Council appointed Terrence Malloy to be interim mayor at its meeting last night by a 3-2 vote. Malloy, the city’s business administrator and chief financial officer, has served under three mayors, not counting acting mayor Vincent Lo Re Jr., who only served eight days. Malloy had said he would gladly serve as interim mayor – if he was asked to do so.

“It’s not just rhetoric when I say difficulties can also be opportunities,” he said, referring to the city’s financial straits. Voting for Malloy were Theodore Connolly, who nominated him, John Halecky and Lo Re. The “no” votes were cast by Anthony Chiappone and Gary LaPelusa.

“(This is) exactly the time when those of us on the council should step up to the plate,” said Chiappone. He added he would only approve a nominee from the City Council.

Malloy assumes control of a city plagued by a $23 million deficit and faced with plans to assume another $6 million in debt to save the bankrupt Bayonne Medical Center. Citing a report presented to the Bayonne Economic Development Corporation by Benecke Economics in September, city officials say Bayonne’s economy would plunge by approximately $270 million without the tax revenues and spending associated with hospital activity. ” (Judd, Jersey Journal)



“Young immigrants face documentation problems. They lag in advanced degrees, pack overcrowded apartments, and they are moving New Jersey toward a multilingual society.

Wrong on each claim, according to conclusions aired yesterday in a first-of-its-kind snapshot of young New Jersey immigrants compiled by the Association for Children of New Jersey, a longtime child-advocacy group based in Newark.”

To get an idea of how many immigrants reside in New Jersey, envision a NJ Transit rail car with its five-across seating. Every row in every car would have at least one foreign-born person — an estimated 20 percent are immigrants, placing New Jersey third behind California and New York.

Hudson and Union counties have the most foreign-born, 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively, followed by 28 percent in Bergen, Middlesex and Passaic counties, 24 percent in Essex County and 21 percent in Somerset County.

Ocean County, with 8 percent, has the fifth fewest. (Baldwin, Gannett)



Dennis Robinson, a top executive with the National Basketball Association, will replace George Zoffinger as head of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the agency’s chairman said yesterday.

This will mark the second go-round for Robinson as chief executive of the state agency that operates the Meadowlands, Monmouth Park and three convention centers. He held the job from 1998-1999.

After emerging last month as the leading candidate, Robinson had a successful final job interview with Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday afternoon, according to sports authority chairman Carl Goldberg.

“The combination of his previous tenure, which gives him a unique perspective, and his experience as a top executive in the industry made him an ideal candidate,” Goldberg said.

Corzine’s approval of Robinson, who lives in Ridgewood, clears the way for him to take control of the agency before the end of the year.

The committee that has searched for Zoffinger’s replacement for six months will recommend the sports authority’s board of commissioners approve the hiring at its next scheduled meeting on Nov. 7. ” (Futterman, Star-Ledger)



“Entrenched Republican leaders are unwilling to alter how Monmouth County government is run and pushed away a candidate because of her calls for reform, said Democrats seeking two freeholder board seats.

“The very fact that Anna Little is not sitting here is a testimonial to the power of the political party boss,” said Democrat Stephen Schueler, who with other candidates met with the Asbury Park Press editorial board Wednesday.

Little, a Republican whose term expires at the end of the year, had sought re-election but failed to gain the support of county GOP Chairman Adam Puharic. They sparred over several issues including Puharic’s rules calling for background checks of candidates, a $1,000 investigation fee and a contract restraining candidates who did not get the party line from running off the line in the primary.

Little eventually ran as a write-in candidate in the June primary but was defeated by newcomer Jeff Cantor and incumbent Robert Clifton, both of whom had the party line.

“She was a rebel,” Schueler said of Little. “She tried to change things, and she was driven away from the (Republican) party.”………

Clifton and Cantor will face Schueler and his running mate, former Freeholder John D’Amico Jr., in the Nov. 6 election. The two freeholder seats carry three-year terms.

With one Democrat already on the board, power could shift to the Democrats for the first time in more than 20 years if D’Amico and Schueler are elected.” (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)

Anthony Palughi, the retired Monmouth County superintendent of bridges who pleaded guilty to being part of a bribery scheme, was hired by the county in 1986 to head the motor pool despite not filling out information on his education, training and work history on the employment application he submitted, according to documents provided by Republican Freeholder Robert D. Clifton.

The documents included freeholder board meeting minutes showing Democrat John D’Amico Jr. voted in favor of the resolution to hire Palughi. The vote was unanimous. D’Amico, who served on the board from 1985 to 1989, is seeking to return to the board in the Nov. 6 election.

Clifton said the support of an applicant with no demonstrated “education, training and no employment history” on a job application belies assertions made by D’Amico when the candidates met with the Asbury Park Press editorial board Wednesday.

D’Amico had said he wants to return to the board “to restore honesty and integrity to the Monmouth County government.”

Questioned about the Palughi hiring after the editorial board meeting, D’Amico said, “I wasn’t in the majority (part) on the board in 1986. Certainly, if we knew then what we found about Palughi, we wouldn’t have hired him.”” (Jordan, Asbury Park Press)



Finance reports filed by county freeholder candidates last week fail to tell the whole story of campaign funding and the amount of money the candidates will spend. The picture will become clearer Monday when county party organizations’ quarterly reports, which were required to be filed earlier this week, become available to the public.

The first wave of campaign finance reports are historically not an accurate indication of how much money will be pumped into campaigns.

They also do not reflect how much county party organizations have in their war chests.

Candidate finance reports filed Oct. 11 indicated that Committees to Re-Elect Republican freeholder incumbents Ralph Bakley and Gerald Thornton had raised and spent no money on their respective campaigns.

Democratic candidates Steve Bacher and Robert Jackson raised almost $20,000 and have spent about $9,000, according to 29-day pre-election reports.

“I can’t worry about how much money they have. I know we don’t have much, and we’ve beat the bushes for what we have,” Jackson said.

County Republican Chairman David Von Savage wouldn’t indicate how much Republicans were preparing to contribute to the race, out of concern for tipping off the opposition.

“We’ll run a campaign this cycle to track what we’ve traditionally done in past races,” he said.” (Ianieri, Press of Atlantic City)



“A state pension board decided to take a closer look at the case of Rahway business administrator and redevelopment director Peter Pelissier yesterday, voting to reconsider their initial decision to re claim $330,000 in pension benefits paid to Pelissier between 2002 and 2006.

In May, the pension board ordered Pelissier to repay the money because he continued to work in Rahway as a redevelopment consultant after retiring from the city and its redevelopment agency in 2002.

Though the consulting contracts were signed with Pelissier’s private company, Northeast Redevelopment Consultants, Pelissier retained the title of Rahway Redevelopment Agency executive director, earning more than $294,000 in consulting fees while collecting his pension. For two years, the redevelopment agency also paid to fly Pelissier in from his Montana home for meetings.

After reviewing the case, the pension board decided that Pelis sier was, in effect, doing the same job as a consultant that he did be fore retiring as an employee, and thus, was in violation of pension guidelines.

Pelissier returned to Rahway as a full-time employee in January and is currently earning $260,000 for his dual role as business administrator and redevelopment dire tor. He has declined to comment on the pension issue until a final decision is made by the board, but Rahway Mayor James Kennedy and other town officials have insisted there was nothing improper about the consulting arrangement. ” (Casiano, Star-Ledger)



“Newark’s public schools took their first steps back to local control yesterday when the state Board of Education approved a resolution to return limited management power to the district after more than a decade of state control.

The vote was unanimous and expected after Education Commissioner Lucille Davy in July recommended the partial return. The district’s Public School Advisory Board will now have control over certain facility and management operations; the state will still maintain its power over finances, personnel and instructional programs.

“Hopefully within a reasonable period of time, we will be able to return full control,” state board president Ronald Butcher said last night. “It’s progress, and I’m very excited about that.”

Samuel Gonzalez, chairman of Newark’s advisory board, also applauded the vote.

“The state’s been here some 11 years, and it hasn’t done any better a job,” Gonzalez said. “I think the local community is ready.” ” (Mooney, Star-Ledger)



“The beach and boardwalk are the lifelines to the borough’s economy. Treat them as such.

This was the consensus among all four candidates running for two open Borough Council seats next month.Where they differ, however, is on how and who can do it best.

The two Republican incumbents, Robert Lamb and Michael Stogdill, cited the record $39,000 more in revenue gathered this year over last year from beach badge collections as proof of their effectiveness in improving the town shoreline’s value.

“The beach is extremely important, the focal point of the borough,” said Lamb, 49, a first-term councilman. “In order to maintain it and keep it safe, we need to have the revenues to allow it to pay for itself.”

Yet their Democratic challengers, Alice Plosica Bass and Marie Moeller Lough, say more can be done.

The revenue boost this year came from hiring a badge checker to be at the top of every street rather than having a few roaming the beach. Though using this strategy for the weekdays as well could stretch the borough beyond its means, Stogdill said he’d like to find a way to make it happen if elected.” (Patberg, Asbury Park Press)



“Two political newcomers and a former town councilman are looking to unseat the two-term incumbent mayor but Mayor Harry Wyant said Wednesday night he has the experience necessary to do the job.

Some of Wyant’s opponents in the Nov. 6 election said they have the fresh ideas and enthusiasm necessary to turn the town around but Wyant says he wants to continue his successful tenure.

“I have the fire in my belly to keep it going,” Wyant said.

The four candidates — Wyant, Pete Marino, Stephanie Rummerfield and Moe Wahby — shared their platforms and fielded questions during a forum at the Phillipsburg Area Senior Center.” (Eilenberger, Express-Times)



A political fight broke out Wednesday over an announcement by the township’s business administrator, who lost the Republican mayoral primary in June, that she appointed a new police chief.

Business administrator Ellen Sandman, empowered under Denville’s form of government to appoint a police chief as public safety director, told the council Tuesday night that Chief Anthony Strungis was retiring in December and that Lt. Christopher Wagner will succeed him.

The announcement drew fire from Councilman Ted Hussa, who defeated Sandman in the primary and is running unopposed for mayor in three weeks.

Hussa charged that Sandman, who will soon leave for a new job in Mendham, and outgoing Mayor Gene Feyl, who did not seek re-election and endorsed Sandman in the primary, pushed up the appointment to prevent his administration from making the call starting Jan. 1.” (Jennings, Daily Record)



On paper, City Council candidates Anthony J. Gioielli and Adam Goldstein appear evenly matched in terms of campaign money.

But incumbent Gioielli has an added advantage: the financial backing of Stand Up For Vineland, the campaign fund for Mayor Perry Barse and his council slate in the 2008 municipal election.

Gioielli, a 54-year-old former Vineland police captain, was appointed to the council in May to fill a seat vacated by Bob Smith, who moved to Delaware to be closer to his family.

Next month’s election will determine who fills that seat until June 30, 2008.

Gioielli has announced he’ll run on Barse’s ticket for a full, four-year council term in May 2008.

According to campaign finance reports filed last week, Goldstein has raised $3,800 and spent $2,159.91, leaving his campaign with a balance of $1,640.09.

Goldstein, a 40-year-old local businessman, said in an interview Wednesday he expected money to be a factor in deciding who wins the unexpired council seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

“The more money you have to advertise, the better off you are. But to me, it’s about the issues,” Goldstein said.” (Zatariny, Daily Journal)


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