Vas and Smith don’t get paid, but they still have staff

Staffers working for a legislator who resigns or dies in office keep their jobs until a successor is elected and seated. While there are no formal rules dictating how legislative offices should operate in the event of a vacancy, in recent years the Senate President and Assembly Speaker have authorized district offices to remain open and staff to continue to be paid. Those staffs are supervised by the Senate Secretary or the Assembly Clerk, although there is relatively little oversight in those situations.

The staff of former Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean) remains intact, even though Van Pelt resigned last week after being arrested on federal corruption charges. And while Speaker Joseph Roberts has effectively suspended two legislators facing criminal charges without pay, Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) and L. Harvey Smith (D-Jersey City) continue to have district offices and staffs who report to them.

After John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) and Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) resigned in January to take the seats in Congress, their legislative staffs (those who didn’t move over to the congressional payroll) stayed on until James Beach (D-Voorhees) and Marcia Karrow (R-Raritan) took office. When Mims Hackett (D-Orange) and Alfred Steele (D-Paterson) resigned after their arrests, their staffs stayed on until their successors took office.

Vas and Smith don’t get paid, but they still have staff