TRENTON – The Senate Minority Leader called for improved local government ethics oversight following release Tuesday of a Comptroller’s report that explained how a former official used his position to benefit in a land deal.
Sen. Tom Kean Jr., R-21, Westfield, called for passage of S2068, which among other things would transfer to the State Ethics Board jurisdiction over conflicts of interest law involving municipal government officials, removing such cases from the Departments of Community Affairs and Education; and require the State Ethics Commission to promulgate financial disclosure forms for municipal and school board officials.
Earlier Tuesday, the Comptroller issued a report regarding how former Chesterfield official Lawrence Durr used his position to reap a $200,000 “windfall’’ from a sale of development rights.
“This case of alleged self-dealing by an elected official exposes a need for greater accountability at the local level,” said Kean in a release.
“In addition to, as the Comptroller recommends, subjecting local government officials to the same penalties as state officials for violating ethics laws, we should also bring adjudication of such local conflicts of interest the same agency as those occurring at the state level.”
“Fragmented ethics oversight that subjects different levels of government to different standards is a recipe for violating the public trust,” Kean said.
Kean’s bill was introduced in June 2012 and has not advanced through the committee hearing stage. A companion bill, A3100, also introduced last June, has not advanced through committee stages, either.
“As the legislative session for 2013 ramps up, I call on the Senate President to ensure that this legislation is given consideration and a vote by our colleagues,” Kean said.