Ethics panel dismisses landfill legislation complaint against Sen. Bucco

TRENTON – The Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards dismissed a complaint filed against Sen. Anthony Bucco over legislation he introduced concerning a landfill that allegedly benefited his son, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco.

The committee ruled 6-0 that – among other things – Sen. Bucco did not benefit financially from the bill he introduced seeking closure of Fenimore Landfill in Roxbury.

Assemblyman Bucco was an attorney for the municipality, which had gone to court to seek closure of the landfill that was the subject of residents’ complaints.

The committee determined there was no credible evidence that either Bucco committed an ethics violation.

The Buccos are Republicans, and the complaint was brought by Michael Muller, a Democrat involved in legislative campaigns.

Muller, in his complaint, said that one could infer that the senator sponsored the legislation to benefit his son.

Sen. Bucco’s bill, S2617, never was heard in committee.

A later bill, S2861, which included Sen. Bucco as a co-prime sponsor, was eventually signed into law. That bill concerns so-called “legacy’’ landfills that were improperly closed.

The Fenimore Landfill has been the source of controversy.  Residents and officials of Roxbury packed a committee hearing regarding the bill months ago with stories of noxious odors.

On the day the bill was signed into law in June, the Department of Environmental Protection moved to take control of the landfill and launched an immediate remediation project.

Today’s meeting was the first with retired state Supreme Court Justice John Wallace as committee chair. He replaced Alan Rosenthal, who passed away earlier this year.

Regarding the Bucco matter, both Wallace and Vice Chair John Harper abstained over possible appearances of conflicts.

Ethics panel dismisses landfill legislation complaint against Sen. Bucco