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All Harrison residents should read today's Star Ledger...

How many of the local politicians are "double, triple, quadrouple, etc... dipping?

Think of all of those who will sit pretty at retirement age, while most of us will be struggling just to make ends meet when we retire..................

Do you want this to continue? How much will Mayor McDumb be entitled to when he retires? what about the councilmembers who have state jobs, are on the zoning board, housing authority, planning board... we have to be idiots to let this happen. Well they all better watch out, cause it's coming to an end... and their beloved Corzine is behind it all to stop their "dipping"

no matter what they do, they shouldn't be allowed to collect more than one pension from the state, and I for one think it should be stopped...

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Guest JAMES DORAN

BIG DIPPERS

By Jason Fink, Journal staff writer

Hudson pols make pretty penny on backs of taxpayers

During last year's election campaign, along with the usual battles over budgets, education funding and tort reform, a consistent theme began to emerge, gaining steam as the months went on and producing a slew of charges and counter-charges among some of the state's most powerful political figures.

The issue, which over the years has produced much hand-wringing in New Jersey and little legislative action, is ethics.

And while a proposal has been unveiled in the Assembly to ban the so-called "pay-to-play" system at the state level, another aspect of the ethics debate, long accepted as a fact of political life Hudson County, is the practice characterized by critics as "double dipping," or one person holding multiple jobs in government.

Some reformers say dual office holding at the elected level - a mayor serving as a state legislator, to cite the most common example - is ethically suspect and should be banned. Others point to elected officials who hold appointed government jobs - especially in clear instances of political patronage - as the true scourge of the state's public life.

In Jersey City, where political divisions are as deep and bitter as they've ever been, Mayor and state Sen. Glenn D. Cunningham unsuccessfully sued a political opponent - Councilman William Gaughan - over his job as chief of staff to County Executive Tom DeGise, saying the two offices present a conflict of interest.

A state Superior Court judge threw out the case, but Cunningham has maintained his stance that Gaughan, as well as others on the council who also work for the county, should give up one of their jobs.

Perhaps predictably, Cunningham says holding two elected offices is preferable to holding an appointed position while serving in an elected role, while many of those in Gaughan's position argue the opposite. Cunningham has said that as a senator he would support a ban on the practice, as long as it outlaws elected officials from holding appointed office as well as two elected posts.

Both practices present a unique set of problems: critics of dual-elected-office holders say that having two sets of constituents - even when some of them overlap - necessarily puts an office holder in the position of having to favor one group over the other.

Those who decry holding elective and appointed positions also say conflicts are bound to arise and cite what they call a lack of accountability to the public in non-elected jobs.

"I think there's a clear distinction," said Cunningham, who was elected mayor in 2001 and senator in 2003, drawing a total salary of $146,883 from both jobs. "Being an elected official, where citizens choose, is much different than being appointed by another politician."

Others disagree, arguing that the state's pervasive problem is the number of legislators in Trenton who hold local elected offices back home.

"The elected position is really seen as who are you responsible to?" said Ingrid Reed, the director of the Eagleton New Jersey Project at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. "If you're a local-elected official and then you're elected at the state level, can you really represent all the municipalities in your district? It's very hard to know how they can not come into conflict."

Of the mayors of the 12 municipalities in Hudson County, four serve in the state Legislature, while another three hold appointed positions in government. Several council or commission members also serve either in the state legislature, on the county Board of Freeholders or in any number of various government agencies or boards throughout the state.

In Jersey City, the county's most populous municipality, the mayor is a senator and seven of the nine council members hold appointed positions in county government; in North Bergen, all five commissioners, including Mayor Nicholas Sacco, have a second government job.

Sacco is among those with three jobs in government: he is the mayor, a state senator and the assistant superintendent of schools, netting him $236,000 a year. On the city council in Jersey City, Gaughan and Mariano Vega - who serves as the director of public resources - earn the most: $128,353 and $129,182, respectively.

Other top earners among dual-job holders are:

North Bergen Commissioner Frank Gargiulo, who makes a combined $180,000 a year as a commissioner and the superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology;

Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, D-Secaucus, makes a total of $151,166 a year - $49,000 as an assemblyman, and $102,166 as chairman of the Secaucus High School's Business Education, World Languages and Family Consumer Science Department.

Freeholder Chairman Sal Vega, who is also a West New York commissioner and the athletic director at Memorial High School, who makes $138,804 in his three jobs;

Harrison Councilman James Doran makes just $1,500 for his council job, but $132,579 for his job as principal/supervisor of adult and continuing education at the Hudson County Schools of Technology;

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, also the business administrator in West New York and a commissioner on the state Local Finance Board, who makes $119,000 in those jobs;

North Bergen Commissioner Hugo Cabrera, also the secretary of the township board of education, who makes $107,400.

In addition to the fact that dual office holders receive more than one paycheck drawn from taxpayer funds, questions also have been raised over where allegiances lie.

"The old thing of serving two masters holds here," said Reed. "In general, you would want to avoid conflicts at all costs."

In his lawsuit, Cunningham accused Gaughan of selling out the city for the benefit of the county - a charge Gaughan denied. And though it is not hard to imagine a situation in which multiple government jobs could create competing obligations, politicians say again and again that they can compartmentalize their responsibilities.

In many cases, they simply deny that there is ever a conflict.

Turner said his multiple jobs have only helped the citizens of the municipalities where he holds sway.

"Has Weehawken ever done anything to hurt West New York?" he said. "No, towns don't work that way. It doesn't happen, it's never come up.

"Most of the positions of mayor throughout the state are part-time," he added. "So everyone holding those positions, unless they're retired, must have another career."

Jersey City City Councilman Junior Maldonado, an assistant director of the Hudson County Improvement Authority, said he has never felt pulled in opposite directions while serving in his two positions.

"I have not come across a situation where I feel conflicted," he said.

Maldonado, Turner and other elected officials who serve in appointed government jobs say their careers give them a perspective on their duties as elected officials they would not otherwise have.

But Assemblyman Robert Morgan, D-Red Bank, a first-term legislator who introduced a bill last month that would ban dual office holding, said his colleagues should choose one career in public service at a time.

"I think it's inappropriate to have more than one office," said Morgan, who resigned his position on the local school board upon his election in November. "The public has become so dissatisfied, and even disgusted with the way our affairs have been conducted, we need to go the extra mile to get rid of not only conflicts but the appearance of conflicts."

Local activist and one-time mayoral candidate in Weehawken Ben Goldman, who has been an outspoken critic of the Turner administration, agreed.

"As a voter, it's somewhat horrifying living here, how limited our options are," said Goldman, who lost his mayoral bid in 2002 by a 3-1 margin. "(Dual office holding) enables the machine to consolidate its control over all aspects of decision-making."

Many elected officials have a ready response to such charges: If most citizens were as horrified as Goldman with dual office holding, they would simply vote its practitioners out of office.

"I think the check and balance of elected officials are the voters," said Sal Vega. "When I ran for freeholder, people knew I was a commissioner."

A spokesman for Sacco made a similar point.

"The issue has been thoroughly explored by the voters, and the mayor's victory margin has continued to go up, not down," said the spokesman, Paul Swibinski. "Most people who hold elective office have other careers. Sometimes those careers are in law or education, sometimes they are public careers."

But reform advocates say there are plenty of other limits placed on the power of government and that doing away with dual job holding is a logical curb on excessive influence.

"It's too much power for too few people," said Heather Taylor, communications director for Common Cause New Jersey, which is pushing for a ban on dual office holding.

Taylor said her group is lobbying Gov. James E. McGreevey support a ban on the practice.

"The entire ethics issue is one that's being hammered out right now between the governor's office and the legislature," said Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman for McGreevey.

Assembly Speaker Albio Sires, who is also the mayor of West New York, at one time advocated a ban on dual office holding but changed his mind.

"I introduced a bill to do away with dual job holding and then after speaking to (Assembly) members, I found out that dual job holding was a benefit," said Sires, who earns $79,170 from his elected positions.

Sires predicted that a ban on dual job holding, even if supported by McGreevey, would not pass the legislature.

His argument in favor of holding more than one office was echoed by nearly every other elected official interviewed for this article: serving as a local-elected official helps state lawmakers understand the issues that confront municipalities.

The New Jersey League of Municipalities, which advocates for local governments in Trenton, is one of the groups fighting to keep dual office holding a fact of life at the Statehouse.

"We absolutely oppose a ban on dual office holding," said William Dressel, executive director of the League. "We think it is patently unfair and discriminatory.

"You need to have a stakeholder sitting in those discussions on policy issues," he continued. "I think it is vital to the overall deliberations of state bodies."

Jersey City City Council President L. Harvey Smith, who served briefly in Trenton as an interim senator before Cunningham was elected to the seat in November, agreed.

"Most elected officials have a better perspective on what cities need," said Smith, who now works as an appointed undersheriff for the county and makes a combined $113,583. "I don't think it's unethical. It should be based on performance."

While the practice seems perfectly natural to politicians in New Jersey - as well as to many of the state's voters - it is by no means the norm throughout the country.

Nicole Moore, a research analyst for the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Council of State Legislatures, said about half the states have statutes that place some kind of prohibition on dual-office holders. In New Jersey, by contrast, state law actually guarantees the right to hold two jobs.

"New Jersey is one of the very few states (that) specifically allows a state legislator to hold offices in counties and cities," said Moore. "I don't know why it's in there but it's there."

Members of Congress are forbidden by their own ethics rules from having a job in another government body or agency.

Even some who hold two offices sometimes report conflicting feelings.

Bayonne Councilman Anthony Chiappone, who was elected to the state assembly last year and now makes $70,000 in his jobs, said if his legislative district - which includes all of Bayonne and parts of Jersey City - was more spread out geographically, it might present more of a problem.

"A legislator could be representing 40 townships and there is a potential for a conflict of interest," he said.

Mariano Vega, while reiterating that it was the voters who will ultimately determine the future of dual office holding, did concede that public officials wearing more than one hat can sometimes present problems.

"There's something to be said for collective government," said Vega. "I think it's smarter to have different people in government, rather than concentrate government in the hands of the few."

Jason Fink covers Jersey City. He can be reached at jfink@jjournal.com

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All Harrison residents should read today's Star Ledger...

How many of the local politicians are "double, triple, quadrouple, etc... dipping?

Think of all of those who will sit pretty at retirement age, while most of us will be struggling just to make ends meet when we retire.................. 

Do you want this to continue?  How much will Mayor McDumb be entitled to when he retires?  what about the councilmembers who have state jobs, are on the zoning board, housing authority, planning board... we have to be idiots to let this happen.  Well they all better watch out, cause it's coming to an end... and their beloved Corzine is behind it all to stop their "dipping"

no matter what they do, they shouldn't be allowed to collect more than one pension from the state, and I for one think it should be stopped...

First of all anyone sitting on the Zoning Board, Planning Bard, or Housing Authority do not get paid for their time on Zoning Board, Planning Board, or Housing authority. That is their time, with no pay or pension. Get the facts before you write. Who ever sits on any one of the Boards is using his or her time. They are volunteers. They may have been pick by Mayor McDumb to sit on anyone of the Boards, but it is still their time and effort. Just remember they do not get paid or even have a pension for sitting on anyone of the Boards.

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IF THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT ---MORE POWER TO THEM STOP B**ch--G AND TELLING PEOPLE ON THIS SITE CAUSE NOBODY ON THIS SITE IS GOING TO DO ANYTHING BUT BI-CH THEMSELVES==================DO SOMETHING????????????????

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BIG DIPPERS

By Jason Fink, Journal staff writer

Hudson pols make pretty penny on backs of taxpayers

During last year's election campaign, along with the usual battles over budgets, education funding and tort reform, a consistent theme began to emerge, gaining steam as the months went on and producing a slew of charges and counter-charges among some of the state's most powerful political figures.

The issue, which over the years has produced much hand-wringing in New Jersey and little legislative action, is ethics.

And while a proposal has been unveiled in the Assembly to ban the so-called "pay-to-play" system at the state level, another aspect of the ethics debate, long accepted as a fact of political life Hudson County, is the practice characterized by critics as "double dipping," or one person holding multiple jobs in government.

Some reformers say dual office holding at the elected level - a mayor serving as a state legislator, to cite the most common example - is ethically suspect and should be banned. Others point to elected officials who hold appointed government jobs - especially in clear instances of political patronage - as the true scourge of the state's public life.

In Jersey City, where political divisions are as deep and bitter as they've ever been, Mayor and state Sen. Glenn D. Cunningham unsuccessfully sued a political opponent - Councilman William Gaughan - over his job as chief of staff to County Executive Tom DeGise, saying the two offices present a conflict of interest.

A state Superior Court judge threw out the case, but Cunningham has maintained his stance that Gaughan, as well as others on the council who also work for the county, should give up one of their jobs.

Perhaps predictably, Cunningham says holding two elected offices is preferable to holding an appointed position while serving in an elected role, while many of those in Gaughan's position argue the opposite. Cunningham has said that as a senator he would support a ban on the practice, as long as it outlaws elected officials from holding appointed office as well as two elected posts.

Both practices present a unique set of problems: critics of dual-elected-office holders say that having two sets of constituents - even when some of them overlap - necessarily puts an office holder in the position of having to favor one group over the other.

Those who decry holding elective and appointed positions also say conflicts are bound to arise and cite what they call a lack of accountability to the public in non-elected jobs.

"I think there's a clear distinction," said Cunningham, who was elected mayor in 2001 and senator in 2003, drawing a total salary of $146,883 from both jobs. "Being an elected official, where citizens choose, is much different than being appointed by another politician."

Others disagree, arguing that the state's pervasive problem is the number of legislators in Trenton who hold local elected offices back home.

"The elected position is really seen as who are you responsible to?" said Ingrid Reed, the director of the Eagleton New Jersey Project at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. "If you're a local-elected official and then you're elected at the state level, can you really represent all the municipalities in your district? It's very hard to know how they can not come into conflict."

Of the mayors of the 12 municipalities in Hudson County, four serve in the state Legislature, while another three hold appointed positions in government. Several council or commission members also serve either in the state legislature, on the county Board of Freeholders or in any number of various government agencies or boards throughout the state.

In Jersey City, the county's most populous municipality, the mayor is a senator and seven of the nine council members hold appointed positions in county government; in North Bergen, all five commissioners, including Mayor Nicholas Sacco, have a second government job.

Sacco is among those with three jobs in government: he is the mayor, a state senator and the assistant superintendent of schools, netting him $236,000 a year. On the city council in Jersey City, Gaughan and Mariano Vega - who serves as the director of public resources - earn the most: $128,353 and $129,182, respectively.

Other top earners among dual-job holders are:

North Bergen Commissioner Frank Gargiulo, who makes a combined $180,000 a year as a commissioner and the superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology;

Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, D-Secaucus, makes a total of $151,166 a year - $49,000 as an assemblyman, and $102,166 as chairman of the Secaucus High School's Business Education, World Languages and Family Consumer Science Department.

Freeholder Chairman Sal Vega, who is also a West New York commissioner and the athletic director at Memorial High School, who makes $138,804 in his three jobs;

Harrison Councilman James Doran makes just $1,500 for his council job, but $132,579 for his job as principal/supervisor of adult and continuing education at the Hudson County Schools of Technology;

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, also the business administrator in West New York and a commissioner on the state Local Finance Board, who makes $119,000 in those jobs;

North Bergen Commissioner Hugo Cabrera, also the secretary of the township board of education, who makes $107,400.

In addition to the fact that dual office holders receive more than one paycheck drawn from taxpayer funds, questions also have been raised over where allegiances lie.

"The old thing of serving two masters holds here," said Reed. "In general, you would want to avoid conflicts at all costs."

In his lawsuit, Cunningham accused Gaughan of selling out the city for the benefit of the county - a charge Gaughan denied. And though it is not hard to imagine a situation in which multiple government jobs could create competing obligations, politicians say again and again that they can compartmentalize their responsibilities.

In many cases, they simply deny that there is ever a conflict.

Turner said his multiple jobs have only helped the citizens of the municipalities where he holds sway.

"Has Weehawken ever done anything to hurt West New York?" he said. "No, towns don't work that way. It doesn't happen, it's never come up.

"Most of the positions of mayor throughout the state are part-time," he added. "So everyone holding those positions, unless they're retired, must have another career."

Jersey City City Councilman Junior Maldonado, an assistant director of the Hudson County Improvement Authority, said he has never felt pulled in opposite directions while serving in his two positions.

"I have not come across a situation where I feel conflicted," he said.

Maldonado, Turner and other elected officials who serve in appointed government jobs say their careers give them a perspective on their duties as elected officials they would not otherwise have.

But Assemblyman Robert Morgan, D-Red Bank, a first-term legislator who introduced a bill last month that would ban dual office holding, said his colleagues should choose one career in public service at a time.

"I think it's inappropriate to have more than one office," said Morgan, who resigned his position on the local school board upon his election in November. "The public has become so dissatisfied, and even disgusted with the way our affairs have been conducted, we need to go the extra mile to get rid of not only conflicts but the appearance of conflicts."

Local activist and one-time mayoral candidate in Weehawken Ben Goldman, who has been an outspoken critic of the Turner administration, agreed.

"As a voter, it's somewhat horrifying living here, how limited our options are," said Goldman, who lost his mayoral bid in 2002 by a 3-1 margin. "(Dual office holding) enables the machine to consolidate its control over all aspects of decision-making."

Many elected officials have a ready response to such charges: If most citizens were as horrified as Goldman with dual office holding, they would simply vote its practitioners out of office.

"I think the check and balance of elected officials are the voters," said Sal Vega. "When I ran for freeholder, people knew I was a commissioner."

A spokesman for Sacco made a similar point.

"The issue has been thoroughly explored by the voters, and the mayor's victory margin has continued to go up, not down," said the spokesman, Paul Swibinski. "Most people who hold elective office have other careers. Sometimes those careers are in law or education, sometimes they are public careers."

But reform advocates say there are plenty of other limits placed on the power of government and that doing away with dual job holding is a logical curb on excessive influence.

"It's too much power for too few people," said Heather Taylor, communications director for Common Cause New Jersey, which is pushing for a ban on dual office holding.

Taylor said her group is lobbying Gov. James E. McGreevey support a ban on the practice.

"The entire ethics issue is one that's being hammered out right now between the governor's office and the legislature," said Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman for McGreevey.

Assembly Speaker Albio Sires, who is also the mayor of West New York, at one time advocated a ban on dual office holding but changed his mind.

"I introduced a bill to do away with dual job holding and then after speaking to (Assembly) members, I found out that dual job holding was a benefit," said Sires, who earns $79,170 from his elected positions.

Sires predicted that a ban on dual job holding, even if supported by McGreevey, would not pass the legislature.

His argument in favor of holding more than one office was echoed by nearly every other elected official interviewed for this article: serving as a local-elected official helps state lawmakers understand the issues that confront municipalities.

The New Jersey League of Municipalities, which advocates for local governments in Trenton, is one of the groups fighting to keep dual office holding a fact of life at the Statehouse.

"We absolutely oppose a ban on dual office holding," said William Dressel, executive director of the League. "We think it is patently unfair and discriminatory.

"You need to have a stakeholder sitting in those discussions on policy issues," he continued. "I think it is vital to the overall deliberations of state bodies."

Jersey City City Council President L. Harvey Smith, who served briefly in Trenton as an interim senator before Cunningham was elected to the seat in November, agreed.

"Most elected officials have a better perspective on what cities need," said Smith, who now works as an appointed undersheriff for the county and makes a combined $113,583. "I don't think it's unethical. It should be based on performance."

While the practice seems perfectly natural to politicians in New Jersey - as well as to many of the state's voters - it is by no means the norm throughout the country.

Nicole Moore, a research analyst for the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Council of State Legislatures, said about half the states have statutes that place some kind of prohibition on dual-office holders. In New Jersey, by contrast, state law actually guarantees the right to hold two jobs.

"New Jersey is one of the very few states (that) specifically allows a state legislator to hold offices in counties and cities," said Moore. "I don't know why it's in there but it's there."

Members of Congress are forbidden by their own ethics rules from having a job in another government body or agency.

Even some who hold two offices sometimes report conflicting feelings.

Bayonne Councilman Anthony Chiappone, who was elected to the state assembly last year and now makes $70,000 in his jobs, said if his legislative district - which includes all of Bayonne and parts of Jersey City - was more spread out geographically, it might present more of a problem.

"A legislator could be representing 40 townships and there is a potential for a conflict of interest," he said.

Mariano Vega, while reiterating that it was the voters who will ultimately determine the future of dual office holding, did concede that public officials wearing more than one hat can sometimes present problems.

"There's something to be said for collective government," said Vega. "I think it's smarter to have different people in government, rather than concentrate government in the hands of the few."

Jason Fink covers Jersey City. He can be reached at jfink@jjournal.com

WHY IS IT THE OBSERVER NEVER WRITE INVESTIGATIVE STORIES ON HARRISON AND IT'S CORRUPTION. NO SHAME ON YOU STORIES TOLD? NO LONGER A POLICE BLOTTER TO POST? OR WAS THAT JUST TO THROW THE EX CHIEF TO THE WOLVES? NO COMMUNITY PATROLING? NO ACTIVE PROGRAMS TO INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY AND POLICE TOGETHER. HELL I SEE MORE COP CARS NOW MORE THEN EVER, PARKED IN FRONT OF HOLY CROSS CHURCH. WHERE ARE THE BODIES HIDING? I ASKED A NEWBIE COP THE OTHER DAY AND GOT THEY HAVE COURT. THEN HE LAUGHED AND COMMENTED CALL THE DESK FOR INFORMATION. I'M ON LUNCH. NICE ANSWER? REAL PROMISING AND ASSURING!

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  • 2 weeks later...
1.......Board of Ed

2.......coucilman

What is No 3  &  No 4   pensions?

Isn't Trenton voting to put a stop to 'double', tripple dipping, or did it not pass the sttate House & Senate yet?

He is on the board of Freeloaders and he is on the Redevelopment and he is paid for that. He is many more things but I will not go into it since he still ***** ** **** ***** ******. Remember Pete *** ***

KOTW Note: The above post was edited for content.

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Guest OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW
He is on the board of Freeloaders and he is on the Redevelopment and he is paid for that.  He is many more things but I will not go into it since he still ***** ** **** ***** ******.  Remember Pete *** ***

KOTW Note: The above post was edited for content.

DON'T FORGET HE'S ALSO ON THE HUDSON COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY!!!

DIDN'T THEY JUST VOTE TO SPEND $ 40 MILLION $ OF YOUR COUNTY BONDS, THAT YOU WILL BE PAYING FOR YEARS AFTER THE BULLS GO BELLY UP!!!!

SUCKERS ALL OF YOU.

CHECK THIS http://www.hcia.org/faq-commissioners.html

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