Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Besides Cryan, Who Else is a Drain on the Taxpayer?

The County Watchers has published a statement written by Bruce Paterson which can be read here regarding Assemblyman/Union County Undersheriff/State Democrat Chair/Former Camelot Interest Owner Joseph Cryan.

Most likely, the freeholders dismissed Paterson's pointed sentiments in their "who could care less" manner, and probably had a good laugh afterwards to boot. Who can blame them? The voters tell the same self serving, tax hiking, political mongering freeholders what a great job they do by re-electing them year after year. The voters are not only willing to be overcharged for poor representation, but, in fact, scream for more come every election.

In addition to the points raised by Bruce Paterson, Assemblyman Cryan, along with his legislative colleagues, Senator Raymond Lesniak and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, jointly co-authored a scathing letter crictizing State Attorney General Anne Milgram, the State's top law enforcement officer, for bringing charges against two of their beloved political operatives. See here for details.

While a Superior Judge characterized Jamel Holley's ballot tampering as simply being"overzealous", an Appellate Court panel cited the offenses as “rampant statutory violations". I respect the Appellate Court's findings.

The other political operative, Hillside resident, Rosemary McClave, was charged with theft of campaign funds and was accepted into a pretrial intervention program. Senator Lesniak shrugs off the charge claiming they should not have been brought because the poor woman is suffering from Parkinson's Disease. Lesniak went on even further to actual condone McClave's behavior because, Lesniak says: "For the work she did - never to get paid - it's a good thing that her case never went to trial." As incredulous as Lesniak's statements are, he's serious.

It's more than disturbing that a Senator and Undersheriff, who hold offices of public trust, would chose to attack the Attorney General and defend a thief. Meanwhile, many elected officials are currently in prison, with ex-Senator, Joe Coniglio, being shipped off today to begin his sentence for defrauding taxpayers. Yet Senator Lesniak and Assemblyman Cryan write no letters admonishing Coniglio or any of their incarcerated colleagues.

Attorney General Anne Milgram is stepping down from her position and stated so before Corzine lost the election. One can't help wondering if elected officials such as Lesniak or Cryan have been impediments to her work. Whatever Lesniak and Cryan's reasons were for writing such a letter, it was inappropriate IMO and defies all logic.

Overtaxed taxpayers pay for three Undersheriffs as follows:

DeTrolio $121,000
Green (son of Assemblyman Jerry "Dumped his Dumps" Green) $102,838
Cryan (Assemblyman, et al) $111,744

Cryan has the least amount of law enforcement experience of all the Undersheriffs. Note that while Trenton is in session, Cryan may well spend two of his work days down in Trenton, collecting an extra $49,000 a year, bringing his annual income to a little over $160,000. It is interesting to note that Cryan's boss, Sheriff Ralph Froelich, is barred by law from holding a similar dual office.

The following excerpt are taken from an article published by From New Jersey Policy Perspective. At the time the article was published, there were three Assemblymen double dipping as Undersheriffs, only one, Alfred Steele, has been arrested and incarcerated on corruption charges. The bolded sections are my emphasis.

"How Much is Enough?

Drawing the Lines on
Multiple Public Job Holding in New Jersey

By Tom O'Neill and Bill Schluter


The issues involved in arriving at a well-reasoned decision respecting the right of citizens to hold public office can be illustrated by analyzing whether county undersheriffs who serve in the Legislature can "discharge faithfully, impartially and efficiently the duties of both offices." Three undersheriffs were serving in the Assembly at the time of our survey: Joseph Cryan, Gordon Johnson and Alfred Steele.

New Jersey law bans county sheriffs from holding any other civil office. Unlike sheriffs, undersheriffs are not elected. They are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the sheriff and hold authority to execute all the ordinary duties of the sheriff. Despite what appears to be a significant overlap of functions, undersheriffs serve in the Assembly in spite of the ban on sheriffs doing so. As one of two principal county law enforcement officials, along with the prosecutor, it has been deemed important for sheriffs to be seen to be free of conflicts of interest and of obligation.

Such considerations applied to undersheriffs, too, until relatively recently. In the Westcott v. Briant decision almost a century ago, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that an undersheriff was barred from serving as a freeholder or in other civil office, because an undersheriff "holds and exercises the office of a sheriff." The court reasoned that since the Legislature specifically said the office of sheriff was incompatible with any other civil office, a sheriff could not remove the inconsistency by appointing a person--the undersheriff--to do the very thing which the law prohibits him from doing.

But in 1980, the Appellate Division broke with this precedent. It reversed a trial court's decision that had barred Peter Curcio, an undersheriff in Bergen County, from holding a gubernatorial appointment as an unsalaried member of the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission. The trial court, following the 1909 precedent, had ordered Curcio to "choose which civil office he elects to retain." In reviewing the trial court decision, the majority of the appellate court found that the State Supreme Court erred in Westcott when it interpreted the statute as defining the holding of the office of sheriff and any other office as incompatible. The appellate court concluded Westcott should have been decided on the narrower ground that "the two offices of undersheriff and freeholder were incompatible as a matter of common law." The appellate court could not "detect the slightest incompatibility" between the two offices of undersheriff and HMDC Commissioner. It saw no "valid reason to extend the statutory prohibition to undersheriffs."

Today, then, the statutory prohibition of a sheriff holding another civil office is not being interpreted as barring an undersheriff from holding all other civil offices, only those found to be incompatible with the office of undersheriff. That was the finding in Westcott: the office of freeholder is incompatible with the office of undersheriff because freeholders can determine the salary of an undersheriff.
The appellate decision in the Curcio case requires careful discrimination among public offices depending on the degree of actual conflict among their duties. Almost everyone will agree that little danger of conflict of interests or obligations, or even the appearance of such, arises if an undersheriff serves as one of seven unsalaried members of the HMDC. But the duties of the offices of legislator and undersheriff involve a broader range and wider discretion that can, and arguably do, come into conflict with one another. A fair-minded application of the tests of incompatibility established in New Jersey suggests that employment as an undersheriff is incompatible with service in the Legislature. Those four elements of incompatibility, outlined in Marini v. Holster, are:

The two offices cannot be executed by the same person

They cannot be executed with care and ability

One is subordinate to another

One interferes with another

From a legal standpoint, the incompatibilities of the two positions should be evident. The state courts protected by the sheriff's department are funded by and governed by state statutes, adopted, amended or repealed by the Legislature. The civil and criminal law enforcement aspects of the position are defined by state statute, and the separation of powers doctrine divides the responsibility of making and enforcing the law. Finally, the performance of sheriff's departments around the state fall under the oversight of the Legislature. Practically, the duties of an undersheriff are, or should be, demanding and substantial-- a true, full-time job. How can an Assemblyman, who is devoting up to 70% of his time to legislative responsibilities, perform fully and effectively the responsibilities of undersheriff?

The appointment of the undersheriff by the sheriff can bring into question the independence of the undersheriff as a legislator, especially—but not exclusively—on issues relating to the powers, duties and operations of sheriff’s department across the state.

It seems clear that an application of reasonable tests of incompatibility gives a sound basis to believe that the positions of legislator and undersherriff should not be filled by the same person. The grounds would appear to exist for a case to test whether holding the two offices would be found incompatible by the courts today.

Moving from the legal to the practical, an appointment of a legislator as undersheriff leaves room for concern over whether the latter position is little more than a sinecure for legislators who need another income. Taxpayers need to know if the appointment is simply an arrangement through which an elected official can draw a salary and report to a supervisor who will be sympathetic to the pressures of legislative office, including the need to spend two days a week in Trenton, raise funds and campaign for several months every two years and maintain hours at the district office."


just ed said...

Chris Christie will he put an end to this shit

Anonymous said...


NFS said...

The Assembly should be abolished.

From Bob Ingle's blog today:

"Assembly Democrat leader Bonnie Watson Coleman is proposing a six-bill package dealing with former prison inmates. One of the laws she wants would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants on the basis of a criminal record.

Coleman has been an activist for prisoner rights. Her two sons were sentenced to prison for armed robbery"

Another example of politicians crafting bills in their own interests and to hell with people who would chose to hire a law-abiding citizen rather than an armed robber. It's too incredible to believe, but true.

Assemblyman Cryan has pulled a similar stunt with his anti-stalking bill. Curiously, Assemblyman Cryan posted no bills regarding harsher punishments for road rage warriors who attack other motorists with a bat.