Saturday, February 7, 2009

Supplement: How can we get the Local Finance Board to enforce the ethics law?

I have submitted the following two OPRA requests to the Local Finance Board in an attempt to document the Board's poor performance.

John Paff
Somerset, New Jersey

----Request Confirmation No. W41209

BACKGROUND: A May 30, 2008 article in the Record "Oury failed to file required disclosures, clerk says," reported that Bergenfield Borough Clerk Catherine Navarro-Steinel had written "a letter to the Local Finance Board, a branch of the state Department of Community Affairs, Steinel wrote, 'Will your division please take corrective action on those that have not filed for years.'” She was referring to the failure of Dennis J. Oury "a politically connected lawyer" to file Financial Disclosure Statements for five out of six years. For a copy of the article, click here. The object of this request is to see if the Local Finance Board ignored Clerk Navarro-Steinel in the same manner as they have ignored my similar requests.

RECORDS REQUEST: 1. Copies of Clerk Navarro-Steinel's letter to the Board, as described above, and any follow up letters. 2. Any and all responses from or on behalf of the Board to Clerk Navarro-Steinel's letters.

----Request Confirmation No. W41199

BACKGROUND: On March 18, 2008, I filed a complaint with the Local Finance Board against four members of the Penns Grove Borough Council for failure to file their 2007 Financial Disclosure Statements. On February 2, 2009, I received a response from the Local Finance Board advising me that a) three of the four members I had complained against (Bercute, Ownsby and Poindexter) had made their past-due filings within a few days or a couple of weeks after my complaint was filed causing my complaint against these members to be dismissed on November 12, 2008, and b) one member--Councilwoman Mincey--had not yet filed her Statement and that as such, my complaint against her "is still pending." I am curious to learn how many times your office has contacted Councilwoman Mincey attempting to get her to file her 2007 Statement or to otherwise resolve this matter.

RECORDS REQUEST: I'd like copies of any correspondence a) sent by the Local Finance Board or its staff to Councilwoman Mincey regarding the issues raised in my March 18, 2008 complaint and b) received by the Local Finance Board or its staff from Councilwoman Mincey or someone on her behalf regarding the issues raised in my March 18, 2008 complaint.

1 comment:

  1. I can see that our government has in fact created two classes of citizens. There are ordinary citizens who are either treated like children or criminals whenever they don't comply with regulations no matter how foolish or counter-productive. Then there are office holders and bureaucrats who are forever given a pass even if they are clearly in violation of the law.

    Does anyone doubt that failure to file a tax return would not entitle you to endless opportunities to file after a complaint? Unless of course you are being considered for a cabinet position in the Obama administration, in which case you get a pass and an assumption of innocent neglect.

    Thomas Jefferson once pointed out that "The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few to ride them."

    He clearly was not familiar with what passes for modern day NJ government and it's favored few.

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