BILL WOULD INCREASE MAXIMUM ETHICS FINES TO $10,000 – AS RECOMMENDED BY RECENT COMPTROLLER REPORT
Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin introduced legislation yesterday imposing larger fines against unethical local public officials after a recent State Comptroller investigation showed current penalties did not deter a local official from improperly using his government position and gain substantial profit in a land deal.
“It’s no longer a shock when public officials act in their own interests instead of the public good. With penalties set so low, it’s more surprising that we don’t see officials improperly profiting from public service more frequently,” Handlin, R-Monmouth, said. “To an unscrupulous official with $1 million at stake, a $500 penalty is just a sunken cost that would barely budge the bottom line.”
A recent Comptroller’s report determined a Chesterfield Township committeeman improperly used his government position in facilitating a private land deal that brought him substantial profit. The report recommended increasing maximum fines for violations of the Local Government Ethics Law from $500 to $10,000. Handlin’s proposal would implement those increased penalties.
“I agree with Comptroller Matt Boxer’s call to bring ethics penalties for local officials in line with those for state employees, especially now that New Jersey is undergoing a massive rebuilding effort mixing planning decisions and tens of billions of federal funding,” Handlin, R-Monmouth, said. “Rebuilding our state after Hurricane Sandy is too important to be tainted by corruption. We need a loud message and strong deterrents against self-serving politicians who violate the public’s trust to earn a buck.”
Comptroller’s press release:
Posted: February 8th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Amy Handlin, ethics, NJ State Legislature, Press Release | Tags: Amy Handlin, Comptroller Matthew Boxer, ethics, Local Government Ethics Law | 5 Comments »
Assembly Deputy Republican Leader Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth, was pleased to learn of today’s report issued by State Comptroller Matthew Boxer, which evaluated salaries and other forms of compensation given to New Jersey’s 19 county college presidents.
Handlin had expressed her concerns in a letter to Boxer dated April 25, 2011, after the resignations of two county college presidents amid accusations of fiscal impropriety that triggered criminal investigations.
“Today’s report indicates that last year’s accounts of fiscal impropriety and the exorbitant perks some county college presidents receive warranted a closer look at what taxpayers and students are paying for,” said Handlin. “Establishing more transparency for the public to know the perks and level of compensation that is awarded should be helpful in ensuring there are not wide discrepancies between colleges, unless there is some justification. The public has an absolute right to know how much a president is being paid for housing, bonuses, pension contributions that exceed the minimum requirement and reimbursement for personal expenses.
“The cost of tuition at all colleges is high, regardless if it’s at the public or private university level or at community colleges,” said Handlin. “I support the recommendation for establishing guidelines by the State’s Secretary of Higher Education that will serve as a template and basis of comparison for negotiating a fair compensation package. Transparency will serve the dual purpose of giving college boards useful information as they negotiate with prospective candidates as well as keeping the public informed on how their tax dollars are being spent.”
Boxer’s report, “Compensation Provided to New Jersey Community College Presidents,” indicates that it was based on the “questionable and excessive” compensation paid to someNew Jersey community college presidents. It states that the increased public concern regarding the expenditures made to the presidents of Brookdale and Gloucester County Colleges prompted the review of how taxpayer dollars were being spent in this area of higher education.
Posted: May 30th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Amy Handlin, Press Release | Tags: Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, Community Colleges, Community Colleges Compensation, Comptroller Matthew Boxer, Press Release | 1 Comment »