Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Local Finance Board issues Notice of Violation in four ethics cases.

The Local Finance Board, which oversees complaints against New Jersey local government officials for violating the Local Goverment Ethics Law, does not put its meeting minutes on-line.  And, when I do receive the Board's minutes through an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, the minutes refer to disposed cases only by case number, thus requiring an additional OPRA request in order to get any information about the substance of the case or the parties to it.  Thus there is a substantial delay, as well as a substantial matter of work, in being able to publicly report on ethics matters.

I recently OPRA'd the Notices of Violation in four ethics cases and have posted them on-line here.  I am posting these records because the identities of the public officials involved are of public interest.  I will summarize the cases below:

Case No. C12-037:

Raymond J. McCarthy, Bloomfield Township Mayor, fined $250 for using municipal resources during business hours to advance his own personal charity.

Case No. C12-099:

Robert Zimmerman, Fire Commissioner in Fire District #2 in Middle Township, for simultaneously serving as Fire Commissioner and as president of a fire department within the District.  He was forced to resign one of those positions.

Case No. C12-004:


Robert J. Vanderslice, Salem County Freeholder, fined $100 for seconding a motion and voting in favor of a resolution appointing Donald Masten as Special Counsel to the County when a professional relationship existed between Vanderslice and Masten.  (Update 04/26/16 - results of the appeal to OAL)

Case No. C10-011:


Ravinda S. Bhalla, Hoboken City Council member, fined $100 for voting in favor of a resolution providing for the continued legal services of Paul Conden, Esq., when Bhalla and Condon had a shared lease agreement.

Each of these four officials may have exercised their right to have an administrative hearing and the results of that hearing, if requested, may change the outcome.