Monday, January 23, 2017

Former Commercial CFO fined $300 for Financial Disclosure Statement violations. However, ethics charges against Township Committee members for hiring CFO's company to train Township employee were dismissed.

On December 14, 2016, the Local Finance Board (LFB) fined Commercial Township's (Cumberland County) former Chief Financial Officer Judson Moore a total of $300 for failing to report on his 2014 and 2015 Financial Disclosure Statements (FDS) that he owned a business that conducts training seminars for local government officials and for failing to report the addresses of local real estate he owned on his 2011 FDS.  However, the LFB dismissed a complaint against Moore and Township Committee members George Garrison, William Riggin and Fletcher Jamison for authorizing a $99 payment to Moore's business to provide training for Township Clerk Hannah Nichols.

Both complaints were filed on August 26, 2013.  Complaint No. 13-035 alleged that Moore had simply wrote on his 2011 FDS that he "own[ed] parcels of vacant land in Commercial Township" rather than listing the address, block and lot of each parcel.  This failure netted Moore a Notice of Violation and a $100 fine.  Complaint No. 13-034 alleged that Moore and the three Committee members violated the Local Government Ethics Law by hiring Moore's company, Advance Learning, LLC, to provide training to a township employee.  The LFB tagged Moore with a Notice of Violation and a $200 fine for "declaring 'None' in the field requesting the name and address of all business organizations" in which he held an interest on his 2014 and 2015 FDS filings.

In dismissing the charges that Moore, Garrison, Riggin and Jamison acted unethically by authorizing Township money to go to a company owned by the Township CFO, LFB Chair Timothy J. Cunningham wrote that paying Moore's company was "not an action that could reasonably be expected to impair [Garrison's, Riggin's and Jamison's] objectivity or independence of judgment in the exercise of [their] official duties."  Cunningham noted that Moore advertised Advance Learning, LLC's seminars to New Jersey's southern six counties and that he did not participate in authorizing the payment.

After serving as CFO, Moore became the Township's mayor until his abrupt resignation on March 12, 2016.  It is presently unknown whether he has appealed either Notice of Violation.