The Republican candidates for Freeholder held a press conference yesterday afternoon, releasing their solution for an Ethics Plan in Cumberland County. Many of the tenets of their plan mimic concerns we have expressed on this website including lack of transparency in government; the refusal to make the budget readily available for every citizen and not just the ones that can afford to pay and make the trip to the county seat via OPRA request; and the insistence on hiring from outside the county (which is a blatant end-run around pay-to-play laws rewarding loyal party supporters) while ignoring competent and capable businesses in the county. They are also leery about the number of insiders, public employees on supposedly independent authority boards.
Former Vineland Solicitor Rick Tonetta, businessman Sam Fiocchi and Lawrence Township Mayor Tom Sheppard called for several changes:
Creating a new county ethics board, comprised of the county’s 14 mayors
- Posting more government records online, including all audits, contracts and reports
- Requiring local firms get first shot at legal, architectural and other professional contracts
- Forbidding county employees from appointments to independent authority boards
The plan is straightforward, and does make common sense. It scares the bejeezus out of Lou Magazzu! Lou was so threatened that he lashed out immediately with unsubstantiated and possibly libelous rhetoric, accusing the Republican leadership of promising Republican lawyers a judges seat in return for fund-raising.
If one wants to delve into unsupported and spurious claims, why don’t we ask Lou what he gave Gary Wodlinger in exchange for promising him the position of Superior Court judge? Lou is treading dangerous waters. As usual, he creates a campaign of rumor and innuendo, with absolutely no supporting evidence, based on hearsay in order to cast aspersions on his competition. Lou never runs on his record or campaigns on issues; he knows he would lose on that front.
It will be interesting to watch as this scenario plays out.