NJAC faulted in audit

We all know the story of Lou Magazzu’s failed run to head the National Association of Counties (NACo). Little attention has been paid to his dismal failure to oversee the New Jersey Association of Counties while he was president of that organization. The Star Ledger just broke a story recently that Magazzu Watch touched on a year ago – that there was a total lack of oversight of the N JAC.

New Jersey county governments paid escalating dues to a private lobbying group whose director’s salary reached $205,000 with no apparent formal oversight, according to an audit obtained by The Record.

The New Jersey Association of Counties also lacked control over office expenditures and charges made to the personal credit card of Celeste Carpiano, the director whose pay increased 58 percent over six years.

Lou Magazzu is on record stating that any salary over $75,000 a year is obscene – forcing his his candidates for constitutional office to take a pay cut. Lou’s choice  for sheriff, the unqualified Bob Austino, where $75K is a gross overpayment; his candidate for surrogate, the bombastic Doug Rainear, who sources tell us rarely puts in a full week of work; and his candidate for clerk – all ran on the “we will work for less” ticket.

But Lou had no problem spending Cumberland County money for inflated dues to be a part of NJAC, and looked the other way while the organization frittered their money away.

The auditors, Suplee Clooney & Co. of Westfield, recommended the group overhaul its financial policies, correct Internal Revenue Service filings and evaluate its nonprofit foundation and another related organization. It also suggested the association address the issue of dues, which collectively cost county governments nearly $200,000 this year and which rise at least 3 percent annually.

While no criminal acts have been alleged, gross mismanagement and misuse of money has been proven:

The audit was ordered by board members last year, after The Record reported Carpiano’s salary was $205,000, and she was driving a $35,000 all-wheel-drive Lexus leased by the association’s non-profit foundation. At the same time, New Jersey counties’ combined dues came to $193,618, and increased this year to $199,425.

The newspaper obtained a draft, issued to members last month, under the Open Public Records Act. Among the findings:

• The foundation in 2009 distributed less than half its $71,000 in charitable corporate grants, and used hundreds of thousands of dollars in Atlantic City conference revenue to pay association employees, including Carpiano.

Is it any wonder than Cumberland County is in the sad fiscal shape it is in, considering the inability of Magazzu to properly manage any financial affairs, including his own?

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5 Responses to NJAC faulted in audit

  1. Deep Throat says:

    Therre is more to this story. Magazzu was on the NJAC board of directors And served as Vice President and President during the very years that Carpiano was stuufing her pockets . She also went to the NACO conferences to lobby for Magazzu to be the President of that organization. It is no wonder she was such a Magazzu fan. Who paid for those expenses?

  2. Guess-Who says:

    This is Interesting to say the Least from 2008;

    http://www.njac.org/newsletter/Letter.asp?id=24

    Notice the part in the Sweeney Article that is Quite similar to the Issue that is under STUDY at this Time HERE in Cumberland County, NJ along with some of the Municipalities within this County.

    Sweeney is consider the Catalyst of this for HIS County.

    ————————————
    Checks and Balance make the County a Better Place

  3. WuLi says:

    It is interesting that Carpiano wants a cap on the prosecutor, while completely unwilling to take a cap on her obscene salary, a salary, I have to add, that Lou Magazzu aided and abetted in his positions at NJAC.

  4. Calhoun says:

    Below is a post I made back in February when MWatch reported on this. The latest Star Ledger report notes that Ms Carpiano is somehow in the state pension system. This is disgraceful. NJAC emplyees have no business being in the penion system. Like last February, I feel a puke coming on. Someone better get me a bucket again.

    “To get more on the unbelievable excesses at the New Jersey Association of Counties read the 24 November 2009 article by Elise Young (www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/11/taxpayers_help_fund_new_jersey.html). I love her justification for the Lexus: ‘I’m on the turnpike with trucks and such,’ she said. ‘I’m not looking at it as a luxury car. It’s a safety issue. If I drive from Salem or Cumberland County and it’s snowing and icy, I could stay down there but I don’t do that. I don’t want that cost to my organization.’ Now why would Ms. Carpiano be driving down to our neck of the woods? Probably to meet with Mr. Magazzu, who is a big fan of this person, who collects a tax-payer subsidized $205,000/year job and drives a Lexus for safety reasons. Here is what Lou had to say about her when she was elected president of the National Council of County Association Executives: ‘Celeste is a special person and a born leader. She has the rare combination of intelligence, insight and commitment that makes people take notice and listen to her concerns. The NCCAE and counties nationwide will benefit greatly from having Celeste as their president.’ (http://www.co.warren.nj.us/wn/10-24-2006%5B2%5D.html) On this one I agree with Magazzu — we are indeed taking notice of Ms Carpiano. However, it has less to do with her talent and more to do with her incredible arrogance that she could even suggest she needs a Lexus for safety reasons. People are out of work at record numbers, yet Lou’s ally needs a Lexus for safety reasons and a 205K salary to boot! To convey my feelings right now I flashback to Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.
    Maitre d’hôtel: ‘Ah, good afternoon sir and how are we today?’
    Mr. Creosote: ‘Better. Better get a bucket. I’m going to throw up.'”

  5. GoGoCumCo says:

    I really just can’t wait until this guy is indicted. The damage he has caused in this county rivals that of a massive category 5 hurricane coming up the Maurice RIver. I wonder if there are some private companies that Sweeney is invested in that stand to make money with consolidating 9-1-1 services. I think that it is a good idea, but no politician has a good idea without another motive.

    Also, what happened to Lou…..He could only score a Cadillac for free….when he could have gotten a Lexus…!!

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