On March 18, 2008, I complained to the Local Finance Board (LFB) that several members of the Penns Grove Borough (Salem County) Council failed to file the Financial Disclosure Statements that were due on or before April 30, 2007. Earlier this year, I reported that all but one of the Council members–Councilwoman Carol Mincey–had belatedly filed their statements.

In a May 2, 2009 letter, Susan Jacobucci, Chair of the LFB, confirmed that Mincey finally her 2007 statement. Actually, Mincey filed the completed 2007 form on February 23, 2009, but it took the Local Finance Board until May 2, 2009 to inform me of the filing. My complaint against Mincey was dismissed because it no longer had a reasonable factual basis.

The correspondence, beginning with my March 18, 2008 complaint to the LFB, is on-line here. It indicates that Mincey did file a an incomplete form and then filed a completed form after receiving a stern warning from the LFB.

I think that this correspondence illustrates that municipal officials–at least those who serve municipalities that do not have their own municipal ethics boards–have little or no exposure to consequences if they choose to simply ignore the filing requirements. In the unlikely event that someone complains, the officials will be given approximately a year to comply, and even if they don’t complete the form correctly the first time, they will be given at least one more opportunity to resubmit a completed form.

John Paff
Somerset, New Jersey

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]