On May 8, 2012, I submitted an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to Township Clerk Carla Smith.  A copy of my request is on-line here.  I made the request because I heard rumors that former Township Administrator Joseph Veight had a) repaid the Township for some over-payments that were previously paid to him and b) been involved in some sort of improper dealings with a company called Townsware Computer Services in Vineland.     (I hasten to add that I had and have no evidence that Mr. Veight is or Townsware was involved in anything illegal, unethical or in any way deceptive.  Rather, I believe that the best method of combating rumors is to gather evidence to demonstrate their truth or falsity.)

In response to my request, I received: a May 25, 2012 letter response from Clerk Smith that was accompanied by payroll and reimbursement records relating to the Mr. Veight and some financial records describing the Township’s transactions with Townsware Computer.

While the Townsware records show that Fairfield Township indeed purchased computer goods and services from that company, there is nothing to suggest that any of the computers that were the subject of these transaction were ever owned by Mr. Veight.  Indeed, Clerk Smith points out in her May 25th letter that the Township, as expected, would have no records showing how Townsware obtained the computers that were ultimately sold to the Township.

As for the over-payments, the records do show that a $2,509.26 payment made to Mr. Veight in October 2010 (Check No. 014496) was later “voided.” And, Clerk Smith, in her May 25, 2012 letter, denied my request for “[a]ny and all checks that Mr. Veight gave back to the Township for purported over-payments,” stating that “they are part of an investigation and are not available at this time.”  Thus, that part of the rumor appears to have some truth to it, and further investigation is necessary.  To that end, I submitted a new request today, which is available here.

John Paff

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