The Local Finance Board, which oversees complaints against New Jersey local government officials for violating the Local Goverment Ethics Law, does not put its meeting minutes on-line. And, when I do receive the Board’s minutes through an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, the minutes refer to disposed cases only by case number, thus requiring an additional OPRA request in order to get any information about the substance of the case or the parties to it. Thus there is a substantial delay, as well as a substantial matter of work, in being able to publicly report on ethics matters.
I recently OPRA’d the dismissal letters in five ethics cases and have posted them on-line here. Even though the matters were dismissed, the reasoning for the dismissals and the identities of the public officials involved are still of public interest. I will summarize the cases below:
Case No. C11-083:
John Coombs, Sr., Upper Pittsgrove Township Land Use Board Chairman, cleared violating the LGEL by acting in his official capacity on matters relating to applicant Atlantic Green Power while having a private business relationship with Edward Stella, the Vice President of Project Developement for Atlantic Green Power.
Case No. C12-091:
Joy-Michele Tomczak, Keyport Borough Council member, cleared violating the LGEL by participating in matters related to the appointment of a new Chief of Police despite her brother-in-law having been arrested by one of the candidates for that position.
Case No. C08-021:
Joel N. Goldman, Longport Zoning and Planning Board member, cleared violating the LGEL by failing to list his residence, which he owned, on his financial disclosure statement.
Case No. C12-092:
Matthew Doherty, Belmar Mayor, cleared violating the LGEL for “using his official position to tarnish the reputation of a colleague and provide ammunition to potential future political opponents of that member of Council.”
Case No. C12-095:
Michael DuPont, Belmar Borough Attorney, cleared violating the LGEL for “using his official position to tarnish the reputation of a colleague and provide ammunition to potential future political opponents of that member of Council.”