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Fairfield Township Informant

Fairfield mayor, former deputy mayor, fight $100 ethics fines.

In a June 6, 2017 letter, Fairfield Township Solicitor John G. Carr advised the Local Finance Board, the chief enforcer of the Local Government Ethics Law (LGEL), that his clients, Mayor Benjamin Byrd and former Deputy Mayor Troy Pitts, seek to have an Administrative Law Judge review $100 ethics fines that the Board levied against the pair in May 2017.

Both Byrd and Pitts were found to have violated the LGEL by supporting a request for $1,200 in Township funds made by an organization to which the pair had ties.  According to the Notices of Violations against Byrd and Pitts, both were present at a September 9, 2014 Township Committee work session when Maria Pietrowski, Executive Director of True Renaissance Organization, Inc., requested the funds to provide art education to the Township’s sixth-grade students.

Pietrowski is reported to be Byrd’s sister-in-law and Pitts’ sister and Pitts and his wife were also reportedly members of True Renaissance’s board of directors.  Both Byrd and Pitts spoke in support of True Renaissance’s request, according to the Notices of Violation.

According to the Board’s roster of ethics matters, the case against Byrd and Pitt was initiated by a complaint filed by former Township Mayor Viola Thomas-Hughes.

By John Paff

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project