Friday, January 15, 2010

Howard Popper Strikes Out on Local Ethics Board

Remember back in 2007 when Howard Pooper ran for Committee and promised to create a local ethics board? This despite being told by yours truly and others there is already a similar body at the state level charged to handle issues of impropriety by local officials. Instead, Howard stuck to his guns and with the aid of local GOP operatives, insisted a local committee was needed in our town. When the potential cost of such an entity was pointed out, Howard again insisted this could be done at virtually no cost to the taxpayer. After two long years and a recent hammering on this blog, Howard Popper seems to have had an ephipany at this week’s Work Session agenda included "Ethics Board" as a discussion topic.

So you would think after two years of silence, Howard would finally be ready to publicly announce his plan to implement something so central to his campaign it ranked second only to his “LOWER TAXES NOW!!!” pledge, right? Wrong! After a ten minute discussion, Howard and his fellow GOP committeeman conceded it wasn't needed after all and that the cost of creating such an entity are far beyond what the township could have EVER afforded.

Perhaps had Howard read the following language from the NJ LOCAL ETHICS LAW, he would have realized his transparent campaign promise was doomed at the moment he first proposed it back in 2007 during his campaign.

40A:9-22.20 Provision of offices to municipal ethics board
a. The governing body of the municipality shall provide the municipal ethics board with offices for the conduct of its business and the preservation of its records, and shall supply equipment and supplies as may be necessary.
b. All necessary expenses incurred by the municipal ethics board and its members shall be paid, upon certification of the chairman, by the municipal treasurer within the limits of funds appropriated by the municipal governing body by annual or emergency appropriations for those purposes.
c. The municipal ethics board may appoint employees, including independent counsel, and clerical staff as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this act within the limits of funds appropriated by the municipal governing body for those purposes.
Bottom Line: This was just another empty unfulfilled campaign promise from Howard Popper, who has yet to demonstrate any value during his tenure on the Washington Township Committee.

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