Kennedy Campaign Calls for Committeeman Howard Popper’s Immediate Resignation.
Republican Township Committee candidate David Kennedy claims Popper deliberately misled the citizens of Washington Township regarding Kennedy’s alleged inability to negotiate with Police unions.
Washington Township, NJ – Washington Township Committeeman Howard Popper issued a press release last week in which he claimed Township Committee candidate Dave Kennedy’s previous membership in Roxbury police unions could preclude him from participating in important contract negotiations. Before issuing the press release, Popper was advised by legal council that there was absolutely no conflict of interest. Knowing this, he went forward with the press release anyway in a deliberate attempt to deceive the voting public.
Popper stated, “I think it is important for the public to understand Mr. Kennedy’s limitations and conflicts if Mr. Kennedy was a member of any of these unions during his employment as a Roxbury police officer and dispatcher.” Popper continued, “If conflicted Mr. Kennedy will be prohibited from participating in any negotiations or voting regarding the police unions.”
In order to set the record straight, on Thursday, May 27 Kennedy placed a phone call into Assemblyman Tony Bucco. Assemblyman Bucco serves as Roxbury Township’s Municipal Attorney and is the General Counsel to the Morris County Republican Committee. He specializes in Election Campaign & Political Law as well as State, Local, and Municipal Law.
Kennedy asked Bucco about the allegations Popper made regarding a potential inability to negotiate with the various unions and whether he would be able to carry out the duties of a Committeeman due to being a retired police officer. Bucco informed Kennedy there was absolutely no conflict of interest whatsoever.
After speaking with Bucco, Kennedy then proceeded to contact Washington Township’s own Municipal Attorney John Jansen. According to the October 14, 2009 Township Committee minutes regarding their Attorney Review Process, “The Township Committee feels very well represented and are very satisfied with the performance of our municipal attorneys, Jansen & DeBona. Attorney Jansen volunteers within the Township in addition to providing excellent legal representation.”
During Kennedy’s conversation with Attorney Jansen, he learned that Howard Popper had actually questioned Jansen during a previous meeting whether a retired police officer could negotiate for the Township. Jansen told Kennedy he asked Popper for additional information regarding whether the police offer was retired from Washington Township or another town. Jansen then said Popper advised him the retired officer was never employed by Washington Township, but rather another municipality.
Jansen informed Kennedy that he explained to Popper that if the officer never worked for Washington Township there was no conflict of interest. In fact, he also explained that there was new legislation which allowed first aiders to hold elected positions with no conflict. Jansen, like Bucco, informed Kennedy that as a retired police officer with no ties to the Washington Township officers there was no conflict of interest with him serving as a Committeeman.
So even after receiving a legal opinion from the Township Attorney who provides the township with “excellent legal representation”, Popper unbelievably still opted to submit a hollow press release indicating there was a conflict of interest. This was not only a bogus claim to discredit Kennedy, but also a bizarre and twisted act to deliberately mislead the taxpayers of Washington Township.
This type of unethical and distasteful behavior has absolutely no place on the Township Committee. Howard Popper should resign immediately from his role as a Washington Township Committeeman."