What’s All This Fuss About Double-Dipping?

In case the slow-motion Democratic nomination race isn’t enough politics for you, we have a primary in New Jersey next week. We already had one primary this year, as you may recall, to help pick a Presidential nominee. That was during Super Duper Tuesday, Feb. 5. Now comes another primary, for county freeholder and U.S. Senate.
If you’ve been reading any of our comment threads recently, you may have heard a little about the freeholder race. Former Montclair Mayor Bob Russo is running against current freeholder Ralph Caputo, who Russo criticizes for “double dipping.” No, that’s not what George Costanzo did during a party in the 1993 season of Seinfeld, it’s the practice of holding two separate paid political posts at one time. In addition to being a freeholder, Caputo is a state assemblyman.
Russo will hold an ice cream social tomorrow night (Wednesday) from 7 to 9 pm at 462 Broad Street (formerly Marty’s shoes) to call voters’ attention to double dipping.

Meanwhile, over on the Senate side of this race, 50-year-old whippersnapper Robert Andrews is trying to pull the Senate seat out from under 84-year-old Frank Lautenberg and deny him a fifth term. The Star-Ledger endorsed Andrews on Saturday.
On the Republican side of the ballot, Glen Ridge High School grad Dick Zimmer takes on Murray Sabrin and Joseph Pennacchio. A Republican hasn’t won a Senate seat in New Jersey for 36 years.
Now, Montclair.Mommy, here’s your thread to comment on.
In interest of full disclosure, Russo has bought an ad on Baristanet.

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  1. Ugh. What bad choices for Senate.
    Andrews? The Star Ledger likes him. That’s good enough for me….
    I like Russo. Met him a few times. Very serious guy. Very focused on gov issues (serious/focused=kinda boring…)

  2. Montclair Mommy, see, you played squeaky wheel here and got what you wanted. Now will you please shut up about everything else with your feigned moral outrage?
    Do you even know what a freeholder does, come to think of it? How the office evolved, and from whence it came?

  3. (I want to try this squeaky wheel thing. If only I had something to squeak at….)
    And when are the Barista’s gonna cover the… Asbestos… no… prostitution… no… that guy who stabbed those kids… no…
    I know.
    Why won’t they post a picture?..

  4. Russo’s got my vote. It’s bad enough that he wants to double-dip – nobody should hold more than one elected office in this state, nobody. But that he is blatantly going back on his campaign promise to not run for freeholder again is the type of arrogant dishonesty we must stop rewarding in this state.
    But I wonder if Bob will give me a double-scoop at the social, seeing as how I’m not running for anything myself.
    Also, the Barista omitted the other guy running against Lautenberg in the Democratic primary, the mayor of Morristown, Donald Cresitello. He’s got my vote as well. It is not unkind to speculate that Lautenberg is unlikely to complete another term if elected, and Andrews is too deep in George Norcross’ pocket.

  5. cathar,
    come down off your thone and leave your body alone…of course I know what a Freeholder is and what one doesand I’m willing to tell people rather than acting hoity toity.
    The term “Freeholder” originated in England and is unique in the United States to the State of New Jersey. It is comparable to County Commissioner or Supervisor in other states.
    Originally, a freeholder was a person the British Royal Court considered responsible in character, or in favor with the King, and therefore, worthy as an owner or holder of land grants in the New American Colony.
    Two days before the Declaration of Independence, the Provincial Congress of New Jersey declared its separation from King George and Britain. The meeting provided that qualified voters were to elect officers, choosing one freeholder to represent each municipality in a county. The basic law establishing the freeholders form of county government in New Jersey was established in 1798.
    Eventually, freeholder boards became too large and unwieldy. As an example, in 1916, there were thirty seven members of the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders who met as a group only six times during that year.
    Russo?s main issue is cutting costs.
    A quote from the Montclair Times:
    ?I want to find ways through consolidation and regionalization,? he said. ?There are ways that we can reduce the tax burden through efficiencies in the county government, as well as the towns in this district.?

  6. Hmmm. Valuable lesson learned about influencing the media.
    I really don’t even know what a Freeholder does. What I’m wondering is: are the Baristas going to cover the fact that my wife makes me take out the garbage and recycling every week? Isn’t she double dipping? Isn’t this sexist? I mean, she generates her share of garbage and recycling. Shouldn’t she be responsible for bringing it to the end of the driveway?
    The summer collection schedule starts next week – meaning if this situation isn’t addressed soon I will be making 3 trips per week!
    She said that she would do her fair share when we moved here, but she’s not following through on that promise. I’m tired of carrying 2 cans!!!

  7. Pork Roll,
    It’s not Russo who is double dipping it’s Caputo his opponent.
    Russo is giving half of his salary away to charity if elected.

  8. Spicoli,
    are you cooking and cleaning? are you doing your “fair share”. Who shops and does the laundry?

  9. Why won’t the Barista’s post a picture of the 36-PASSENGER LIMO!!!
    Where is it?
    Who cares about double-dipping…

  10. I’m supporting Caputo cause the Russo posters were so freakin annoying..lol

  11. Full Disclosure on the Spicoli Garbage/Recylcing Position:
    Cooking: I do most of the cooking in the household. (I like it that way)
    Cleaning/Laundry: Even split, though I am more likely to mop floors and tackle the nastier jobs.
    Shopping: Even split, usually involves me running out to A&P or ShopRite early in the day before she can buy the more expensive comparable items at Whole Foods.
    Yard work: 100% my domain, though every now and again she provides insightful guidance along the lines of “wouldn’t the gazebo look better on that side of the yard?”
    Bills: me (yelling, pleading, rationalizing, etc.)
    Why is my wife allowed to get away with this inequity? Why hasn’t Baristanet done a better job of informing the public? This issue deserves light!!

  12. Whoops, yes, I know that Caputo is the double-dipper. My post should have read something like, “It’s bad enough that Caputo wants to double-dip”, but I was momentarily distracted – by my job, no less!
    The important thing is that Pork Roll endorses Bob Russo, in the most Baristannoyingly way possible!

  13. “before she can buy the more expensive comparable items at Whole Foods.”
    Why are husbands always so cheap?
    You weren’t that cheap when we married you…

  14. “Why are husbands always so cheap?”
    Somebody has to be.
    “You weren’t that cheap when we married you…”
    And our girl friends used to provide oral sex before we married them. I guess it all evens out in the end.

  15. C’mon, Essex County, show the nice people that you know how to pick and chose from all the different lines the candidates haved provided, especially Line D, where that nice Bobby Russo sits. But first, don’t forget to drop by his free double dip ice cream party Weds. night at the old Marty Shoes in Bloomfield. Licks and laughs.

  16. I don’t have anything against Bob Russo, but is “double dipping” really the best platform for him? He’s retired from a state job on a state pension, working at 2 state universities (which he can only do because they are part of a separate pension system), and is probably giving away half his freeholder salary if elected because he’s limited to $15,000 per year from another PERS job without jeopardizing his pension. I’m sure he’s a dedicated public servant, but isn’t that triple dipping?

  17. Jonesy, read the article again. “double dipping” is the practice of holding two separate paid political posts at one time. That’s two full-time jobs at once. And it’s not like one is a day job and one is after hours…
    Food for thought–are we getting the politicians we deserve by paying so little that it engenders double-dipping? Are the best candidates the ones who can afford to do the jobs because they have pensions or made their money elsewhere? Or who have married well?

  18. Caputo recieves 32,000 annually for sitting on his ass at the hall of records. How can he possibly have enough time to serve in the State Legislature,the Board of Freeholders, and have a full time job in the private sector. Caputo has gotten fat on the backs of essex county taxpayers long enough.

  19. spicoli,
    maybe you should have picked better. We haven’t heard her side of the story yet…when we hear it what will we think?

  20. Double Dipping is now illegal in NJ but some people were allowed to be “grandfathered” in.
    Caputo did announce that he wouldn’t run for Freeholder again if he was elected for Assembly. And the Freeholder position and Assembly position have a little overlap in who he’s representing (I think the entire overlap may be in Belleville).
    This is from the Star Ledger 5/23/08:
    Some followed the spirit of the new law, as Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R-Sussex) did when he resigned from the Sussex County Board of Freeholders.
    “It was my campaign promise,” Chiusano said. “During my campaign, I criticized this bill. It should have taken effect immediately and no one should be grandfathered.”
    Others, including Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), followed the letter of the law, which allows him to keep his post as vice president of the Essex County Board of Freeholders.
    “I don’t see any conflict in the two positions,” Caputo said. “I am retired, and they’re both part-time positions and I give full-time attention to them.”
    “I don’t think it has anything to do with one’s character,” Caputo continued. He noted that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned last Monday after being identified as the client of a high-priced prostitution ring, “had one job.”
    Good analogy Ralph, I guess the 2nd job keeps you from going to prostitutes!!!!!

  21. that would be a good poll for the Barista to run
    I’d like to see the reults.

  22. What Colossal waste. The Board of Freeholders is a totally unnecessary layer of government. Is there any a candidate who supports its abolition?

  23. I like this guy and plan on going tonight to see what he has to say.
    Past Director of the New Jersey Consumer Affairs Lemon Law office
    Past Director of the Essex County Division of Consumer Services
    Past Director of the North Essex Educational Development Center, Belleville
    Caputo has never done anything for Montclair or Bloomfield
    Russo?s election literature promises that he is “independent, progressive, responsive” and “a visible, active leader.”
    “I am running to give a voice to people in Montclair, Bloomfield and other towns in the district other than from where the incumbent is from” Russo told The Times, referencing Caputo?s Belleville residence. “There are 100,000 residents between Bloomfield, Glen Ridge and Montclair alone who don?t have a voice in the legislative body.”
    His main platform is cutting costs. I’m ALL for cutting costs, hopefully it will cut our taxes.

  24. Tangentially speaking, today’s Ledger had an article about the Bensen Street train station and there was a mention of Glen Ridge township attorney Alan Trembulak. Is that the doppelganger of Montclair’s attorney? I’ll have two scoops please.

  25. I agree with Pork Roll – vote for Russo, not Caputo – it really annoys me that Caputo “promised” not to run again for Freeholder when he got elected to the Assembly and then went back on it and ran anyway. And it has nothing to do with whether or not he has time to do both jobs, it’s because if you’re in the Assembly and also a County Freeholder, you have an inherent conflict of interest. It was even worse when James was both a state senator and mayor of Newark – tell me that didn’t result in a lot of money being funneled to Newark!

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