Epidemic of Government Non-Disclosure

Based on the findings of John Paff, Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party‘s Open Government Advocacy Project, we think there might be signs of a local government non-disclosure epidemic. Now, there are two known cases in Baristaville.

As part of his usual government watchdogging, Paff is examining public records to ensure that local officers throughout the state have filed their annual Financial Disclosure Statements, which had an April 30 deadline.

Back on May 21, we reported that Paff filed a complaint against 21 elected and appointed Montclair government officials. In a letter dated June 21, 2001, he has filed a similar complaint against 14 Little Falls officers. Paff claims that they, too, did not submit the mandatory Financial Disclosure Statements that were due on or before April 30, 2011.

As we follow Paff’s efforts, there appears to be a pattern emerging of local government officials disregarding their filing of these forms, which allow the public to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.

What say you, Baristaville, epidemic, conspiracy or something else?

The following fourteen (14) Little Falls officials are:
1. John Dmuchkowski, Police Chief
2. Jack Sweezy, Jr., Fire Chief
3. Alfred Batelli, OEM Coordinator
4. Bernard Dowd, Deputy OEM Coordinator
5. Dan D’Agostino, Planning Board
6. Donald Radcliffe, Planning/Rent Leveling Board
7. Ian Lawson, Planning Board
8. Elizabeth Gobeille, Municipal Ethics Board
9. Renea Shapiro, Municipal Ethics Board
10. Vic Nowak, Municipal Ethics Board
11. Bonnie Nolan, Library Board
12. Al Glatz, Rent Leveling Board
13. James Cestone, Rent Leveling Board
14. Howard Lipoff, Rent Leveling Board

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Not a conspiracy. They’d just, you know, “rather not…”. Any progress getting those disclosures filed here in Montclair? Does someone have to file a law suit to get this done?

    I applaud Paff.

  2. If you are a newly appointed board or committee member and the town does not bother to tell you that there is a form that needs to be filed, it makes sense that you don’t file.

    Happened to me. I was a new committee member last year- no one said a thing – the town didn’t send me a form. I didn’t file. I only filed when I saw the article here on Baristanet and called the Bloomfield Municipal Clerk to ask why I wasn’t sent the form and if I had to file. She claimed that it had been sent and said she had done what was legally required. I know that I never received it.

    So far I’ve found 3 other committee members who did not receive forms.

  3. No RoC the process is that you give 2 original signed copies to the Municipal Clerk who files it with the state. That way the clerk can keep track of who has filed and who has not.

    I had my husband hand deliver the forms and get a stamped copy as a receipt. He did this for all 3 of the people that I found who had not been notified that they had to submit forms.

    Here’s the conversation with the clerk when he delivered the forms

    Clerk: These are late. I’m not sure what the repercussions of filing late are.

    Husband: We never received the forms. I’m not sure what the repercussions of a town clerk not providing them to committee and board members are. I need a stamped copy for my records.

    I hear that the Glen Ridge clerk reminds people when the forms have not been received. In Bloomfield you’re lucky if you get the forms sent to you.

  4. A little research and I’ve found that the Committee that I am on is not required to file since we are and advisory board (see below). Now on to see that the Bloomfield Municipal Cler re-evaluate the 2011 MUNICIPAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICER ROSTER

    From the “Local Government Ethics Law 2011 Financial Disclosure Statements” released by the NJ Department of Community Affairs in March 2011

    “Common Misunderstandings
    For a variety of reasons found in the Local Government Ethics Law and in the Attorney General Opinions, there are positions that are not required to file the FDS. Please note that the Local Finance Board will not pursue the non-filing of those positions not required to be filing even if the local government includes such a position on the roster. They include:
    • Advisory Board Members
    • Court Personnel
    • Registered Municipal Accountants
    • Bond Counsel
    • Labor Counsel

    https://www.nj.gov/dca/lgs/ethics/ethcmenu.shtml

  5. Pat

    Glad to see that you were not required to fill out the discloser statement and that was the reason you did not receive one. I am required to fill it out for Bloomfield and received two sets of papers to fill out. One from Bloomfield Municipal Clerk and one from the secretary of the Board I serve on.

  6. @ricrac I was told by the Bloomfield Municipal Clerk that I AM required to fill out a FDS and that they had sent one. I never received one. I also inquired as to whether the entire Open Space Trust Fund Committee was required to fill out an FDS and was told yes.

    I guess this is yet another “administrative error” that will have to be corrcted. It will be interesting to see what other committees are listed on the Bloomfield 2011 MUNICIPAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICER ROSTER and to see who has filed and who has not.

Comments are closed.