Assemblywoman Angelini to Seek Legal Opinion on Dual Office Ban as Schaer Assumes Third Public Position and Violates the spirit of the law

12 05 2008

Saying Assemblyman and Passaic City Council President Gary Schaer’s new role as acting mayor of Passaic seems to violate the spirit of the Legislature’s ban on dual office holding, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini said today she will request a legal opinion on the matter from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS).

“As we are all well aware, the Legislature passed a feeble dual office holding ban last year which grandfathered in dual officeholders who were elected before February 2008,” explained Angelini, R-Monmouth. “This allows Mr. Schaer to serve as a state lawmaker and local councilman. However, now that he has the powers that come with being acting mayor of Passaic as well, it seems he may be violating the spirit of the ban on dual office holding. Since it’s a gray area, I will be requesting a legal opinion from OLS.”

Schaer, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, assumed the role of mayor late last week, following the resignation of Mayor Samuel Rivera who pleaded guilty to extortion in federal court.

Angelini questioned the viability of one person serving in three primary public roles.

“How can one person serve their constituents with excellence when you are juggling three different government positions?” she asked. “There aren’t enough hours in a day to make that possible. The bottom line is you cannot serve two masters. Somewhere in that mix, your constituents will be short-changed.”

Angelini said Schaer’s situation is a prime example of the need for an immediate and comprehensive ban on dual office holding and for stringent ethics reform in general, noting that the city attorney who ruled that Schaer could assume the mayoral office is the law partner of Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero.

“This entire situation is a web of ethical conflicts,” stated Angelini. “Not only did Assemblyman Schaer abstain from voting on legislation that prohibits newly elected public office holders from simultaneously holding more than one elective office, but he also serves as vice chair of the Assembly State Government Committee which promulgates these rules.

“Legally, this particular situation may very well fall through a loophole, which is troublesome in itself,” she continued. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s just plain wrong. And as a representative of the people, it’s my responsibility to protect their best interests.”

Angelini suggested that the Assembly State Government Committee debate and vote on bill A-1443, sponsored by Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth and Mercer, which would eliminate the grandfathering clause within 30 days of enactment, when it meets on May 22.





3 responses

12 05 2008
Upset Resident

Wait but Gary Schaer had no choice as he said. Its not his fault he had no choice. Some one forced him obviously someone we don’t know about. Funny but sad that he can get away with what ever he wants.

15 05 2008

Schaer didn’t become Mayor, he’s temporary Mayor until a replacement can be found or until November when elections are held.

27 05 2008

Look I know this man and admire him a lot. I say if he can handle the stress of all the positions then let it be. I can stand when people do take a good thing and want to mess it up. Shoot I vote for Gary Schaer on any ballot I see so leave as acting mayor it will do the city some good having a man with experience and education behind the wheel of the City of Passaic.

Oh I get it the rest of the City of Passaic doesn’t like it. This is when I have to pick on the people that I live among, they aren’t happy unless some two bit criminal is in office skimming off the tax payers wallets. Oh and the most important one of them all, the people on the East Side of Passaic are never happy when they see another Jewish person in power. Poor ignorant minds on the East Side, if you only knew this was good and not a bad thing. But we can’t blame them they really don’t know better.

This is one law I say that has to be over looked as he is only acting mayor and not the elected mayor. So look for the loop hole in this law I am sure there is one to keep Gary in his acting position.

Oh and congrats Gary………


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