Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon is calling for an audit of five local government entities to identify illegal payouts: the city, their municipal utilities authority, their board of education, Hudson County, and the county schools of technology.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The downtown council representative said early this year that he would be introducing local legislation to combat tax increases and wasteful spending, the first measure being an ordinance that requires municipal departments to submit monthly overtime reports.
That was unanimously approved (8-0, Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera was absent) at last week’s meeting. Now, Solomon, a potential 2025 mayoral contender, is seeking to identify “boat payments” issued by the aforementioned entities via Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests.
“Governments throughout the state and here in Hudson County are giving away tens and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars illegally. I do not know the scope of the problem for Jersey City taxpayers – but the fact that no one knows the scope is unacceptable,” he said in a statement.
“We need a simple review of the contracts across five governments that tax Jersey City homeowners to find out, and that’s what we intend to do.”
For decades, longtime public officials have cashed out hundreds of thousands of dollars in excess unused leave upon exiting office. While the NJ state legislature passed two laws reforming these practices in 2007 and 2010, compliance with the laws is poor.
That is evidenced by a report from the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office released in July that said 57 out of 60 government bodies that were reviewed violated sick leave payouts, which included Hoboken, Union City, and West New York.
None of the five governmental agencies mentioned by Solomon were included in the comptroller’s investigation.
A city spokeswoman deferred comment to the agencies not affiliated with the city, none of whom immediately returned a call and/or email seeking comment.
Stop pimping and start dishing.