Senator Diane Allen, R-Burlington, was angered by reports that the Corzine administration has decided to withhold the details of investigations conducted after a child under the supervision of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) dies from abuse or neglect. The new policy of less disclosure was reported today in the Star-Ledger of Newark.
Rule Change Puts More Children in Jeopardy
Senator Kevin O’Toole, a member of the Senate State Government Committee, expressed dismay today over a proposed rule change that would permit DYFS to hide the agency’s past actions when investigating abuse that leads to a child’s death:
“This proposed rule change is quite simply unacceptable,” O’Toole stated. “Sweeping these tragedies under the bureaucratic rug can only lead to more heartbreak.”
State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris/Passaic) responded today to Governor Corzine’s reaction to the arrests on corruption of various elected officials by challenging him to once again open the books.
“Governor, it is always about money. If you want to find corruption, follow the money,” said Pennacchio. “It’s time that each and every single dime of money publicly spent should have total and open transparency. Let’s start with the $17 billion in Federal stimulus money whose designations still have yet to be explained.”
Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder issued the following statements in response to the arrests of numerous elected officials by the FBI today:
“Corruption is not a partisan issue, it effects all New Jerseyans. The scope of this corruption is shocking. The arrests today represent a wide-reaching betrayal of the public trust and a sad chapter in our state’s history. This is disturbing behavior for anyone, but coming from elected officials and religious leaders makes it even more appalling,” said Addiego.
“The people arrested today have abandoned the very people they are designated to serve. The public has the right to expect honest, law-abiding representatives who are above reproach. The corruption, the arrogance and the greed demonstrated today is reprehensible, and they should resign immediately,” added Rudder.
Senator Christopher J. Connors and Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf called on Daniel Van Pelt to resign immediately from his Assembly seat following his arrest in a sweeping FBI money laundering and corruption probe.
Senator Connors and Assemblyman Rumpf released the following statement:
“We are extremely disappointed and shocked by the news. That said, while we fully understand that under our legal system everyone is innocent until proven guilty, we are compelled to call on Daniel Van Pelt to resign from his Assembly seat immediately. Amid these serious charges, both of us intend to continue devoting our full attention to representing the people of the 9th Legislative District.”
Despite Rhetoric, Corzine Bureaucracy Wastes Time & Taxpayer Money
Senator Steven Oroho, R-Sussex/Morris, called on the Trenton Democrats to quickly move S-2453, which would repeal regulations issued by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that mandate onerous educational requirements for volunteer municipal recycling coordinators.
New DEP regulations to implement the “Recycling Enhancement Act” contain a provision codified at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-11.1 regarding the appointment and qualification of municipal recycling coordinators. In addition to requiring that municipalities ensure that their recycling coordinator have sufficient educational background, employment experience and training to ensure compliance with the law, the regulations also mandate that the municipality provide both classroom and on-the-job instruction to augment the coordinator’s skills.
The six Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee have sent a letter to Chairwoman Barbara Buono that asks her to call the committee into session this summer. The committee’s task would be to develop a plan to close an unprecedented $8 billion structural deficit and a more than $2 billion deficit in the unemployment fund. The letter points out that Governor Corzine is ducking questions about how he plans to do to deal with this crisis.
“When there is a gap in leadership at the top, others must step in to fill the void,” said Senator Anthony Bucco, senior Republican member on the budget committee and Republican budget officer. “Nine years of multi-billion dollar budget deficits is inexcusable.”
Congressional Democrats Echo Pennacchio’s Calls to Keep Promise of Transparency
Eight days have passed since Senator Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris and Passaic Counties, asked Governor Corzine when he intends to keep his promise of transparency in the spending of $17 billion of federal stimulus money. The governor’s stimulus Web site, http://www.recovery.nj.gov, is almost useless to average taxpayers who want to track which counties, communities and projects are getting money that is supposed to spur job creation.
“The Star-Ledger reports today that two Congressional Democrats called for real openness and accountability in the $700 billion financial sector bailout,” Senator Pennacchio said. “According to news reports, a special inspector general can’t get information about how Wall Street banks are spending the money.”
Addiego and Rudder Ask Attorney General to Scrutinize Food Service Department After Consultant Found Evidence of $1.5 Million in Waste
Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego and Assemblyman Scott Rudder have requested an investigation by the Attorney General’s office into rampant waste, and possible fraud and theft, in the Camden school district’s food service department.
The 12th District legislators unveiled Tara’s Law at a press conference yesterday at their district office. The creation of Tara’s Law (A-4144/S-2983) was inspired by the neglect and subsequent death of Tara O’Leary, a developmentally disabled woman who was mistreated at the sponsor home where she was staying.
On September 11, 2008 Tara was removed from her sponsor home and placed into the Hunterdon ARC group home. Ten days later, Tara woke up extremely ill and was taken to Hunterdon Medical Center where she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.