MORRIS COUNTY — Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Morris) introduced legislation to prevent elected officials from holding paid jobs in their own municipalities.
Several towns currently have Mayors who also hold paid positions. Mine Hill Mayor Sam Morris is also the business administrator, sewer administrator, the water administrator, and the special district administrator. He draws four salaries from the township totaling $137,957.42.
Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark recently left his post as a Parsippany business administrator in order to take on the same role in the town where he is the Mayor. Years ago dual office holding was eliminated, but this loophole for municipal officials was left unresolved.
“The people of New Jersey deserve better. This legislation shouldn’t be necessary, but it is because people are using their public position to take advantage of the system for personal gain. It’s disappointing,” said Bergen.
The legislation would preclude any elected official from holding office in a municipality in which they are also an employee. It will go into effect immediately if passed.
“If a mayor or other member of the governing body thinks they are the best fit for a paid position in the town, then they should take that position and resign as the elected official. It’s that simple. Sometimes they make the argument that they are ‘saving the town money’, but the fact is they are depriving them of multiple opinions and points of view. That makes the town worse off, not better,” concluded Bergen