Cutting Waste In Government Spending

Direct The Office Of The Comptroller To Focus Exclusively On County And State Governments’ Expenditures And Make Cost Cutting Recommendations To Reduce Property Taxes.

Lesniak Willing to Sue Over $300M Renovation Christie Is Pushing for State House

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A Comptroller of Education Will Save More Than $1Bil. That Doesn’t Get To The Classroom

The single largest expense of government paid by state taxes and local property taxes is public education. I have vast experience fighting the unnecessary and often politically motivated spending of school districts. I have gone to court twice against the Elizabeth School District and had hundreds of thousands of dollars declared unrelated to education. The state refused to provide its state aid for that spending. The cost was picked up by the Elizabeth property tax payers. That has to stop. The Elizabeth School District is not alone in this unnecessary and unauthorized spending.

Likewise, unauthorized and unnecessary spending is uncovered by the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) which goes into a black hole because it’s part of the state education bureaucracy. I actually had an Assistant Commissioner of Education tell me that political ads by a board of education while ill advised were legal. Thankfully a judge held otherwise. Some districts have janitorial supervisors supervising only themselves. Unauthorized confidentiality agreements are used to settle cases of wrongful discharge to coverup a political based transfer, demotion or firing.

Hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps more than a billion dollars can be saved by a Comptroller of Education with authority to line item out a local unauthorized spending. Moving the Office of Fiscal Accountably and Compliance out of the education bureaucracy and under the Comptroller of Education will bring action rather than inaction on waste of tax dollars.

Giving The Public A Voice & A Vote In Government To Serve As Watchdogs Over Political Dealmaking At The Port Authority & NJTRANSIT Can Save Millions Hundreds of Millions

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Replacing Political Patronage Appointees On The Parole Board Will Save Tens of $Millions

In the wake of the controversy-fueled attempt by the governor to appoint Jack Kelly to the New Jersey Parole Board, a nominee with no qualifications and a history of patronage abuse, Senator Raymond Lesniak today introduced legislation to remove political patronage from the board and capture cost savings by enlisting retired judges for the positions.

Kelly withdrew his nomination in the face of the fierce opposition by Senator Lesniak, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and others who vowed to see him rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee and to subject him to account for his actions.

“This will remove the political patronage that has long plagued the Parole Board and save taxpayers money at the same time,” said Senator Lesniak, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Retired judges have the right experience to make decisions on who should or should not be released from prison and what the conditions of their parole should be. This is a public safety issue that should not be left to political appointees. In addition, it will save the state money.”

The 12 politically-appointed and often unqualified members of the Parole Board are paid $120,000 a year and receive pension and health benefits. Replacing them with retired judges who make $300 a day when recalled to serve as arbitrators would reduce the Parole Board budget by $1.2 million a year in salaries and by tens of millions in pension and health benefits over the long term.
Retired judges already receive pension and health benefits Senator Lesniak said.

The bill, S-2358, was introduced today.

The issue captured public scrutiny when Kelly, who is an Ocean County Freeholder, was nominated by the governor to serve on the Parole Board, a move that ignited fierce opposition from Senator Lesniak, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, LGBT advocates and the family, friends and coworkers of the late Laurel Hester, an Ocean County police officer who wanted to transfer her pension benefits to her domestic partner, Staci Andree, when she was terminally ill from cancer. Freeholder Kelly remained obstinately opposed during the multi-year ordeal and, even when the freeholders recognized the injustice of their position and granted the pension rights to Andree, Kelly refused to support the action.

“The cruel hypocrisy about Kelly is that he attempted to deny a career law-enforcement officer who was dying from cancer the right to transfer her pension benefits to her life partner even though he has made a career of abusing the pension system,” said Senator Lesniak. “Jack Kelly is the poster boy for political patronage. He’s made a career out of being appointed to public positions for which he was not qualified. In 1999 Kelly was given the title of ‘airport analyst,’ a high-paying position at the Atlantic City International Airport. The job called for five years of aviation experience and a bachelor’s degree. Freeholder Kelly had neither.”

NJ Spends 3-10 Times More Than Other States For Infrastructure Construction. Using Design Build Procurements As Done In 40 Other States Will Save Hundreds of $Millions

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End Pension Padding Through Boosts In Salary By Patronage Appointments Before Retirement. Limit Unused Sick and Vacation Time Payouts

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