TRENTON – Senator John H. Adler, D-Cherry Hill, made the following statement today following today’s announcement that former Keyport Mayor John Merla pled guilty to a single public corruption charge:
“John Merla is getting off easy. A couple of years in jail and a fine pale in comparison to the damage he has done to the public trust.
“John Merla should lose his pension, plain and simple. The people of New Jersey shouldn’t have to pay him back for his years of service when that time was spent betraying our trust and making himself rich at our expense.
“Merla is lucky that we haven’t yet passed legislation guaranteeing that corrupt public officials lose their pensions. But those convicted in the future won’t be so lucky. They will lose their pensions and serve serious jail time under my bill co-sponsored by Senators Karcher and Codey.
“New Jersey can no longer tolerate bribes, bid rigging and kickbacks. Public officials should think twice before engaging in these activities, because they will get caught and will lose their pensions.”
Senator Adler is the sponsor of S-14, which would require a mandatory imprisonment of up to 10 years, up to $200,000 in fines and the forfeiture of pension and retirement benefits for any public official or employee who is convicted of certain crimes that involve or touch their public office or employment.