Pledges to Cooperate to Rid Authority of Waste, Patronage and Abuse of Tax Dollars
TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, issued the following statement today in response to reports that Governor Christie is pushing for greater accountability at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) following allegations that the seven commissioners in charge of the organization placed friends and family on payroll and authorized unwarranted raises:
“I applaud Governor Christie for taking a tough stance against corruption at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission. The organization has been used as a patronage pit for politically-connected individuals to inflate their salaries on the taxpayer-dime, and it’s time for the feeding frenzy to come to an end.
“However, the Governor can’t single-handedly change the culture of corruption at the PVSC. Early in his term, the Governor forced out ethically-challenged Executive Director Bryan Christiansen, and replaced him with his own appointment, former Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest. A year later, the same sort of political shenanigans which took place under Christiansen are still taking place under the new regime.
“Now is the time for legislative action.
“I have sponsored bipartisan legislation to give the Governor veto power over the minutes of rogue agencies like the PVSC. I look forward to working with my fellow legislators on both sides of the political divide to send this bill to Governor Christie, and take a necessary step to provide some long-overdue oversight over quasi-governmental organizations run amuck.
“Moving forward, I pledge to work with the Governor to provide legislative support to his efforts to clean up the PVSC and ensure that the agency puts public interest ahead of private gain for the commissioners appointed to lead it. We can no longer ignore such flagrant abuse of taxpayers’ money, and must provide safeguards to drag this ‘shadow government’ authority into the light of public scrutiny.”