Dual office holders: Four remain
By Matthew Arco | October 26th, 2012 - 2:27pm
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TRENTON – The number of dual elected office-holding legislators in New Jersey has dwindled to four in the four and a half years since the state legislature outlawed dual office holding, in the process grandfathering in 20 of their own.

Some voluntarily gave up their seats while others were forced to step down following criminal indictments. But, alas, four remain.

Here’s a look at what became of the 20.  The names in Bold still hold their second (and third) job.

State Senate:

1. Brian Stack (D-Union City) – Mayor, Union City

Stack, who earns $16,000 for his role as mayor, is slated to hold the seat until it expires in 2014.

2. Nick Sacco (D-North Bergen) – Mayor, North Bergen

Despite being Gov. Chris Christie’s poster boy for duel-office holding officials in the state, the triple-dipper shows little signs of giving up one of his three public positions, which pay him a combined $298,725 annual salary (not including his reported 445 unused sick days worth $331,970.) The state lawmaker, mayor and assistant school superintendent will likely be a continued talking point at Christie’s town halls.

3. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) – Mayor, Wood-Ridge

The deputy majority leader picked up another term as Wood-Ridge’s mayor this year. Sarlo, who’s collecting nearly $5,000 a year for the seat, is slated to hold the position until the term expires in 2015. 

4. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood) – Mayor/Committeeman, Lakewood

Singer walked away from his municipal position in 2010. The unanswered question at the time was whether or not pressure from Gov. Chris Christie, who has been highly critical of dual-office holding, played a role in his decision.

5. Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) – Freeholder, Gloucester County

The Senate president walked away from the board in 2010.

6. Dana Redd (D-Camden) – Mayor, Camden

The Camden mayor’s former Senate seat is currently being held by Sen. Donald Norcross (D-Camden).

State Assembly:

7. Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) – Council president, Passaic

Schaer recently faced two elections in the same year and said he planned to make a decision on which to campaign for after having a look at the redistricting map. Currently, Schaer serves as the deputy speaker in the lower chamber and the council president in the city of Passaic – where he earns $26,560 a year.

8. John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) – Mayor, Paulsboro

Burzichelli served as mayor for 15 years and 363-and-a-half days, coming in just shy of his father’s 16-year record of being the longest serving mayor, according to the assemblyman. The nearly 16 years was enough for him, and still kept his father’s name in the record books.

9. Ralph Caputo (D-Belleville) – Freeholder, Essex County

The former freeholder said in 2010 he planned to walk away from one of his elected positions, but was waiting to see a redrawn legislative map before making a commitment. Assemblyman Caputo apparently ditched the freeholder seat in favor of representing District 28 in the Assembly.

10. Anthony Chiappone (D-Bayonne) – Councilman, Bayonne

Chiappone lost his council seat, a mayoral campaign, his Assembly seat, and some of his freedom in a matter of months after he was sentenced in 2010 to a year of probation for theft by deception.

11. Gary Chiusano (R-Franklin) – Freeholder, Sussex County

Chiusano and fellow Republican Assemblyman Scott Rumana were the only two double-jobbers to voluntarily resign their second posts as soon as the law took effect, even though they were grandfathered in.

12. Ronald Dancer (R-Plumsted Township) – Mayor, Plumsted Township

Dancer, like his district-mate Singer, opted not to run for re-election for his municipal seat.

13. Joseph Egan (D-New Brunswick) – Councilman, New Brunswick

Egan walked away from his council seat in 2010 after serving nearly two decades.

14. Elease Evans (D-Paterson) – Freeholder, Passaic County

Evans stepped down from the freeholder board in 2008 after serving as freeholder director for three years.

15. John McKeon (D-West Orange) – Mayor, West Orange

McKeon ceded his mayor’s seat in 2010.

16. Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Township) – Mayor, Washington Township

The former Washington Township mayor vacated his municipal seat in 2008 and continues to serve in the state Assembly. Currently, the lawmaker has his hands full as he’s fighting a charge alleging he drove while intoxicated.

17. Ruben Ramos (D-Hoboken) – Councilman, Hoboken

The deputy majority whip gave up his council seat.

18. Scott Rumana (R-Wayne) – Mayor, Wayne

Like Chiusano, Rumana voluntarily resigned his municipal seat after the new law took effect.

19. Daniel Van Pelt (R-Ocean Township) – Mayor, Ocean Township

Van Pelt’s double-jobbing took a hit after the former lawmaker was convicted in a bribery scheme in 2010. He was one of two assemblymen arrested as part of Operation Bid Rig.

20. Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) – Mayor, Perth Amboy

The former double dipper lost a bid for mayor in 2008 and later gave up his Assembly seat after being indicted on corruption charges. Last year, Vas was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison.

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Gov. Chris Christie says he won’t campaign for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York because the cause is hopeless: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ahead by more than 30 points. But he will campaign in New Hampshire, over and over, where the Republican is also trailing by more than 30 points. What’s the reason? It may be that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary. It may be that he doesn’t want to mess with Cuomo, who knows where the skeletons are buried at the Port Authority. But one thing is certain: Gov. Straight Talk is spinning again. And it seems to be habit-forming." - columnist Tom Moran

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