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(TRENTON) - Deputy Majority Leader Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) is proposing changes to the state's Forfeiture of Public Office law so that it will readily recognize federal criminal corruption convictions.
Gusciora noted that, "the fact that Mayor Mack, despite his federal conviction, can continue to linger in office is a debacle for capitol city residents."
Under current state law (2C:51-2(b)(1), only those convicted of an "offense involving dishonesty or of a crime of the third degree or above" warrant "immediate" removal from office upon a finding of guilt. However, while the forfeiture law recognizes similar convictions under crimes of the United States, the public official can only be removed upon application of the county prosecutor or state attorney general.
"While I'm grateful that Attorney General Hoffman has moved swiftly to get such an order of removal in Tony Mack's case, I believe the state should readily recognize such convictions in federal court, especially since the U.S. Attorney is more and more involved in routing out corruption in public office in New Jersey," said Gusciora.
Gusciora is working on legislation to amend the Forfeiture of Public Office law by equally recognizing federal corruption convictions to New Jersey state law and therefore making removal from office immediate upon the finding of guilt in either state or federal court.
"Unfortunately, for now, city residents have to wait for a hearing on whether the federal conviction is valid. That is absurd," added Gusciora.
Gusciora noted that Mack will continue to receive his salary and still not have to return to city hall.
"Trenton has serious challenges and needs stable leadership that will tackle crime, education and economic recovery," concluded Gusciora. "Because of this loophole, we will unfortunately continue to have an absentee mayor who has been convicted of federal corruption charges. This city and state deserve better."
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