Soft Corruption: Authorizing Patronage

By John Bury | April 17, 2017

Another focal point of Soft Corruption by William E. Schluter that we are familiar with in Union County is patronage pools. Let’s dive in (page 132):

PATRONAGE POOLS

Most of new Jersey’s autonomous authorities and agencies were established to provide a specific public service – transportation, public works, seage disposal, housing, solid waste management, water supply. They are also veritable gold mines for public patronage.

The state has about 350 local authorities, boards, and commissions that rely on patronage to fill most positions. Added to these are nearly thirty state authorities, which provide more than 28,000 public jobs. These amounts are not unlike the expansiveness of authorities in other states.

The rationale for independent authorities is simple: they have their own revenue streams; they can provide a specific public service distinct from the services provided by the governments that formed them; and they can issue bonds to raise money for capital projects without affecting the government’s credit rating. To political power brokers, authorities have another prupose: they are a patronage pool. These organizations are anything but politically independent. They are managed by commissioners who are allied with the elected officials who appoint them. The commissioners understand, moreover, that one of their duties is to reward the party faithful with jobs at the agency and to favor the vendors who are reliable campaign donors.

Among the vendors listed in the latest bills for approval by the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA):

Current UCIA commissioners:

Tony Scutari
Chairperson
Linden

Cherron Rountree
Vice Chairperson
Rahway

Ron Bornstad
Treasurer
Linden

John Salerno
Secretary
Cranford

Steve Hockaday
Commissioner
Plainfield 

Sebastian D’Elia
Commissioner
Fanwood

Scott M. Huff
Commissioner
Clark

Raymond Szpond
Commissioner
Scotch Plains

George Lattimore
Commissioner
Plainfield

 

One Response to “Soft Corruption: Authorizing Patronage”

  1. steve says:

    One small point not to be overlooked–there is no known way (at least to me ) to dissolve or remove these massive duplication of effort machines—they are as phoney as the 3% tax cap

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