Councilman and Mayoral Candidate Jonathan Nelson introduced a resolution in support of Republican Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce's Transparency in Government Legal Bill Act.
Assemblywoman DeCroce introduced the legislation that would require a detailed invoice for services rendered before payment is made and certain information such as “a description of each legal service rendered, an itemized list of the expenses involved for each service and how the amount of the charge was determined, must be detailed in an invoice.
Because some Par-Troy council members said their requests for information were denied, this resolution was particularly important to them.
In response to Nelson’s statements last week, Mayor James Barberio said in a release that Nelson’s proposed resolution is “further proof that he is unfit to be Mayor.”
“Last week, I documented over $50,000 in judgments against Mr. Nelson. Those judgments demonstrate that Mr. Nelson cannot be trusted to pay his personal invoices, let alone the Township’s invoices,” said Barberio. “Now, Mr. Nelson demonstrates that he knows nothing about our local government. I have reviewed the Bill, sponsored by Betty Lou DeCroce, and I support the Bill as written. In fact, our Township attorney already conforms to the proposed legislation. So while the Bill may be of assistance to other municipalities, it will not change the way Parsippany requires our Township attorney to invoice for services rendered.”
Nelson replied to Barberio’s comments saying, “In response to my resolution that would hold both the Mayor and Township attorney accountable to the taxpayers of Parsippany-Troy Hills, Mayor Barberio distorts the truth and is misinformed about the law.”
Barberio also brings up Parsippany’s Faulkner Act.
“Mr. Nelson’s proposed resolution also evidences his complete lack of knowledge of how our form of government works. Under Parsippany’s Faulkner Act form of government, the Council is the legislative branch. The Council passes local laws within its power. Those powers are set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:69A-36. That statute does not provide the Council with power to review or approve attorney invoices,” said Barberio.
Nelson, however, replied that although “Barberio correctly points out that Parsippany’s government is a Faulkner Act government and that the Council’s powers are enumerated in N.J.S.A. 40:69A-36 … a simple reading of this statute, specifically, section (m), provides the Council with powers under the Local Budget Law and Local Fiscal Affairs Law.”
Both say that the other person does not know how the local government runs, nor the local laws.
Barberio said that, “The Mayor administrates the Town. Payment of all Township invoices, whether they are attorneys fees or otherwise, is an administrative function under applicable state law. So Mr. Nelson’s latest idea is to seek a power for the Council that is not permitted under the State laws that govern our form of government. Perhaps Mr. Nelson should learn how our local government works before he shoots from the hip with his unlawful ideas. As a practical matter, since Mr. Nelson has proven his inability to pay his own invoices, he is the last person we want to put in charge of paying the Township’s invoices.”
that, “It is obvious that it is Barberio who does not understand the way
government works after serving four years as Mayor. If he did, he would know that under N.J.S.A. 40A:5-16 and 17, that approval of claims, including bills,
shall be approved or disapproved by the governing body.
"Since the Council is the governing body, it is required to review and pass a resolution authorizing all monies paid unless an ordinance is passed stating otherwise. This includes all attorneys’ fees. The question should be asked, why has the Mayor and his attorneys so blatantly sidestepped the intent of the law, and what are they attempting to hide? The Mayor/Council form of government is one which creates checks and balances. This Mayor believes that he, alone, should make all the calls in the Township and he acts more like a dictator then an elected Mayor. I suggest that Jamie Barberio review the law before he starts drafting letters containing inaccurate information.”