Fulop’s Ethics Endzone Dance

Timing is everything, so it was quite fitting perhaps that Steve Fulop on Monday detailed a comprehensive plan to make government more transparent.

The Jersey City mayor and 2025 gubernatorial candidate acknowledged the coincidence of it all.

Here he was announcing a plan related to ethics and transparency a week after George Norcross was indicted and while Bob Menendez is on trial. And don’t forget the recent “gutting” of the state’s Open Public Records Act.

Fulop is periodically releasing policy statements and he said his transparency plan has long been on the schedule.

But he acknowledged that recent events have “highlighted and amplified” the issue.

No kidding.

As for OPRA, Fulop said he would like to see the law returned to its previous form.

More specifically, Fulop said the “fee shifting” part of the new law may encourage officials to simply not comply.

That’s because under the revised law, towns will no longer be subject to paying legal fees of those who make OPRA requests if they lose.

Fulop is the mayor of the state’s second largest city, but he is clearly trying to run as an outsider. His feelings on OPRA show that.

Along those lines, he said – quite bluntly – that he’s not running to adhere to the dictates of party bosses.

Making that even more clear, the plan Fulop announced today called for ending what he called  “the monetization” of being county chair. He meant that party leaders use their political connections to make money.

Stopping that is not going to be easy. but you have to give Fulop credit for raising the issue.

Fulop opposed the “county line,” and wants its elimination to be permanent.

He admitted that his stance against the county line a few months ago prompted some negative feedback from others in the party.

But Fulop says he won that battle, noting that the party’s Senate candidate is Andy Kim, not Tammy Murphy.

“I was right about that at the time, I don’t regret it,” he said.

The mayor also proposed a number of changes in the way elections are run on all levels.

He wants to move all municipal elections to November (some are in May) and to have software programs handle drawings for ballot position. This would eliminate the county clerk literally drawing positions out of a hat, a system that – shall we say – occasionally has been abused over the years.

Many of the reforms Fulop talked about are going to please good government groups and the press. But the practical problem is that county leaders – even without the line – still wield a lot of power in the Democratic primary. We saw that on June 4.

Nonetheless, Fulop said he thinks he still may get support from some of the party leaders who operate in a system that his ethics and transparency plan criticizes.

He said they just have to realize that some things have to change.




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2 responses to “Fulop’s Ethics Endzone Dance”

  1. Fulop did not iniate the end of the county line , he joumed on a moving train. Andy Kim was the person who deserves all that criit. Fulop is a climber, takes criit for thers accomplishments and never own up to his mistakes, which ar many,
    I live in JC, have seen up front how the city is going down hil and unaffoable.

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